Can A German Shepherd Go On A Plane? (Policies & Prices)

  • By: Justin
  • Date: November 5, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Bringing a German Shepherd on a plane is possible, but restrictions exist.

Most pet-friendly airlines will require that the dog travels in the cargo hold. Because German Shepherds are considered a “strong breed” and may pose a safety risk if they travel in the cabin with other passengers. 

But do not worry, the information below can provide you with guidance on what you will need in order to have a smooth trip with your GSD.

In Short:

  • A GSD can only travel with you in the plane’s cabin if it is a licensed service dog. 
  • Different airlines have different rules about what types of dogs are allowed on board, and there are also restrictions based on the size and breed of the dog.
  • Some airlines do not allow dogs in the cargo hold, so checking with the airline before booking your flight is essential. 
  • Airlines allow pets in the cabin if they are small enough to fit in a small cage. And if it fits under the seat in front of you.
  • Some airlines require you to buy specific dog crates for air travel to transport your German Shepherd in the cargo hold. 
  • These crates can be expensive, but they will keep your dog safe during the flight. Therefore, your dog must be crate-trained to fly.

6 Tips For Safe Travel With Your GSD

To bring your GDS on a plane, you will need:

1. Crate-Train, Your GDS

Many airlines require the dog to be in the crate while in the cargo hold. 

And for that reason, training your GSD to travel in a crate will help your dog feel more comfortable.

Indeed, it will be a great thing to do because dogs can develop anxiety if left in small spaces for extended periods.

If, your GDS is anxious and you asking Is It Normal For A German Shepherds To Yawn A Lot? check the link to better help you understand how yawning can be a sign of stress on GSD.

2. Get A Health Certificate

Before traveling, you will also need to get a health certificate from your veterinarian. 

This certificate will state that your dog is healthy and up-to-date on all vaccinations.

The CDC may require an import permit for dogs vaccinated for rabies in a different country.

3. Check With The Airline

Before booking your flight, you need to check with the airline to see if they have any restrictions on traveling with German Shepherds. 

Each airline has different rules, so it’s essential to make sure that you are familiar with the airline’s policy before flying.

As I mentioned, some airlines are pet-friendly. And allow your German Shepherd to travel in the plane’s cabin if it is a licensed service dog.

Therefore, check with the airline and ensure you have all the information you need before flying with your German Shepherd.

4. Ask If You Can Book A Seat For Your GSD

Just like you may decide to buy a seat for your carry-on bag, you may also book a seat for your German Shepherd.

However, this is only possible if the airline allows it. 

Also, if it is not a licensed service dog, buying a cabin seat will not be an option.

However, Larger dogs will often go to the cargo hold. 

So again, contact the airline to see what options are available to you.

5. Know The Equipment You Will Need 

Knowing the equipment needed to transport your furry friend, will help you make the travel a lot easier, so here are some of the items you will need:

  • Crate
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Harness
  • Toys
  • Food
  • Water

Airlines will often have specific requirements for the type of crate you use to transport your German Shepherd.

They may also have specific requirements for the type of leash, collar, and harness you use.

It is crucial to be familiar with these requirements before traveling so that you can be sure to have everything you need.

A dog crate is an essential piece of equipment you will need when flying with your German Shepherd. 

The crate must be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie comfortably.

The crate material is also essential and is best if made from sturdy materials such as metal or plastic. 

You should check with your airline to know what equipment is required to travel with a German Shepherd Dog.

If you are wondering Why Does your German Shepherd Lay Down to Eat? Then check out this related post.

6. Prepare Your GSD For The Trip

Once you have everything you need, it’s time to start preparing your dog for the trip. 

Tips for a more leisurely trip:

  • Good crate training, help it get used to being in their crate
  • Take it on short car rides in its crate
  • Be sure to praise it and give treats while it’s in its crate 
  • Help associate travel with being a positive thing
  • Take it to the airport to get used to the sights and sounds of flying
  • Some vets will recommend particular medicine to help with anxiety
  • Consult your vet for recommendations on how to help your GSD have an easy and comfortable flight.

These are some things you need to keep in mind when traveling with your German Shepherd on a plane. 

By following these tips, you can be sure that you and your dog will have a safe and enjoyable trip.

How Much Does It Cost To Fly A German Shepherd?

How much it costs to fly your German Shepherd will depend on a few factors, which include the following, among others:

In-Cabin Vs Cargo Hold Cost

It is cheaper to travel with your German Shepherd in the cabin with you than to put them in the cargo hold. 

Most prominent airlines will charge between $100 and $150 for in-cabin pets. Other smaller airlines will charge a flat fee of around $50 -$100.

However, not all airlines allow dogs in the cabin, so you must check with the airline before booking your flight

Most airlines have weight restrictions for animals that travel in the cabin.

For example, The weight limit for an in-cabin pet is usually around 20 lbs. 

So, if your German Shepherd is not a licensed service dog, and weighs more than 20lbs, you must transport them in the cargo hold. 

The cost for cargo hold is $150 – $500 depending on their weight and size.

Remember, these are estimates, so you want to contact the airline to get an accurate quote.

Direct Vs. Connecting Flights

Connecting flights often have additional fees for animals in the cargo hold. These fees can range from $75 – $200. It is also cheaper to fly on a direct flight than a connecting one. 

So generally, you are looking at a fee of $100 – $500 to fly your German Shepherd on a plane. Be sure to check with the airline for an accurate quote.

Check out this related post: Why Does My German Shepherd Put His Paw On Me?

What Airlines Fly German Shepherds?

Almost all pet-friendly airlines fly German Shepherds. Here are a few popular airlines that fly German Shepherds:

What Documents And Procedures Are Required For A Flight With A German Shepherd Dog?

  • You may need to get a health certificate that’s 7-10 days old from a licensed veterinarian. The certificate must state that the animal is free of diseases. And it has been vaccinated against rabies.
  • If you have a licensed service dog, you must also show documentation proving proof that the dog has been trained and certified.

You will need to check with the airline to see what specific documents are required.

German Shepherds are allowed on all major airlines, but each airline has its own rules and regulations that you need to follow.

Most big airlines have a pet policy which you can download from their website. This policy will outline all the requirements and procedures you must meet before flying with your German Shepherd.

Final Thoughts: Can a German Shepherd Go On A Plane?

Most airlines allow German Shepherds in their planes, but they have procedures that must be followed.

Hopefully, this guide has given you a better understanding of if German Shepherds are allowed on planes and what is required for them to fly.

It is best to prepare early and ensure you have all the paperwork and equipment ready before the day of the flight.

Justin- Writer & Chief Editor of


Justin is a protection dog enthusiast. He has years of experience teaching and training dogs. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned. Read More

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