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Can Shih Tzus Fly In-Cabin: (2023 Airline Update)

If you’re planning to take to the skies soon, whether for a quick domestic trip or an international adventure, you might be wondering if your Shih Tzu can join you.

This article covers everything you need to know about Shih Tzus and flying.

Please remember, this information might change. Check back for updates!

can shih tzus fly in cabin

Can I Take My Shih Tzu On a Plane?

Yes, in most situations!

Shih Tzus can usually fly with you as long as they are safely in a pet carrier and meet the airline’s weight requirements. But there’s more to know, so keep reading!

Always check the specific airline’s policies for flying with a pet, as they can vary.

Can Shih Tzus Fly In The Cabin With You?

Again, in most cases, yes. Shih Tzus can typically fly in the cabin if they meet the airline’s size and weight rules.

Here’s a possible weight concern:

🎯 Many airlines have a weight limit, including the carrier, between 17-22 pounds (8-10kg). Shih Tzus usually weigh between 9-16 pounds (4-7kg), so most should fit within this limit.

👉 Good news! Delta, Southwest, and United Airlines have no weight limit.

Your Shih Tzu will need to be in a pet carrier that fits the airline’s regulations.

👉 Carriers should fit under the seat in front of you and meet safety standards.

Make sure to check the airline’s rules for flying with a dog in the cabin.

Do Shih Tzus Really Fit Under Airline Seats?


Shih Tzus are small enough to fit “under” most airline seats. This means they can comfortably fit on the floor where your legs go.

Different airlines have different rules, so it’s good to know the specific regulations for the airline you’ll be flying with.

What About Adult Shih Tzus?

Most adult Shih Tzus should be small enough to fly in the cabin with you, as they typically stay within the weight range allowed by most airlines.

Do Shih Tzus Have To Be In a Crate In the Cabin?

🎯 Yes, Shih Tzus must be in a carrier or crate on the floor under the seat in front of you during the flight.

Most airlines have a policy that pets must remain in their crate on the floor. They are not allowed on the seat.

21 Airlines That Allow Shih Tzus To Fly In The Cabin (+ Weight Rules)

Here’s a list of popular airlines that allow Shih Tzus and other dogs in the cabin. Remember to check specific weight policies!

  1. Aegean Airlines (17.6 lbs max including carrier)
  2. Air Canada (22 lbs including carrier)
  3. Air Europa (22 lbs including carrier)
  4. Air France (17.6 lbs including carrier)
  5. Alaska Air (20 lbs including carrier)
  6. American Airlines (20 lbs including carrier)
  7. Copa Airlines (20 lbs including carrier)
  8. Delta (No weight limit. Must comfortably fit under the seat in front)
  9. French Bee (17.6 lbs including carrier)
  10. Frontier Airlines (20 lbs including carrier)
  11. Iberia Airlines (17.6 lbs including the carrier)
  12. JetBlue (20 lbs including carrier)
  13. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (17.6 lbs including carrier)
  14. Lufthansa (17.6 lbs including carrier)
  15. Scandinavian Airlines (18 lbs including carrier)
  16. Southwest (No weight limit. Must comfortably fit under the seat in front)
  17. Swiss International Airlines (17.6 lbs including carrier)
  18. TAP Air Portugal (17.6 lbs including carrier)
  19. Turkish Airlines (17.6 lbs including carrier)
  20. United Airlines (No weight limit. Must comfortably fit under the seat in front)
  21. Vueling (22 lbs including carrier)

Always make sure to check with the airline for their most up-to-date rules and regulations, as these can change.

Since Shih Tzus are generally lighter than 17-22 lbs, most adult Shih Tzus should be eligible for cabin travel on these airlines.

Other Things Shih Tzus Will Need To Fly

Make sure you meet the rules for flying with your Shih Tzu:

  • Meet the weight, age, and size requirements
  • Health certificate
  • Rabies certificate
  • Microchipped
  • Pet passport (not always)
  • Other possible vaccines (depends on the destination)

Always search online for the full list of requirements from the airline and the country you’re going to.

10 Quick Tips & Advice to Know

Safety Considerations
The safety of your Shih Tzu during a flight is most important. Some pets might feel anxious or stressed due to the unfamiliar environment and pressure changes in the cabin. Before flying, consult with your vet, who may recommend calming treats, anxiety wraps, or even safe sedatives. Understanding your pet’s needs and taking proper precautions can ensure a comfortable journey for your furry friend.

Behavioral Training
Preparing your Shih Tzu for flight can make a significant difference. Spend a few weeks before your trip getting your pet used to the carrier. You can play airport sounds at home to get them familiar with the environment and practice short stays in the carrier. These efforts will help build your pet’s comfort level and make the entire travel experience more enjoyable.

Long flights with layovers need special planning. Research airports beforehand to find pet relief areas. Carry a small bag with essentials like water, food, and a portable dish. During extended layovers, feed your Shih Tzu and give them a chance to relieve themselves. Planning in advance helps avoid any last-minute stress.

In-flight Etiquette
Being considerate of fellow passengers is vital. Minimize potential disruptions by avoiding feeding your Shih Tzu right before the flight. Make sure they’ve relieved themselves pre-boarding, too. A well-behaved Shih Tzu ensures a pleasant experience for everyone on board and reflects well on you as a pet owner.

Aircraft Temperature and Air Pressure
Aircraft cabins regulate temperature and air pressure for comfort, but changes in altitude can sometimes distress animals. Talk to the airline and your vet about specific concerns. Knowing these details can help you make the best decisions for your pet’s comfort during the flight.

Airline Recommendations
Different airlines offer varying pet-friendly services. Research traveler reviews or ratings about airlines’ pet handling procedures. This information can provide insight into the best options for you and your Shih Tzu, ensuring that both you and your pet have a positive travel experience.

Emergency Situations
If your Shih Tzu becomes ill or shows signs of severe anxiety during a flight, being prepared is crucial. Know the airline’s policies on in-flight emergencies involving pets. Consider carrying a basic pet first aid kit and consult with your vet before traveling. Being prepared for emergencies, although unlikely, is always wise.

Post-Flight Care
Upon reaching your destination, your Shih Tzu might feel disoriented or stressed. Provide familiar items like their favorite toy, ensure they are well-hydrated, and take a short walk. Playtime can also help them adjust to the new environment. Giving them time to adapt ensures a smoother transition to your destination.

Return Flights
The return flight might have different requirements, especially when traveling internationally. Check the policies for return trips and ensure you have all the needed paperwork and meet all health regulations. Staying informed ensures a smooth return home without any surprises.

Alternatives to Flying
If you think flying might be too stressful for your Shih Tzu, consider other transportation methods, such as driving or taking a train. Sometimes, leaving them with a trusted sitter or a reputable kennel might be best. Always prioritize your pet’s well-being and choose the best travel option for them.

We hope this helps! Enjoy your trip with your Shih Tzu!

I hope this meets your needs! Let me know if there’s anything else I can do. 🐶✈️


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.