Are you interested in flying with your dog in Europe? Are you confused by all the information you find on the Internet? So were we! I’m happy to be able to tell you now, after flying from Spain to Belgium and back, that it’s not so hard after all.

  • Make sure your dog has had his rabies vaccine. It’s all he needs within Europe. Note that most countries like Spain say rabies needs to be renewed every year, whereas in Belgium for example this is every three years. Give a call to a local vet, they will gladly tell you the exact info for their country.
  • The price to fly with your dog depends on the company you are flying with, in our case (with AirEurope) it was 80 euros going and 80 euros flying back.
  • Your dog needs a pet passport, with a picture. Make sure that whenever you go to the vet, they put as many vaccination stickers, stamps and signatures as possible to give the passport a more professional look.
  • A microchip is mandatory. For your own safety make sure that the chip is registered with the right contact information.
  • When your dog weighs more than eight kilograms, like ours, he will have to go in the cargo of the plane. He will be put in a special compartment that has the same temperature and air as the passengers cabin.
  • In general low costs airlines do not allow dogs in the cargo.
  • You will need to get an IATA approved carrier. We’ve found this for the cheapest price online with free shipping. Make sure the carrier is big enough for your dog or go to a local pet store to test it.
  • The carrier comes with the needed stickers, like ‘Live Animal’ but doesn’t come with wheels. These are handy but if you want to keep it cheap you will notice that the airport trolleys are very efficient and you can also make handles from straps to carry the carrier when needed.
  • Make sure your dog has had his last meal the night before. When a dog gets stressed he easily gets diarrhea, nothing is as bad for a dog as making their own territory dirty. Water is okay, just not too much. The cage comes with a bowl but we’ve learned that it’s better to attach a rabbit sipper bottle on the outside of the door so he can drink when he wants and the crew can give him water without needing to open the door.
  • Don’t give your dog sleeping pills but anxiety pills to take the stress away. They usually last for about five hours.
  •  Check your own bags in on time and make sure that all the papers for your dog are okay. Ask them what’s the latest time you can check-in your dog so you can play outside with him and make him as tired as possible.
  • You can put a little mattress he knows inside the carrier to make it more comfortable and to give it a smell he knows.
  • You don’t need a health certificate in Europe but a vet does this for free so it’s never a bad idea to let the vet fill in this page of the passport when you go to get the rabies or anxiety pills. Note that in some countries you will have to pay the regular consultancy fee.
  • When you arrive at your destination he might come on a special trolley or on the normal luggage belt. So make sure you get to the baggage claim as soon as possible so he doesn’t have to keep making circles on the luggage belt.
  • When you book your ticket, make sure that the airline accepts dogs over eight kilograms.
  • After your booking contact the company you did your booking with immediately. They have to get a confirmation from the terminal that it’s okay, as they only allow a certain amount of animals on each plane. First come first serve.
  • To find out more information for each specific airline check Pet Travel.

Do you have any more questions? Feel free to ask. Have fun abroad with your dog. For tips on backpacking with your dog check this post.

More information about flights outside of Europe will follow soon.