Can I Put a Food Bowl Inside My Dog Carrier?

June 2, 2020 // 6 minute read

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There are a lot of inconveniences that come along the idea of traveling with your pets. It is the reason why most people prefer to leave their pooch or feline behind for someone else to take care of. After all, it is just two or three days of being out. Well, there are times when you can afford to leave your furry buddy behind, but there also are instances when you have no choice but to take them with you. Since you are reading this, it means you are leaning towards the latter.

dog food in pet carrier

If you are bringing your cat or dog with you in air travel, your primary concern is feeding time. Is it possible to put a bowl inside the pet carrier with food when your pet gets hungry while on the air? The answer is more complicated than a “yes or no.”

Feeding Reminders Before Air Travel

If you bring a small dog or cat with you, there is a chance that it will fit under the seat of the plane. Owners of small pet breeds are likely to bring with them an in-cabin and airline-approved carrier, giving them the peace of mind of not having to put the animal separately as baggage. But do not think that because you can bring your pet with you in the cabin, you can do whatever you want. Airlines have strict guidelines and rules intended for pet handling while on the air, especially when it comes to feeding.

When you are flying with your pet, you are better off refraining from feeding the animal for about five hours before the plane goes to the air. The reason why you should do this is that you want to minimize its need to go to the bathroom.

Keep in mind that pets are like humans in a way that they can also suffer from motion sickness when flying. Therefore, the pet’s tummy should be empty right before and during the flight as it prevents the likelihood of vomiting. So, if you know for sure that your pet suffers from motion sickness, then putting a bowl and food inside the carrier should be the last thing on your mind.

What if the pet gets thirsty? Fortunately, there is a smart way to address that concern.

Find a small-sized dish or tray with water and freeze it right before your flight. Doing so means that water is in its solid-state on departure, preventing the possibility of a spill as you travel from home to the airport. You expect the ice to melt at a time when you are already on your seat. You can then feed your pet with water.

Here is a helpful video on proper ways to feed your dog:

How About Solid Food?

There is no blaming you if you are worried about your pet getting hungry during the flight. This may be a legitimate concern if the trip takes more than a couple of hours. You may have scoured the web for answers, but we bet you are riddled with more questions than answers. Our response to this question may not apply to every situation, but it is worth considering.

The best thing you can do to address the prospect of your pet getting hungry in the middle of a flight is to feed it about five hours before being transported to the airport inside the carrier. You do not want to do it less than five hours before the flight because it is not enough time to digest the food. Feeding five hours before air travel also means that the animal will most likely pee and poop right before you put it in the carrier.
So, to answer your question of whether you should put a bowl with food inside the carrier, our response is “no.” While some airlines will allow you to do so, the more pressing concern is that when you let your pet eat in mid-flight, there is a chance that it will develop an upset stomach and cause it to become nauseous and may even vomit. Once that happens, you will have an ugly flight coming your way.

Do not Feed the Pet Right Away Once You Arrive

Most pet owners think they owe their pets a lot after a long flight, and what they do is feed them right away upon arrival. There is no question that the pet is hungry, thirsty, and stressed out. But if you give it some treats and water right away, it may get sick. I have seen a co-passenger who fed his dog right away, and it led to a twisted stomach. I asked my vet about it, and he said that pets tend to overeat when they are anxious or when hungry. Therefore, it never is a smart idea to give them lots of food and water right away.

Important Note: NEVER use tranquilizers during flight. Sedating your pet is not the most practical way to keep the animal relaxed during air travel. Many people feel like it makes sense, but the drugs you put on a pet’s system may cause harm instead. Also, airlines do not allow sedated pets to travel.

Get Food Ready When You Get Home

The best thing you can do for a pet who has been anxious the entire flight is to have its favorite treat or food ready once you are settled. Do not feed your pet with something new or unfamiliar because it will only cause more anxiety, and it might not even eat it. Since you are away from home and you are unsure if you can find a place to buy your pet’s favorite food, then you are better off stocking up just to make sure you feed the animal for it to get used to the new environment.

Give your pet some time to recover from the grueling experience. No matter how comfortable the carrier or short the flight is, a dog or cat will always feel uneasy. It is your job as the owner to keep it calm and relaxed.

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