Biggest Mistakes Pet Owners Make Shipping a Pet By Air

10 Biggest Mistakes:

  1. Shipping your pet in an old worn out or broken down pet carrier with missing or faulty attachments.
  2. Purchasing a brand new pet carrier with unreliable plastic attachments, top loading or other non-airline approved features.
  3. Not acclimating the pet to the carrier/kennel. You should spend a good month or more training the pet and getting him/her used to being crated.
  4. Medicating your pet with Sedatives or Tranquilizers.
  5. Lining the carrier with the wrong material assuming it is absorbent and comfortable without testing. Watch video absorbency tests on DryFur, Newspaper, puppy pads & other competing products. Also providing water bowls that are not spill resistant. Watch demo on airline dishes.
  6. Relying on the airline to furnish required pet shipping supplies. ie. Special releasable cable ties for the door, Live Animal Stickers / Labels, food & water dishes, absorbent bedding. Pet owners should never assume Airline will supply these and other required items. They often run out of supplies, forget to check for them or do not normally stock which means your pet will be refused or possibly fly at risk. Visit our Store for all these airline required items.
  7. Not being prepared for unforeseen emergencies such as pet getting loose or lost. It is always a good idea to add an alternate contact number on pets collar for traveling owners and carry a recent picture of your pet with you just in case.
  8. Opening the carrier/kennel in unfamiliar places. Once you have left home DO NOT open the pet carrier / kennel until you reach your final destination if possible. Also providing water & food bowls that are not attached securely to the kennel door, will sometimes force airline personal to open the kennel door in order to dispense water to dehydrated pets. Please test to be certain your dishes will stay on securely or use cable ties to reinforce the attachments provided.
  9. Flying elderly, fragile or EXTREME snub nose pets in cargo area of the plane. These pets should always travel by ground or as carry-on in the passenger area of the plane only.
  10. Supplying a carrier/kennel that is too small for your pet. Carrier must have ample room for the pet to stand and turn around in with ease. Pets are often refused at the airport the day of the flight because pet owner arrived with pets in an inappropriately sized pet carrier kennel.


Watch our New Animation on How to Prepare Your Pet Carrier for Safe Airline Travel.

Watch new Pets on Airplanes Video series on Instructions on how to assemble your pets Kennel or Carrier for safe travel on airplanes.

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8 Responsesso far.

  1. Freeze the water, wrap it in news paper and unwrap when you get to the airport. Dog can lick the ice and will have water as it travels. Have done this for years when shipping or taking my dogs to out of state dog shows.

  2. Why is it a bad idea to sedate or tranqualize your pet for travel? Isn’t it better that they be calmer or even sleep through it? I am worried about my pet being stressed through the whole ordeal.

    • There has been a few instances where dogs were so stressed that it was determined after an incident that the only way the airline would allow the dog back on the next flight is with sedation. But this is so rare. It is proven to be way safer to have your pets fly without sedation as it can cause breathing issues in higher altitudes, some pets stress more because they do not feel in control when sedated and not to mention it is never safe to give sedation without some type of monitoring and in cargo there is no monitoring. Now if you are flying with them in cabin then that is a different story many pet owners find it necessary to bring along a pet sedative for their own peace of mind and the comfort of the other passengers. But be sure if this is the case that you do a trial run first to see how your pet handles the medication and only give it if you find it necessary. Again ask your vet for their take as well, although I have found many vets do not read the Pet Airline Incidents so they do not have a clue what the risks are.

  3. I am wondering if airlines are OK with having extra “stuff” in the kennel with the animal? My cat is very attached to her bed and her toy mice, and I was hoping I’d be able put her bed in the crate and throw in a toy or two. The bed is very flat and still leaves a lot of room for her to stand, turn, etc. I was also planning to put in a thin blanket if this is allowed. Any insight?

    PS- love this site, it’s been invaluable to me in planning my trip.

    • Hi Emily, Really depends on the airline and how she is traveling. (cargo-cargo office or excess baggage-at the ticket counter) But I can suggest that you leave the items out until the kennel is inspected and let the agent inspect the items separately, then put them in the kennel. If your cat is traveling as excess baggage first you check in at the airline ticket counter then they send you to Oversize baggage counter were a TSA agent will inspect your kennel inside and out. It goes a lot faster if the kennel has just the bare necessities. During the inspection they normally have you hold the pet. Once they finish the security inspection they radio for an airline agent to take your pet in the kennel to the loading area of the plane.

      If your cat is traveling as cargo, separate from you then the cargo office normally does quick visual exam with the pet in the kennel and they Definitely prefer nothing extra in the kennel and will likely request you remove anything extra. But again depends on what airline, what agent etc.
      Thanks for posting,

  4. I am travelling with my pet from Manila to Philippines and I’m wondering… where should I place my dog’s original documents? Should I place it in a folder attached on the top of his crate or should I have it with me? Thanks! Xoxo

  5. Your website is by far the most informative & comprehensive. Thank you.
    Looking at traveling with my german shepherd from Canada to Oklahoma (7 hr. flight). With the required 4 hr. ahead check in time, that will make 11 hrs. in the crate. Any suggestions?

    Thank you for your help.

    • The best suggestion is acclimating the pet to his/her kennel. For cats this is easy they seem to like to climb into small spaces. For dogs it can be a process to even get them into the kennel. But with time and training many dogs love their kennels. If you can accomplish your dog liking the kennel it will be a cinch for your dog to traveling that long.