How to Pick the Right Size of Dog Crate for Your Dog to Fly

Written by annabelle lee
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How to Pick the Right Size of Dog Crate for Your Dog to Fly
If your dog is flying to your next vacation destination with you, be sure to pick the right size crate for travel. (Dog image by Miron Kostiukov from

There are a wide variety of dog crates and carriers approved by airlines. Many airlines offer the opportunity for small dogs to be checked as carry-on luggage as long as the carrier is airline approved. If you have a small dog, you will need to check with the airline for dog weight and size requirements to travel as carry-on. Whether the dog will be in the cabin with you or in the pressure and temperature controlled cabin reserved for pets, you will be need to pick the right size crate for your dog to fly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Measure your pet from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail. Do not measure all the way to the tip of the tail. Measure your dog from the top of the head to the ground. Airlines require your dog be able to stand up and turn around freely within the confines of the crate. Also measure the width of your dog. Write down the measurements.

  2. 2

    Determine the correct crate size. Crates range from small to giant. For dogs 16 inches long by 10 inches wide by 11 inches tall you need a size small crate. Dogs that are 18 inches long by 14 inches wide by 13 inches tall will need a junior size crate. If the dog is 21 inches long by 16 inches wide by 17 inches tall, you will need to purchase a medium size crate. For dogs 23 inches long by 20 inches wide by 21 inches tall you will need an intermediate size crate. If your dog is 29 inches long by 24 inches wide by 27 inches tall, you will need a large size crate. Purchase an extra-large size crate if your dog is 32 inches long by 26 inches wide by 29 inches tall. You will need a giant size crate if your dog measures 43 inches long by 31 inches wide by 34 inches tall.

  3. 3

    Ensure that the crate is plenty large. If your dog's size is borderline between sizes, go with the larger of the two sizes.

  4. 4

    Check for a sticker on the box that says the crate is IATA (International Air Transport Association) compliant. The airline will only allow you to use crates that meet their specifications.

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