What are the rules when flying with small dogs?
Strap in, because we're about to lift-off into flying the friendly skies with your pooch!
First off, you need to announce your travel companion's pawsence to the airline. Just like humans, pets have a limited number of VIP (Very Important Pooch) seats available on each flight.
Next, it's time for a quick pit stop at the vet. Based on your destination, you might need a health certificate (usually 10 days before travel), or their EU pet passport validating your furball's readiness for the journey, and records of recent vaccines, including the all-important rabies vaccination. Remember, some countries are quite particular about these details, so it's best to keep your pet's paperwork in order. If you are traveling within Europe, you can check out each country's different requirements here
And if you're making a grand return to the UK or Ireland
, there are a few extra hurdles. Your pup needs a tapeworm treatment between 1 to 5 days before arriving and pets traveling to the UK they must meet the requirements of DEFRA's Pet Travel Scheme
- a 'pawssport' to avoid quarantine! Sadly no airlines will allow you to travel with your pet in the cabin into the UK, which means the hold or cargo are your only two options by air. If you are able to travel by boat, car, or train, all larger dogs will be able to come with you.
Carrier-wise, think comfortable, well-ventilated, and snug enough to fit under the seat in front of you. It's their private suite in the sky, where they need to stay throughout the flight. Ensure it's big enough for your pet to play a mini-game of Twister - stand, turn, and lie down comfortably.
And remember, it’s crucial that your fur-baby plays it cool and smells fresh, as disruptive behavior (or stinky, sickly dogs) might result in them being turned away.
Most airlines will have a minimum age to fly (usually between 8 to 12 weeks) as well as restrictions on pregnant or nursing litter. Snub-nosed dogs are generally only permitted for in-cabin travel due to the respiratory distress they may experience. It is best to check with your vet before planning your flight and remember, that weight restrictions do apply. Best to always check with the airline before booking.
And finally, for all doggos from the EU, don't forget that for EU travel they will need their very own pet passport, which has all the information the flight crew will need to know about their microchipping (required) and vaccination records.