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Pet crate water bowls for small dogs and cats during air travel - a thoughtful analysis and a recommendation for the best pet travel crate bowl.

It is an International Air Travel Association (IATA) regulation that all dogs and cats (and almost all live animals) must travel with a vessel that will allow them to have access to water during their air travel. The regulations have evolved over the years and while considering those requirements a minimum, airlines have put in their own additional stipulations on what is acceptable or not. This makes it difficult for the casual pet owner to figure out what exactly is needed for a perhaps one-in-a-lifetime relocation of your pet.

One common "trend" we have observed is the gradual disuse or even rejection of the dripper bottle as means to meet the accessible water requirement.

Dripper bottle
Dripper bottle supposedly for dogs/cats

This is understandable, as most cats and dogs have never learned to drink from these devices. Additionally, studies have found that due to the small opening, the poor animals tend to get more tired and frustrated drinking from them than getting hydrated. So as a quick first warning, avoid using dripper bottles or if you do (assuming your pet knows how to drink from it), don't let it be the only way your pet has access to water.

The rest of this article will be about the water bowl. Even within the US market (Amazon, PetSmart, Petco etc.), many varieties are available. However, it's helpful to note that most of these bowls are not actually meant for travel crates. Instead, they are meant for at-home-use while attached to wire crates and often includes an "easy to remove" mechanism.

Quickfire comments on design flaws:

Lixit Water bowl
1. Design protrudes too far into the pet travel carrier, taking up precious room. 2. Securing clip is fragile and has been known to break if pressure is applied to the bowl

Stainless steel pet water bowl
1. Extremely difficult to secure to the travel crate. 2. The only thing preventing the bowl from being removed is gravity.

Stainless steel pet water bowl
1. Offers a securing pin but as it's within the travel crate, it becomes a safety risk.

Silicon collapsible pet water bowl
1. Large form factor compared to the capacity of water it can hold. 2. Could easily be collapsed by the pet and have the water spilling everywhere.

Pet food and water bowls for crates
1. The stainless steel bowl insert is meant for easy cleaning but to use it for travel, you'll have to tape in down onto the plastic enclosure or forgo it. 2. Bowl is very shallow and has a small capacity. 3. Plastic securing bolts have been observed to break

From the comments, you'll see various design having these same "flaws". Thus far, the one bowl that is commercially available (not sold as a set with travel crates) is the Capyaro Bowl. This is our recommendation for the best pet travel crate bowl.

Capybaro Bowl
Capybowl Pet Travel Pet Water Bowl
Capybaro Bowl or "Capybowl"

As far as design goes, it was purposefully built for travel crates.

  • Flat back profile means that it can be as close to the door to prevent tampering of the attachment mechanism and saving space for the rest of the crate.

  • Strong built in clips means you never have to look for extra parts to secure it

  • Despite how small the clips look; we've never seen a pet break the bowl through brute force. As mentioned, the flat profile and position of the clip also makes it impossible for the dog to bite at it.

  • Clip designs offer a way to secure it further with cable-ties - not that it's needed.

  • Wide open mouth means it's suitable for snub nosed pets. What's the point of having a deep bowl that can hold lots of water if your pet can't reach down into it.

  • Rounded inside facing side means it's safe for your dog from accidental bumps, deliberate tussles and bored chewing. We can't stop your dog from chewing on it, but at least it'll be safe to do so.

We recommend this for dogs less than 45lbs or travel in kennels smaller than 40"x27"x30". For larger dogs, please refer to our other article on using Gallon buckets for large dogs

There may be a better bowl out there. Some of the bowls that come sold along pet travel crates also boasts the same design considerations but they are relatively inaccessible and sometimes expensive to purchase separately. So for now, give the Capybaro Bowl a try. Otherwise, we'd love to hear from you on other brands/bowls that work well for pet travel.


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