Dog Travel Crates: Requirements for Airplane Travel

Dog travel crates must meet certain requirements to be adequate for airline travel. Check with your airline well in advance of travel, as airlines may have varying requirements for the size and weight of dog carriers. Here are some of the other things you should look for when choosing a dog carrier for airline pet travel.

Adequate Ventilation

Any kennel that will be used for airline travel should be well and properly ventilated. The carrier should have airways all along the top of the crate and along the walls. Your dog's travel carrier should also have a mesh door. Lack of proper and adequate ventilation could put your dog at risk of suffocation or heat stroke.

The holes of the mesh on your dog's carrier door should be too small to accommodate his muzzle. This way, he won't be able to bite the flight attendant responsible for his care during the trip.

Travel Carrier Sturdiness

Your dog's airline travel carrier should be sturdy. Choose a carrier made of thick, durable plastic. The door should latch properly and firmly. If the door swings open, your dog could escape inside the hold of the aircraft, or even on the runway; an animal in such a situation could easily become aggressive toward anyone who attempts to approach it.

Check the label of any pet travel kennel you're thinking of buying for the 'Airline Approved' seal. This seal lets you know that the dog carrier in question meets airline standards for sturdiness and durability. Not all dog carriers are airline approved; so, for the sake of your dog's safety, be diligent.

Travel Crate Size

An airline will not ship your dog in a carrier that is too small. A crate that is too large may still be shipped in most cases, but you'll have to pay extra, and this could be expensive. Airline size requirements have been put in place to ensure that, in the event of mishap, your dog's travel carrier is unlikely to become damaged. Check beforehand with your airline to make sure you know what their size requirements are.

Buy the smallest possible dog carrier. Your dog should be able to stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably inside the carrier. If the carrier is too large, your dog will be more likely to soil it.

Furthermore, a smaller travel crate helps your dog stay warm by holding in his body heat. This is very important, as the cargo holds of planes can become quite chilly.

Necessary Accessories

Your dog's travel crate will need certain accessories to be acceptable for airline travel. You'll need to attach a 'Live Animals' sticker to the outside of the crate; this should be included when you purchase an Airline Approved crate, and airline staff will no doubt add such stickers of their own. You'll also need food and water bowls; look for bowls that can be hung from the mesh of the door. Spill-proof water bowls are usually available; water bottles have a tendency to drip steadily due to the vibration of the plane. Don't forget to attach sufficient extra food to the outside of your dog's travel crate.