Airline Cargo Pet Crates: Is Your Dog or Cat Crate IATA Compliant?

pet crateIf 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.

pet crate cornersAll 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.

pet crate forklift riser ridgeOn 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.

pet crate door hingesOne 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.

See more information on CR 82 crates for dangerous dog breeds.

All crates and accessories mentioned here can be found at


Airline Cargo Pet Crates: Is Your Dog or Cat Crate IATA Compliant? — 84 Comments

  1. Let – unfortunately, you are involved in a pet scam. All pet crates must be ventilated according to IATA regulations and they do not cost anywhere near $990. Air Canada is not flying pets currently as air cargo. Canadair was a manufacturer of military aircraft. We would highly recommend that you do not send these people any more money. They will threaten you but they are the robbers. You can turn their information in at

  2. Hi, I purchased a puppy who is 10 weeks old from Wisconsin and am having them ship it to me via Canadair. They keep charging me for things they should have known prior to departure. The puppy is now in Phoenix and they want to charge me $990 for a ventilated crate. If I don’t pay it the puppy will go into quarantine, is that correct?

  3. Hi, I have brand new different sizes IATA certificated containers for carrying pets. My Location is Azerbaijan, Baku. If someone is interested, can contact me via WhatsApp +994502300399.

  4. Who need to fill in UK live Cargo Annex 5 Form i am traveling from Malaysia to edinburgh in april 2021. thanks

  5. David – it is not necessary to stop in Heathrow as Edinburgh is an approved border inspection post. Your pet will need to enter any UK border inspection post as air cargo, however, and you will need the assistance of an agent to book transport. If you are flying from the US, we can assist you with booking. If you are flying out of another country, then you can search for an agent at

  6. we hope to transport our oldish frightened house cat by plane from malaga to Edinburgh. Does Iberia do the trip without a stop or is it mandatory to stop first in Heathrow? We will not be travelling until March 2021

  7. Bob – the answer to your question depends on your airline’s pet policies. Most airlines will allow two pets of the same species and known to eachother in the same crate (there are weight requirements). We would suggest that you contact your airline and request that your cats can fly together. Although they do not publish as such, sometimes exceptions are granted.

  8. I’m traveling from the US to Kenya with 3 cats; they are siblings and have been together since birth. Will I be able to put them all into the same large crate (as I do normally) or will I need 3 crates? If one crate, what size will it have to be? They range between 16-19in nose tip to tail base.

  9. Joe – not sure where you are currently located. If you do not have pet stores, then check online. We have them in our store, however, shipping to Australia (if that is where you are) would be very expensive. Also, if your pup is flat-nosed, Emirates may not fly it in the cargo hold as they will not fly flat-nosed breeds. You should discuss this with Emirates. If accepted, your pup may travel with you as checked baggage. Some countries will require that it enter as air cargo.

  10. Where can we get a crate for our dog to travel with us with the Emirates Airline its a maltese shi tzu and weigh around 5 kg.

    Does the airline provide that crate with a cost of course and how much !!

    if not where can we get a crate ?

  11. Cristina – you can find requirements to import your pet to Spain here; Note that Brexit will likely change these requirements if you are traveling after October 31, 2019 unless Brexit is again extended. If an extension is granted by the UK and EU, then your pet dog, cat or ferret will need a UK Pet Passport reflecting current rabies vaccination administered after a microchip is implanted and not sooner than 21 days before travel. If the UK leaves the EU with a deal classifying it as a “listed Third Country,” then an EU health certificate will be required. If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, then a rabies titer test administered 3 months prior to entering the EU will be required.

  12. Good evening, I need to travel with my pet from the UK to Spain and I have inquiries about the necessary requirements for my pet can fly.
    thank you

  13. Michelle – you can contact the airline but likely they will not be able to service your cat with a 2 hour layover. Several things: it is wise to taper down your cat’s food intact in advance of travel. The less food that your cat has in its system, the better it will travel. Do not limit access to water. Secondly, get a good, thick pet pad that will wick moisture away from your cat. Yes, it may eliminate in its crate, but better that it arrives safely. Know that cats are most at risk when taken out of their crate.

  14. Hi, I will be bringing my cat back to Singapore from Toronto (15 hours) then transit (2 hours) in Taiwan before flying back to Singapore (4 hours). I am worried about the pee, poop, food and water issue during the flight times as the cat will be in the cargo area and I will have no access to it even during the 2 hours transit time. What should I do? Please help?

  15. I’m transporting my cat tomorrow as checked baggage for a 2 hour + 13 hour flight. The airline website states I can put an absorbent material at the bottom such as a blanket, pee pad or newspaper but not straw. I have a pee pad and a towel he likes sleeping on but the person who sold the crate said I should absolutely not put a towel — if the cat panics and becomes frantic, he could get caught up in it and strangle. She said just place a pee pad down, no tape which she said is also a hazard. The problem is, having flown with the cat in cabin before, he just tears the pee pad apart. it’s a long flight so something soft would make him more comfortable. So confused as to what to do. Just the pee pad, not taped down? Tape it down? A small towel?

