All About LA Lifestyle Travel

How to Travel With a Pet Out of LAX

Let’s face it…traveling is a lot more fun when you’ve got your furry friend right by your side! However, every loving pet owner knows navigating airports can be a hassle. There are a few additional steps on how to travel with a pet and get your dog or cat through security. LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) is one of the biggest airports in the world and if you happen to be arriving at or leaving LAX, you’re in luck, because it’s not only the biggest, its also the most pet-friendly airports in the United States. YES! Whether you and your dog are seasoned flyers or jet-setting together for the first time ( like our EIC, Erika De la Cruz and her kitty Moon) , we put together this mini-guide that will help ensure a smooth departure and arrival to and from LAX. Here are a few things to know on how to travel with a pet in Los Angeles. 

Before you Go

Before you pack your bags and head out the door, here are some essential things to know. First, every airline will have different restrictions and policies regarding animal type, breed, size and age. It is crucial to understand these rules and read all of the fine print. The main points that are really important to know are below. 

  • Airline Restrictions

A number of airlines might restrict brachycephalic or short-nosed dog breeds — like pugs, Boston terriers, bulldogs and mastiffs — because the air pressure and temperature changes may kill them. Best to keep them at home.

  • Health Certification and Vaccines

Airlines will require you to submit your pet’s health certification and vaccination history before check-in to ensure everyone’s safety. In addition to submitting these documents online, it is wise to carry the most updated copies with you if there are questions at departure and arrival.

  • Microchipping

Depending on your airline and where you’re flying, you may need to microchip your pet. It’s best to call the airline directly to inquire about this requirement. Microchipping is a safe and effective way to travel with a pet because according to one study, dogs with microchips have a 71% higher chance of being returned to their owner compared to 39% of those without. While the possibility of you losing your pet at LAX is unlikely, it isn’t unthinkable. 

  • Carrier Restrictions

Measure that bag! Like breed types, airlines may restrict specific carriers. You must select a suitable one for your pet’s size and weight so they are comfortable during long flights. If a smaller animal is traveling with you in the cabin, the carrier must fit under the seat in front of you. Make sure it has good ventilation too so your pet can be happy and comfortable. Here are some options we love.


  • Pet Travel Costs

When you travel with a pet, expect additional cost. In addition to airline fees, you may need to pay for access to dog relief areas at the airport. Just so ya know, LAX does not charge anyone to enter these zones with their pet, service animal or emotional support animal.

Pro-Tips at LAX

We’ve done a lot of flying with our pets out of LAX that we’ve essentially become experts lol. This next set of tips will help you navigate the ins and outs of one of the biggest airports in the world.

  • Give Yourself Extra Time

This is the most important of all! Getting through check-in and security is always the most stressful part of travel and when you add a pet to the mix,  your anxiety could skyrocket. Always give yourself extra time for screening upon arrival at the airport. Book a ticket at a later time to avoid rushing and plan a sufficient mode of transportation. Also, have everything packed and ready to go the night before — this is not the time to procrastinate peeps.

  • Familiarize Your Pet With Their Carrier

You and your pet should acquaint yourselves with the carrier beforehand. Try the locks and compartments so you can easily access them — you’ll need to remove small pets traveling in the cabin quickly when you walk through security. Also, allow your pet to spend time in it so they become comfortable and know it’s theirs. The last thing you want is for your furry friend to be afraid of their crate when they’ve got to stay in there for a few hours. 

  • Speak With the Vet About Sedatives

Most pets can travel without medication. However, you and your veterinarian know your pet’s stress levels best. If your animal doesn’t travel well, it might be worth discussing your medication options, such as Gabapentin or Trazodone. Otherwise, try swaddling them in a shirt or using lavender essential oil. Lavender oil is safe when it’s diluted and applied in small amounts. Otherwise, you risk your dog vomiting or having diarrhea during the flight.

  • Visit the Pet Relief Areas

LAX invested in several Animal Relief Stations throughout the airport to enhance its pet-friendliness. Travelers will find three relief areas before security checkpoints and another nine throughout the terminals. There are also small pet parks in the airport where they can stretch their legs and relieve themselves before the flight. Keep in mind all pets must remain leashed in these locations. Although LAX provides plastic bags for cleaning up after your pet, you may want to bring wipes. Individually wrapped wipes are gentle for all-over use and won’t take up space in your carry-on bag, plus they’re great to have on hand in case of any in-flight messes.

  • Remain Calm for Your Pet

Do you want to know how to travel with a pet without riling them up? Remain calm. Feeling jittery before taking off is natural, but animals feed off your emotions. Dogs, in particular, become distressed and demonstrate empathy toward humans when they’re crying. Practice breathing exercises, plan your routine and dab essential oils because navigating LAX with your furry companion is easiest with a cool head. 

Avoid Top Mistakes

Don’t wait until the last minute to research the airline’s animal restrictions or gather your pet’s travel documents. Set an appointment with your veterinarian when you book your plane ticket. Procrastinating will only cause unnecessary stress and delays. Also, never impersonate a person with a disability so your dog can fly as an unaccredited service animal. It’s illegal and makes travel more difficult and unsafe for those who truly need it. Buying pet food immediately at your destination may make it easier to travel with your pet  and you also avoid bringing a heavy load of items with you.  Your pet will also need treats, medicines, a collar or harness — with proper identification and vaccination tags — and a leash. Other items include collapsible food and water bowls, poop bags, toys and a blanket. 

Check out five more travel tips if catching a flight to and from LAX has you on edge. And check out Erika’s travel hack with Moon below!

@_erikadelacruz I think Moon likes it here #cattips #catmom #cattok #petsoftiktok #traveltips ♬ Bundle of Joy (From “Inside Out”) – Benny Martin