One of the biggest issues when traveling with your dog is FOOD: can you bring dog food on a plane? Should you bring any? How much? What kind? Is it worth the extra weight? Is it allowed?
There are a million questions that people have when preparing for a trip, especially if they’re traveling by plane. Here’s the low down on dog food on planes.
Can you bring dog food on a plane?
Yes! You can.
Here’s the rule, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):
Wet pet food is allowed in both checked baggage and in carry-on. Please note that less than 3.4oz/100 ml is allowed in carry-on. Wet food must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule* for carry-on bags. Unfortunately, there is no medical exemption for prescription pet food, even for service animals.
*The 3-1-1 liquids rule = 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller sized containers that fit in 1 quart sized resealable bag may go in carry-on and through checkpoint security. If the container is larger than 3.4 ounces (100ml), regardless of the amount inside, it must go in checked baggage.
Solid pet food, described as dry or “moist” pet food, is allowed in both carry on and checked baggage.
These are rules for the TSA, an agency in the USA. If you’re traveling internationally, check with your destination country. Mexico, for example, allows you to bring a day´s ration of dried dog food or a total of 20 kg per family in up to two packages.
Can you bring dog treats on a plane?
Yes. Dog treats are subject to the same rules as dog food. See above.
Can you bring cat food on a plane?
Cat food and cat treats are subject to the same rules as dog food and dog treats.
To Bring or Not To Bring Dog food?
Whether you’re traveling overnight, for a week, or for a month, always bring some dog food with you in your carry on. Here are a few reasons why:
- If your plane is delayed and dinnertime rolls around, you’ll be prepared.
- If you’re planning to buy dog food at your destination, having some on hand will give you extra time to purchase it in case of any unforeseen obstacles (the store is closed, they don’t have your food in stock, etc).
- If your checked bag with food in it is lost or delayed by the airline, you’ll have back up in your carry on.
Some people don’t have a choice. If your dog is on a special diet, or if they eat prescription food, you’ll have to pack food for the duration of your trip.
How much dog food should I bring?
This depends on a few things, like length of stay, type of travel, and what you feed your dog.
When in doubt, always pack more food than you’ll need. Never assume that your brand and/or flavor of dog food will be available at your destination, especially if you’re traveling abroad.
Also, never try new brands or food when away from home; traveling is not the time to experiment with new products. Your dog may be allergic or have some kind of unexpected reaction. Plus, the stress of travel and introducing a new item to their system won’t mix.
For that reason, we always recommend packing more food than you think you’ll need, and traveling with it in both your checked baggage and carry-on.
If you’re in a precarious situation, like traveling with a dog who eats prescription food, you’ll need to bring food for the duration of your trip. We recommend you always pack more food than you’ll need. This gives you a buffer in case of emergency, like a flight being cancelled and needing to stay longer, or changing your travel dates.
Should I ship dog food to my destination?
For some people, shipping food to your destination ahead of arrival may be a good option. Depending on what city or country you go to, your dog’s favored brand might not be available.
It’s an option, but we do not recommend it if you’re flying internationally.
For starters, there is a high chance that your package will be delayed by customs, and if you’re overnighting food that needs to be refrigerated, it’ll spoil.
For the cost of shipping, you can arrange to check in an extra bag at the gate; that way, the food travels with you. Even though luggage in a plane can be lost, I find airline checked baggage service to be more reliable than many postal services.
What We Do
We home cook Boogie and Marcelo’s food, with ingredients that are easy to find in most countries.
When flying, we pack treats in our carry on, as well as dehydrated dog food in both our carry on and checked baggage.
The dehydrated food is healthy, and weighs much less than kibble, so carrying it around in the airport or adding it to our packed bag is never an issue. We keep this food as back up, in case our flight is delayed, or we can’t get to a supermarket once we land.
What’s your food plan when traveling with pets? We’d love to hear!
You can find more pet travel tips here.
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