Choosing the right size of crate for your dog is essential for a number of reasons:
A dog crate that is too small will make for an uncomfortable journey for your pet
A dog crate that is too large may provide too much space for your pet, meaning that can harm themselves during transit
In addition to this, airlines have very strict guidelines pertaining to dog crate dimensions. As a result, if you’re looking for an airline-approved dog crate to take your pet abroad in you’ll need to be even more careful.
But what size dog crate do you need?
Measuring Your Dog
The first step in deciding on what size dog crate you need is to measure your pet. There are a number of measurements that you will need, and each dimension should be measured with a straight measuring tape (i.e. not following the contours of your dog’s body).
Here are the dimensions you’ll need:
- Body length – excluding the tail, unless your dog has a particularly stiff tail that doesn’t bend easily
- The distance from your dog’s elbow to the ground
- Your dog’s body at its widest point
- Overall height – from the ground to either the top of your dog’s head or its ears (such as a Doberman with cropped ears) – whichever is higher
The following image provides a good guide to measuring your dog:
With these measurements complete we are ready to calculate the overall size of the travelling crate that your dog requires.
Transforming Measurements into Dog Crate Dimensions
The exact measurements of the crate required really depend on how far your dog will be travelling. So, in general, dogs on international flights will require slightly more space than those on domestic flights. In terms of dog crates for the back of your car it is advisable to use the domestic flight dimensions.
Here’s how to calculate what size dog crate you need for domestic flights:
- Dog Crate Length: overall length (a) plus half the length of your dog’s legs (1/2 of b)
- Dog Crate Width: your dog’s widest part multiplied by two (c x 2)
- Dog Crate Height: overall height (d)
Here’s how to calculate what size dog crate you need for international flights:
- Dog Crate Length: overall length (a) plus the length of your dog’s legs (b)
- Dog Crate Width: your dog’s widest part plus one inch multiplied by two (c+1 x 2)
- Dog Crate Height: overall height + 3 inches (d + 3)
In reality once you’ve calculated these specific dimensions there are very low odds that you’ll find a dog crate that perfectly matches your required dimensions. If in doubt it is better to go slightly larger than smaller. So, for example, it is better for your dog to have a few spare inches above his or her head when standing up, rather than being forced to crouch down throughout the journey.