Publication - Advice and guidance

Pet animal transport: guidance

Published: 20 Aug 2014

Guidance for owners and carriers on the welfare of pet animals in transit.

Pet animal transport: guidance
Enclosures and containers

The travel enclosure or container

The pet owner should also have carefully considered the effect that prolonged confinement will have on the animal, particularly taking account of the nature and size of the animal and the length and type of journey.

The pet owner has the primary responsibility to ensure that the animal is properly confined for travel. Carriers should be aware of the following advice in this respect:

  • the pet should be securely confined within its travel enclosure or container. It is advisable for the access door to be kept locked, particularly when the pet owner is not in attendance.
  • the travel enclosure and any container used should be of a suitable size for the animal, sufficient at least for it to stand, sit and lie down in a natural position, and to turn around easily.
  • the enclosure or container should not contain anything which could injure the animal, and should be designed so that no part of the animal (e.g. head, paws, tail) can protrude or become trapped.
  • adequate ventilation is essential for all stages of transport, bearing in mind that the travel enclosure and any container within it may be in 'still air' conditions for long periods of time.
  • a means of ensuring that water is available at all times, and when necessary feed, should be provided if the journey is to last more than a few hours. The utensils for watering and feeding should be placed in or fixed to the container so that they cannot be knocked over or the contents split, and on longer journeys should be capable of being re-filled easily. Use of an anti-spill water bowl is strongly recommended.

Appropriate and absorbent bedding should be provided, and this may need to be changed during a very long journey. Newspaper is ineffective and should not be used.

For travel by air the pet container must by law conform to the requirements of the IATA Live Animals Regulations.