As much as some dog owners would love their pooch to ride in the cabin with them during airline travel, there is only so much room available. A dog has to be able to fit in a carrier that will go under the seat in front. For owner with anything larger than a small terrier, this may be impossible. There is also the chance that your dog may not be cut out for flying in the cabin, regardless of size. In either situation, owners need a good hard sided crate to contain the dog within the cargo area. Any first time flyer considering the best option in tough, cargo-friendly carriers should consider the following.
The materials used
These carriers are hard sided for a reason. They need to be tough enough to withstand the situation. While baggage handlers should be as careful as possible with this precious cargo, it helps to have a product with strong plastic sides and a metal door. The last thing anyone wants is a stressed animal chewing through either. The strength of the materials should also carry through to the handle the ground team use to load it on and off the plane.
On the subject of security, the crate also needs to have a secure lock on the door and on other detachable components to stop animals escaping. There is a fine line between a model that is easy to take apart and assemble and one that is a little too flimsy for the job. Some of the best models can also be tied down at the corners to stop them sliding around during the flight.
The comfort of these carriers is another concern for owners that don’t really want to leave their animals in what they see as a cage. Soft-sided material options automatically seem much nicer, but just aren’t practical here. Some models come with a soft pad inside that is velcroed to the bottom for stability. Others have a little drainage moat to catch bathroom accidents. All models need to have plenty of ventilation holes for fresh air and temperature control during airline travel. The comfort inside the crate can also depend on additional items that you add yourself, such as toys and blankets.
Finally, there is the capacity of the container
There are some models that are deliberately small in scale for toy dogs in the cabin, but the majority are much bigger for larger dogs. The lack of size restriction here means that you can go for a bigger model with plenty of room for the dog to move around. They should be able to lie down to sleep, turn around and not feel too constrained in the carrier. Find the size that is best for your pet’s needs and size, but also be aware that you will need to transport this crate to the airport and baggage handlers need to be able to handle it with ease.
With the right capacity, strong materials, a comfortable environment and plenty of security features, dogs can travel in the airline cargo hold safely enough.