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? — 74 Comments

  1. Valesia – enforcement is very hard to predict; however, we find that inadequate height can be a problem. You want your dog to be comfortable when traveling and so do the airlines. If your dog can stand up with its head up without touching the top of the crate and turn around comfortably, there should not be a problem, but again, the check-in agent will make the decision.

  2. Hi, I want to travel with my dog to Canada, Toronto. According to measurements my dog need a cage 1,20cm. (His original body size is: length – 1,03cm and elbow height – 0,34cm). I have a cage with length 1,18cm. Will they find out that is 0,02cm shorter than the normal or is it ok?
    He can lay down and turn around easily. Thank you

  3. Debbie – your Yorkies must conform to regulations as stated here: Current rabies vaccinations administered after a microchip is implanted and not sooner than 21 days before travel are the only vaccinations listed in EU legislation.

    Once landed, your puppies will be collected by either a licensed agent or an employee of the Animal Reception Center (ARC) and taken to the ARC for processing. That is where you will claim them. The ARC at Heathrow is located on airport property; however, it is not in the terminal.

  4. I have 2 Yorkshire Terrier puppies who will be travelling from Bermuda to England with me. I have 2 questions (i) what vaccinations do they require to enter UK and (ii) once I get to UK where do I go to pick them up once they have cleared customs?

  5. Linda – it really depends on your specific route. We base any recommendation that we provide on who serves the route most efficiently and avoids countries that will create problems for pet travelers, and also those with inconsistencies in handling pets. If you provide your origination and destination city, we can take a look at your route.

  6. Is there a preferred airline to transport a dog from New Zealand to the United States? I am looking to fly a Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle mix. What issues if any do you anticipate. He is over a year old now.

  7. I am looking to fly a Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle mix to the United States. What issues if any do you anticipate. He is over a year old now.

  8. Magdalena – your first challenge will be finding an airine that flies the entire route. As Lebanon is considered a high-rabies country, you will need to avoid laying over in the EU as the kitties will all need chips, rabies vaccinations and titer tests which will take months to do. You can check with Egypt Air or Turkish Airines as to how many kittens will be allowed in a carrier. Generally it is one or two. Both airlines will get you from Beirut to Toronto.

  9. Hello! I would really love and appreciate your help!
    My husband and I had adopted 2 cats before we rescued 3 orphaned kittens and raised them all as our own. Now we have 5 cats we love so much and we want to take them all with us from Lebanon to Canada once we receive our immigration visa and it is time to go (in a few months; probably in Spring).

    The problem is that we have no idea how we can get them on the plane with us and through the trip all the way to Canada. Are we allowed to if 3 more family members go with us? What airlines? Etc. We really really want to avoid having to put them in animal cargo for 17 hours; we are worried about their safety and wellbeing because we were told that the conditions there are horrible.

    Please excuse my very long text… I’m just a concerned cat mama, longing for answers that could ease my worries.

    Thank you for everything

  10. Shara – there are no requirements for temperature regulation crates. This is a common ask from a pet scammer. Do not send them any money. There is no pet coming.

  11. Should Huskies pups ever require temperature regulation crate in australia.. this company isnt online and only emails..

  12. Cynthia – are you researching airlines flying out of Lima? Are you speaking with the airline’s cargo department? Have you contacted Copa, Avianca and LATAM Peru?

  13. Hello, I am traveling from Peru to Miami with my golden retriver that is 79.36 pounds and her crate is 38.1 Lb. The airles says the max weight between the crate and the pet cant exceed 101 lb. Are there any way I can bring can dog? Can somebody help me ?

  14. Cinthia – your Lab will need to fly in a crate similar to the ones shown here: As to routing, you need to stay on the same airline for the entire flight. You may want to consider Lufthansa through FRA or KLM through AMS. As long as your Lab stays on the same airline and the layover is not over 3 hours, the airline will transit it as checked baggage through the layover country. Be sure and avoid London as a layover city.

  15. Hello,
    I have a 6 year old Labrador that I want to flight from Mexico to Ireland. Could you recommend a kennel? and which country will be better to have the connection flight?
    Best regards.

  16. You can discuss this with your airline’s cargo department. The crate must conform to IATA LAR Container Requirement 11D. The only other option would be a metal crate, but that is likely overkill. The ventilation holes must not be big enough to get the beak through.

  17. If I customized my own crate, where would I take it to be inspected or approved? You have to understand, a macaw uses 2X4’s as chew toys and devours them in no time, a wooden cage for an 18+ hour flight wouldn’t stand a chance. His favorite food is brazil nuts in the shell. You are correct that beak is destructive.

  18. Mr. McCleign – the crate should be made out of wood and must have a round perch or rails affixed to the floor. The openings must be covered by an open-weave cloth like cheese cloth. Water bowl just have flanged sides and be small enough so that the bird cannot wet itself. Seed can be provided depending on the length of the trip. If your agent is having the crate made of wood, then the price may be justifiable. We would not recommend customizing a plastic crate for this species due to their powerful beak.

