How Much Does it Cost to Fly a Dog

The emotional bond between dogs and their master is undeniably strong, especially if they have already spent considerable time together. As such, it is not uncommon for owners to take their dogs wherever they go, notwithstanding the cost and the hassles that go with it. Bringing a favorite pooch on a trip entails careful planning. Hence, all the available options should be considered, including how much does it cost to fly a dog so that your pet will have a great time during the flight.

The Average Cost of Flying a Dog

The cost of flying a dog ranges from $75 to $1,400 for domestic flights and $500 to $3,600 for international destinations. There are also different options as to how you want your dogs handled or where they will be placed while in flight, and these can vary from airline to airline.

You can also decide whether to accompany your canine friend or let them fly solo. With this, you have these different options and their corresponding prices:

  • In-cabin

This is available for small dogs, usually under 15 lbs., with a pet carrier fitting under the owner’s seat. However, your pet should stay inside the carrier throughout the entire duration of the flight.

This option costs $75 to $125 on average, but is only offered by some airlines. On the other hand, service dogs that assist people with special needs are issued free tickets.

Service dogs can also stay in the passenger cabin and even sit at their owner’s feet. Please bear in mind, though that a medical certificate may be required to prove the owners’ need for them to ensure a hassle-free boarding process.

  • Checked Baggage

Dogs that qualify under the airline’s requirements can travel via this option. Here, pets are treated as baggage and will be placed in the cargo hold along with those of the other passengers.

Its average cost ranges from $125 to $250.

  • Manifest Cargo

For this option, the pet carriers where dogs are kept are placed in the cargo hold and may or may not be on the same flight as the owner. So, like cargo, they can be picked up at designated areas in airports upon their arrival.

Compared to other choices, this is considered a bit pricey. The average price is $400 to $2,500.

Moreover, there are a few airlines that offer flights that cater exclusively to pets, with a starting price of $99 for trips between New York City and the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas.

  • Chartered Flight

If you want to travel with your dogs in the cabin, no matter what size they are, you can always opt to charter a private jet. That is, if you are willing to shell out $4,000 to $33,000, depending on the type of jet and the intended destination.

Additional Costs to Fly a Dog

Beside the cost of plane tickets, there are several things you need to take care of when flying your dog somewhere, either with you or to be with you. Like their humans, dogs also need to comply with travel document requirements as well as the equipment needed to better handle their pets properly before they are allowed to fly. 

This is notwithstanding the type of flight accommodations you will be using for them. Some of these items are the following:

  • Rabies Vaccination

The minimum age for dogs to have a rabies shot is 12 weeks old. With this, it’s almost impossible to fly your pet under this age since rabies is the one most monitored of all because it is highly contagious and detrimental to dogs and humans alike.

For newly vaccinated dogs, there is a 28-day waiting period before they can be allowed to travel. But for those older than 15 months and those who have already been vaccinated after the 3rd month, they only need booster shots and will no longer be required for them to take effect.

Rabies vaccination costs $15 to $40 in veterinary clinics. On the other hand, it is given free in animal shelters.  However, this is not necessary if your dog comes from a country that the United States considers rabies-free. 

  • Health Certificate

A completely signed veterinary certificate is needed. It should contain the type of animal, the dates of vaccinations, the manufacturer, and the expiry date of the rabies shots taken. Its effectiveness is within 10 days during transport only.

A health certificate can cost anywhere from $35 to $300. However, before you can secure this document, your dog will have to be thoroughly checked by the veterinarian if being seen for the first time. This will set you back $40 to $70 on average, but can be as high as $100, depending on your location.

  • Screwworm Treatment

Screwworms have been making a comeback in the US since they were eradicated in the 1960s. They are flesh-eating worms that are hatched from flies.

If the dog is coming from a country on the list where screwworm infestation is present, the owner should present a veterinarian’s certificate that the canine has been treated or has been cleared of the worms. This extra requirement will increase the price to fly a dog by around $3 to $18.

  • Kennel Requirements

Dogs can only travel as checked baggage or cargo when they are placed inside a USDA-approved shipping kennel. The structure must be leak-proof and be well-ventilated on both sides.

It should also have sufficient room for the dog to stand and sit erect without its head touching the top of the kennel. It should also enable the dog to turn around and lie down naturally.

These kennels come in a variety of designs and sizes depending on the needs of the dogs who will use them. They cost from $20 for toy dog breeds up to over $200 for larger breeds and should be considered in computing the price of flying a dog.

  • Pet Microchip

This is not really considered as something set in stone. However, this would come in handy in case your dog gets separated from you, because it makes locating the owner easier, made possible by the registered contact information.

However, there are some states where this is required before you are given the license to own a dog. So you should try to inquire whether your pet’s destination would require this to avoid inconvenience.

As per the recommendation, pets should be implanted with a 15-digit ISO 11784compliant microchip for identification purposes in case they get lost and will need to be identified.

The average cost of inserting one would range from $20 to $45 but could even be more depending on location and the facility. However, there are microchip clinics operated by humane societies that offer services for as low as $10 to $15.

Are All Dogs Allowed to Fly?

As much as we want our canine friends to be with us wherever we go, sometimes they may not be allowed for safety concerns. Usually, more than the health issue, the dog’s anatomy will have to be considered when traveling.

Having mentioned that, here are some of the dog breeds that aren’t allowed to fly with United Airlines:

Dog flying

  • American Bully
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxer
  • Bulldogs
  • Mastiffs
  • Pekingese
  • Pit Bulls
  • Pugs
  • Shih-Tzus

Dogs that are considered to have a short or snub nose are at a high risk of dying because they are more likely to have breathing issues mid-flight. So if your dog falls under this breed, you can try discarding the idea that you can bring along your furry family member on trips that require flying.

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