So you have an endless list of must have accessories for your own personal use on your trip? Well, now it’s time to get cracking on the products and accessories required if you’re travelling with your dog or cat. We bet dog crates and cat carriers aren’t the first things that spring to mind when you think of accessories for an international holiday? Sorry to burst your bubble, as if you’re flying with a pet in the cabin or hold of a plane, an IATA airline approved cat carrier or dog kennel will be top of your shopping list! Step aside hair straighteners, shoes and bags, it’s now all about canine comfort and feline good! Here, you’ll find details of accessories you should purchase for your next pet travel adventure, including IATA compliant airline dog crates.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Table of contents
- 1. Pet Carrier Travel Bag or Dog Crate
- Where Should I Purchase an IATA Airline Approved Pet Carrier?
- 2. Travel bowls for food and water
- 3. Find a remedy if your cat or dog is anxious or nervous
- 4. Protect your pet against vector-borne diseases
- 5. Don’t forget the treats!
- Related Pages
1. Pet Carrier Travel Bag or Dog Crate
Whether you’re flying your pet in the cabin, or in the hold, the airline travel kennel must comply with IATA pet crate regulations and the IATA Live Animal Regulations (LAR). These IATA pet policies provide detailed instructions for flying with cats and dogs. Note that the IATA cat and dog crate calculator determines the minimum inner dimensions allowed. Whereas, individual airlines stipulate the maximum dimensions of pet kennels in the cabin and hold.
To calculate the minimum size permitted by the IATA for your airline cat carrier or dog crate, you must follow this formula:
In order to calculate the correct IATA approved pet carrier when travelling with one animal, you must first measure your pet as follows:
A – length from tip of their nose to root of tail
B – height from ground to their elbow joint
C – width across their shoulders, or the widest point on their body (select widest measurement)
D – height in natural standing position from top of head/tip of ear (select highest) to the ground
Once you have these measurements, you can work out the minimum inner dimensions for the IATA airline approved pet carrier,
- Container length = A + ½ B
- Container width = C x 2
- Container height = D + bedding
For snub nosed breeds of cats and dogs, you must add 10% extra to your calculations. Be aware that ethical airlines don’t transport snub nosed (brachycephalic) breeds of cats and dogs in the hold of the plane.
Where Should I Purchase an IATA Airline Approved Pet Carrier?
Your travel provider will often be able to recommend a company from whom to purchase the most suitable carrier for your pet. This will usually be either a pet friendly airline, or a pet cargo courier. However, this can sometimes be more expensive.
Instead, we purchased our IATA airline approved pet carriers for Django and Arya from Amazon. The dimensions are always clearly stipulated, and some products also state the airlines that have approved each pet carrier for flights in the cabin, and in the cargo hold. You can also check out local or online pet shops to find the perfect cat carrier or dog crate that meets IATA specifications.
Check out our top 8 IATA compliant airline pet in cabin carriers for 2022.
In addition to setting the minimum dimensions for your cat carrier or dog crate when flying in the aircraft cabin or hold, IATA also enforces requirements on the design and construction of the travel kennel.
Django & Arya’s IATA Airline Pet Travel Carriers
The size of the pet carrier you will need obviously depends on the size of your dog or cat. For Arya, who’s 3kg, we purchased this carrier. The small size is suitable for cats and dogs under 5kg, and is appropriate for the cabin with most airlines. The pet carrier itself weights 1.35kg. Most pet friendly airlines also allow the medium size of the same pet travel bag, as it accommodates cats and dogs weighing up to 8kg.
It’s really important to remember that the maximum weight allowed by each airline is for the combined weight of your cat or dog and their travel crate.
As Django was 4kg and much longer than Arya, he just wouldn’t have been comfortable in the same size of dog carrier as his little sister. So it’s not just the weight of your dog or cat that you have to consider, of course, you also have to think about their dimensions to ensure their as comfortable as possible.
For Django, we used this dog carrier, as it gave him more space, whilst still adhering to IATA and airline policies.
Remember to always ensure you choose the correct size of pet carrier, taking into account the:
- maximum dimensions provided by the airline
- minimum inner dimensions from the IATA cat and dog crate calculator
- IATA design and construction rules for pet carriers
- comfort and safety of your cat or dog
The correct size of dog travel bag or cat carrier must allow your pet to stand up without touching the top of the crate, they should also be able to turn around freely, sit erect, and lay down in a natural position.
Large Airline Approved Pet Carriers & Dog Crates
If you’re dog is on the heavier end of the scales, and travelling in the hold, we can’t stress enough how important it is to adhere to both IATA, and your chosen airline’s rules for the dog crate.
Specifications vary with each airline and pet cargo courier, although they will always adhere to the IATA pet policy for cat and dog crates. So, be very clear about the type of dog travel crate or cat carrier that you’re allowed.
The airline or cargo company may try to sell you a carrier for your large dog, whilst this is convenient, be aware that it can be very expensive. As long as you’re completely clear about the size and construction required for your pet’s travel carrier, you can purchase your own. This is normally less expensive, so you can purchase a suitable dog crate, as well as any travel accessories, from an online retailer or local store. If you have your eye on a particular dog crate or cat carrier, you can always send it to the airline or cargo courier first to check if it’s suitable.
