How Stressful Is Flying For Dogs? Should They Fly?

We all know that flying can be a stressful experience for everyone, but it’s a whole other story when you’re trying to fly with your dog.

Whether you are taking an international trip or just across the country there is plenty of information online about how to make sure your dog is comfortable and safe while flying.

But what do we really need to know? How does the process work?

Is it worth the hassle and expense of traveling by air with my furry best friend? But most importantly how stressful is flying for our dogs?

Let’s take a closer look at this topic…

First off, there are definitely some reasons not to fly with your dog. For starters, In 2018 there was a recent death of a puppy flying in the cabin of a commercial airline.

This has now led to some airlines banning certain breeds from flying such as (short-nosed breeds) like pugs, bulldogs, and Shih-Tzus.

Unfortunately, brachycephalic (snub-nosed breeds) are more likely to panic and feel anxiety when flying on a plane.

They are also susceptible to heat exhaustion and breathing abnormalities, and the Airlines that still allow these breeds on board now come with stricter restrictions!

how stressful is flying for dogs

How Stressful Is Flying For Dogs?

When flying with your dog, there are many things that can make the whole experience stressful for them.

For example, A new environment, people, and unfamiliar smells, even just being in a confined space can change your dog’s mood.

When we feel stressed, it is natural for our body’s response to be triggered.

This causes the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands and other hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline.

In general, this will result in an increased heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rates, sweating, etc.

Stress level In dogs

For us humans these are all short-term effects that can usually help someone who needs to use their physical strength during a stressful situation (e.g., when being attacked by a bear).

This also means that dogs have similar experiences with high levels of stress!

They will usually start panting heavily because their body temperature can be affected by this and it also makes them feel like they’re not getting enough air in their lungs.

Their heart rate may increase up to three times the normal rate! And if your dog drools while stressed out,

there are probably saliva glands around his mouth supplying extra moisture for him to sweat with in order to stay cool.

This process eventually turns into hyperthermia and heat exhaustion which both have very severe consequences on our dogs.

However with that said, being at your dog’s side giving them aid when they need it goes a long way and can definitely reduce these symptoms and as a result keeping your dog calm.

Related Article:

How To Reduce Your Dogs Stress When Flying?

For someone who has never traveled with their pet before, the prospect might seem daunting and maybe just not worth all the hassle that comes along with flying.

But when you break down everything that needs to happen so that you and your dog stay safe while traveling by air,

there is really no reason why people shouldn’t travel with their pets as long as they prepare themselves beforehand.

The good news is that with a few simple precautions, you can prepare your pup for an upcoming flight so that they have the best experience possible!

The most important thing to remember is that dogs are not humans.

They cannot regulate their body temperature as we do and they aren’t as comfortable in tight spaces (especially if it’s too hot).

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  • Toliet Breaks: The most common reason for dogs stressing out on a plane is because they need the toilet!

So it’s a good idea to make sure your dog has done its business before boarding.

This will help relieve some of the stress they are feeling from being cramped up in a small space.

  • Keep Your Dog Cool: To make sure these issues don’t happen while traveling, keep them cool before boarding a plane by using a hand-help portable fan and provide some fresh drinking water throughout the duration of the flight.
  • Use Treats And Toys: This is a great way to distract your pup from stressing out. You can also bring along any of their favorite toys or blankets and it will help them feel safe in this new environment as well!
  • Use Anxiety Medications: Research has shown that some anxiety medications works well for dogs that tends travel a lot. However, make sure you speak with your veterinarian first before giving your dog medication they can advise you about what would be best for them.
  • Try Talking To Your Dog: Try patting your dog or talk to them. This will help lower their stress levels and stop the whole process from getting worse.
  • Make Sure They Are Comfortable: Another precaution involves making sure your dog is comfortable!

You will be surprised how well a dog can behave when they are comfortable and this will help them sleep better during the flight.

It’s not uncommon for a dog to be nervous about flying, but with some careful planning and preparation, you can make it easier on your pet.

What Causes A Dog To Feel Stressful When Flying?

There are many factors to consider such as

  • Unfamiliar people,
  • Crate confinement for long periods of time,
  • Anxiety brought on by changes in routine,
  • Fear from previous traumatic events

If you know what might make your dog feel stressed before they board the plane then it will be easier to avoid those things while traveling so their experience can be much more positive.

