Tips for Flying

Flying with your service dog offers a new kind of freedom for Team Rescue Veterans! Here are the tips and important details you need to know before joining your family on their next adventure!

Before You Go:

  • You will need to complete the DOT Service Animal Air Transportation Form and the Service Animal Relief Attestation Form for your service dog and have them with you at all times while you travel.
  • Let your airline know as early as possible that you are traveling with a service dog. Most airlines cap the number of service dogs allowed per flight.
  • Bring your binder with your service dog’s vet records, shot records, certificates, and the contact information for their trainers, just in case. This will usually not be necessary, but it’s always best to have it with you.
  • Pack your “go bag,” and bring food, medication, grooming items, your dog’s favorite toy, and dishes for the time you will be away.
  • Limit your service dog’s food and water the morning or day or your flight so your dog can make it through the flying time without needing to go out.

At the Airport:

  • Get there early. This will ease any anxiety and give you time for any accidents your service dog has or for any wandering you do looking for Pet Relief areas.
  • Be prepared that your service dog will have to go through the metal detector and may have to go separately from you. They may also be patted down.
  • Your service dog may also have to be swabbed for explosive residue. This is normal. You may also be asked to unbuckle their vest or collar. This is normal.

On the Plane:

  • Do not feed your service dog or give them water on the plane. They cannot go potty in flight and you do not want them to get sick. You can give them treats to keep them calm, but try to limit them.
  • Have your service dog’s favorite bone or chew toy accessible for them so they can be occupied and help with their ears popping from the altitude change.
  • Make sure you keep their paws and tails out of the aisle. That is not only a safety concern for them, but also for the others on board.

You may run into other passengers – even flight attendants – who will ask questions or make comments, just like anywhere else in public. Just ignore them, pop in your headphones, put your service dog in “under,” and enjoy your flight!