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Plan, Prepare, Be Flexible, And Enjoy: Preparing to Fly with Your DogPlan, Prepare, Be Flexible, And Enjoy: Preparing to fly with your dog

Creating the best experience for flying with your dog

Setting realistic expectations and planning is key for anything. We are going to walk you through the things to consider when you plan to go flying with your dog and discuss some scenarios you might not have thought of before.

We love our furry friends (cliché, but accurate). They are not just our companions, but a part of our family. We enjoy their company, they compliment the best sides of ourselves, and always make us feel loved and appreciated. Because we love them so, we often want to bring them everywhere with us. That includes when we go flying. I mean, why not share one of your favorite passions with one of your favorite confidants?

When you take your dog flying,

There are general things that you should always do prior to trusting them as your copilot:

  1. Always reach out to your vet to confirm flying wouldn’t negatively affect your dog and that it is safe for them
  2. Don’t feed your dog prior to flying—we don’t need any messy accidents
  3. Acclimate your dog to your aircraft and the sounds your aircraft makes prior to bringing them on board

Beyond the basics, there are a few more things you should consider and do before you take your dog flying. Going the extra mile with these tips will not just mitigate potential larger mishaps but allow for both you and your furry friend to truly enjoy the trip unencumbered.

  1. Pack accordingly. When you take a trip in your aircraft, you most likely prepare for the variables of the day. You might bring snacks or a change of clothes. If you are bringing your dog, do the same. Will you be going on a short flight? Then make sure you have water and bowl, and maybe a toy to keep them entertained while in the air. Will you be going on a day trip? Then consider packing them treats or some food, plenty of toys, and maybe even a portable dog bed or a blanket for them to rest on when you reach your destination.
  2. Prepare yourself and your dog. Don’t just take your dog flying with you willy nilly for the first time. You should have a game plan for the very first time you are taking your dog flying with you or if you are going on a longer journey that your dog hasn’t gone on before. You want to think of all scenarios and be prepared for them. What if your dog gets sick during the flight? Consider having paper towels and cleaning supplies on hand. Has your dog never been in your aircraft for longer than a few hours? Take them on a drive for the length of your planned, long flight first to see if they can handle that long of a time in a moving object with no breaks. What if they need to relieve themselves during your flight? Find pee pads at your local pet store, train your dog to use them, and bring them with you on your flight. Is your dog high energy? Take them on a long walk before you go fly and bring them toys to keep them entertained while you are focusing on flying.
  3. Consider bringing another person with you. If your dog is not an experienced flyer, consider bringing a human passenger with you for the first few times your dog soars through the clouds. If anything happens—your dog does get sick, or your furry guy or girl just needs a little bit of attention—you will have extra hands to attend to the extra paws in the cock pit.
  4. Remember every experience is unique. Each flying experience is unique, new, and a testament to the beauty and freedom that comes with flying. Keep this in mind when flying with your dog. We have spoken a lot about theoretical instances with flying with your dog for the first time or to new lengths with your dog, but keep in mind that every time you bring your dog flying with you, something different could happen, just like with flying. Even the most prepared and preplanned trips can have hiccups. And even the most experienced flying dogs (we would like to think that dogs can also be experienced fliers) can have bad days or can not do well on a flight. So, make sure you thoroughly prepare for every flight with your dog no matter how few times or how many times they have flown. And always remember, be flexible and patient with your dog—your dog might not be the best candidate for flying.

Overall, planning, planning, planning, is the best. Bringing your fluff of a dog with you on adventures are the best—you get to see them enjoy themselves and they get to experience new places and activities. Help them have the best time and help yourself have the best time by being flexible and prepared for anything.

If you want to read more about flying with your pouch, check out this article posted by AOPA. It elaborates more on what we discussed in this article and highlights some more things to keep in mind before flying with your dog.

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