If you are planning on taking your pooch with you on an airplane, you will need an airline approved pet carrier... and you need to do your homework before buying one. The term 'pet carrier' is somewhat generic so let's start by breaking things down a bit.
If you have a very small dog (such as one of the teacup breeds) then you can easily use a soft-sided carrier which is often just called a pet bag and you will be able to keep your dog with you in the cabin. If your dog is large (such as a German Shepherd or Golden Retriever) then you will actually need a hard-sided dog crate or dog cage and your pet will need to travel in the cargo section.
For the in-between sized dogs or large-breed young puppies, things get a bit more tricky. You'll need to be sure to measure the carrier, measure your dog, and check with the airline you will be using to see what their requirements are.
While airlines may vary slightly, here are some general guidelines for the sizes that will likely be accepted for in-cabin pet carriers.
Small - 16' long x 10' wide x 8.5' in height - suitable for pets up to 8 lbs Medium - 18' long x 11' wide x 10.5' in height - suitable for pets up to 16 lbs Large - 20' long x 11.75' W x 11.5' in height - suitable for pets up to 22 lbs
Never make your decision based strictly on the weight of your pet! In reality, the measurements of your animal are actually more important since your dog will need to be able to move about somewhat and be comfortable during the trip. The weight is really more for you... can you carry that much weight in a carrier as you move around the airport?
Some airline approved dog carriers have wheels which certainly makes them easier to move around as you are in transit or getting on and off the airplane. However, by design these will be fairly hard-sided which makes them larger and subsequently means they really will only be for small dogs.
If you are willing to pay the price for an extra seat, you can see if the airline will allow you to put the carrier in the seat beside you rather than having to keep it stowed under the seat in front of you. Obviously this would be the preferred choice for both you and your pet but would definitely be more expensive. And the carrier you choose would still have to meet specific airline guidelines.
Regardless of the pet carrier
you decide to get, always be sure to arrive early in case of 'issues' that arise when trying to check in. Sometimes the ground crew are not up-to-date on what the airline considers as acceptable and you may need to push the issue (politely, of course!) to be sure the airline honors their stated policies.
Over the years, has become very popular as more and more people are trying it out.
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