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TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Traveling can be for the dogs. And cats, birds, etc...

Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Dogs & Cats

Photo Courtesy of Willmar

This is the first installment of “TSA Travel Tips Tuesday.” Every Tuesday, I plan to share tips for convenient travel and other useful customer information on my blog. If you have your own tips to add, please feel free to leave a comment!

Traveling with pets... TSA does not prohibit travel with pets. However, it is very important that you contact your airline first so they can let you know about any requirements, fees, or restrictions they might have.

Checkpoint Screening: Your pet will need to be screened via checkpoint screening if it’s traveling with you in the cabin of the plane.

  • We do not X-ray pets. However, there have been many occasions where passengers have assumed their pet needed to go through the X-ray. You can imagine the surprise of the X-ray operator when they see Fluffy’s skeleton roll across their monitor. It is not an unusual occurrence.
  • Your pet will need to come out of its carrier, so it is a good idea to know how your pet will react. Many a cat has gone into a feline frenzy after being removed from its carrier. An angry cat is never a good thing.
  • Even if your travel is “off the leash,” you should strongly consider keeping your pet on a leash. The checkpoint is a noisy environment that can cause your pet to flee at its first opportunity. This happens with humans occasionally as well.
  • Your pet can be carried through the walk through metal detector or walked through on leash. If your pet triggers an alarm, one of our officers will have to take a closer look.
  • Pets are not screened with advanced imaging technology.

Checked Baggage: If your pet is traveling in a kennel, your airline will arrange for a TSA Officer to screen the kennel.

  • Officers will need to inspect your kennel/carrier for prohibited items with you present. Sometimes this can be done visually, but it’s good to have a leash handy in case the officer asks you to remove your pet from the kennel/carrier.

If your pet isn’t the usual cat or dog and you would like to give TSA a heads up, you can contact a TSA Customer Support Manager at your departure airport using Talk to TSA.

If you’re traveling with a service animal, you can find more information here. You can also call the TSA Cares Help Line.

If you’re traveling with a Mog, they can be screened as a regular passenger.

See you next Tuesday with more travel tips!

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.


Submitted by Anonymous on

It is also very important to have updated pet tags on your pets when you leave town just in case they get loose while on vacation.

Also, make sure that you list any meds that your pets need to take.

Submitted by Giovani on

Very good to know!
But what about traveling abroad?
How here can I found the regulamentation to know if can travel from another country to US without problems?

I am the editor of I love Pets, from Brazil, and want to publish the right information there!


Submitted by Susan K on

Bob, this is a very informative article. I am always looking for up to date answers to travel questions when I ship one of my Yorkies.

I can send people to your article to reassure them as to what to expect when traveling with their precious Yorkie puppy.

Submitted by Dagracey Com on

re: The checkpoint is a noisy environment that can cause your pet to flee at its first opportunity. This happens with humans occasionally as well.

Brilliant, so true. LOL

Submitted by Anonymous on

Good tips. Also, remember to never take anything personally. When the agent says something, listen, and don't assume they have something against you. They are just doing their job, just like a doctor and lawyer do their jobs.

Submitted by Stopdogbarking on

Excellent Information on traveling with pets.

Dont you think it could create some security problems- I mean smugglers and terrorist can get advantages of this rules...
Just personal opinion

Submitted by Bigger Arms on

Nice post Bob, Thanks for sharing!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Useful tips regarding the checkpoints
personnel. Anyway the do their duty like teachers ans attorneys.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My tips because they forgot a huge one. Dog waste station bags are a must but rarely given out at the airports. Actually never. Not the TSA's fault by any means. The airports should make these available all over the terminal. Accidents happen all the time, they're animals. Can;t tell you how many times I have saw a dog use the bathroom right in the middle of the terminal and the dog owner just walks away. One reason is there are no dog waste bags to be found. Just my 2 cents anyways.

Submitted by Indian Creek Nursery on

There's a time and a place for everything, Only in my opinion. We have a host of animals but they are at home.There's been crocs,exotic red colored snakes and perana's found in local Tennessee waters due to people stealing and manipulating airlines' rules. How insane is that?

Submitted by The Researcher on

I do not care what you guys say, Transportation Security Administration does a good job. Period.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If I am tsa pre-checked will I need to take my cat out of the carrier traveling Jet Blue...I am concerned about her getting away

Submitted by Online Dog Trai... on

I will be travelling through Belgium (from Ireland to Poalnd), my dog has an EU passport, he's microchiped he was vaccinated against rabies and he will receive the tapeworm treatment.

I heard that I have to register him in Belgium or something. Is this true? Where can i do it? What else do I need?

Submitted by <a Href="http:/... on

One lady brought a Capuchin monkey in her bag on our plane. I kept hearing something that sounded like a bird. It was climbing out of her bag and looking at me. It was so sweet but you could tell it wanted to bite a plug out of her.

Submitted by LaBiene on

Hi guys, does anyone know if TSA make any exception on the pet-out-of-the-carrier rule? I have the sweetest cat but he was recently traumatized by the vet and now turns into a hissing mess when handled. Yes, even by me. First time flying, so have no idea how bad it will be. I'll make him a little drowsy but am hoping there will be some understanding for anxious pets. TIA!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I did ask and was denied. Then I asked for a supervisor. The look on her face as she approached me was frightening. She adamantly, rudely, and loudly denied that I had an option to screen my frightened, flight-risk cat in a private screening room. I had to travel with the cat because I moved across the country. Sure enough, he had already slipped his harness on the drive to the airport. I held him tight as I could and my normally gentle pet squirmed, struggled, and scratched the heck out of my arms (we're talking blood) from fear.

Submitted by GT on

What about parrots? I have a small parakeet that will be traveling with me in the cabin from LAX to MSY. Does he also need to be removed from the carrier? I read elsewhere that I will be able to walk with him in the carrier through that MRI type machine that they now use at most airports in the US. If I take him out of his carrier at any time, he will fly away (his wings have never been clipped).

Submitted by Butterscotch on

Does every airport have a private screening room that can be used if travelling with cats? Can an appointment be made ahead of the fly date or is it by request on arrival at the screening point?

Submitted by CDnAnn on

I will be taking my 2 cats on a plane, with the help of a friend. They are very skittish and I am afraid to take them out of their carriers to go through security, even if they are on leashes. I have heard that in cases such as this, you can request that your animals be screened in a private room. Is that true? Thanks,

Submitted by Nelson on

Hello, am trying to find out if I can travel with my pet tortoise he small 8in in length.

Submitted by Rich E on

Is there any possibility of requesting a secondary screening of my cat (inside carrier) to keep me from removing the cat from the carrier? My cat will be traveling in the cabin area of the plane with me.

Submitted by Anael Berkovitz on


I am traveling with a crazy cat that would not behave good if I take him out of the box. there is no way i wont get complet;y scratched if i hold hi, through the scanner, what can I do?