We traveled with United Airlines which allows small dogs as carry on as long as they are in a kennel that fits under the airplane seat. They charge $125 each way. We bought this soft sided kennel that measures 17.5” X 10” x 11”9 for Riley who weighs about 9 lbs. It is a tight fit but he has room to stand up, turn around, and lie down. United has a webpage all about their current pet policy. They allow soft sided kennels that are about 18 x 11 x 11 as long as they conform to the space and don’t block the aisle. The dog must be inside the kennel at all times and when on the plane, he must be under the seat just like with regular carry on.
We left from Sacramento International Airport and had a layover at Chicago O’Hare Airport. I found a wonderful resource that gives a whole bunch of information regarding dogs on planes. As well as specifics about dog-friendly airports and where the pet relief areas are!
About a week before we left I had been training Riley to like his new crate by giving him treats for being interested in it, going in it, getting zipped up inside, and being carried around in it. It seemed to work because he never really fought us when it was time to go in his crate! Here are a few pictures of him getting used to his airplane crate.
We brought Wolfie, his favorite toy, a food and water dish, food, and treats for the ride. I read that giving doggy CBD oil may help calm him down before we go but we ended up skipping that step and it wasn’t an issue. We made sure to go on a nice walk before we headed out to the airport to get him nice and tired.
We parked in economy parking which was pretty far away from our terminal but thankfully we caught a bus that drove us there. The bus driver told me that I had to tell her Riley was a service dog or he wasn’t allowed on! He was in his crate for the bus ride. Once we got to the terminal, we let him go potty one more time. Then we put a belly band on him and went straight to the United check in. Because we had paid before hand for Riley’s “ticket”, we had no issues checking in and getting Riley’s tag for his crate.
From there we went through security. The line was short and Rye seemed amused by the people around him but content to stay in his crate. We were informed that we had to take Riley out of his crate and hold him in order to go through the xray together while his crate went on the conveyor belt to get scanned separately. After, they check your hands while you are still holding your doggy. Riley went back into his crate easily although a little spooked now by the hussle and bussle.
By the time we sat down to wait for boarding, we realized that our plane was delayed by one hour. We let Rye sit on our lap instead of in his crate for a little bit. This was the only time he was a little antsy about having to stay still. He whined a little and scratched at his crate but ended up settling in.
Once we boarded, we put Riley down at my feet. The crate fit perfectly! I think Rye knew that it was time to sleep because he curled up and went right to sleep. He slept through take off and as far as I could tell, only moved to get into a better sleeping position! He did such a good job.
Once we landed, we didn’t have time to take Riley to the pet relief area on the other side of the airport or take him outside and go back through security. I figured that since we took an overnight flight, it was the same thing as Riley sleeping through the night without going potty.
Flight number two went the same uneventful way, although I did hear someone whisper, “Look, I think that is a bunny!” when pointing at Riley. That gave me a giggle. When we landed at our destination and I picked Riley up from his place under the seat, the woman across the aisle said, “Wow, you had a dog that whole time? I didn’t even notice! He was so good!”
The trip back went exactly the same way as our trip out. We saw so many small dogs traveling for the holidays. I think there may have been 3 or 4 dogs just on one of our planes! Overall, traveling via plane with Riley was way easier than I expected. It was a relief to know that Riley didn’t seem to care about the pressure difference of taking off or landing. I guess he just thought it was a car ride. He does well in car rides too! I am much more willing to consider taking Riley with us by plane again in the future.
Thanks for reading! Please let us know about your experience you've had with traveling by plane with your dog. Also, feel free to ask any questions about doggy carry-ons you may have!
Hello friends! I am so sorry it has been a long time since my last blog! I will get you up to speed on our latest adventures and give you some latest tips we learned along the way.
We are finally settled in our new house! Our road trip began on May 23rd in Pennsylvania and we drove for 7 straight days to end in California! From there we stayed in hotels until we could move into our house on June 18th. The moving company finally dropped off all of our stuff on June 28th. What a long trip!! Our caravan consisted of my boyfriend, Paul, our dog, Riley, and me. Riley loves going in the car so we weren’t worried about him getting car sick, but 7 days is a long time to sit around in the car! We weren’t sure if he would get sick of it after a while. I’ll get more into that in a little bit!
As you may know, long road trips require a good amount of planning especially when you are bringing your dog for the ride. We wanted to make sure Riley was as comfortable and safe as he could be. Basically we made the entire back seat of our car a Riley room. I made him his own back seat hammock so that he could lounge in safety (pictured below). He had his bed back there as well. Here are all of the essentials:
Most of these things are straightforward. We like to bring Riley’s sling in case he gets tired when we go on hikes. The crate and bark collar are important especially if you plan on staying in hotels. I didn’t bring any of the honorable mentions listed but I wish that I had. We didn’t have anything that we packed in the moving truck for over a month. Riley’s nails got long! Also the furry guy got quite dirty from all of the hiking! I wish that we could have given him a proper bath. The brush may have kept our car from becoming a fluff ball of fur.
When planning pit stops and sightseeing, make sure that dogs are allowed! Dogs are allowed on parts of the Grand Canyon, but they are not allowed at Mount Rushmore. Plan accordingly so you don’t run into issues.
We spent on average 6-8 hours driving each day and Riley thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. He got to be close to his parents and be in the car all day; his two favorite things! We made sure to stop every few hours for potty breaks and food. We also went on hikes when we could to stretch our legs. Having our Business Bag with us everywhere we went made picking up poo a no-brainer. It makes me feel like such a responsible dog owner.
I thought staying in hotels might be difficult with Riley but we didn’t run into any problems. We just made sure to find hotels that allow dogs. There are actually more out there than I thought. Some charge an extra fee per night, some charge a refundable deposit, and some don’t charge at all for fur friends! Make sure to read the fine print about your hotels dog policy! Some places require that you put your dog in their crate if you leave the room. I would recommend putting your “do not disturb” sign on your dog as well so that the cleaning crew don’t have to work around your dog. That could be stressful for everyone involved. One hotel’s policy said that we couldn’t leave our dog in the hotel alone even if he was crated. This was a little annoying as we would have to take turns getting our free breakfast so that one person could stay with Rye in the room. Most hotels were kind enough to put us on the first floor near a side exit so that we could easily take Rye out to go potty. Remember to use belly bands as well if you think your dog may mark or have an accident! That way you can get your deposit back if you paid one.
Be mindful of the time of year you are going on your trip. The further west we went, the weather got hotter and we ended up eating all of our meals in the car so that Riley wasn’t locked in a hot car. Also, we learned that Riley’s feet get hot in the west! That was one thing we were not prepared for and it limited our ability to hike as far. I have just now bought Riley some boots and I will have to write a separate blog once we’ve learned more about them. I am hoping they will protect my pups feet from the hot ground...as long as he keeps them on his feet and walks normal!
Overall we had a wonderful trip! Riley even helped both Paul and I calm down at times when we got stressed. He is a great companion and I am so glad that we were able to take Riley on our cross country adventure! I hope that these tips will help if you decide to take your doggy on a road trip. Thank you for reading and please leave a comment if you have any questions or tell us if you’ve been on a road trip with your dog!
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Abbey is the owner of Coddled Canine and her dog, Riley. Join us on our crazy adventures as we journey through this awesome life together!
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