How Much Does It Really Cost to Fly a Dog?

Mar 29,2022
In this article, we’ll take a look at: HIDE SHOW

Traveling for a vacation or moving to another city with your dog can be rather difficult. We are happy to give you a few tips on how to prepare and handle the trip/move with your dog. The first part of this article will be dedicated to the preparation and the second part will be focused on what you need to get from point A to point B with as less hassle as possible. We are going to list the expenses involved which will be the average costs.


If you are going to fly with your dog there are a few very important steps you need to take first. You will need to run a medical check on your dog, make sure he/she is microchipped, and talk to your airline in advance (preferably about two weeks prior to departure). You need to inform them about your dog and inquiry about the current set of rules regarding travel with dogs. At the time of writing, traveling with a service dog is free of charge while pets and ESAs can be taken in the cabin in exchange for a fee. This will be discussed further in this article. Let's start with the first things you need to know.

  • You should do a checkup with your preferred local veterinarian. That is likely to be about 50 USD. Of course, the fee depends on your area, your insurance plan, and the temperament of your dog (work on reactive dogs is charged extra). Some insurance plans cover checkups with selected veterinary clinics.
  • You will need to acquire an up-to-date health certificate signed by a veterinarian which may set you back by about 30 USD.
  • No reputable airline will board your dog unless they see an up-to-date vaccination record. The average cost of full vaccination is about 80 USD (including optional vaccines). If you are going to have only the core vaccinations, then you are likely to pay about 50 USD. The core vaccinations are listed below:

-Parvovirus, Canine Adenovirus, Canine Parainfluenza, Canine Hepatitis, Canine Hepatitis and Bordetella Bronchiseptica (administered at 10 — 12 weeks);

-Leptospirosis (administered at 16 — 18 weeks);

-Rabies (administered at every 1 — 3 years);

  • The optional vaccines are listed below:

-Heartworm and Kennel Cough (administered at 10 — 12 weeks);

-Lyme Disease and Coronavirus (administered at every 1 — 2 years);

  • Dental cleaning is optional and not all dogs need it. If your dog might not have the best teeth they can still board an airplane but you need to pay attention to their teeth as they are an important marker for their overall health. Your dog needs his/her teeth checked at least once a year, preferably every 6 and 12 months. The dental cleaning costs range from 200 to 300 USD depending on your dog’s temperament, as mentioned above - work on reactive dogs costs more. A typical dental cleaning takes about 45 minutes with most veterinarians. Please note that overlooking the oral hygiene of your dog could lead to periodontal disease which is very common in dogs. You might end up paying about 1,000 USD to have your dog’s oral issues resolved further down the road. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup. However, dental cleaning allows your veterinarian to do a more thorough job and judge your dog’s health more accurately. Smaller dogs are known to be more prone to plaque and tartar build-up so check your dog’s mouth regularly.
  • Microchipping will cost you about 45 USD and usually takes a few minutes. The microchip will help people reunite you with your dog in case he/she is lost and will prevent animal shelters from sending your pooch to be euthanized.
  • Pet insurance is optional but it comes with valuable perks like discounted veterinary care, discounted grooming services, and peace of mind when an emergency occurs. Most pet insurances cost from 9 to 12 USD per month. Of course, the prices depend on your area, the duration of the plan, and how many animals are covered.
  • A pet carrier is a must when traveling with your pet dog. Depending on the model the prices range from 30 to 250 USD. We recommend that you make sure your dog can stand up and move comfortably inside. Hard-sided pet carriers are preferred for their durability. Please make sure to check the dimension restrictions with your airline in advance. I want to add that service dogs do not need to travel in a pet carrier and are expected to lay down in the space beneath the seat in front of yours.
  • Put Puppy Pads inside the pet carrier in case your dog might need to relieve themselves. That is likely to cost you about 30 USD and make sure to buy the appropriate size as that depends on how big your dog is.

Now that you have everything ready you are likely to have spent about 245 USD for the essentials or about 450 USD with the optional services mentioned above.

Moving From Point A to Point B

As mentioned earlier, service dogs travel for free and you will need to fill out a few extra forms with your airline and department of transportation. Please note that traveling with a large service dog might be possible with some airlines but that might cost you an extra ticket. Usually, service dogs are expected to lay down under the seat in front of their handler/user, if they are small enough they could lay down in the lap of their handler/user.

If you are moving with your pet dog there may not be many options for you. Most airlines are likely to request a fee for transporting your dog in the cabin which might range from 100 to 125 USD depending on the company policy. The fee I mentioned is only for one-way flights and you will need to pay again on the way back. There are airlines that allow you to take your dog in a pet carrier as carry-on luggage and you will have to pay extra if you want to bring another bag with you. Most veterinarians advise against flying with your animal for more than 5-6 hours as they will need to relieve themselves and need to take a walk.


I want to recommend that you equip your dog with a good collar and a GPS tracking tag in case you need to locate your dog in an emergency situation. Also, it is best to have a few numbers of local veterinary clinics and professionals who are working 24/7 in case you need to take your dog to an emergency checkup. People usually pay a minimum of about 100 USD per emergency visit and the costs only go up from there depending on the health issue at hand. If you plan on staying at a hotel make sure to check their pet policy in advance. Most pet-friendly locations charge a fee per pet per night that is about 25 USD, but it can reach about 100 USD depending on the location. It is a good idea to rent a car at your location with a service that allows boarding pets or check for taxi services that are pet-friendly. Plan ahead carefully so you can enjoy your flight with your dog and your family.