Dog Travel Crate – All Your Questions Answered

Whether you’re going on a short trip to France or a long-haul flight to Australia, if you’re travelling with your pup it’s essential that you have an IATA approved travel carrier.

Transporting your pet overseas takes a lot of planning it’s vital that you consider both your pet’s comfort and safety. So, choosing a secure travel crate for your pet’s journey by air is not only important for your animal’s welfare but also for your peace of mind.

Here we answer some of the main questions asked when it comes to dog travel containers.

  1. What size does my pets travel crate need to be?
  2. What material does my pet’s travel container need to be made out of?
  3. How should I ventilate the dog travel carrier?
  4. Do I need to provide food and drink for my dog during the flight?
  5. Can my dog be sedated for the flight?
  6. How can I get my dog used to the travel crate?

What size does my pets travel crate need to be?

It’s important you purchase the right sized and compliant container for your animal. Your dog needs to have enough space to turn around normally while standing, to stand and sit fully and to lie in a natural position.

Measure your pet as accurately as possible as shown in the diagram below:

Pet Travel Crate Measurements

Guidance for Dimensions of Container
The calculated dimensions are internal container dimensions. As detailed in the diagram you must measure your pooch accordingly:

A = length of animal from tip of nose to base/root of tail.
B = height from ground to elbow joint. A+1⁄2 B = length of container.
C = width across shoulders or widest point (whichever is the greater). Cx2 = width of container.
D = height of animal in natural standing position from top of the head or the ear tip to the floor (whichever is higher) / height of the container (top flat or arched)

To work out the minimum internal container dimensions for your pet you must follow the following directions:
A + ½ B = Length C x 2 + Width D = Height

Please note that snub-nosed breeds require 10% larger containers.

Also, measurements A, B, C and D for determining the container dimensions must relate to the largest animal.

If you’re planning on taking more than one animal the width of the container must be calculated as:

  • Two animals: C x 3
  • Three animals: C x 4

The height and length are determined the same as for a single animal.

What material does my pet’s travel container need to be made out of?

The IATA state that carriers made entirely of welded mesh or wire mesh are not suitable for air transport. Pet travel containers should be made primarily of Fibreglass, metal, rigid plastics, weld metal mesh, solid wood or plywood.

Rigid plastic containers are suitable for most breeds of dog but whether they are accepted is down to the airline carrier. Containers with wheels are not allowed and they will need to be removed. Some rigid plastic containers may not be suitable for large dogs or dogs that are aggressive.

How should I ventilate the dog travel carrier?

The approved container that you choose for your pup to travel in must be adequately ventilated on at least three sides, with most of the ventilation being provided on the upper part of the container. The ventilation openings must be small enough or covered with mesh in order to prevent your furry friend from escaping.

Do I need to provide food and drink for my dog during the flight?

Yes, separate food and water troughs must be provided and fixed inside the travel kennel or attached to it so that they are always accessible. They must have rounded edges and be made of non-toxic material suitable for your dog.

It’s mandatory that you affix feeding and watering instructions to the container and a copy of the instructions must accompany the shipping documents. Food will not be provided by the airline carrier and when food is forwarded with the consignment the shipper is responsible for ensuring that it does not conflict with any regulations of your destination country.

Can my dog be sedated for the flight?

The sedation of animals including dogs is not recommended unless required for specific conditions and in that case, must be carried out by a registered vet.

Sedating your pooch can be dangerous as the drug administered lowers the blood pressure, which also occurs naturally at high altitudes. The combination of altitude and drugs is potentially fatal especially within old, sick or stressed dogs.

The best ways to calm your dog for the journey is by darkening the container and putting it in a cool quiet place when not in the aircraft.

How can I get my dog used to the travel crate?

One of the most important things to do prior to your departure is preparing your pet for their flight and practising pre-flight conditioning to the new crate.

It’s imperative that your pet gets used to being inside the kennel so that they feel safe, secure and relaxed when it comes to the journey.

Make sure that you introduce your furry friend to the pet carrier gradually and with lots of positive reinforcement. Don’t force them inside or shut them in when they are anxious or stressed, yu don’t them to associate the travel carrier with a negative experience as this will make them more stressed during the flight. Praise them and reward your pet throughout the process.

Make the travel crate somewhere that they want to be, place treats, toys or their favourite bed inside. Let them come and go as they please until they are fully confident in entering and leaving the kennel.

Here at PBS Pet Travel we supply a range of airline approved pet carriers and will deliver them right to your door in plenty of time before you’re due to depart. This means that your pooch will have time to get used to their travel kennel.