  19. Are there special adaptions that have to be made to a kennel when a macaw is being shipped? I know he needs an extra large kennel, but the Pet Relocation company is charging me $800 for this crate. Can I buy the kennel and make the adaptions myself?

  20. NO, this is a classic sign of a pet scammer. The airlines will not permit a crate with any type of fan or temperature control device on it.


  22. Lorrae – bunnies can fly on planes, and can fly in the cabin on WestJet. (not many airlines will allow rabbits in the cabin.) If you are not flying with the pet, then it must fly as air cargo.

  23. Hey, I am just curious about flying with a bunny. I live in Saskatchewan and found the bunny I want but its only in Ontario.
    1. are they allowed on planes?
    2. would that be to hard of a flight for a bunny under 6 months of age?

  24. Ana – very likely BA will not transport your Bull Terrier as it is considered a dangerous dog. United will require a CR82 crate. Iberia will transport them as air cargo as long as they are muzzled. You can also try Swiss Air.

  25. Hi ! I live in Brazil and I am moving to UK on the next few months. I have a 6 years old Stafford Shire Bull Terrier and his weight is 20 kilos.
    I have just bought a PET MATE ULTRA VARI KENNEL according to IATA requirements and I now i have just read the some airlines also requires a IATA CR 8-2 related to some breeds considered aggressive. My dog is not aggressive at all, but I am afraid he will not be able to travel with the pet mate ultra vary kennel. Could you please help me clarifying if British airlines also requires a IATA CR 82 for sttaford shire ? would you be able to tell me which others airlines could accept this kennel i have bought? I really would appreciate to have any help. Thanks in advance ! Kind regards !!!

  26. Ryan – you can find requirements to import your dog to the Philippines here and there are links to further instructions and forms if you need them: The cost will depend on the size and weight of your dog, the airline you choose, your route and whether it is flying as checked baggage or unaccompanied air cargo. It is best to look for an airline that flies the entire route and contact them for the cost.

  27. I have a 95lb dog that I wish to take with me to the philippines, do you have any idea how much will they charge me?

  28. Wanda – there is no such thing as an electronic crate. We suspect that you may be involved in a pet scam. Do you know your breeder? Did you buy the puppy over the internet and wire money or purchase a cash card for it?

  29. i gota dog from sterling VIRGINIA HOW Can i get it shipped from there to tulsa okla does it really need a electronic crate

  30. Hello,
    I called my airlines and they said that they will verify if the crate is IATA compliant by checking a sticker/mark that shown that the crates are IATA compliant.
    Can you help me with this? thank you

  31. Kylie – many airlines including United will require that an agent book the transport to Australia due to the complexity of their regulations. The preferred airline would be the one that flies your specific route most efficiently and with the least amount of layovers. We fly our pets out of LAX after a night of rest. :o)

  32. We have not shipped a bird in a temperature controlled crate. Amphibians need assistance with the temperatures. Have you purchased this bird or is it your bird and you are traveling with it?

  33. Hi Brenda – the Philippines do not require that dogs and cats enter the country in the cargo hold; however, there are not as many Asia-based airlines that will allow it. Korean Air and Asiana will. Not sure if they serve your route. There is a cost for pets traveling in the cabin as well as checked baggage (in the hold), but the fee is much less than if traveling as air cargo.

  34. im traveling with my persian cat from Thailand to Philippines….is she allow in the cabin….and does it cost extra than in cargo? first time traveller here.please help….

  35. Wendy – it should have a sturdy (stiff) bottom and you should have several pet pads in it. The measurements should be such that it can fit under the seat in front of you. If you are in doubt, contact your airline and ask them how much room there is on the aircraft that is serving your route. Window seats are best.

  36. I have a small soft sided pet carrier for my dog. She fits in it and can turn around no problem. Would it be accepted as i don’t think it has a water proof bottom in the cabin?

  37. I have 4 months labrador and i would like to buy her a crate. Is it allowed to buy an adult size crate? so i can use it later when she get big.

  38. M K – this is a good question for your airline. Some will accept 2 small kittens in one carrier as long as there is enough room for them. Some will not.

  39. Can I use one crate for two kittens? Or do they each need their own carrier. They are still very small.

  40. Andres – Ontario province will not accept your dog’s breed. Toronto city also has banned it. Montreal has dangerous dog legislation that is currently been delayed. We are not aware of other laws in Canada. Many airlines will not accept your dog or require that it travel in a metal crate. Before booking your flight, you should discuss your pet’s breed with the airlines.

  41. Hi I would like to travel to canada with my dog he is a blue nose pitbull but I figure out that the breed would be a problem in there, I would appreciate any advice about how to fly with it.. with out troubles.

    Thank you very much…

  42. To whom it may concern, I want to take my dog from USA to Macedonia. Can you please tell me do I need any form and if so what is called. Greatly appreciated, Please get back to me ASAP. Thank you in advance.

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