Below we will be discussing what causes dog stress when flying and how you can keep them calm and happy!

Noise Level

The noise from the engines and people in close proximity to you can be a lot for your pup.

If they’re already anxious before take off, it will make things even worse when there are loud noises around them that they don’t understand.

Air Pressure

Another thing to consider is the change in air pressure that can happen when you’re flying.

In general, this causes stress on your dog’s ears (pooping in the ears) However, this should subside in few minutes!

Body Temperature

If your dog is too hot or cold, it’ll likely experience high levels of stress.

So make sure to bring along items that can help them stay cool, like a blanket, bed make sure you pack it!


If your dog is showing signs of being stress then it could be something as simple as they are uncomfortable.

This is usually because they are in a position that does not allow them to move freely and comfortably.

Confined Space

One of the worst parts about flying with pups is solitary confinement inside an airplane cabin,

where they cannot run freely on either side during takeoff and landing periods without having contact with other passengers.

Unfamiliar Smells

Remember that dogs use their sense of smell much more than we do!

It’s important not to expose them to new smells while traveling because this might cause stress as well.

New Environment

A new environment can also cause your dog to become stressed and even anxious.

This is especially true if they are in a place where there are unfamiliar people and surroundings.

Signs That A dog Is Stressed When Flying

There are many signs that your dog may be feeling stressed. This could include panting, shaking, or a high-pitched bark (whining).

You might also notice them excessively walking in circles in their carrier.

Another clear indication of stress is drooling around the mouth while panting heavily!

  • Panting: Panting is a common sign of stress. Panting can be the result of many different things, so you should figure out what might cause it to make sure your pup does not become too hot or sick during take off and landing periods!
  • Shaking: Your dog’s shaking could indicate that they are feeling stressed. It may also happen because they are cold – especially if their paws have been wet for some time before takeoff! Make sure that you keep this in mind when deciding how much clothing to put on them during departure… You want him/her to stay warm but without overheating!
  • Whining: If your dog is whining then they may be feeling stressed. However, this could happen because of a lack of attention, hunger or thirst – so make sure that you’ve taken care to feed and hydrate him before departure!
  • Drooling: If your pup is drooling, it could be a sign of stress. This can happen if they are feeling anxious about something around that is making them feel uneasy.
  • Body Posture: A droopy body posture may indicate that your dog feels discouraged – especially when combined with panting, whining or shaking…

If you notice this happening then try giving them a little extra attention so as to destress them in flight!

It’s important to note that it can be difficult to see these symptoms if they’re not obvious,

For this reason, make sure that you keep an eye out for any unusual behavior check on them from time to time but not so much that you disturb them while in flight.

Related Article:

What To Do When Your Dog is Stressed?

The holidays are an exciting time of year for many, but it can be a stressful time for pets too.

Few things to do about a stressed-out dog.

  • Make sure your dog has enough exercise and playtime throughout the day.

Dogs need their daily dose of both mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy during these busy holidays!

  • Give them plenty of chew toys that they usually enjoy chewing, it really helps in relieving stress!
  • Offer treats or food rewards if he’s behaving well during the chaos so that he knows its a positive reinforcement.
  • If you feel that your dog has become too stressed then you should let the flight attendant know immediately.

Always check in with a vet before taking long flights since there are many things he should be aware of.

If you know that your pet is prone to panic attacks when flying, always restrain him with a harness.

This will keep him from hurting himself during the flight which could be quite traumatizing for them!


flying for dogs can be even worse than the average human’s first flight (trust us).

But if done right, there are a lot of ways you can keep your dog stress-free during this time.

In order to do that though, take some precautions beforehand like not exposing them to any new smells or scents in general – especially those from cleaning products or deodorizers.

Bringing along treats as well as toys and blankets will also go a long way too when trying to distract your pup from feeling stressed out.

Remember though that as with any pet, your dog’s experience will depend on a variety of factors so it’s important to be observant and know when something is wrong.

It might not always appear in the same way but just remember that stress levels are higher than usual during this time because they’re dealing with unfamiliar people or situations!