How To Choose The Right Travel Kennel For Your Dog? | CitizenShipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling by air or land if you’re transporting your dog yourself or with a professional’s help – to own an appropriate travel kennel is crucial to keep your and your furry friend safe and comfortable during a trip. It can feel tempting to put your dog in the back of the car without one, but the kennel will make sure that the dog doesn’t distract the driver and protects it in case of an accident.

But what makes a carrier a suitable carrier? This article will show you everything you need to know in deciding which kennel to get for your dog! 

Choose the Right Carrier Size

One of the essential factors for the decision is the carrier’s size – it shouldn’t be too big or too small. The kennel must allow your dog to sit, stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably with its paws extended. The dog shouldn’t need to duck to look out of the kennel. Another option is to measure your dog – once from the base of their tail to the tip of their nose and once from the floor to the top of their head – and add 3-4 inches to determine how tall and long the kennel should be. If you own a pug-nosed dog, go for a size bigger as these breeds more space to allow for clear breathing. Enough air is essential if you’re flying with your dog since pug-nosed dogs are in a higher health risk group for air travel. Again, the carrier must fit your dog size for its safety and its comfort. 

Choose the Type of Crate

Hard-sided Kennels: Asuitabled travel carrier for your dog should be made out of sturdy material – it could be wood, plastic, or metal. Standart crates are usually made from plastic. If you ever consider air transport for your pet, a plastic kennel is the standard requirement of most airlines since it’s regarded as the best way for transporting a dog. Hard plastic carriers give room for your dog to move around, and they are easy to clean. Usually, hard plastic pages are the most durable, and clearly, they are also the safest! 

Soft-sided Crates: If you have a smaller dog, a soft-sided carrier might be an alternative. Some soft-sided kennels are even allowed on a plane if it fits under your seat. Usually, soft-sided kennels are designed to be portable and light, so you can easily fold them up and just take them out when needed. When choosing soft-sided kennels, pay attention to the manufacturer’s information about the size since many dog owners report that they have to go a size bigger than usual with this type of crate.

Wearable dog carriers: If you have a small light dog and just need a carrier for your city walks, a wearable dog carrier can be a good option. They come in many shapes and sizes, such as front or backpacks, and you have your hands free while your dog can watch the surroundings in its cozy package. Usually, they are washable and lightweight.

Details to Decide On

Here is an overview of the different crate styles available:

  • Entrances: It can help have several entrances to your kennel or choose an entrance style that fits the best for you and your dog. For example, some dog owners prefer a top-loading carrier, so you can lift your dog and place it directly inside. Several entrances also make it easier for your veterinarian to access the dog without removing it from the kennel.
  • Wheels: You should choose a kennel without or with removable wheels. Otherwise, you risk the safe stand of your kennel, which is the reason why carriers with wheels are not allowed on planes.
  • Area for Labeling: Whenever you travel by train, by plane, or let your professional carrier transport your dog, labeling is critical to identify your dog when it gets lost. You can attach labels in another way, but it’s even handier if the kennel of your choice already has an area for labeling. 
  • Latch: Make sure the latch is sturdy and can easily be secured. Sliding plastic locks can be a great option because they are easy to handle after getting used to them and relatively quiet.

How to Decide?

Ensure that your kennel has the right size, is well ventilated, and gives your dog the chance to observe the outside world. A suitable carrier is the second home of your dog outside the house, and it’s your dogs’ safe space in stressful traveling situations. It should be comfortable and easy to handle. Take the kennels you consider into your hand, test all of their functions, check which one feels intuitive to use, and think which kennel fits your needs – Do you travel a lot? Do you consider traveling by plane with your dog? Do you need it for cruising in the city?

How to Prepare the Kennel for Your Pet?

First du you should make sure that you have appropriate bedding for your dog. Blankets, towels, or special beddings for dogs are great options to transform a crate into a cozy second home. You should consider putting an occupying chewing toy in the kennel before you start your journey. Depending on the travel’s length and type, you can place dishes in the kennel attached to the door for food and water. This is mainly relevant when your dog is traveling without you with a professional shipper or in the plane’s cargo area where the flight personal has to take care of them and feed your dog without opening the carrier.

In that case, it’s essential that you correctly label the page with your contact information, the name and a current picture of your dog, and every particular need your pet might have. Specifically for cargo flying, you should add the tags saying “LIVE ANIMAL” and “THIS SIDE UP.” You might also want to attach feeding directions. Qualified pet transport professionals, like the transporters of CitizenShipper, will give you all the information you need in case you still feel insecure about which kennel you need and how to prepare it in case of a cargo flight. 

But the most important thing for the preparation is to get your dog used to its kennel, so it’s already familiar with it as a safe space before encountering intense travel circumstances. If your dog learns that the crate is a positive environment, you’re ready for a safe journey!

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