How to transport Dogs by Air?

Though I always prefer to keep my dogs close to me while I am travelling. And for this reason, I often travel only in my car or in I AC compartment of a train. However, this may not always be possible.

If we are travelling long distances, or going from one country to another, we often have no other option but air travel. There are some more complexities and paper work involved when we want to take our pets in a plane, as compared to say a train or a bus.

This is what we are going to discuss in this article. Keep reading!

Table of Contents
  • Take the puppy with you as carry over
  • Place the dog in the cargo hold
  • Parcel the Dog
  • Process of booking a dog for air travel
  • Process of receiving a dog from airport
  • Grounds of Rejection

There are various ways via which you can transport a dog or puppy through a plane.

  • Keep the puppy with you
  • Travel in the same plane but put the dog/puppy in the cargo
  • Parcel the puppy/dog in the cargo

But before you move ahead, make sure that a particular airline allows pets or not. As per our knowledge Jet Airways, Air India, Spice Jet and Vistara allow pets. But rules may change from one month to another. Always check with the concerned airlines. Do not rely on information received from a third-party.

Take the puppy with you as carry over

Not all airlines allow you to carry the pets in the passenger cabin. Some only allow handicap persons to take along guidance dogs with them – such dogs are well trained and very docile.

However, some airlines may allow pets even in the passenger cabin. These rules vary from one airline to another, and from time to time.

If your dog or puppy is small in size, then you may carry it with you in a cage (in some airlines). The only condition is that the cage should fit below the seat in front of you. You cannot put a dog in overhead compartments.

You also cannot put a dog on a seat, even if you do have to take a ticket for it. Moreover, there are a few more restrictions.

  • You cannot carry large pets with you
  • You cannot carry many pets with you – at most one or two.

The rules of these airlines keep on changing pretty quickly. Sometimes the airlines employees and their website contradict each other. So, it’s always a good idea to double check.

Place the dog in the cargo hold

Instead of carrying a dog with you, you may submit it in the cargo hold of the plane, where it will be transported along with other cargo.

However, make sure that you keep certain things in mind.

  • Make sure that the cage is properly secured inside a cardboard box. The box should be properly ventilated.
  • The cage should be big enough for the dog to stand and rotate around 360° without hitting its walls.
  • The cage must be sturdy and strong. A dog should not be able to chew away and break it. Weak cages will definitely be rejected by the cargo department of the airline.
  • There should not be any sharp edge in the cage, or else it may hurt your dog. If detected by airlines staff, they will not book your dog cage. If they do notice any such problem, you should rather thank them than get mad at them anyways.
  • There should be a liquid absorbent material at the bottom of the cage – to absorb the water spillage or to absorb the pee of the dog. It may be a towel, or any other such material.
  • Many airlines do not accept cages that can be opened in half. The cage should have a proper door that can be opened.
  • Make sure that people handling your dog box know that there’s a live pet inside. You may write “live cargo” or “pets inside”, etc. outside the box in bold letters. If possible, write in English as well as vernacular languages.

If your pet is heavy (say more than 10 kgs), then you can only place one pet in one cage or container. However, if your pets are small and light weight, then you may keep multiple pets in the same cage. For exact weight limit, you will have to consult the airline.

Parcel the Dog

You don’t even need to travel along with your dog. You may just send them off in a plane as a cargo. The process is almost the same as when we book our dog to be transported in the cargo hold.

This is often done by pet sellers, when you order dogs/puppies from other city/state. They will send the dog/puppy via a plane and then you can go to the airport to receive them. Before transporting the dog, they often will send you a picture of it. It acts as a proof that the dog was healthy and fine before the travel.

Process of booking a dog for air travel

To book a dog for air travel, you will need to go to parcel department of the airlines. It will be a good idea to reach there at least 3 hours before the flight, as it may take some time.

Apart from the time that you will have to invest in the booking process, there will be a proper scanning of the dog through X-rays and other methods. Smugglers often try to find new ways to deliver drugs and such other illegal things. That’s why all this checking is essential. But all this will eat away a lot of your time.

If your dog and dog cage fulfil all the requirements of the airlines, you may pay the fee and book your dog.


The fees are almost as much as a person’s ticket. Though it will depend on the airline, your dog’s weight, the flight time, etc. But you may expect to pay anywhere around Rs. 5000 to 6000 for this purpose.

However, if a person is handicapped and is carrying a Guide dog along with him, then that will be free of charge. For example, if a blind person is travelling along with his guide dog, then the airline will not ask for any extra money for the dog. Such dogs are also allowed to go in the passengers’ compartment, along with the handicapped person (given that they are not aggressive).

Papers needed for transporting Dogs

Unlike train and buses, the paperwork required in air travel is a bit more exhaustive. That is, the legalities involved in transporting dogs via air are much stricter.

You will need the following documents while booking a dog for transport:

  • ID and Address proof of the person that is sending and the one that is going to receive the dogs. The name of the owner of the dog must be mentioned in the paperwork along with the name of the dog. Only then that dog will be given to that person at the destination airport.
  • Health certificate of the dog, e.g. BP report, etc. It’s also called Fit-to-Fly certificate. You may go to any vet near you and get this certificate.
  • Vaccination proof. This proof should not be more than 6 months old.

There are some agencies that specializes in transporting pets and animals via air plane. You may contact them too, if you do not want to do too much research and are short on time. They will help you out in this regard.

Process of receiving a dog from airport

If you have ordered a puppy from a pet store in another city/state, or someone is sending it as a gift to you via the air route, then you will have to go to the airport to receive it. Let’s see what all you need to do so.

You should reach the cargo office of the airlines before the flight lands. Then you will show the slip to them (the slip that the person sending the dogs must have sent you via email or WhatsApp, etc.). The slip will have your aadhaar card number, etc. So, carry your ID along with you.

That’s it. Your dog will be handed to you.

However, if there’s a delay or your dog was not loaded onto the plane, they will let you know. In such cases, the dog often comes via the subsequent flight or a flight on the next day.


Though it’s not a very big deal if you get late in reaching the airport. In some cases, the cargo department guys will themselves call you to come and receive the dogs.

But it’s a good idea to reach the airport on time for the sake of your pets. The more they will have to wait in an alien, constricted environment, filled with strangers, the more stressed they will get.

Grounds of Rejection

Now, keep in mind that an airline may refuse to carry your dog for any given reason, say if your packaging is not done perfectly, cage is too small, etc.

But there are a few cases wherein they are more likely to refuse or definitely refuse:

  • If your puppy is very young, e.g. less than 12 weeks in age, then many airlines may refuse to carry it.
  • Pregnant dogs are not allowed on an air plane.
  • Some breeds may also be banned by some airlines – especially those that cannot handle huge temperature variations. Though temperature and pressure in cargo hold of a plane are controlled, but even then, steep variations may come.
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