Whether you’re traveling with your furry companion out of pleasure or necessity, you might be wondering: what happens if my dog barks on a plane? Will you get in trouble? Will you be forced to change seats, or even worse, be removed from the plane?
The answer depends. Airlines do have in-depth policies regarding the travel of animals, including special rules to follow as well as consequences for those who don’t do as they’re supposed to.
Barking can be a normal dog behavior, but it’s not always a welcome one. It can disrupt the peace and quiet of your fellow passengers on an airplane, in particular. If you are flying with your dog, here are some tips to help curb excessive barking so that everyone can enjoy their flight.
What Happens If My Dog Keeps Barking?
If your dog starts barking while on the plane, the short answer is that you really don’t have much to worry about. Barking dogs are kind of like crying babies. Everyone knows dogs bark, and expect them to when on a plane.
However, what happens if you can’t stop your dog from barking on a plane? And they bark continuously?
1. Your Dog Might Be Sedated
If your dog is barking constantly, the flight attendant might ask if you could or would like to sedate them so they will be quiet. If you have a dog that can be stressed or frighten when in new surroundings then you might want to consider this option.
However, before giving any medication to your dog talk with your veterinarian before you leave and ask about a medication that can help calm your dog in this situation.
2. You May Be Asked To Change Seats
Once the barking starts you might be asked to change your seat. Which means you’ll likely be moved to the back of the plane. Your dog will need to remain in its carrier which is strict airlines regulations.
If necessary they will ask someone to swap seats with you so you can sit in the back of the plane and try to quiet your dog. The flight attendants will often turn their attention to the passengers while you’re doing this to keep things calm.
3. Passengers Might Complain About The Noise
If you can’t get your dog to stop barking, it might bother other passengers, but this will depend on how loud the noise is and where you are on the plane.
Keep in mind, like crying infants, most people don’t want others to hear dogs barking either so if it does disturb them then they will complain. When this happens the flight attendants will usually try to help you and see if there is anything they can do.
4. You May Be Asked To Leave The Plane
If you’ve just boarded and your dog starts barking and their noise is disrupting other passengers, you might be asked to leave the plane. But this is only a last resort as the flight attendants will do everything they can to help you.
So before taking your dog on a plane make sure they are comfortable in new places and take every effort to calm them and stop them barking as soon as possible.
5. You Could Be Refused Entry On Connecting Flights
The worst-case scenario is that you and your dog could be denied entry on connecting flights. This will depend on how many complaints you get from other passengers.
If the barking has upset a lot of passengers including the flight attendants or has become violent they might not let your dog and yourself board another flight. However, this rarely happens!
So, what will happen if your dog starts barking on the plane really depends on several factors, including how loud it’s barking, how long, and if your dog is posing a threat to other passengers.
What Causes Dogs To Bark On A Plane?
There can be several reasons why a dog starts to bark incessantly on a plane. Keep in mind that even though your dog doesn’t normally bark or bite, being in a stressful environment with unfamiliar surroundings can cause it to behave differently.
Some reasons for dogs barking while on a plane include:
- Being Hungry Or Thirsty
- Ears Are Popping
- Feeling Nervous
- Feeling Motion Sickness
- Needing To Go The Bathroom
- Being Afraid Of Other Passengers
- Anxiety During Takeoff Or Landing
- Accidentally Gone To The Bathroom In Its Carrier
Your first step in your plan of action when your dog starts to bark is to check and see if it’s due to any of these things above.
Before we dive into how to stop your dog from barking while on the plane, it’s important to remember that being proactive is better than being reactive. How can you prevent your dog from barking in the first place?
There are several ways. First and foremost, plan in advance. That means scoping out everything from bathroom breaks to food to airline policy before you fly.
One common pitfall owners make is not realizing that certain airlines do not allow dogs out of their carriers while on the plane. If you’re on a long flight, that means your dog will only be able to use the restroom while inside the crate.
Like babies, dogs will start to cry (or in their case bark) if they’re sitting in their own mess. Solution? Bring training pads with you. They double as crate liners and can be easily pulled out and tossed away.
Other good items to have in case of a bathroom emergency are baby wipes and waste bags. This way if there are any accidents you are prepared.
To prevent your dog from being uncomfortable on the plane make sure you let them go for a short work before boarding the plane! This way there won’t be any unexpected accidents.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Barking On The Plane?
Having your dog barking on a plane can be a serious problem because there are strict rules about pets in airports. In order to make sure that we all have the best experience possible, it is important to know what to do when your pup starts yapping before the flight takes off.
The first thing you should do is see if he has any food treats or toys with him that could distract him from barking. One trick is giving them a small toy or treat so they won’t feel as anxious about their surroundings; this usually does the trick!
But of course, when being stuck on a plane with a yapping dog you want to know what do you do? First and foremost is identifying the issue!
1. Use A Dog Muzzle
A dog muzzle is a tool that can be used to stop dogs from barking when they are in an airplane or other crowded, noisy environments.
If you have ever wondered about the best way to keep your pet quiet while traveling on an airline, wondering how to get them under control before takeoff and landing then a dog muzzle is the way to go.
However, if you don’t like the idea of using a muzzle on your dog then keep reading for more ideas to keep your dog from barking on the plane.
