Are Shih Tzus Allowed on Airplanes: A Guide for Traveling with Your Furry Friend

Are Shih Tzus Allowed on Airplanes: A Guide for Traveling with Your Furry Friend

Yes, Shih Tzus are generally allowed on airplanes. Most airlines allow small dogs to travel in the cabin with their owners, as long as they are kept in an airline-approved pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. However, it is important to check with the specific airline you plan to travel with, as each airline may have different regulations and requirements for traveling with pets. Some airlines may also have restrictions on the number of pets allowed in the cabin or specific breed restrictions, so it is important to do your research and make the necessary arrangements in advance.

Traveling with your beloved Shih Tzu can be an exciting adventure, but before you embark on your journey, it is crucial to understand the rules and regulations regarding pet travel on airplanes. This guide aims to provide essential information on whether Shih Tzus are allowed on airplanes and how to prepare for a safe and comfortable trip with your furry companion.

I. General Airline Policies for Traveling with Pets:

When it comes to traveling with pets, airlines have specific guidelines and restrictions in place. It is essential to familiarize yourself with these general policies before making any travel arrangements. Most airlines allow small pets, including dogs like Shih Tzus, to travel in the airplane cabin, but there are limitations and requirements that must be followed.

II. FAA Regulations for In-Cabin Pet Travel:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set regulations for in-cabin pet travel. These regulations include size restrictions for pets, as well as the requirement for an appropriate carrier or crate that can fit under the seat in front of you. Shih Tzus, being small dogs, usually meet the size requirements for in-cabin travel.

III. Specific Airline Policies for Shih Tzus:

Each airline may have its own specific policies regarding traveling with Shih Tzus. Before booking your flight, thoroughly research the policies of the airline you plan to use. Some airlines may have breed-specific restrictions or considerations, so make sure your Shih Tzu complies with their guidelines.

IV. Preparing Your Shih Tzu for Air Travel:

To ensure a smooth and stress-free journey for your Shih Tzu, it is crucial to prepare them for air travel. Familiarize your dog with their carrier or crate well in advance of the trip to help them feel comfortable. Gradually introduce them to the carrier and provide positive reinforcement with treats and praise. This preparation will help alleviate anxiety during the actual travel.

V. Booking an Airline Ticket for Your Shih Tzu:

When booking your airline ticket, inform the airline that you will be traveling with a Shih Tzu. Airlines often have a limited number of spaces available for pets in the cabin, so it is essential to reserve your pet’s spot in advance. Be aware that there may be additional fees associated with traveling with a pet.

VI. Preparing for the Flight with Your Shih Tzu:

Before the flight, make a checklist of items to bring for your Shih Tzu, including food, water, toys, and comfort items. Ensure your dog is well-exercised before the journey to minimize restlessness. During the flight, keep your Shih Tzu calm and secure by placing their carrier under the seat in front of you. Avoid opening the carrier during the flight to prevent any accidental escapes.

VII. Health and Documentation Requirements:

To comply with airline and destination regulations, ensure your Shih Tzu is up-to-date on vaccinations and has a health certificate, if required. Some airlines and destinations may have specific documentation requirements, especially for international travel. Research and prepare all necessary documentation well in advance to avoid any last-minute complications.

VIII. Onboard Etiquette and Considerations:

When traveling with a Shih Tzu, it is important to be considerate of fellow passengers. Keep your dog as calm and comfortable as possible during the flight to minimize disturbances. Respect any guidelines set by the airline regarding when and how you can interact with your pet during the journey.

IX. Alternative Travel Options for Shih Tzus:

If air travel is not a viable option for your Shih Tzu or yourself, consider alternative modes of transportation. Pet-specific airlines or ground transportation options may better suit your needs and preferences.


Traveling with your Shih Tzu can be a rewarding experience as long as you are aware of airline policies and take the necessary steps to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being. By understanding the general regulations, preparing your Shih Tzu appropriately, and adhering to the specific guidelines of the airline, you can enjoy a stress-free journey with your furry friend. Remember to always prioritize their comfort, and they will accompany you on many wonderful adventures.

FAQ About “Fly with a Shih Tzu?”

  1. Can Shih Tzus fly in the cabin with me? Most airlines allow small dogs like Shih Tzus to fly in the cabin as long as they are in an appropriate carrier.
  2. Are there any restrictions on Shih Tzus flying in the cabin? While most airlines do not have specific breed restrictions, it’s important to check with the airline as some may have restrictions on the size or weight of pets allowed in the cabin.
  3. Do I need to pay an extra fee to bring my Shih Tzu on a plane? Airlines usually charge an additional fee for pets traveling in the cabin. The fee can vary, so it’s important to inquire with the specific airline.
  4. Can Shih Tzus be sedated during air travel? It is generally not recommended to sedate pets during air travel, as the changes in air pressure can affect their breathing and overall health. Always consult with a veterinarian before considering any sedation.
  5. How should I prepare my Shih Tzu for air travel? It’s crucial to prepare your Shih Tzu for air travel by ensuring they are healthy, up-to-date on vaccinations, and have a comfortable and secure carrier. It’s also advised to acclimate them to their carrier prior to the flight.
  6. Are there specific carrier requirements for Shih Tzus? Airlines generally have specific requirements for pet carriers, which include being well-ventilated, leak-proof, and fitting under the seat in front of you. Check with the airline for their specific carrier guidelines.
  7. Can Shih Tzus fly internationally? Shih Tzus can fly internationally, but it’s important to research and comply with the specific regulations of each country you will be traveling to and from. Some countries may have certain import and export requirements for pets.
  8. Can Shih Tzus be transported as cargo on airplanes? While some larger dogs may need to be transported as cargo, Shih Tzus are typically small enough to travel in the cabin with their owners. However, cargo options may also be available depending on the airline and destination.
  9. What documents are required to fly with a Shih Tzu? Typically, airlines require a health certificate issued by a veterinarian within a specific timeframe. Additionally, some countries may require additional documentation or permits for international travel.
  10. Can Shih Tzus fly during pregnancy? It is generally not recommended to fly with a pregnant Shih Tzu. The stress and changes in air pressure can pose risks to the health of the dog and her puppies. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian for guidance in such situations.

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