Smart, athletic, and hypoallergenic, the Poodle is one of America’s best-loved dog breeds. Known for their extreme intelligence, Poodles are eager to learn, remarkably versatile, and one of the best all-around athletes in the dog world. Their ability to learn and excel in training is unparalleled, and with a hypoallergenic coat and limited shedding, they make excellent pets for a variety of households. Poodles often come in two sizes: miniature (toy) and standard. Miniature Poodles may be able to fly with their owners in the cabin, but standard and larger Toy Poodles will need to fly in the cargo hold. Regardless of the way your Poodle needs to travel, pet parents can train their dogs to anticipate the sounds and sights experienced in travel. This knowledge and experience will allow the dogs to better cope with the stresses of travel.
Size and Travel Options: Though these dogs can be wonderful travel companions, the type of Poodle you have will determine your transit options. Miniature Poodles stand at between ten and fifteen inches tall and weigh between ten and fifteen pounds. In most cases, a Miniature Poodle will be able to fly with you in the cabin; they rarely grow to be fifteen inches, and soft-sided, collapsible carriers will be able to accommodate their size. In contrast, Standard Poodles are over fifteen inches tall (generally around 22 inches) and will weigh anywhere between 45 and 70 pounds. These larger dogs will need to fly as checked baggage or in the cargo hold of a plane. Similarly, Miniature Poodles will easily fit on other modes of transportation, such as buses, subways, and trains. Unless your Standard Poodle is a service or emotional support dog, you may have trouble bringing him on public transportation.
Health and Physiology: Poodles are generally healthy dogs, often living for close to twenty years. Common ailments include hip dysplasia and a luxating patella, but this is more likely to occur in Miniature Poodles. When traveling and regardless of travel method, ensure your dog has enough room to sit or lie down to avoid potential pain. Poodles are also especially prone to Addison’s Disease, known clinically as hypoadrenocorticism. This condition manifests as vomiting, having a poor appetite, and lethargy. Symptoms are exacerbated when the dog is extremely stressed; if potassium levels get high enough to interfere with heart function, the Poodle may experience severe shock or death. Luckily, a veterinarian can perform a series of tests to check for this condition. Prior to your flight, talk to your vet about the potential for this disease. If the tests come back with a positive diagnosis, you should not travel with your Poodle. Most Poodles live long, happy, and healthy lives, but pets should always see a veterinarian before going on trips.
Personality as a Travel Companion: Poodles, both Miniature and Standard, are known for their excellence in training. They love to play and are eager to please, so pet parents should reward these dogs with play time and extra affection as rewards in training. A trained poodle will often have a calm disposition, especially if he gets regular exercise. If you plan to fly with a Poodle, take him out for a long, tiring run or romp in the park before the flight. This will ensure he remains calm en route. This is especially important if your Poodle is territorial—a common trait in the breed. If your dog is protective of his home, family, or space, approaching strangers may cause him to sound the alarms in the form of a barking fit. To address this possibility, it is important to socialize your Poodle, ramping up the people he sees and meets in the weeks and months prior to a flight.
With proper training, a Poodle will make an excellent travel companion. The breed is extremely easy to train, and they rarely suffer debilitating or dangerous ailments that might hinder their ability to fly. If you train them well and allow them to exercise before a flight, you should have a safe and smooth travel experience.