Calming your Pet when Flying

Updated: February 27, 2024

Calming your pet when flying is essential to a safe and enjoyable trip.

"Arrive early, so your pet can get used to the noises."

We all love traveling. And what's more exciting when we travel (and fly!) together with our furbabies. But calming your pet when flying, with the endless security measures, regulations, extra fees and the urge of your dog or cat to pee or poop, can be a total nightmare!

Here, we'll help you ready for the skies with your pet at his most calm behavior so the both of you can sit back, relax and enjoy your flight!

Groom Your Pet Before Flying

Grooming your pet before traveling will keep him calm in your flight as they will feel comfortable in their own fur and will have less drama from itching and scratching. Grooming will also make your pet more presentable for your destination.

Arrive at the Airport Earlier

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Airport rehearsals are a must. Arrive earlier so that your pet will get used to the noises, the hustle and bustle and won't freak out when you arrive at the airport. This will also help him adjust to the variety of smells and sights and won't be intimidated by it. If he's anxious and scared to walk upon your arrival, don't drag him! Allow him to explore and adjust on his own pace, thus the early arrival.

Get Your Pet a Comfortable Carrier

Flights can be exhausting and since pets must be kept inside their carriers or crates the whole time, you will want to provide your pet a carrier where they can move freely and stretch every time she finds the need to.

To keep your dog or cat company, you can also place some of their favorite toys or chew toys inside for a more positive travel experience. Also choose a carrier where you are able to extend a finger or two for a head scratch or an ear rub so your pet will feel secure and know that you are just right beside them.

Note: Get your pet accustomed to using a carrier weeks before your actual travel date so she won't be shocked with the sudden lock up.

Place a Piece of Clothing in the Carrier

We must admit, there are pets who experience separation anxiety and will go crazy whenever their parent is out of sight. If you are flying with an anxious dog or cat, one thing you can do in calming your pet when flying is to place a piece of your used clothing or a clothing with your scent inside the carrier. Know that your scent is very calming to your pet and helps them feel secure.

Bring Her Favorite Treat and a Water Supply

When traveling, you're not really supposed to give a full meal to your pet and get them full because they might vomit or experience GI upset and you will not want that. Instead, you can bring her favorite treats and offer one piece at a time. Also don't forget to bring water supply in a water-drip container to avoid it from spilling.

Provide Calming Supplements

Flying with an anxious dog can make for a miserable flight, which is why calming dogs for air travel is essential. So, any pet parents considering flying with their dogs should know how to keep a dog calm on a plane. Providing Calming SoftSupps® can help your dog to relax inflight. These dog supplements contain Suntheanine®, a form of L-Theanine that is clinically studied for promoting a sense of relaxation & mental alertness without drowsiness. Organic Hemp Extract fosters calming effects, helping pets cope with external stresses.

These inflight dog supplements should actually be given for the days or weeks prior to help build calm, balanced behavior. These are safe for all lifecycle stages, so a puppy flying can safely enjoy the calming effects as well. Provide your dog with these supplements in the weeks leading up to travel to build balanced and calm behavior. Since these are not a medication, it will not cause your dog to become instantly calm or relaxed in a single dose. For medication, you will need to consult your vet for a prescription.

Prepare a Pheromone Collar

Pheromone collars are collars that produces the pheromone hormone according to Dog Training Nation. This is the hormone mama dog releases to calm down her puppies. The pheromone collar, if worn on your pet, are great when calming your pet when flying specially on stressful situations you two might encounter during your flight. There are also pheromone sprays available so you can use it every time you feel your pet is constantly seeking for your attention, excessively moving in the carrier, begins barking, has an increased urge to go out and in times where there's a great deal of turbulence.

Let Your Pet Wear Diapers

How do dogs travel on long flights? Luckily, the plane has lavatories for us but our pets don't. So, you might wonder what to do if your dog poops on a plane. Controlling the urge to pee or poop can be a difficult task and many fail to do so. You might wonder what to do if your dog poops on a plane.

That's why pet diapers for your cat or dog is very handy when flying! Dog diapers and cat diapers will prevent your pet from peeing or pooping all over their carrier and leaking onto the plane. Washable Dog Diapers and Washable Cat Diapers from Pet Parents® are made for comfort and a superior fit. This will help keep your furbaby calm and comfortable and will also help to prevent any unwanted odor that might disturb passengers if your dog or cat uses the bathroom inflight. This way, you don't have to stress about what to do if your dog poops on a plane or if your cat decides to use their carrier as a litter box.

You can also opt to put a Pawtect® Pad as a bedding in the carrier for double protection from messes, leaks, and embarassment.

Airline Policies for Pets

Delta Airlines. Flying with pets with Delta Airlines are allowed on almost every flight within the United States, Canada, U.S. Virgin Island but not to Hawaii. All household birds, cats, dogs are also allowed in cabin travel (carrier will be stowed under the seat in front of you) except for snub-nosed breeds.

Now if your pet doesn't fit in a carry on carrier, the only way to travel him is through Delta Pet Cargo. Service dogs, however are an exception. They should be able to fit under the seat in front of you and will have to be extremely behaved to avoid disturbing other passengers. They must also be a minimum of 10 weeks old for travel.

Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines flying with pet policy allows your pet to travel in cabin with you. But unfortunately, pets are not allowed in international flights. Your pet also must be completely inside the pet carrier and be able to stand up and move around the carrier with ease for the entire duration of the flight.

However, Southwest Airlines does not accept pets (cats or dogs) traveling without a Customer and will only accept carry-on pets; pets are not permitted as checked baggage. Southwest also places a limit on the number of pets allowed on each flight, generally six unless there are special circumstances.

American Airlines. American Airlines flying with pet policy allows pets to travel in-cabin or as cargo but doesn't accept in cabin pets on flights to/from Hawaii, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, or on transatlantic flights. They also require carriers that are constructed of wood, metal, or plastic; and they must be leak-and-escape-proof. Carriers should also be made of padded nylon and have ventilation on two or more sides.

United Airlines. United Airlines flying with pet policy allows domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds (excluding cockatoos) to travel accompanied in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the U.S.

A customer traveling with an in-cabin pet cannot be seated in the bulkhead or an emergency exit row. Also, customers with pets cannot be seated in a United® Premium Plus seat because the footrest limits the storage space under the seats. Moreover, only two pets per flight are allowed in premium cabins on select aircrafts due to limited storage space under the seat.

Consider Alternatives to Flying for Large Dogs

For many pets, flying is a stressful event, especially if they are not allowed in the main cabin and must be checked as baggage. This is particularly a concern with larger dogs. These tips on how to keep a dog calm on a plan or how to keep a cat calm on flights are excellent for pets brought as carry-on items. However, when dogs have to be checked as baggage, you might consider vet prescribed sedatives because they will be in a loud, unfamiliar environment.

With dogs who do not fit into carry-on carriers, you might consider leaving them home with a trusted pet-sitter or a boarding facility to avoid unnecessary stress. Flying with an anxious dog in cargo will potentially only increase their anxiety and likely not lead to a very relaxing trip for you.

Your flight can either become a nightmare or a positive experience if you are prepared enough. Learn how to keep a dog calm on a plan and how to keep a cat calm on flights for the best experience traveling. Though calming your pet when flying can be challenging, you and your pet will do just fine if you know what to do.

"Diapers will prevent your pet from having accidents in the carrier."

Safe skies ahead!