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Read About Airline Approved Dog Carriers


Airline approved dog carriers are a must for anyone flying with their favorite canine companion. While each airline’s particular policies may vary somewhat, most U.S. carriers adhere closely to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations regarding the size of the dog carrier.

When choosing an airline approved dog carrier, making sure that is the proper size for your pet is critical. The dog should have enough room to stand, turn, and lie down. Airline approved dog carriers must have a latch that closes securely and cannot require any special tools to open or close. Most airlines do not allow more than one adult dog or more than two puppies (younger than 6 months and weighing less than 20 pounds each) in a dog carrier.

Always ensure that your dog carrier is constructed of sturdy material so that your dog will not be able to escape. It should be properly ventilated so that your dog receives plenty of fresh air. Do not place a lock on your dog carrier, as airline personnel need to be able to remove your dog in the event of an emergency.

Few, if any, airline approved dog carriers allow wheels. If your carrier has wheels you will need to determine whether they can be removed before you bring the carrier to the airport. If not, you will likely need to purchase a new carrier.

Check with your specific airline about any size restrictions, especially if you have a very large dog. Some airlines that operate small planes on particular routes will not be able to accommodate very large carriers on all routes. If your dog’s carrier is too large to travel on the same plane on which you are flying, the airline may re-route the dog on routes with appropriate equipment. Be sure you ask your airline whether or not your dog will be on the same flights that you will be taking.

Some dogs may need to spend a little time getting used to their airline approved dog carrier, but many take to them readily. Be patient while training your dog and remember that the time you spend training early will continue to pay off, for you and your dog, his whole life. Begin getting your dog used to his carrier well in advance of your planned flight. If your dog is reluctant to spend time in his carrier, do not force him into it. Leave the door open, allowing him to explore at his own pace. Consider placing treats in the carrier occasionally, to encourage him to go inside.

While specific regulations can vary by company, most airline approved dog carriers meet the standards established by the USDA or the International Airline Transportation Association (IATA).