1. Call Ahead
While airlines can accommodate your request to bring your service dog on the airplane, they may need advanced notice. Airlines often only allow a certain number of service dogs per flight and need at least 48 hours notice for flights longer than eight hours or for dogs that serve as emotional support dogs instead of service dogs. Check the website of the airline you are traveling on. Nowadays, each airline has an informational page on traveling with a service dog. Here are a few from some of the popular airlines:
2. Bring Along Some Form of Service Dog Documentation
Although according to the Americans with Disabilities Act you are not required to show proof of your service dog's duties and training, it can be helpful to have a form of service dog documentation on hand regardless. Examples of service dog documentation can be:
- An identification card
- Written medical documentation
- A service dog vest with tags
Companion dogs and emotional support dogs do not fall under the ADA but may be allowed with proof of a letter from a licensed mental health professional.
3. Pack a Travel Bag for Your Service Dog
Traveling can be stressful for a dog, even a trained service dog. Pack your dogs’ favorite toys, treats and other comfort items to make them feel more relaxed on the flight or other forms of travel. Bring along a travel water bowl and a water bottle. Don't forget to bring a copy of their vaccination records as well in case of an emergency.
4. Stay Ahead of Nature’s Call
Before traveling, limit your dog’s food and water during the 24 hours prior to departure. Make sure that you give them a chance to go to the bathroom right before your leave as well and plan bathroom breaks accordingly during travel.
5. Research Your Destination’s Service Animal Laws
If you're traveling out of the United States, research your destination's service dog laws before you travel. Not all countries make exceptions for service dogs. With these helpful tips, we wish you safe travels! Follow these guidelines and traveling with your service dog will be an easy, enjoyable experience.