Has anyone experience flying/ traveling with dogs long distance ( 15+ hours)?

We are informed about the required health certificate, shots etc.

Instead, we would like hear about the logistics of flying with 2 10-year old small (13 lbs) dogs who may become nervous and possibly noisy. Did you sedate or give sleeping pills, did you fly economy or more spacious business class, did you fly in one day, or break it up in 2 or more, when did you feed the dog last and how did you provide water?

We are flying from California to Paris, then will take the TGV to Montpellier

We would love to hear from people with experience, please.

See you're American, Willy, so you probably have not traveled by Ryanair (they've even got outside toilets!).


Bruce you are my kind of man. Too funny. Did you create that outfit? And is that your dog? What a trooper.

This is the easiest way…

I brought over our rescue dog from NYC and there were not problems. Only a couple of concerns and that would be that first off, did you check with your airline. Normally 10 lbs is the limit to fly inside the cabin. Second, when flying form CA to France we have stopped in NY or Atlanta. You may need to make arrangements for the dogs to relieve themselves. It is not that easy to leave the secure area to go and walk your dogs.

You mentioned that you have the health issues resolved. I would double check them, just in case. Our little Henri was chipped in CA before being shipped to North Shore Animal Center for adoption. The problem is that his chip was a domestic chip and not international. You must either purchase a scanner or have another chip inserted and it must be done before his rabies shots so he might need them again. Our Vet recommends that we do not sedate our animals before flying.

We flew economy comfort so had more leg room and we took the two seats together so we did not end up next to a person that is not an animal lover. Of course business is nicer but not sure that it is for this. With the seats making out to a bed, the animal is more out in the open and might be nervous with all of the activity going on. With economy comfort or business you can board early and get settled before the rest of the people board.

Dogs are very welcomed in France and once here they should really enjoy life. Dotting the "i's" and crossing the "t" are exhausting but necessary. You will be so happy having them here.

Good luck and welcome to France,


I had a dog in Peru. When I finished working there I brought it back to the UK. Considering how long ago that was and how much better planes are now, it was absolutely no problem. Viasa, the Venezuelan airline gone for nigh on 20 years now, provided me with a box fitted out for putting in food during the trip and a bottle with a kind of teat thing for drinking rather than a standard carrier of the kind we can buy ourselves. The cabin steward came to tell me he had put in some dry food at roughly half way and that he had been sleeping comfortably a lot of the time. When we arrived at LHR, he was out and into the quarantine area quicker than my luggage arrived.

I think he was most nervous when I collected him in my then rather bone-shaking car and drove him the couple of hundred miles home. He went for a walk with my other dog almost immediately and was absolutely fine. He was 10 when he travelled, lived to 18 years and some, so it did him no harm clearly.

Thank you all for sharing your experiences traveling with dogs. I am impressed with all the feedback. It has given me the information that I needed and has calmed some nerves. We hope to fly with the small dogs in the cabin, but will check with AirFrance and even Emirates airline. Did not know they had such a great reputation. Thanks.

The age sill is still a bit of an issue. The dogs are 10 yrs old, one has had spine problems but now runs like there is no tomorrow. Am I overly cautious?

We are doing the same thing! On May 14th we fly from New York to Paris with a large dog and a cat. We are driving from NH to NY and flying Air France non stop to Paris and then driving to Magalas. We are training our dog by feeding him in the large kennel he will be in. I am quite nervous about the whole thing but after reading the comments I do feel a bit better. I just want to be there!

We flew Calgary-Paris and then a few years later Calgary-Frankfurt with two labradors. As Wendy said, we were also advised not to sedate them. They did great.

They stayed with us until the last minute, boarded last, unloaded first, (in the old). Their crates had a water dispenser (the kind with a little ball on the tip like a ballpoint pen, when the dog licks it it releases a little water but doesn't drip). We picked the non-stop flight even if it meant driving a couple more hours to another airport. This meant only one take off and one landing.

