Whether your are shipping your dog by air or land, you will need to purchase a travel kennel or crate. A kennel ensures your dog’s safety and lets airline employees or your professional pet transporter move your dog easily and safely. A crate-trained dog feels happy and safe inside their kennel, or den, where they can relax and feel secure. Overall, a travel crate or kennel makes the transport process easier on everyone.
How Large Should My Dog Kennel Be?
Your dog’s kennel should allow them to sit, stand, lie down and turn around. Another way to look at sizing a kennel is to measure your dog and get a kennel 3 to 4 inches taller than your dog. It’s important to be as precise as possible to ensure the safety and security of your dog.
If your dog is pug-nosed, go ahead and buy one size larger than normal. These breeds need the extra space for breathing, especially if traveling by air.
What Kennel Materials Should I Look For?
Kennels for travel should be constructed from a rigid, sturdy material like wood, plastic, or metal. The typical travel kennel is a hard plastic as they are highly regarded as the safest way to transport a dog, and most airlines require a plastic kennel when transporting a dog.
If your dog is traveling in the cabin of an airplane or in a car, you may be able to use a soft-top kennel. These types of kennels, however, are not appropriate for shipping your dog in the cargo bay of an airplane.
What Kennel Features do I Need?
Your dog’s kennel should have:
- No wheels, or removable wheels
- A handle or other way to move the crate without touching the dog
- A secure latch, but no lock
- An area for an identification label
How do I Prepare My Dog’s Kennel For Travel?
Before you transport your dog, make sure to properly prepare the kennel for the shipping process. This will keep your dog safe, and help anyone that comes in contact with your dog during travel.
To prepare your dog’s kennel for transport:
- Label the kennel with “LIVE ANIMAL” tags, “THIS SIDE UP” arrows, and your contact information.
- Tape a picture of your dog along with their name to the side of the kennel.
- Add comfortable bedding to the bottom of the crate (something that smells like home will make your dog more comfortable).
- Place a food and water dish with ice cubes (or a frozen water bottle) and regular dog food inside the crate. Make sure airline employees or your pet transporter can feed and water your dog without opening the kennel door.
Content Updated: April 23, 2019 – Lisa Friedrich