Every year dogs and their handlers head to New York City for the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. For many dogs—save for the small but mighty breeds in the Toy Group—the journey starts in a crate in the cargo section of an airplane.
“The guidelines vary across airlines and the country of origin,” Ashlie Whitmore, dog handler and co-owner of Paws on Jack Rabbit, a dog spa and boarding facility, told The Spruce Pets.
With safety as a top priority, Whitmore has a strong stance on the type of crate she recommends. “An aluminum crate is the only one I feel comfortable putting one of my dogs into for a flight.” Dogs seek familiarity and routine, so the four walled-enclosure provides consistency and comfort as they enter unfamiliar spaces.
Whitmore, a fourth-generation dog handler from Houston, Texas, was selected by multiple dog owners, from all over the world, to be their dog’s handler at the 2023 Westminister Dog Show–like Pops, a four-year-old Golden Retriever who came all the way from Korea for the chance to compete. Many of the dogs she works with stay with her for up to two or three years, traveling to competitions, and throughout each phase, she helps each of her canine candidates vying for Best in Show put their best paw forward.
Impact Collapsible Dog Crate
Whitmore’s top choice is the Collapsible Dog Crate from Impact which has a dog-proof lock on the door but it’s still easy for humans to open. “The way the lock is designed makes it impossible for a dog to trigger open no matter how much they try.” The foldable design of this aluminum crate makes it easier to store, and while caring for multiple dogs, the crate’s corners easily connect with another Impact crate for secure stacking.
Impact High Anxiety Dog Crate
For nervous dogs, Whitmore recommends the High Anxiety Crate from Impact which features smaller ventilation holes to reduce external stimulation and ease separate anxiety. It comes with four additional latches on the door to quell any attempts to escape and Impact offers a 10-year warranty for any damage done by a dog to the crate.
Many airlines highly recommend and some require, that all dogs be contained in an aluminum dog crate for travel. The Spruce Pets also recommends the G1 Kennel from Gunner, our real-world tested Best of Cargo selection.