  16. Mercedes – having a door on the side of the crate will render it non-compliant with IATA Live Animal Regulations. As 95% of the world’s airlines abide by IATA regulations, we would anticipate it would not be accepted. If you are flying a non-US-based airline, you can contact their cargo department to confirm.

  17. Hello, I have a GIANT sized shipping crate, that meets all requirements, however it has two metal doors. One in the front, and one on the long side of the crate. Is this within regulations? I do not see anything deeming this unacceptable. Thank you!

  18. Gorden – no, the airlines will not accept this type of crate, even if there is one. Unfortunately, this is a common thing that pet scammers mention. We believe that you are involved in a pet scam. We would need additional details to confirm.

  19. I was told that shippng a dog from Texas requiers an airconditioned crate . Is this right?

  20. Rob – if your crate has the wide clips that connect the top and bottom of the crate, then you may want to consider drilling holes in the corners and inserting metal hardware, at a minimum. More and more airlines are requiring metal hardware of some sort, especially for medium to large pets. The door should be cable-tied in each corner once your check-agent has inspected the crate. All of this is to help prevent the crate being comprimised should (heaven forbid) it is dropped. The last thing you need is to have your pet escape the crate.

  21. Hi Administrators,
    I was wondering if all pet crates are required to have those locking pins, and if any other alternate locking mechanisms are allowed. Do the requirements of a pet crate have to include the locking pins, or can any other locking mechanism be allowed, as long as the door of the crate is not compromised in any other way? Thank you for your time.

  22. Johanna – the answer to your question depends on the airways policies and the type of aircraft that serve your route. British Airways will not transport a Series 100 crate on any of their aircraft; however, we have not seen across-the-board bans on them from other airlines. Best to find an airline that serves your route entirely and as directly as possible and contact them to discuss crate requirements on the aircraft serving your route.

  23. Hello, I am moving from the US to Kuwait in August. I am taking a small cat (7 lbs.). I’ve heard there’s a minimum cage requirement I need on certain airlines. I want to get a 21x16x15 100 series, but some websites say this is too small for certain airlines, even for a cat. It seems pretty big, as even an xs would probably fit her. What size should I get? Thank you.

  24. I will be transporting my dogs internationally and one of them has separation anxiety and we need an indestructible crate. We would like an Impact Dog Crate and the website says they are IATA compliant. The issue I am having is when I measure my medium sized dog, the IATA regulations say I need a crate 111cm in length but Impact dog crates only have that length for their extra large dogs which would be three sizes too big of a crate for my pup. The size they say my dog needs is 103cm in length. I am not sure what to do. is less than 10cms going to be an issue?

  25. Rohina – your African Grey parrots are covered by CITES regulations so you will need permits issued by the government agency that handles wildlife imports and exports in Pakistan. As we do not have information on requirements for importing birds to Azerbaijan, we would suggest that you contact their Ministry of Agriculture for that information: Phone: 493-08-84; 493-37-45 or E-mail: Their website is

  26. hi Admin!
    i am Rohina from Pakistan and i am moving with my family to Azerbaijan(Baku) a pair of African grey parrots are a part of family.Is here anyway to to keep them with us ? i tried so hard to know the rules and regulations but no one knows exactly about African grey travelling department in Pakistan . they are vaccinated last week for traveling,health certificate and DNA certificate are all done.
    thank you !

  27. Werner – due to the regulations of commercial airlines, all live animals arriving in South Africa by air must do so as air cargo, so you will need to contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route for cost and check-in details. Your dog must be checked in at your airline’s cargo facility.

    Some other things to consider: before leaving Spain, you need to have your GS/Lab microchipped, then vaccinated for rabies, wait for at least 30 days and have a rabies titer test (FAVN) done. The results must be entered in your dog’s EU Pet Passport. You will need the test to re-enter Spain. If your dog does not have it, then it must get it in SA and wait for 3 calendar months before returning to the EU.

    You can find requirements to import your dog to South Africa here and there are links to further instructions and forms if you need them: There are blood tests that must be done within 30 days of travel. It is important to have these done correctly in order to avoid quarantine.

    As for your dog’s crate, you can find a chart for measuring your dog for a standard crate here: If your dog does not fit in a standard crate, you will need to have one made. You can get more information about that from the cargo department of your airline.

  28. Hi Susan,

    I just adopted ‘my new son’ and would like to visit my family in South Africa over December. It would be unfair having him stay in Barcelona with a nanny or Dog Hotel. He is not Cabin Size, he is maybe size of German Shepard/Labrador and weighs about 35kg according to the Vet. I sometimes fly with Lufthansa (transit in Germany) and sometimes Emirates (but this layover is very long). Do you perhaps know the regulations (or where can find) or any recommendations for flying him with me from Barcelona to South Africa. I will also need the BIG Crate for him. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

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