Soko and Pow are my 2 pups. I was bi-coastal for a while back in 2012, where I traveled between Los Angeles and North Carolina every 2 weeks. Having 2 small dogs that I love so dearly forced me to learn the tricks of travling with dogs very quickly, so I'll share the most important parts that I learned over the next few posts.
First and foremost, check with your airlines when traveling to be sure that you follow their guidelines when traveling with a dog.
Now to the point of this post: invest in a good travel crate.
The dimensions must follow the airline guidelines. They must be large enough for your dog to be able to turn around. Also, for your own sake, it should be comfortable to carry and have pockets to stash any needed dog goodies.
My personal favorite is this Sherpa. The most important aspects I've found that set this crate apart is that it is able to fit under airline seats, while still being wide (thus roomy) enough for a pup to feel comfy. I throw in a nice fleece blanket for Pow, since he's a burrower and likes to have blankets to get under. A lot of other crates will be too tall and narrow, which makes them a bit easier to carry, but causes them to fit poorly in the plane, which can lead to your pup being uncomfortable.
It also has 2 great, easy zipper access points: one in the front, like a usual crate. Then, the top also zips open, which is GREAT when flying. I unzip it a tad bit to reach in and give Pow some loving pets while we take off or land, to reassure him. It also makes it easier to give him treats, or to get him in and out of the crate without needing to be able to unzip the whole front portion.
Another thing that I like about the Sherpa is the handles: it has a shoulder strap which makes it easy to carry through the airport as needed, but also has 2 handles, which are great for grabbing it while de-planing and carrying it off of the plane. It's nearly impossible to carry a crate on your shoulder through those narrow airplane aisles!
It also has a zipper pouch on the back, which I use for treats. I give him a few treats as we're taking off and then again as we land, and if it's a long flight I'll give him one while we're up. If he's sleeping, I leave him alone. I also stash his collar and leash in the pouch, so that it's easy and quick to grab when needed.
Check it out at the link above, and let me know if you end up buying it, I'd love to hear your review!
Have another favorite travel crate? Please LET US KNOW so that we can review it too!