Airline Pet Crates – Get it Right Before You Travel
If you’re thinking about travelling with your dog, you’ll need an airline approved pet carrier. Although you’ll need to check the specifics with the airline you’re travelling with, there are standard regulations that all major airlines share.
Today we have a look at the specifications set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and a few options for quality pet travel crates.
General Specifications of Airline Approved Pet Crates
The International Air Transport Association regulations for pet crates for airline travel (cargo) are:
- The crate must be an adequate size to house the pet (see below for detailed information on pet sizes).
- The crate must have handles on the sides.
- The crate must be of sturdy and solid construction .
- The bottom tray of the crate must be solid.
- There must be a waterproof pad at the bottom of the cage to prevent leaking in case the dog soils.The crate must have a spring-loaded metal locking system.
- The crate must have ventilation on at least two sides – ventilation holes must be at least 1 inch diameter and should cover no less than 16% of the total crate area.
Note: these specifications are for pets in the cargo hold, which is standard practice for most major airlines. Under special conditions, some airlines, such as Delta, do allow you to carry pets in the cabin but you should negotiate directly with the airline about the airline approved cabin pet carrier that they require.
Size Considerations for Airline Pet Crates
The rule of thumb for the size of your airline approved pet carrier is that your dog should be able to stand inside the crate, turn a full circle and lie down comfortably. Measure your dog from nose to tail and from head to paw and ensure that the crate you choose is about two inches higher and longer than he is. Use this guide to choose the right sized pet carrier for your dog:
Approved for airline travel for dogs up to 10 pounds, such as Chihuahuas, Miniature Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers. Extra small cage example: Extra Small Petmate Sky Kennel 25 x 16 x 15 inches.
A small pet carrier airline approved is suitable for dogs who weigh between 10 and 20 pounds, such as Shih-Tzus, Miniature Dachshunds and Pomeranians. Small cage example:Small Petmate Sky Kennel 28 x 20.5 x 21.5 inches
Approved for smaller medium-breed dogs between 20 and 30 pounds, such as Miniature-Pinschers, French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers. Medium cage example: Medium Petmate Sky Kennel 32 x 22.5 x 24 inches
Approved for average-sized dog breeds between 30 and 50 pounds, including Basset Hounds, Beagles, Corgis and Cocker Spaniels. Average-medium cage example: Average Petmate Sky Kennel 36 x 25 x 27 inches
Suitable for larger breeds of dogs between 50 and 70 pounds, such as Dalmatians, Australian Shepherds and Huskies. Large cage example: Large Petmate Sky Kennel 40 x 27 x 30 inches
Suitable for extra large breed dogs weighing between 70 and 90 pounds, such as Labradors, Alsatians, Boxers and German Pointers. Extra large cage example: Extra Large Petmate Sky Kennel 48 x 32 x 35 inches
Dog Travel FAQs
Question: Can I get an in cabin pet carrier airline approved?
Answer: Some airlines do allow you to bring your pet in the cabin and each company will have their own regulations for doing this. We suggest you contact the airline directly if there is a special reason you need to carry your pet in the cabin.
Question: Are there soft sided airline approved pet carriers?
Answer: Collapsible crates have become popular recently because they are easy to pack away and store. But there are very few airline approved soft pet carriers – it is likely that you would need to negotiate taking your pet in cabin and pay the premium for doing so. Be careful when shopping as some soft-sided crates claim to be airline approved but customer reviews report that they had trouble flying with their pets. We recommend shopping for a hard sided pet carrier airline approved.
Question: Is an airline approved pet carrier canada the same as for the United States?
Answer: Generally, yes. IATA guidelines are used by airlines worldwide and a pet crate that meets approval in the USA will also be approved in Canada. It does always pay to check about your individual situation at time of booking.
Question: What is the largest airline approved pet carrier?
Answer: For very large breeds of dogs (such as Great Danes and Bull Mastiffs) it’s easy to get your large pet carrier airline approved but you may be alarmed at the cost as most major airlines base their charges on the size of the cargo and the cost increases exponentially for very large cargo. The largest airline approved pet carrier we’ve been able to find will house a dog from 90 – 125 pounds. You can find it at: Petmate 90 – 125 lb Travel Crate.
Tips for Your Pet’s Safety and Comfort
In addition to making sure your pet carrier is airline approved, you’ll want to make sure your dog is safe and comfortable for the duration of his travel. Here are a few points to consider:
Put something which smells like you (like an unwashed shirt?) in the crate to help the dog feel secure as he travels.
Avoid putting any toys or hard items in the crate as these could jump around and injure your dog during transit.
If the flight is more than a couple of hours, you’ll need to get some spill-proof food and water containers. These should clip to the wire door of the cage so that they do not injure the animal.
Summary: Avoid the Headache, Get the Travel Specs Right!
Making sure you get your pet travel crates airline approved, isn’t too difficult and all of the IATA rules are in place for the safety of both the animal, the passengers on the plane and any other cargo. We hope that working through these guidelines and specifications has been useful in your travel planning.