Does My Dog Count As A Carry On?

Traveling with pets can be a bit of a challenge, but it's definitely worth it. You'll want your pet to have a safe and comfortable trip; but, can they travel with you as a carry on item? Luckily, we compiled these tips and details to ensure a trip with your pet.

Each airline has its own policies regarding pets, and these policies can vary widely. Some airlines allow small dogs in the cabin, provided they are in a carrier that meets size restrictions.

Other airlines have no official policy one way or the other, which leaves it up to the discretion of the individual flight crew.

If you're planning to travel with your dog, keep reading the guide below. That way, you'll know what to expect and can make sure that you're prepared. Traveling with a pet can be a smooth and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend.

holiday vacation jack russell dog waiting in airport terminal ready to board the airplane or plane at the gate, luggage or bag to the side, Does My Dog Count As A Carry On?

What Are Airlines' Pet Policies: Procedures for Carry-Ons

Obedient dachshund dog sits in blue pet carrier in public place and waits the owner.

When it comes to flying with pets, each airline has different policies and procedures that must be followed.


For carry-on pets, Delta requires that the animal be placed in a TSA-approved pet carrier that can fit comfortably under the seat in front of you. The carrier must also have a leak-proof bottom, and any food or water bowls must be securely attached.

Get this TSA-approved 17"L x 11"W x 11"H carrier on Amazon.


JetBlue has similar requirements, but they also allow small pets to travel in their stroller as long as it meets FAA specifications. They would be counted as one carry-on.

Get this versatile, 5-in-1 pet stroller on Amazon.


As for Southwest, they also allow owners to have their pets as personal items or carry-on. But they also require that pets travel in a kennel that is big enough for them to stand up and move around freely.

The kennel must be labeled with the owner's contact information and secured with metal bolts.


United requires that all pets travel in the cabin. But, they might require an extra service charge. Also, your pets must be at least two months old for domestic flights and four months old for international travel.

So, before you book your next flight, be sure to check the airline's pet policy to make sure you're in compliance.

When traveling by air with your pet, it's important to be aware of the various airline policies and procedures regarding pets. Each airline has its own set of rules, and these can vary depending on whether your pet is traveling as carry-on baggage or checked baggage.

How to Know if Your Dog Is Allowed in the Cabin Vs. Cargo Hold?

Cute black and tan dachshund wearing pretty vibrant jacket, sitting in closed cage. Special dog carry bag for airplanes or trains. Travelling with pet concept.

If you're thinking of taking your dog on a plane, there are a few things you need to know.

Dog Breeds

The first thing is the dog's breed. Some breeds are not allowed on airplanes at all, so it is important to check with the airline before making any travel plans. 

Only certain breeds of dogs are allowed in the cabin. These include toy dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, as well as some non-sporting dogs, such as Shih Tzus and Poodles.

Dog Size

The second thing to consider is the size of your dog. Most airlines have size restrictions for carry-on luggage, and these restrictions also apply to dogs.

Dog Weight

Finally, you need to take your dog's weight into account. Airlines have weight limits for both carry-on and checked baggage, and these limits usually apply to dogs as well.

For most airlines, dogs must weigh 20 pounds or less to ride in the cabin. If your dog is over 20 pounds, you'll need to fly them as cargo.

If you are unsure about any of these factors, it is best to call the airline ahead of time to avoid any problems at the airport.

How to Prepare Your Dog for a Flight?

Dog in transport box or bag ready to travel

If you're planning on taking a trip with your four-legged friend, there are a few things you'll need to do to prepare them for the flight.

1. Complete Files and Documents

First, you'll want to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork in order. Your dog must be up-to-date on all vaccinations and have a health certificate from your veterinarian.

You should also check with your airline to see if there are any other requirements. Once you have all the paperwork in order, it's time to start packing.

2. Choose a Suitable Carrier

If your pet will be flying as cargo, it's important to make sure they are comfortable in their carrier and that the carrier is properly labeled with your contact information.

Select a carrier that is approved by the airline. It is also important to make sure that the carrier is large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around, but not so large that it will take up too much space in the aircraft cabin.

You will also need to provide bedding and water bowls for your dog, as well as any toys or other items that will help to keep them entertained during the flight.

3. Pack Essential Items for Your Pet

Make sure you have everything your dog will need for the flight, including food and water. Be sure to bring along your dog's favorite toy or blanket, as well as some treats to keep them calm during the flight.

It's also a good idea to pack a spare leash and collar, just in case yours gets lost or damaged during the trip.

4. Double-check Airline Requirements

If you're planning on taking your furry friend with you on a flight, there are a few things you'll need to do in order to make the experience as smooth as possible for both of you. Be sure to check with the airline to find out what their policies are regarding traveling with pets.

You should also arrive at the airport early on the day of your flight so you have plenty of time to check in and get your pet settled before takeoff.

5. Prepare their Routine and Schedule

Finally, try to keep your dog's routine as normal as possible before the flight. This means keeping their mealtimes and exercise schedule the same. If possible, take them for a walk at the airport so they can relieve themselves before getting on the plane.

By following these simple tips, you can help make your dog's next flight a comfortable and stress-free experience. You can help make air travel with pets a little less stressful for everyone involved.

What if My Dog Has an Accident During the Flight - Will I Be Charged for Cleaning or Damage?

Cute black and tan dachshund wearing pretty vibrant jacket, sitting in closed cage. Special dog carry bag for airplanes or trains. Travelling with pet concept.

The good news is that most airlines have policies in place to deal with accidents, so you will be able to review and be familiar with the circumstances and potential charges related to pet cleaning or damage. 

If your dog has an accident on the plane, the cabin crew will clean it up and may charge you a small fee. However, if the accident results in damage to the aircraft, you may be liable for the cost of repairs.

So, it's always best to have a plan "B" in place in case your pet has an accident during the flight.

But the important thing is the airline is responsible to keep everyone safe and sound, including your pet.

Can I Buy a Seat for My Dog? 

Young woman on airplane with her pet in carry bag

Most airlines typically require pets to sit on the floor or on their owner's lap. This can be uncomfortable for both the dog and the owner, and it can also be dangerous if the plane hits turbulence.

Fortunately, some airlines now offer the option to purchase a seat for your dog. United and Jet Blue are two of the most popular carriers that offer this service.

While it may seem like a splurge, buying a seat for your dog can help to make the flying experience much more comfortable and safe for everyone involved.

Final Words

Whether or not your dog is a carry-on may be up for debate, but what’s not up for debate is the fact that dogs make great travel companions.

So if you’re planning on hitting the road with your furry friend this summer, make sure to check out our tips on how to make traveling with your dog easier.

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