May 23, 2016
Recommendations on Dog Crates for Traveling
If you are traveling via car or via plane, you should get yourself a hard plastic crate.
I am not going to go over the specifics of which one you should get. Ideally you should visit the websites of airline carriers you often use to review their specific requirements about the size of crate you should get or your dog. Get one to the specifications of the airlines for your dog and do not try to use one bigger than required for your dog's comfort. Staff may spot it and deny your dog passage. Something to think about.
Chances are most airline flights you will being taking with your dog will be within your own country and you will find the requirements between national and international flights are slightly different.
Most of the time, airlines will only require ventilation holes, besides the wire gate/door at the front, only on the sides of the crate and not in the back. Most international flights will also require holes in the back as well. If you are in the situation where your crate meets the requirement for national flights and require the extra holes in the back as well. Save money and drill holes in the back of crate. File the edges and it should now meet the international requirements. And, there should be no reason why the same crate could not still be used for all your regular flights.
Regarding water in a water dish, check with your airline for specific details. Most will let you provide water for the dog. If that is the case, I recommend freezing a big block of ice (that will fit in the dish) so it is less messy for your dog and lasts longer.
Make sure to get "Live Animal" stickers for your crate when traveling by air and put them on.
If you have a small dog and a small dog airline approved carry-on bag, and your airlines is ok with bringing your dog with you on the plane, bring along pre-printed sheets of paper and tape with you with the words "No Animal inside" or "This crate contains no live animal". This way your dog goes along with you and you can fill-up the crate with stuff to take home; plus you will not be charge an extra fee for live animal in the cargo.
When I travel with one of my small dogs on a plane, I might take an airline approved carry-on bag and a hard plastic crate as well. The plastic crate will serve many purposes: a crate when the dog cannot be supervised, a crate for the night, a crate when traveling in a vehicle, and on the plane.
And what if you are only planning on traveling by car? I would highly recommend using a hard plastic crate as well. There are countless stories of people who might only use a wire-mesh crate, if they use anything at all, to later see how their light wire-mesh crate crumpled up after a car accident. Chances are your dog may not survive a car crash with a wire-mesh crate. Something to think about the next time you hop into your car with your dog.