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Moving with pets

What are the specific age and kennel requirements?

Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old and must have been weaned before travelling by air. Kennels must meet minimum standards for size, strength, sanitation and ventilation.

Size and Strength

Kennels must be enclosed and allow room for the animal to stand, sit and lie in a natural position. They must be easy to open, strong enough to withstand the normal rigours of transportation and free of objects that could injure the animal.


Kennels must have a solid, leak proof floor that is covered with litter or absorbent lining. Wire or other ventilated sub-floors are generally allowed; pegboard flooring is prohibited. These requirements provide the maximum cleanliness for the animal to travel.


Kennels must be well ventilated with openings that make up at least 14 percent of the total wall space. At least one third of the openings must be located in the top half of the kennel. Kennels also must have rims to prevent ventilation openings from being blocked by other cargo. These rims—usually placed on the sides of the kennel—must provide at least three quarters of an inch clearance.

Grips and Markings

Kennels must have grips or handles for lifting to prevent cargo personnel from having to place their fingers inside the kennel and risk being bitten. Kennels also must be marked “live animals” or “wild animals” on the top and one side with directional arrows indicating proper position of the kennel. Lettering must be at least 1 inch high.

Animals per kennel

Each species must have its own kennel, with the exception of compatible cats and dogs of similar size. Maximum numbers include 2 puppies or kittens under 6 months old—20 pounds each and of similar size, 15 guinea pigs or rabbits and 50 hamsters. Airlines may have more restrictive requirements, such as allowing only one adult animal per kennel. Be sure to check with the airline you’re using.
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