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How to Travel with Your Pet or Emotional Support Animal

Travel with Dog on Airplane

When it comes to traveling with your furry loved one, especially for the first time, you want to be prepared. Follow our successful tips to ensure safe and fun traveling:


Travel with Dog on Airplane

Whether you are traveling by airplane, boat, or automobile, make sure your pet, emotional support animal, or service dog eats, drinks, poops, and play at least 4 hours prior your scheduled departure. Bring Fido offers more tips and details for first time travelers.


If flying with your animal, arrive early to the airport to ensure timely security. Make note where the pet relief areas are located in the airport. The pet relief area is designated for your animal to relieve itself while you wait to board a plane or when you land from a long flight.


Remember, emotional support animals and service dogs may board flights during pre-check, which means you may board before everyone else does. This early boarding ensures you may become comfortable and settled without the distraction of others around you.

Dog Airplane Fly Emotional Support AnimalWARNING – NO OVERHEAD BIN.

Animal’s Should Never Be Placed in an Overhead Bin

In recent news, a 10 month-old puppy died when a United Airlines flight attendant demanded the pup be relocated to the overhead bin from the carrier underneath the seat. You are permitted to travel with your animal on your lap or seated around your feet. Do not let a flight attendant or anyone jeopardize the life of your furry companion.


Relax and enjoy the flight. When you are calm, your animal will be calm too. Check out for more information on flying with your pet or emotional support animal.


  • Don’t forget these important items when packing your pet’s or emotional support animal’s baggage:
  • Service/Emotional Support Animal Letters from your health care provider
  • Veterinarian’s Health certificate and medical records
  • Any Specific Airline Form
  • Leash and poop bags
  • Spare collar with identification tag
  • Enough dog food and treats for the entire trip
  • Plenty of bottled water (a sudden change can upset your dog’s stomach)
  • Food and water dishes
  • Your dog’s favorite toy and blanket
  • Any special medication your dog might need
  • Pet wipes or grooming products
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Service Animal? Emotional Support Animal (ESA)? Therapy Animal?

Service Support Therapy Dog Animal Icon

Many people commonly confuse or interchangeably misuse the terms service animal, emotional support animal, assistance animal, and a therapy or psychiatric animal. The key to understanding these differences pertains to three important U.S. federal laws: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Service Emotional Support Therapy Dog TravelService Animal is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities” (Section 504, Department of Justice summary of service animals based on their 2010 updates to the ADA regulations). Click here for more frequently asked questions pertaining to service animal and the ADA law.

Emotional Support Animal is defined the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) as “any animal that is individually trained or able to provide assistance to a qualified person with a disability; or any animal shown by documentation to be necessary for the emotional well-being of a passenger (§14 CFR Part 382).

Assistance Animal is defined by the Fair Housing Act (FHA) as “an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability” (FHEO Notice 2013-01). Thus an assistance animal is the general term for either a service animal or an emotional support animal.

Therapy Animal is commonly defined as an animal, usually a dog/canine, that may be formally trained to provide comfort to individuals in schools, hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, etc. None of the three laws already mentioned apply to a therapy animal.

This chart distinguishes between these the different terms and identify the applicable federal laws:

Differences Emotional Support Animal Service and Therapy Chart
Differences Emotional Support Animal Service and Therapy Chart