Flying on a Plane with a Puppy

May 8, 2023


We try to help our buyers with pickup and transportation as much as we possibly can, but ultimately puppy pickup is the buyer’s responsibility.

Check with Airlines

First, be sure to check your airlines carry on pet requirements. Every airline is different with their rules and can change at any time (United recently changed from requiring 16 weeks to now only 8 weeks old). The buyer is responsible for brushing up on these and make sure they are following the rules. Most airlines require the puppy to be 8 weeks old, some require older. I have never been asked for any paperwork or proof of age when flying with a pet as carry on, but that can change with an airline anytime too. It’s often easiest just to say you are flying with a carry on dog, even when you are following all rules they don’t ask as many questions.

Step 1

  • Book your flight for yourself like normal

Step 2

  • Call the airlines immediately and add a carry-on pet to your flight (they do limit the # of carry-on pets per flight)
  • You will need a pet carrier that is fabric and collapsible/bendable to be able to fit under the plane seat in front of you. Check your airline’s requirements. (See below for recommendations)
  • Usually in the pet carrier I pack a poop pickup bag dispenser (which we are now giving one out with each puppy sale), a collapsible water bowl (which isn’t necessary for shorter flights, and obviously you can always find a cup or something somewhere, but I like to have one handy, we are now giving one out with each puppy), a leash and collar (or harness), some paper towels and a few toys.  
  • My vet recommends giving the puppies Childrens Benadryl for the flight, it allows them to relax and sleep the whole way typically. It also helps prevent whining in their carrier. I always provide my buyers with the correct dosage of children’s Benadryl when I know they are flying and leave the choice to give it up to them. It is good for about 8 hours so it will make them drowsy all day. I usually give it a minimum of a half hour before I need them to start sleeping and keeping quiet. Childrens Benedryl Dosage: 1mg per 1lb. =  4ML for 10lbs.

Step 3

  • On the day of the flight check in as normal and then make sure you go to the desk and let them know you have a carry-on dog, you will have to pay the carry on pet fee there at that time, they will print a ticket for the puppy at that time too.

Step 4 

  • Going through security, the puppy carrier needs to go through the x ray machine, and you will get your puppy out and hold your puppy as you walk through then put your puppy back in afterwards.
  • When in the airport, there are pet relief areas, but I avoid them. Puppies that haven’t had all their vaccines are at risk to catch parvo from places where non vaccinated dogs go to the bathroom. Instead, if I need to take them out of their crate, I just find a handicap/family restroom and let them run around in there and clean up after them if needed.  No one ever seems to care if you have your puppy out of the crate in the airport.

Step 5

  • On the plane, you are required to keep the puppy in the carrier and have the carrier under the seat in front of you. Most of the time they sleep the whole way, I have had one time where he started whining and I just got him out of the crate and held him and no one minded at all, the stewardess thought he was adorable. But I think it mostly depends on your stewardess and those around you.


  • It doesn’t really matter what the dimensions are, all they want is for you to be able to have it completely under the seat in front of you, beyond that they don’t care. The dimensions they give are the size of the area under the seat in front of you. All these carriers are soft sided so just like a backpack you maybe would take along, as long as you can bend it to get it under there it will work fine.

Suggested Products

  • Traveling can be an intimidating endeavor, and incorporating a puppy into the equation can make it even more difficult. However, with adequate preparation, it can be a seamless and uncomplicated experience! The key to success is having the necessary supplies for both you and your new furry companion. Feel free to browse our complete collection of recommended items that we have personally used to ensure a pleasant travel experience with your pup.