If your dog or cat will be flying in the cargo hold of an airplane, then the pet crate it will travel in will be subject to International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations for the transport of live animals.
If you have a crate for your pet, here are the requirements that your airline will be looking for when you check in your pet.
Your crate must be a closed container made of fiberglass, metal, rigid plastic, solid wood or plywood. This article will address rigid, plastic pet crates only. The specs for wooden crates depend on the animal being transported.
You should select your crate according to your pet’s measurements. Your cat or dog must be able to stand up and turn around in the crate. More details on measuring your pet for its crate.
Your pet crate must be well constructed and able to withstand freight activities. Your dog or cat is most at risk during travel if your crate is damaged allowing your pet to escape.
All hardware required to secure both halves of the crate must be present and installed. Most crates come with sturdy plastic hardware. Many airlines will require that your pet’s crate be secured with metal hardware. Openings should be present on each corner of the crate allowing the door to be zip-tied closed.
The interior of your dog or cat crate must have no sharp edges or protrusions that could cause injury to your pet. Do not put any toys, chews or other items in the crate with your pet.
The floor of the crate must be clean, leak-proof and solid. Absorbent bedding such as a pet pad must be provided. Pet owners should be aware of restrictions imposed on their destination country – straw, litter or wood chips are not advisable. Wheels must be disabled or removed prior to check-in.
The sides must be solid with adequate openings over the upper two thirds of the crate measuring a minimum of 1″ (2.5 cm) for ventilation. Openings must be 4″ (10 cm) apart (center to center). There must also be ventilation holes on the fourth side if your dog or cat is traveling internationally.
On larger crates where the total weight exceeding 132 pounds (60 kg), then 2″ thick (5cm) forklift spacers running down the sides of the crate are required. Smaller crates should be equipped with handles or means for handlers to move the crate safely.
The roof of your pet crate must also be strong. Ventilation holes are permitted but not if they compromise the strength of the roof.
One end of the crate must be fully open for a door which can be sliding or hinged. Thick, welded metal mesh must have openings that are nose and paw proof. This will mean openings in the mesh of no more than 3/4″ (19mm) for cats and 1″ (25mm) for dogs. The door can also be made of plastic if the hinges and locking pins are metal and there is no way your dog or cat can compromise the strength of the crate door. The door hinge and locking pins must be seated in the container a minimum of 5/8″ (1.6 cm) above and below the door opening.
Water/food bowls must be present and accessible to handlers to refill. Bowls that attach to the door of the crate are ideal for this purpose.
Crates must be labeled with Live Animal Stickers as well as a Shipper’s Declaration sticker with feeding and watering instructions.
All crates and accessories mentioned here can be found at PetTravelStore.com.