If you’ve ever traveled with pets (or if you read this blog regularly), you’ll know that the key to safe and comfortable pet travel is in the crate. We’ve told you how to crate-train your furry friend, but before you get to that point, you might find yourself wondering what size crate your pet will need. We’ve listed 5 tips for choosing the right size crate, along with some info about why crate size matters so much.
1. Have Your Pet Try Out Crates
If your pet is comfortable enough with crates to go in and out of them freely, then try visiting a pet store with a selection of crates and let your pet model them for you. Your pet should be able to see out of the crate without ducking her head and should be able to stand comfortably. In addition, there should be enough room for your pet to turn around and lie down comfortably with her paws extended. Check out PetRelocation’s visual guide below.
2. Measure Your Pet
If your pet is still too skittish around crates to jump in and try them out for size, break out the measuring tape. Measure the length of your pet from the base of her tail to the tip of her nose, and then add 4 inches. This is how long your crate will need to be. Next, measure your pet (while she is standing) from the floor to the top of her head, and add 4 inches. This is how tall your crate will need to be. Check out the diagram below.
3. Know Standard Pet Travel Crate Sizes
Especially important if you are going to be flying with your pet at any time, professional-grade pet travel crates come in 6 standard sizes (Series #100, #200, #300, #400, #500, and #700). Reputable crate brands, such as the Petmate Sky Kennel, follow these sizes, and knowing which series number your crate is can help make planning pet air travel a bit easier. If your pet is especially large, she might need a custom-made crate or crate extensions. Once you know how tall and how long your pet's crate will need to be, simply check this chart to determine what size crate you will need to purchase.
4. Ensure Proper Ventilation
This is why crate size is so important, and why airline-approved crates have ventilation holes on all 4 sides. The more room a pet has in her crate, the better the air circulation. Ventilation is important, as pets may breathe more heavily than normal if they are anxious about traveling. Additionally, pets regulate their body temperatures by panting, so extra room to breathe can help prevent overheating. For these reasons, if your pet fits somewhere in-between two crate sizes, it is always best to get the larger size.
5. Consider Your Pet’s Breed
Because ventilation is so important when choosing the right crate size, certain breeds need more help than others. If your pet is a brachycephalic, or flat-faced, breed (such as a pug, bulldog, or Persian cat), she will be prone to breathing difficulties and will need extra room in her crate to ensure safe travel. For these breeds, follow the tips above to find out what size she should need, then buy the next largest size. For example, if Pugsy is tall and long enough to need a series #300 crate, you will need to buy her a series #400 to make sure that she has enough ventilation to safely travel in her crate.
These tips should help you determine what size crate your pet will need. You can also check out PetRelocation’s guide to Picking the Right Crate Size.
Do you have any tips for choosing the right size travel crate? Have any questions about crates? Let us know in the comments below.