When you purchase a pet travel crate from a retailer, the product dimensions will always be stated, together with whether it’s an ‘Airline Approved Pet Carrier‘. However, ‘Airline Approval‘ simply means the crate meets IATA standards, so you must also verify that the dimensions and materials are accepted by your airline.
Remember to allow your pet to familiarise themselves with the carrier, so that travel day isn’t the first time they meet! Keep the dog travel crate or cat carrier visible around the house, letting your pet investigate at their will. If they are a bit apprehensive about entering their new pet carrier, lure them in with a few treats. Sneaky, but effective! Or leave some treats in the bag and allow your cat or dog to explore the carrier on their own. They’ll learn to associate their travel bag with positive, happy vibes. Hello there, serotonin!
2. Travel bowls for food and water
If you’re flying with your pet in the hold of a plane, food and water bowls are more than just a cat or dog travel accessory. For cats and dogs travelling in the hold, the IATA requires that your pet has foot and water bowls. The hook-on bowls also must adhere to airline criteria, and be securely attached to the pet carrier.
For those flying with a pet in the cabin, it’s not compulsory to have food and water bowls attached to the pet carrier. But, you’ll want to have at least a water bowl available incase your pet gets thirsty. In this case, a foldable water bowls perfect. We use these collapsible bowls, as they’re handy for our dogs a small drink at the airport. Not only that, but they’re useful with days out with our fur gang too.
For us, two of the collapsible pet bowls are vital cat and dog travel accessories. We don’t just use them for travel, so on holiday, one is for pet food and the other for water. It saves a wee bit of space in your suitcase!
3. Find a remedy if your cat or dog is anxious or nervous
Sometimes, another important pet travel accessory is needed if your cat or dog is anxious in new situations. In this case, it’s a good idea to speak to your vet first and foremost. They may be able to recommend a specific approach for your individual cat or dog, and a remedy to help your furry friend enjoy a stress-free journey.
Many airlines don’t accept cats or dogs in the hold that have been sedated. In addition, the IATA doesn’t allow pet sedation for flights unless it’s administered by a licensed veterinarian, and is required for medical purposes.
When first flying with Django, we purchased the Adaptil Travel Calming Spray. We also put his favourite toy in the pet carrier along with an item of our clothing, so that he had familiar scents. Together, these seemed to do the trick!
If your cat or dog suffers from travel sickness, check out or pet nausea treatment comparison.
4. Protect your pet against vector-borne diseases
In terms of cat and dog travel accessories, pet medication isn’t the most exciting item topic. But, we’re sure you’ll agree that protecting your dog or cat is absolutely vital. Wherever your destination, there’s likely to be at least one of the following pests to pets (and humans!):
As well as any vaccinations and medications that your vet may recommend, we highly recommend purchasing a Scalibor Dog Protection Band. The Scalibor Dog Collar provides 5-6 months protection from mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks and fleas. We swear by them, and wouldn’t have our pooches without one.
Scalibor collars aren’t available for cats, so if you’re travelling with a feline you may want to purchase a Seresto Cat Collar instead.
5. Don’t forget the treats!
Is there any cat or dog in existence that wouldn’t sell their soul for some treats?! Django and Arya will do anything for one of their favourites! Then, of course, once the treats are gone, they go back to ignoring everything we tell them to do! Is it the same for you?
So, during pet travel trips, when our pets are going to spend a lot of time in their dog or cat carriers, we make sure we have some extra special treats to slip to them, every now and again.
When travelling with pets, it’s important to feed them a few hours before the flight, and get the toilet trips done and dusted. But, a little treat every so often won’t give them the urge to go to the loo, just don’t give them too many!
Some of the dog treats we like to use when travelling are:
- Woolf Chicken Chunkies. Django and Arya adore these treats, we need to always have a supply or we’re in trouble. They’re already cut into perfect little pieces to give them just enough but not too much! Another favourite is the Chicken and Cod Sushi. The moment they hear the rustling of the packet, you can see their mouth watering as they wait to devour a chunk. When we’re flying with them, they most definitely forget that they’re in a dog crate 30,000 feet in the air. The perfect distraction! Woolf has some fabulous, natural, tasty pet treats in their range, so if you have a larger dog that wouldn’t appreciate a treat the size of a pea, have a look at their collection. Bet your dog falls in love with them too.
- Pooch & Mutt Calm and Relaxed dog treats. These are natural, low-calorie, gluten-free, hand-baked mini dog bone biscuits. The perfect size for small dogs. Ingredients include chamomile and l-tryptophan. Chamomile was traditionally used in ancient Greece, Egypt and beyond to aid relaxation. L-tryptophan is essential to form serotonin, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter. Giving these treats to your dog before stressful situations can help ease their anxiety, so they are a great addition to your pet travel accessory list.
Whatever way you travel, have a fabulous pet vacation, and remember to leave reviews for the pet friendly places on your itinerary!