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Travelling with pets



If you want to travel with your four-legged friend, first read carefully the rules of the chosen carrier, the requirements of the European Union for travelling with pets and the requirements of the specific country to which you plan to travel, especially if it is not a European Union country.


Please note that not all airlines allow you to carry pets – before buying tickets check it with all the carriers whose services you plan to use during the flight!

Each airline may have its own rules for travelling with pets. These include the carriage of pets in aircraft cabin, travel restrictions for certain breeds of dogs, requirements for transport containers, their size and equipment, etc. Before travelling with a pet or sending a pet unaccompanied, please read the airline's rules carefully on its website or call the airline. Contact information of the airlines working at Riga Airport is available here.

In order to travel, pets need various documents – the European Union pet passport or another document depending on the species and transport requirements. There is a number of vaccinations required and pets must be identifiable – marked with a microchip or otherwise depending on the species.

Find out more about the requirements for travelling with pets in the European Union on the Food and Veterinary Office's website. Before travelling, we also recommend that you acquaint yourself with the requirements for travelling with a pet to a specific country. This may be done at the diplomatic mission of the country concerned.

The loud and noisy environment of the Airport, various smells and sounds, a large number of strangers these all are very stressful factors for pets, so for the safety of the pet and its surroundings, both at Riga Airport and during the flight, pets must be kept in a transport container or bag that is well ventilated, which cannot be escaped and which is waterproof.

During the security check, pets must be taken out of their transport container/bag.

 Click on the picture and find out more about traveling with animals!


Tips from veterinarians: how to prepare your pet for a trip?

Going on a trip may involve some stress. Of course, we always hope that you are looking forward to your flight. However, for pets, especially if it is their first travel experience, flying can be very stressful, therefore it is important to start preparing for the trip in good time to make everything as smooth as possible. In collaboration with veterinarian Dr. Lelde Mencendorfa, Riga Airport has developed general guidelines on how to better prepare pets for travel.*



Know the rules!

Each airline has its own set of procedures for traveling with pets. The most common ones are:

  • The pet must be at least 12 weeks old
  • Your pet must have a vaccination certificate and be in good health
  • For longer trips, there have to be sufficient amounts of food and water
  • Parameters of the carrier – size, material, wires, locks, ventilation, etc.


Online booking is not possible. Airline tickets for pets can be purchased in person at the airport or by phone. It is mandatory to inform the salesperson and the airline that you will be travelling with a pet. The fee may depend on the size and weight of your pet – smaller animals can travel in hand luggage in the cabin of the aircraft, while larger ones are transported in the cargo compartment.

Veterinary check-up

Before travelling anywhere, you have to take your pet to a veterinarian to make sure that it has a veterinary certificate. Do discuss all your concerns with the veterinarian, especially if you are concerned about how your dog, cat, ferret or other pet will handle the trip.



Leash and carrier are mandatory. It is very important to buy a carrier or a bag large enough so that your pet can turn around and stand up comfortably. The owner’s contact details must be written on the carrier.



Once all formalities have been settled, the physical and emotional well-being of the animal must be addressed. Dr. Lelde Mencendorfa recommends:

Your pet will feel safer and calmer if it is accustomed to the carrier or bag before the flight. For carrier training:

  • Put your pet in the carrier or bag on a regular basis, let it stay there for a short while;
  • Place your pet’s blanket or toys in the carrier so there are smells that the pet knows well, treats will help create positive associations;
  • The carrier may be moved so the pet becomes accustomed to movement.

Teach your pet to get used to motion and the environment:

  • Take your pet for a ride in your car, go to a public place you have not visited before so the pet gets used to different conditions and situations;
  • If you see that your pet is nervous and upset, you should consider consulting a veterinarian to solve the problem. The veterinarian may prescribe your pet some medicine.

The pet must get used to being around people. As you travel, and especially in transit, your pet will have to deal with environments and people it does not know. Most large airports have designated areas for pets where trained staff take care of the animals. It is therefore very important that your pet is properly socialized – it has to be friendly and used to being around people.

Right before you leave:

  • Do not feed your pet before the flight, only give it water to minimize the risk of dehydration. 
  • If you have a chance to walk your dog before your flight, do so as movement and exercise will calm your dog down.
  • It is important that there are familiar scents in the carrier. For instance, you can toss your T-shirt, a towel or a toy that smells of home into the carrier. That will calm your pet down too.
  • Put a blanket in the carrier for your pet to be warm, plus it will have a familiar smell for your pet.
  • Consult a veterinarian about spraying the bedding with a special spray to soothe your pet.

You can also talk to your veterinarian about medication to reduce stress. There are various sedatives that can help, but this is not always the best solution. However, if you and your veterinarian have decided that your pet needs such sedatives, Dr. Mencendorfa recommends choosing natural preparations. Start giving them to your pet about a week before the flight, otherwise they might not work.


We wish you and your pet a pleasant journey!


* The guidelines are for your information and are not comparable to a visit to a veterinarian.