Travel with your Service Dog using DOT’s Service Animal Air Transportation Form

Sep 5, 2021 | Airlines, Service Dogs, Uncategorized


Click on the above-mentioned link so that you can download the DOT Form – Service Animal Air Transportation Form

If you wish to travel on a flight along with your psychiatric service dog, then this article will provide all the necessary information required for a specific document that comes in handy for all the airlines.

In the year 2021, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) updated the rules and regulations for assistance animals on airplanes. These updated rules don’t provide any sort of privileges to emotional support animals, which means they would be treated in the same way as pets are treated. However, psychiatric service dogs and service dogs are still allowed to board the cabins of airplanes, and for this, the owners must utilize a new sort of federal form.

If you intend to travel along with a service dog or psychiatric service dog, then you must complete this new DOT’s Service Animal Air Transportation Form and submit it to the airline before boarding the flight. If you can complete this form, then you can board the cabin of a plane without having to pay any sort of fee. Additionally, service dogs are excluded from any regulations related to size and weight that are usually applicable for normal pets. If the pets are small, then they can sit on your lap, or else, they should stay on the floor space.

This DOT form led to a lot of confusion among owners who have service dogs and psychiatric service dogs because, before this situation, they weren’t required to provide any sort of documentation to verify their service animals.

This DOT form seemed like a lot of menace in the beginning, but it becomes a simple and hassle-free process for people who once get to know about the general information. Therefore, today we will provide a detailed guide along with some helpful information on how you can complete and utilize this DOT form for traveling along with your service dog or psychiatric service dog.

The process of filling the DOT’s Service Animal Air Transportation Form

Basic Information

The first part of this DOT Form requires you to fill out the basic information related to yourself and your service dog. In most cases, the handler and the user would be the same person.

Well, in some specific situations, the handler and user might be different people, and in such cases, the name of both people should be provided. For instance, a person who is helping the handler might be on the plane transporting the dog to its handler.

Along with that, you would also be required to provide all the information related to your service dog such as its weight, name, etc. It is not mandatory, and you don’t need to bring along any sort of Identity card related to your dog while traveling.

Animal Health

This part of the form necessitates you to confirm that your service dog has received all the necessary vaccination related to rabies. You must be able to provide details regarding the last date of vaccination, which must be the current vaccination. Individuals should also verify that their service dogs don’t have fleas, ticks, or any other health condition that would become a problem for other people or pets.

The last section of this part requires you to present the information related to your veterinarians such as his/her name and mobile number. However, there is no specific requirement for the veterinarian to sign the form.

Disability Requirement

According to DOT’s rules, the word disability has its very own meaning. A disability that requires a service dog can be physical or mental, or emotional, and in any of such situations, it may limit a person’s abilities from getting involved in the important activities of life.

  • Physical disorders include visual disability or conditions related to mobility.
  • Psychiatric disabilities are conditions such as extreme depression, anxiety attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar personality disorder, and some types of phobias. A licensed mental health professional can determine whether you meet the criteria for mental disabilities according to the ACAA rules and can provide you a PSD letter.

You must be genuine about the information that you provide in this form. If there is any false information, then you would be subject to penalties or have to face severe consequences as this form is a federal form. You must ensure that all the information you provide is accurate regarding your disability that makes you eligible for this form.

The process of acquiring your Psychiatric Service Dog letter from the ESA Certificate

Service Dog Training Requirement

To get a service dog qualified, the dog must have obtained a considerable amount of training related to performing a task or work that is related to the owner’s disability. The DOT Form requires the name of the animal’s trainer, and because of this, most service dog owners become confused. Why? Because usually, most people opt for training their dogs by themselves. Nevertheless, it is completely acceptable for you to list yourself as the person who trained your dog. If you took care of all the training, then you can put your name as the person who trained it and provide your mobile number.

The regulations provided by DOT have made it clear that you won’t have to approach a third person or an organization for providing training to your dog to train it. To be more precise, DOT rejected the requirement of an organization to evaluate or provide training for service dogs while creating the form. DOT strongly believes that this would result in an unnecessary burden for the dog owners as most of them can provide training to their dogs without having to rely on a third party for such services.

