February 7, 2022

What It’s Like Flying With An 8-Week-Old Puppy

By Paul William

February 7, 2022

Back in November, after a year of waiting, it was finally time to pick up our new Goldendoodle puppy, Simba!

There’s nothing more exciting in life than welcoming a new dog to their furever family. But if it’s your first time flying with a four-legged companion, then you’re understandably nervous about the process of riding the skies with a pooch. I know I was.

Would he bark? Would he cry? Would his ears hurt from the pressure? And what’s the bathroom situation?

Don’t fear! All these questions and more will be answered below.

If you’re about to pick up a new puppy from out of state and fly home with him, or if you’re just curious how the puppy travel process works, then please read along. This post is for you!

Meeting our new puppy in the airport lobby

After landing, we met the breeder who introduced us to our new pup in a carrying case very similar to this one. She also gave us a travel kit of poop bags, pee pads, and some plastic ziploc bags in case we needed any — all things which you should plan to have.

We unzipped the top of the bag, and our new puppy poked his head out to say hello for the first time! Our hearts melted, and of course, he got scratches.

Inside, the puppy carrying case was lined with disposable pee pads and a small chew toy that had previously been kept around Simba’s littermates, so it provided a comforting scent to keep him calm.

As a side note, I’d recommend keeping very little in the carrying case besides for pee pads. If puppy has an accident, you don’t want to be dealing with a ton of pee-stained toys for the duration of your flight. Better to just throw out the pee pad, insert a new one, and be done with it!

The breeder let us know that Simba hadn’t been given food or water for a few hours prior to minimize the chances of an accident (puppy bladers are reallllly small). She recommended waiting until we got home to feed him and that’s what we did.

Going through airport security with a puppy

After introductions, we headed through security which went something like this:

  1. Took Simba out of the carrying case and held him in my arms
  2. Put his carrying case through the x-ray machine
  3. Walked through the metal detector with Simba in my arms
  4. TSA agent swabbed my fingers (I think for explosive residue)
  5. That’s it!

I was definitely nervous about what this process would be like, but it turned out to be no big deal. The TSA agents have been through the process a million times, so this isn’t something you need to worry about!

The waiting/private room

Since we had a few hours before our next flight, we decided to get a private room at the airport. It’s not a hotel, but just a small private rental room near the gate area that has a bed inside. I think it was like $60 for an hour.

This gave us a safe space to take Simba out of the bag and let him meet us and cuddle! Since dogs this young have not received all their vaccinations yet, we wanted to be abundantly cautious and limit the interaction he had in public areas and with strangers. This option worked well for us and gave us a chance to rest too (you’ll need it before your first night of puppy crying!)

Note: It’s not recommended to let puppies use the airport animal relief areas at this young of an age, so we laid down a pee-pad on the floor of our room to give him the option to go (though he didn’t).

Boarding the plane with a puppy

Finally, it was time for the moment of truth: boarding the airplane with our new puppy.

An important note: you must tell the airline that you’re bringing a pet ahead of time. Please dont just show up and expect to be let on a plane with an animal.

Every airline has its own pet policy with restrictions on age, breed, vaccination status, etc. And most charge a fee for bringing your pet along. We flew on American Airlines and the fee was somewhere around $100-120 I believe. Again, be sure to look at the specific policies for whatever airline you’re flying.

Anyway — we boarded the plane and found our seats.

Simba’s carrying case fit perfectly under the seat in front of me, and the travelers sitting in our same row were more than excited to be close to a cute new puppy!

Flying with a puppy

There’s not too much to report about the flight because it was so uneventful!

Simba whined for 2 seconds as we took off (sitting right behind engine, so pretty loud), but after that he fell asleep and remained calm for the duration.

Like I mentioned earlier, puppies this young spend most of their day sleeping, which works out great for travel.

There was one other very short moment where he started to look a little anxious, so I let him poke his head out of the bag and gently scratched his head until he laid back down. Easy peasy.

No barking or anything!

Arriving home with our new puppy

After the short flight, we arrived home in and made it out of the airport. Simba took his first Uber ride, and then we arrived home where the real fun was about to begin!

Bottom line:

Although you might feel scared or nervous to fly with a puppy for the first time, I can now tell you from first-hand experience that it’s actually not so bad!

As long as you plan ahead of time, make sure your airline knows you’re bringing a dog, and bring all the doggy supplies you might need, you should have a relatively easy and fun travel day with your new best friend!

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