Air Travel Guidelines for Pets

The majority of U.S.-based airlines allow dogs and cats on board. Some offer service for domestic, exotic pets such as rabbits, birds and hamsters, guinea pigs and ferrets, with their approval.

Luggage illustration

Carriers and Kennels

It’s imperative that you check each airline’s guidelines prior to boarding a plane: carry-on pet carriers and kennels heading to the cargo area of the plane may vary in size from one airline to the next.

Be aware! Your pet will not be permitted to board the airplane with you if your carrier or kennel does not meet their requirements.

Pets Need a Ticket to Ride


Be prepared: Airlines require reservations for pets traveling on board; most have restrictions on how many pets can travel in the cabin on a single flight. Book ahead to make sure Fido or Fluffy won’t be left behind.

In addition, make sure to ask each airline about the cost to fly your pet. These fees can also vary, based on whether you’ll be carrying your four-legged companion on board or checking him in as cargo.

Pet Health and Age Regulations

One more important tip: airlines have age restrictions and health code requirements for all pets on board. Common regulations include:

  • Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks of age and weaned.
  • No more than one puppy, 8 weeks to 6 months of age and weighing over 20 lbs may be transported in the same kennel.
  • No more than two puppies or kittens, 8 weeks to 6 months of age and weighing 20 lbs or less each may be transported in the same kennel.
  • A veterinary health certificate dated within 10 days of outbound travel for domestic travel and within two weeks for international travel.
  • A vaccination certificate for all adult pets (puppies and kittens excluded).

Contact the airline ahead of time to ensure you fully understand their specific pet travel regulations so that you and your family can have an easy check-in and boarding experience.

Follow the airline links below to help you get started:



Further Reading:

Traveling with Pet Passengers in Tow?
Why not make traveling fun for the whole family, four-leggers included? 

Flying the Furry Skies
Each airline has different rules when it comes to traveling with pets, so be sure to do your research before booking your flight.

Buckle Up!
Take these precautions to help protect you from distraction and your pet from injury.

Pet-Friendly Accommodations
Wherever your destination takes you, plan ahead and make sure you have pet-friendly accommodations available. Here are a few resources to help get you started.

Travel Checklist
Keep this checklist handy when packing for your next trip.

Learn more about VPI Pet Insurance:

Dog insurance, Cat insurance, Get a quote

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