Bringing Pets To Hawaii, Step 6: Kennel

Posted Aug 10, 2011 at 5:37pm
Petmate Sky Kennel image linkFor pets traveling in the baggage/cargo hold, the Petmate Sky Kennel meets the requirements of most airlines and the IATA.

Step 1: Prohibited Animals
Step 2: Vaccinations
Step 3: Microchip
Step 4: Blood Test
Step 5: Flight Booking

Step 6: Kennel

Once you’ve booked your pet’s flight(s) to Hawaii and know which airline(s) you’ll be using, visit the airline’s website and read their rules regarding pet kennels (the “crate” or “carrier” that your pet will be secured inside of during its flight). If your journey will consist of more than one flight and your pet is allowed to ride in the passenger cabin on any flights before the flight to Hawaii, definitely use this option for your pet’s safety (especially if your pet is a short-nosed breed). In this case, you will need two different kennels: a soft-sided type to use in the passenger cabin, and a hard-sided type to use in the baggage/cargo hold. Read your airline’s requirements for both types.

Here are links to the pet rules for some commonly used airlines:

Size Of Kennel

Most airlines require your kennel to be large enough so that your pet can stand inside of it, turn around, and lie down. Here’s an excellent guide to help you choose the right size of kennel for your pet — it refers to the Petmate models mentioned below, but also offers a formula for calculating the minimum dimensions your pet needs for any brand of kennel.

If you’re trying to decide between two sizes, go with the larger size to ensure your pet has adequate ventilation and space to move.

NOTE: If your pet is a short-nosed breed (e.g., bulldog, pug, Persian cat, etc.), it is recommended you buy a kennel that’s 1-2 sizes larger than normal, to help prevent your pet from becoming overheated.

Recommended Kennel Brands & Models

If you are looking to buy a kennel, beware of manufacturer claims that a certain brand/model is “airline approved.” Many of these claims aren’t true for all airlines or all types of flights (i.e., domestic, international).

However, the models below DO meet the requirements of most airlines and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and I highly recommend them:

Kennels being used in baggage/cargo hold (only the sizes specified below meet most airlines’ requirements):

  • Petmate Sky Kennel: Small, Medium, Intermediate, Large, X-Large, and Giant.
  • Petmate Vari-Kennel Ultra: Only the Medium, Intermediate, Large, and X-Large sizes. The Small and Giant sizes haven’t been updated to the “Ultra” model yet, so those sizes still don’t have ventilation on all four sides or holes for zip-ties around the door. For those two sizes, buy the Sky Kennel (above) or the Grreat Choice (below) instead.
  • PetSmart’s Grreat Choice Dog/Cat Carrier: X-Small, Small, Medium, Medium/Intermediate, Large, and X-Large. (NOTE: The X-Small and Small sizes have doors that are too small for two separate food/water cups to be attached side-by-side. A divided cup would fit, though.)

Kennels being used in passenger cabin (only the sizes specified below meet most airlines’ requirements):

Required Kennel Features

If you are planning to use a kennel you already have or build your own kennel, it must have the features below to comply with most airlines’ requirements. If the kennel you already have is missing one or more of these features, there are ways you can modify it to comply with most airlines’ requirements.

Kennels being used in passenger cabin:

  • Large enough so that your pet can stand inside of it, turn around, and lie down
  • Leak-proof and escape-proof

Kennels being used in baggage/cargo hold:

  • Large enough so that your pet can stand inside of it, turn around, and lie down
  • Leak-proof and escape-proof
  • Made of heavy-duty material, such as thick plastic, wood, or metal (no metal wire cages, though)
  • 1-inch spacer bar around the kennel
  • Held together with metal bolts
  • One metal door that fastens securely and is not located on top of the kennel
  • Food and water cups (or a single divided cup) that are able be attached inside the door so your pet can be given food and water without opening the door
  • Small hole near each corner of the door for inserting cable-ties to secure the door closed
  • Ventilation on all four sides (including door) that equals at least 16 percent of the kennel’s total surface area

Non-Compliant Kennel Features

If the kennel you are planning to use has any of the features below, it will not be accepted by most airlines. You will have to modify the kennel or buy a new one. This excellent article has helpful photos of these non-compliant kennel features.

  • Made entirely of metal wire caging (a metal wire door is OK, though)
  • Held together with plastic pegs, dial/twist latches, or snap-together attachments
  • Collapsible or foldable (OK for use in passenger cabin, though)
  • Wheels
  • Plastic door
  • Top-opening door
  • More than one door
  • Battery-powered fan
  • Dry ice

Preparing Your Pet’s Kennel

Once you have a kennel that’s the correct size for your pet and that has all the required features (and none of the non-compliant ones), you’ll need to do a few more things to completely prepare it for moving day…

Kennels being used in passenger cabin:
DryFur ad

  • Add absorbent material to the bottom of the kennel (no straw, hay, or wood shavings). Based on first-hand experience, I highly recommend using DryFur Travel Pads:
    • Petite: will fit kennels with floors measuring from 10.5 x 4.5 – 13.5  x 8.5 inches
    • Small: will fit kennels with floors measuring from 15.5 x 8.5 – 19.5 x 12.5 inches

Kennels being used in baggage/cargo hold:

  • Based on first-hand experience, I highly recommend DryFur‘s Travel Pads + Deluxe Airline Kit combo packs, which include all of the materials you need to prepare your pet’s kennel as described in the rest of this list. Select the combo pack according to the size of absorbent pad that will fit inside the bottom of your pet’s kennel (see list below). Depending on the pad size you select, you may then be asked to choose the size of Deluxe Airline Kit you want included in your combo pack: S/M has smaller food/water cups and 8 metal bolts, while L/XL has bigger food/water cups and 16 metal bolts.
    • Petite Pads (2-pack) purchased with Deluxe Airline Kit (for this pad size, the two items must be bought separately to create a “combo pack”): Each pad will fit kennels with floors measuring from 10.5 x 4.5 – 13.5  x 8.5 inches
    • Small Pads (2) + Deluxe Airline Kit combo pack: Each pad will fit kennels with floors measuring from 15.5 x 8.5 – 19.5 x 12.5 inches
    • Medium Pads (2) + Deluxe Airline Kit combo pack: Each pad will fit kennels with floors measuring from 19.5 x 11.5 – 23.5 x 15.5 inches
    • Large Pads (2) + Deluxe Airline Kit combo pack: Each pad will fit kennels with floors measuring from 20.5 x 13.25 – 24.5 x 17.25 inches
    • X-Large Pads (2) + Deluxe Airline Kit combo pack: Each pad will fit kennels with floors measuring up to 31 x 24 inches. (This pad, unlike the other sizes, is entirely foldable.) For Giant-size kennels, both of the X-Large Pads that come in this combo pack can be placed side-by-side inside the kennel to cover the entire 31 x 48-inch floor.
    • You can also buy most of DryFur’s products separately, although each item costs less when purchased as part of a combo pack.
    • If you have a large pet, or a pet that overheats easily (such as a short-nosed breed), DryFur’s oversized pail holds a full quart of water. (Only sold separately.)
  • Watch this free online video that shows exactly how to prepare your pet’s kennel.
  • Follow the steps below to prepare your pet’s kennel. These steps are based on guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and IATA, which all airlines must follow. I’ve left out the steps that need to wait until moving day, as I’ll cover those steps in a later post:
    • Add absorbent material to the bottom of the kennel (no straw, hay, or wood shavings). I highly recommend using DryFur travel pads, which are included in the DryFur combo packs mentioned above.
    • Replace any plastic pegs/bolts with metals bolts. (Metal bolts included in DryFur combo pack.)
    • Stick a “LIVE ANIMAL” label (with lettering at least 1-inch high) on the top and on at least one side of the kennel. (“LIVE ANIMAL” labels included in DryFur combo pack.)
    • Stick a “THIS END UP” or pointing-up-arrow label on at least two sides of the kennel. (Arrow labels included in DryFur combo pack.)
    • Stick on a “shipper’s declaration” label with feeding and watering instructions written on it, and with blank space to write in (on moving day) the last time your pet was offered food and water. OR attach written instructions from an accredited veterinarian stating that your pet should not be given any food or water. (Shipper’s declaration label included in DryFur combo pack.)
    • Attach empty food and water cups (or a single divided cup) to the inside of the kennel door. (2 cups included in DryFur combo pack.)
    • Attach an empty, sealable, clear plastic bag that is large enough to hold one serving of food for your pet. (Food bag included in DryFur combo pack.)
    • Attach an empty, sealable plastic bag that is large enough to hold documents. (Document bag included in DryFur combo pack.)
    • Attach a kennel tag that lists the pet’s name and the owner’s name. If your pet is being shipped unaccompanied as cargo, the tag should also include the shipper’s name and — if someone other than the shipper will be picking your pet up at its final destination — the consignee’s name, street address, and phone number. (Kennel tag included in DryFur combo pack.)
    • Buy at least 4 hand-releasable cable ties that are long and thin enough to thread through the holes at each corner of your pet’s kennel door (to be used on moving day to secure the door shut). If your pet is coming from Guam, Australia, New Zealand, or the British Isles, buy 4 non-releaseable cable ties as well. (Both types of cables included in DryFur combo pack.)

Acclimating Your Pet To Its Kennel

As soon as you’ve prepared your pet’s kennel, it’s important that you help your pet get used to it. On moving day, your pet is more likely to feel safe and relaxed in its kennel if it’s already familiar with it.

Start acclimating your pet to its kennel as far in advance to moving day as possible. DryFur’s website offers some great tips for gradually acclimating your dog or cat to its kennel.

Step 7: Import Form
Step 8: Health Certificate
Step 9: Flight Prep
Step 10: Moving Day

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

Posted in Moving, Pets

Comments

  1. marie

    I am so happy you are covering all this pet information!! I stumbled on your blog awhile ago, after my husband and I decided we wanted to move to hawaii. it’s still a couple years away, but our biggest worry has been our cat, who is 10, recently diagnosed as diabetic, and we’ve had her our entire married life (shes our kid basically!). I am so relieved and thankful for these posts. I feel like we’ll be able to tackle this move with her and no one will have a heart attack! (my husband is so worried!) just really wanted to say thanks :)

    • Michele Meyer

      Marie: I’m so glad you’re finding this series helpful. Thanks for letting me know! The “Bringing Your Pets To Hawaii” posts aren’t easy to write (lots of details to make sure to get correct), but your feedback confirms my belief that this info is really important and worthwhile.

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