Once the dogs were loaded Air Canada brought a little note to our seats saying "your pet is onboard" which I thought was a nice touch. We could hear the female barking a little bit when they were loading (the male is a very laid-back dog), then all was quiet for the whole flight.

When they arrived they acted completely normal, we gave them a little treat first, just in case they were queasy, and a meal about one hour later. The last meal before boarding had been very light, about 2 hours prior, with a nice long walk.

Have a great trip!


We flew from Sri Lanka to France with two dogs and a cat. As far as I am aware, animals can only travel in the cabin on certain domestic flights within the US and must be in the hold on long distance flights. But as Alan says, you need to check with the airline.

We chose Emirates as they have an excellent record for handling animals, and indeed the captain himself came to my seat in Dubai to reassure me that he had checked on the cat at that all was well.

I read a vast amount and consulted a great number of experts before we shipped our pets and the advice was most strongly - do not sedate animals before travel. It can cause complications in their breathing and can make them much more distressed if the effects wear off before the end of the journey.

We fed ours in the morning before a night flight (so 12 hours without food before flying) and made sure there was a water bottle attached to the front of the cage with a bowl beneath it so there was always water available throughout the journey. We also put a handful of dry food in a sachet taped to the top of the cage for the transit in Dubai, but this wasn't used.

Clearly, its not fun for animals to travel, especially noisy, excitable ones. But once they arrive and are reunited with you, its like nothing has happened. I was amazed when we went to collect our dogs; as soon as they were out of the cages everything was back to normal.

Good luck!

we've had a Jack Russell come on his holiday's to Utah Beach with his mom & dad from New York...soft bag in the cabin by your feet....but that is only across the pond...From California would suggest you stop off in NY/Philadelphia/Boston before the leg across...my understanding was dinner, pees & poos as you would before settling dog down at night...the JR that came was quite laid back and travels the States like this quite often so a hop across the pond wasn't an issue...but there is a rescue group in States that regularly fly JR's Chi's etc. over to Paris to get them forever homes in France, all from high kill shelters - one of them works for Air France, try them they would be best at advising they are on facebook Ava Watkins seems to be the link in the States or just type in Jack Russell rescue and start asking questions!! Good luck.

My two dogs and very old cat flew out with me from Hanoi Vietnam via bankok to Paris. They couldn’t be in the cabin with me. They were crated and I bought special feeding bottles that attached to the inside of their crates and had a Teet so that they could access water. Dogs can last days without food so I gave them their last feed the morning of an overnight flight. Paper work was complicated with pet passports and vaccinations but upon our arrival in Paris no one even checked! They went into a special hold which had slightly low pressure but was not the baggage hold. The vet explained that because of the lowered pressure they would be calm but that I should not give them any tranquilisers as this could be dangerous.
They were very happy to see me when I collected them at the baggage carousel. Not so pleased to have to get in the hire car for a five hour commute to brittany. In hind site I would not have driven all the way to brittany after the flight but we made it. And I didn’t really have a choice. I would have preferred a direct flight but airlines have their rules and the direct flight didn’t allow more than one dog. They travelled as “excess luggage” and I was charged by the kilo… A little diet prior to travel would have been good for my wallet! They were tired after their journey but not really stressed I don’t think dogs have a good concept of time so two hours or 19(as their trip was) was not really an issue. as they were with me and they love their life here so no regrets.

Although we travel long distances, these are mostly by road across western Europe. However, we have imported a dog from Finland.

It maybe possible to carry such small dogs as hand luggage in a puppy box, but check with the airline. Normal procedure is for the dog to be carried in the hold of the plane in a dog box with a security tag fastening, a special water bottle/feeder can be attached to the box.

The bottom line is that you should be consulting with the airline with regard to travel arrangements, and with your vet regarding any medication. All dogs are different, and your vet should know your dogs well enough to advise on their ability to react to stress, especially with regard to their age..

As a professional, if it were me I would leave the dogs in the USA, unless this is a long term move to Europe.