Service dog owners won’t have to obtain any sort of certification regarding the training from any organization. Most people often have a general misconception that service dogs need to be certified for being considered official. Well, this is entirely false because only the owner is responsible for confirming whether the dog is completely trained.

Services dogs that aid the people dealing with physical disabilities can perform a wide range of tasks like guiding people who are visually/hearing impaired people, pushing/pulling wheelchairs, alerting people with diabetes when there is a change in their blood sugar level, and so on.

On the other hand, psychiatric service dogs also perform several types of tasks. Some of those tasks are supporting the handler while they are experiencing anxiety/panic attacks by rubbing with paws or exerting pressure on them or licking them, alerting the handlers when it’s time to take medication, disturbing psychotic episodes or isolating moments, safeguarding the handlers against crowds, or any other similar triggering effects.

Animal Behavior

Along with certifying that your service dog has been fully trained to perform tasks, you must also ensure that it has received the right amount of training to behave well in public. While you are in public areas, your service dog must be under your control all the time and should not exhibit troublesome behavior like barking, biting, jumping, or lunging at others.

Your service dog should not relieve itself while it is in the flight or the gate area, however, there is an exception for flights longer than 8 hours. You must also be able to certify that your service dog has never exhibited any sort of aggressive behavior or became responsible for a serious injury to another person or an animal.

Other Assurance

The final part of the DOT Form needs you to consider that your service animal should have a harness or leather during the duration of the flight and while at the airport.

It should be taken into consideration that the airline can charge you for any sort of damages caused by your service dog. Ultimately, you should acknowledge that the form you are signing is an official DOT document. This means you would be subject to penalties or fines in case you have provided any sort of false information. Hence, you need to provide accurate and genuine information related to your health and your service dog’s abilities to perform tasks.

Flights longer than 8 hours

For getting access to the United States Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation form, click on the link provided below.


When you are going to travel on a flight that has a duration of more than 8 hours, then you have to complete another form known as the ‘Department of Transportation’s Service Animal Relief Attestation Form’ also called ‘Relief Form’.

Completing this Relief Form is very simple, and it needs you to select one of the two options provided below.

  1. Your service dog won’t relieve itself while it is present on the aircraft.
  2. Your service dog can relieve itself while being on the plane without causing any sort of health or sanitation issues.

When you opt for the second option, you must provide information about how your service dog can be able to relieve itself without causing any health and sanitation problems. A general example that most people usually state is utilizing a dog diaper. The Relief Form also needs you to acknowledge the fact that you are responsible and would be charged for any sort of damages caused by your service dog.

How to submit the DOT Forms

In most cases, airlines offer an option while booking where the individual can notify that they are traveling along with a service dog. After the booking is done, you would be required to send the form using an online link or you can send it to an email address.

It should be remembered that this form should be submitted at least 48 hours before the departure of the flight. However, if you booked a flight that is going to take off within 48 hours then you would have to present the form at the gate while checking in.

To access the information related to service dogs or psychiatric service dogs concerning the specific airlines, you can click on the links provided below.

Bottom Line

Once you submit the DOT Form to the airline, then you are all set to travel along with your service dog without having to pay any sort of fees or charges. Apart from this, the airline won’t ask for any other type of documentation. Even if you booked a flight for a round trip, the airline would require you to complete this form only once and there is no need to fill it again while returning. Some airlines archive your DOT Form for future travel purposes; however, some other airlines might require you to submit the form each time you book a flight.

After arriving at an airport and upon boarding the flight, the airline staff is not allowed to ask for any further documents. They can establish that you have a service dog by doing the following.

  1. Confirming by asking you whether your service is necessary because of a disability. At this point, you won’t have to reveal any information related to your disability. They can also ask you about what type of work or task your dog can perform. Nonetheless, they cannot ask you to make your dog perform that task.
  2. Examining the dog’s behavior to determine whether it is well behaved, menacing, or aggressive.
  3. Observing the general indicators like harness or vest. However, these physical aspects are not mandatory for a service dog, and they won’t even certify your dog as a service dog.

It should always be remembered that you, as a service dog owner, have a right to privacy concerning the information related to your health condition. Airline staff is not allowed to ask you to make your dog demonstrate the task assigned to it because it can usually be embarrassing or sometimes cause trauma for certain people.

While traveling on a plane, it is better to have a copy of your completed DOT Form along with you.

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