2. Make Sure Their Carrier Is Clean
Another tip that owners often forget is that when in stressful environments, dogs often experience stomach issues and diarrhea. Dogs communicate with humans primarily through barking, so Fido is likely trying to tell you something.
Take a look inside and see if your dog has gone to the bathroom. If so, clean it up promptly. Not only will your dog feel far more comfortable, but it’s a courtesy for the rest of the plane, too.
Travel Tip: If you’re not sure what’s wrong, giving your dog a chance to stand up and move around might help alleviate some anxiety. The lavatory works great for this!
3. Give Your Dog Some Treats
Consider your dog’s feeding schedule and try to honor it as closely as possible while flying. One reason your dog might be barking is that it usually eats around this time, but you might have forgotten.
You can bring dog food with you through security, but it has to be in a checked bag. Instead of bringing a water bottle (and having to throw it away in the line), bring an empty one instead. You can refill it on the other side.
If your dog won’t eat in the crate, try sneaking into the lav and feeding it there. The enclosed space away from other people may help reduce its anxiety.
Some people, however, suggest against feeding your pets during and even several hours before the flight. If your pet is prone to vomiting or having stomach issues, this might help prevent them.
Other dogs, however, don’t do well on empty stomachs. If you do feed your pet, remember that it’ll have to use the bathroom shortly afterward.
4. Give Your Dog A Toy
It’s hard to tell if your dog is having anxiety or if it’s just plain out boredom. If Fido is an energetic pup, he may be longing to stretch his legs and play. One way to keep your dog entertained is to throw a toy or bone into its carrier.
A familiar toy will help keep it comforted, whereas a new one will be a little incentive to stay quiet on the flight. Chew toys work great for reducing both boredom and anxiety.
5. Try To Keep Your Dog Calm
Keeping your dog calm is easier said than done. This is another problem where being proactive is your best bet. If you know your dog will be anxious during the flight, be sure to check in with your vet before flying.
They may be able to give a one-time prescription to help them remain calm, just like humans.
It’s also a great idea to see the vet anyway to make sure your dog is well enough to fly. Some flat-faced breeds, like pugs or French bulldogs, have difficulty breathing in the air and are not recommended to fly.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, these dogs are ” especially vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke.” If flying is an absolute necessity, your vet might be able to prescribe something to help open up the airways or reduce motion sickness,
Did your dog shriek when going up in the air? It may seem like anxiety, but the culprit might just be its ears! Dogs’ ears pop just like ours do, and the experience might be a tad more unexpected and painful.
Here’s a tip: massage your dog’s ears and around the jaw, where a human’s temples would be. This will help loosen up the eardrum and relieve some of the pressure in the ear. Plus, the pets will help comfort your dog.
6. Cover The Crate With A Blanket
Some dogs are nervous around other people, and being crammed into a small box in a plane full of them is bound to make them anxious. You can help reduce this anxiety by covering their crate with a blanket.
Dog’s don’t have well-defined object permanence, which means if they “hear no evil, see no evil,” it’ll be out of mind.
If your dog is barking or growling at your seatmates, consider:
- Communicating And Apologizing To Your Row
- Allow Your Neighbors To Meet The Dog And Give It A Treat
- Ask Your Neighbors To Switch Seats With People You’re Traveling With
- Get Your Drinks And Snacks From The Flight Attendant In Advance (Stops Multiple Trips)
7. Try Talking To Your Dog
It may sound silly, but hearing your voice goes a long way. Comfort your dog by talking to them, giving them pets, and checking in on them. If your dog isn’t barking, it might be panting instead.
That’s typical for dogs on planes, as it’s a side effect of anxiety. If you feel your dog might be overheating, try fanning it or cracking open its carrier a bit.
8. Give Your Dog Some Medication
Your dog might be suffering from intense anxiety, motion sickness, or more, and nothing else seems to help. As a forewarning, you should never administer medication to your dog without advice from your local vet.
It’s also best if you have some prescription medicine from your vet rather than human medicine.
But if your dog has the all-clear, you might be able to give it an OTC medicine in a pinch, granted it has taken the exact brand before and has done well. You can find household staples like Benadryl and Dramamine in abundant supply at the terminal.
As a last resort, you could administer this to your pet as long as you have the OK from your vet.
Tip: Some pet owners swear by CBD oil for its calming effect. Be sure to check state laws and TSA restrictions! Be sure to consult your vet on the proper dosage and use the same brand you have at home.
So now you know what happens if my dog barks on a plane? and what you can do to prevent it. Policies regarding animal passengers vary from company to company, so research as much as possible in advance.
In most situations, you’ll just receive a few eye-rolls from passengers or staff. If you have a larger dog or one that’s considered by some to be an “aggressive” breed, you might encounter some more turbulence.
Keep your dog contained at all times, because the second it upsets passengers by barking (or even worse, bites someone), your plane will have to make an emergency landing to deboard.
In some cases, they may even ask you to put your dog in the overhead bin, which is actually illegal and extremely dangerous. Cooperate, be apologetic, and plan in advance so you can have a smooth flight as possible!
It’s also a good idea to look at the IATA Pet Regulations for booking or even taking a pet onboard a plane! There you can find all the information you need including carrier size and the maximum weight.