In recent years, traveling with dogs has become more and more commonplace. In the past, people would board their dogs or leave them with a friend rather than tote them to Europe. That is not the case anymore. Now, people are bringing their dogs with them everywhere, and that includes into the skies on major airlines. The idea of sipping espresso on the French Riviera with your canine companion is alluring to many people, but it also comes with some significant costs. Most airlines charge between $125 and $200 per dog, per leg of the trip, but there are many additional expenses to know about.
Here is how much it costs to fly a dog internationally, including airline fees, health considerations, and the different types of travel options for pets.
The Importance of Knowing the Rules, Regulations, and Costs of Flying With Your Dog Internationally
International travel with a dog is not a simple matter. In fact, it can be very complicated. You have to know all of the details that go beyond just the costs. Some countries require waiting periods and quarantines on both ends of your trip. All countries require some sort of health certificate. If you do not know the details, you can end up stuck at the airport with your dog.
In the worst-case scenario, you could even be rejected at the border and forced to return home. Trips canceled due to incorrect paperwork will not be eligible for a refund or reimbursement. For those reasons, it is incredibly important to know the costs as well as the paperwork requirements before you fly. The last thing you want to do is end up as a travel horror story due to having your dog stuck in bureaucratic limbo. Such disasters can and do happen to unprepared people trying to travel with a pet.
How Much Does International Travel Cost for Your Dog?
The cost of flying a dog internationally comes directly from the airlines. Each airline has its own policy and schedule for fees that pertain to flying with a dog. The fees are similar, but they can add up quickly. Most airlines charge between $125 and $200 per dog, per leg of the trip. That means dogs will have a total cost of $250 and $400 per trip for the flight alone.
If you have questions about a specific airline, you should look it up directly or call the airline. There are dozens of airlines that will allow you to fly internationally with your dog, and they will all have their own policies and fees associated with the trip.
Cost to Fly With a Dog By Major Airline
|$200 each way
|$125–$200 each way
|$125 each way
|$125 for each layover of more than four hours
|$125 each way
Additional Costs to Anticipate
The costs levied by the airlines are just one factor that must be considered before flying a dog internationally. International travel with a dog also includes vaccines, health certificates, approved crates, and potential lodging costs. All of these things need to be factored in in order to get an accurate total cost for flying with your dog.
Dogs will need to be up to date on their vaccinations before traveling internationally. Each country has its own vaccination requirements. Depending on how many vaccinations your dog needs to meet the requirements will determine the overall cost. Some countries have very lenient vaccine requirements or requirements that largely overlap with American requirements. Other countries require a bevy of vaccinations that can cost a chunk of money before you can fly.
Health Certificate ($100–$300)
Health certificates are required for dogs to travel outside of the United States. Each country has its own requirements for health certificates. Some countries require you to use their health certificate or obtain one from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Health certificates must be signed by a qualified veterinarian and often come with a waiting period or a notary requirement. Health certificate costs will vary depending on the destination and the prices of the veterinarian who is doing the health exam.
Travel Crate ($40–$200)
Dogs will need an approved travel crate for flying. If you plan on flying with your dog, you will need a crate that meets airline requirements. These crates range in price from $40 to $200 and are often soft sided. If you already have a crate, check to make sure that your dog is comfortable in it and that it meets your airline’s requirements before taking it to the airport.
Lodging ($50–$200 per night)
If you plan on staying in a hotel with your dog, pet fees can add up quickly. Hotel fees for pets can range anywhere from $50 per night to $200 per dog. Some hotels offer free stays for dogs, but these hotels are not as common as the ones that charge fees. Don’t forget to plan for lodging fees if you are going to be staying in a hotel during your international trip.
International travel can come with a slew of potential disruptions. Flights can be canceled or delayed. Dogs can get caught up in bureaucratic red tape at your destination. Disruptions can cost money if your trip gets extended. Extra paperwork could be required. An additional night at a hotel could be required. All of these represent potential variable fees that are impossible to predict. It is a good idea to plan ahead and prepare for potential travel disruptions, so you are not caught off guard in the case of a problem with your flight or your dog’s paperwork.
Total Cost ($335–$1,000)
The total cost of flying with your dog internationally will usually run between $335 and $1,000, depending on the airline and the destination. This cost includes everything you need to fly with your dog, including the trip fee, the health certificate, and the proper crate. These costs could potentially creep higher depending on the individual destination or whether you decide to use a pet transportation service rather than flying with your dog on a standard airline.
The 3 Different Types of International Flights for Dogs
1. Cabin Flying
Cabin flying, or carry on flying, is when you keep your dog with you in the cabin of the plane. Airlines have individual rules about cabin flying for dogs. In most cases, the dog must fit in a soft sided carrier that can fit under the seat in front of you. You need to look up the exact dimensions allowed by your airline and ensure that your carrier meets the requirements before flying.
Dogs usually have to remain calm, well behaved, and inside the carrier during the flight. Rules can vary by airline and destination, so be sure to look up the exact requirements before flying.
2. Cargo Flying
Cargo flying or checked flying is when a dog is checked in and placed in a special area of the cargo hold where they will remain for the duration of the flight. Cargo flying is not offered by all airlines. For example, Southwest Airlines will not fly animals in cargo. Airlines that allow cargo flying will require you to check your dog in, and they will be taken in their carrier at check-in and returned after the flight. This type of flying is more common for long duration flights, which often include international flights.
3. Pet Transport Services
The last way to fly your dog internationally is to hire a pet transportation service. Pet transportation services are the most expensive option. These are private companies that will fly your dog to your destination separately. Pet transportation services will help you navigate the complex requirements for international travel with a dog. They also offer more personal and professional services focusing wholly on the health and comfort of your dog during flight. Prices for pet transportation services can range from $1,000 to $6,000 per trip, which is steep.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Flying?
No. Pet insurance does not cover flying. You can purchase certain types of travel insurance with portions of the policy that cover pets. Travel insurance will help reimburse you in case something goes wrong with your trip. Not all travel insurance covers pets. You will have to find a specific policy that will cover travel issues related to your dog and ensure that it will work for international trips.
Pet insurance should cover any illness or injury that your dog might receive on your trip, but it might not work overseas. It would be the safest option not to count on pet insurance for issues with your dog when you are outside of the United States. If you have any specific questions about your individual pet insurance policy, please consult your agent or read the policy details.
How to Prepare Your Dog for an International Trip
Prepping your dog for an international trip is important. Flying can be scary or stressful for dogs. Some international flights can last hours, and dogs will remain confined for the duration. You should consider these tips for preparing your dog before taking them on an international flight.
International flying can be a lot of fun with a dog, but it can also be quite pricey. A long international trip can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars for your dog alone. Dogs need health certificates, vaccines, a plane ticket, and a proper carrier. You also have to be prepared for lodging costs and potential disruptions. Being prepared is paramount before flying internationally with your dog.
Featured Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock