Travel Advice: Come fly with me and the dog….

Can I bring my dog on the plane with me?

Tiny pommeranian dog in carrier on plane on poster advertising the article: Can I bring my dog on a play with me?

Traveling via air with doggies in tow is challenging – but you can bring certain pet dogs on an airplane with you on both major Canadian airlines: WestJet and Air Canada. It’s easier if you know the standard airline guidelines regarding pets before you leave.

The complicated part is that most dogs are too big to ride in the cabin and must fly in the baggage compartment … or as cargo if they are flying solo. (Neither is recommended).

Flying dogs in cargo can be stressful for pet parents crammed into passenger airline seats wondering if all is ok. Plus, there are many stories about pets being lost and mistreated, especially during staffing shortages.

Read reviews written by actual customers before you fly and you’ll discover many people prefer the services of one airline over the other … and why.

Guidelines for pets in Canadian airplane cabins

Generally, the in-cabin carrier must be a soft-sided, airline approved, leak-resistant, well-ventilated and secure container that’s no larger than 40cmx44cmx21.5cm in size. The animal can’t weigh more than 10 kg, which clearly rules out a lot of dogs. (My cats range from 4kg to 9kg. My dog is 14kg). The pet must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier.

Note: because both my previous dog and my current dog were and are too big to bring into an airplane cabin, I have never flown with them.

cute shaggy brown dog looking up

For rules and regulations for bringing your pet on an Air Canada flight – see here.

Note that Air Canada’s pet fee ranges from $50 to $100 each way, and seats in Premium Economy can not accommodate pets. The pet carrier also counts as one carry-on item.

For rules and Regulations for bringing your pet on a West Jet flight – see here.

Note that WestJet is known in Canada as being the most pet-friendly airlines in the country:

  • First, they note on their website that pets are passengers too.
  • Second, they allow birds and bunnies in the cabin.
  • Third, they have one of the lowest pet fees at about $50. Finally, in the past the company sponsored a contest promoting travelling with pets by offering a first place prize of tickets for two and one free pet ride.
Black and white dog sitting on Elevated Walk in St. Thomas, Ontario

Guidelines for pets in International airline cabins

To review an extensive list of the pet policies all other airlines in the world visit the page on http://www.bringfido.com (specializing in online bookings at pet-friendly hotels) that links to almost every airline on the globe here: Airline Pet Policies

Considering flying your pet in the cargo or baggage hold of the plane?

Research the airline you are using first, or read the CNN article here regarding increased incidents of pet mishandling on flights. Many have shared concerns to horror stories about how pets are treated in cargo. Considering the staffing shortages the airlines are facing today – I wouldn’t recommend it.

Have pet flying tips, tricks, or warnings of your own?

Please share in the comments section!

Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria.

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