What Makes A Good Dog Crate For Car Travel?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 26 June 2023

Are you looking to buy a dog crate for travelling in your car this year?

We love to take our dogs everywhere so it’s important to find a dependable, easy to use and safe dog crate to keep our canine companions safe.

There’s so many different options available online and in pet stores that it can be a little confusing trying to find the right dog crate for your pup.

In this article, we’re going to address the following question: “What makes a good dog crate for car travel?”

We’ll hear from a number of different experts, ranging from veterinarians to dog trainers, experienced pet owners to car enthusiasts.

With the introduction complete, let’s take a close look at what factors you should consider when deciding upon a dog crate for car travel.

Size Is Key

Aaron Rice, Expert Dog Trainer At Stayyy

The first thing to consider when choosing a dog crate for car travel is the size. Your furry friend should be able to move around comfortably inside the crate. However, the crate shouldn’t be too big that it doesn’t fit securely in your car. Measure your car’s trunk or backseat and choose a crate that will fit comfortably in the space available. The material of the crate is another important factor to consider.

Plastic crates are lightweight and easy to clean, making them a popular choice for car travel. However, wire crates are also a great option as they offer better ventilation and visibility for your furry friend. Soft-sided crates are also available, but they may not be as sturdy as other types of crates.

When choosing a dog crate for car travel, it’s essential to consider durability. The crate should be able to withstand the impact of a car accident and keep your furry friend safe. Look for crates made from sturdy materials that can withstand wear and tear over time. Your furry friend’s comfort is also essential when choosing a dog crate for car travel. Look for crates with comfortable bedding or mat that will provide cushioning and insulation during the journey.

The crate should also be well-ventilated to ensure your furry friend stays cool and comfortable during the ride. Consider the ease of use when choosing a dog crate for car travel. Look for crates that are easy to assemble and disassemble, making it easy to transport and store. It’s also essential to choose a crate that is easy to clean and maintain.

Greyhounds in dog crate (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Greyhounds in dog crate (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Safety Top Consideration

Alex Crow, Licensed Veterinarian At HappiestDog

The biggest thing you need to consider when it comes to choosing a travel crate for your dog, is how safe they will be in it if anything were to happen. In the event of a car accident, you want to be able to ensure as much safety as possible for your pet, which is why you need to look at a crate that can withstand impact. Weak points on a crate increase the chances of it collapsing and not being able to protect your dog. This is why you should avoid metal wire crates, as they are not considered to be the safest form in a vehicle.

You want to look for a crate that is made mostly of one piece, which allows for more support as there are less weak spots. A crate that is made from hard plastic and goes all the way around is safer as it is more durable and doesn’t have as many weak points where it could collapse easily.

You should also avoid soft crate carriers for transportation in a vehicle, as this doesn’t protect your pet very well. You want the crate to have a sturdy top and base so it keeps your dog protected. Comfort is also important, so try to place a blanket in with your dog, or a specific crate pad or cushion. This will help them to relax better in a confined space, as they have somewhere comfortable to lie down. Also make sure there is plenty of ventilation, and that the size is appropriate for your dog so they can easily get up and move around, and get in and out without issue.

Consider Five Factors

Dr. Kathryn Rosalie Dench, Veterinary Surgeon, Adviser, And Writer at Gentle Dog Trainers

There are several important factors to consider when choosing a crate for your dog’s safety, comfort, and overall well-being during car rides. Here are some key considerations:

• Size and Accessibility: The crate should be spacious enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Ensure that the crate can easily fit in your car while leaving enough space for your dog to move around. It’s beneficial to choose a crate with a front door that opens smoothly and securely, allowing easy entry and exit for your dog.

• Durability and Safety: Select a crate made of sturdy, high-quality materials that can withstand the rigors of car travel and potential accidents. Look for crates with secure latches or locks to prevent accidental openings during transit. Consider a crate with reinforced corners and edges to enhance its overall strength and structural integrity.

• Ventilation and Visibility: Adequate ventilation is crucial to ensure your dog’s comfort and well-being during car rides. Look for crates with ample airflow through mesh panels or other ventilation openings. It’s also beneficial for your dog to have a clear view of the surroundings to reduce anxiety and motion sickness.

• Crash Safety: Prioritize crates that are crash-tested and certified for car travel safety. Look for crates that meet or exceed safety standards set by organizations like the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) or the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Consider crates with built-in anchor straps or attachments to secure the crate in the car and prevent it from shifting during sudden stops or accidents.

• Training and Familiarity: Introduce and acclimate your dog to the crate before car travel to reduce stress and anxiety. Gradually increase the duration and frequency of crate use, associating it with positive experiences and rewards. Using the crate for short car rides or even as a comfortable resting place at home can help your dog feel more at ease during longer journeys.

Labrador (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Labrador (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Ease Of Use

Camille Robinson Gaines, Owner Of Pooch and Harmony

When selecting a crate for your dog, the main things to keep in mind are comfort, security, and safety for your pet. Now, to expand on that a bit

• Size: The crate you select needs to be large enough that your dog can stand, sit, turn around, and lie down comfortably in it, but not so large that your dog could be thrown around inside in case of a sudden stop. Ventilation: Good ventilation is crucial. You need a crate that has multiple sides with openings or bars to allow for good airflow.

• Security: The crate should have a secure locking system to keep your dog safely contained during the ride. Material: The crate needs to be made of sturdy and durable material because you want something that can withstand impact if you are in an auto accident. Hard plastic and metal are typically the best choices for safety. While soft-sided crates may offer more comfort for your pup, they don’t offer as much protection and should be avoided for car travel.

• Ease of Use: Look for a crate that’s easy to assemble, disassemble, and clean. If you’ll be moving the crate often, consider buying one that has handles or wheels to make it easier on yourself.

• Comfort: You can add something like a crate mat or other padding to make the ride a bit more comfortable for your dog. The key here is to chose padding or a mat that is both removable and washable. And make sure that you get the crate well in advance of your travel because you have to gradually acclimate your dog to the crate in order for it to be a positive experience for him.

Smaller Is Better

Susan M Ewing, Award-Winning Pet Author

I prefer solid-sided crates, as these provide more protection for the dog if there’s an accident. No matter what kind of crate is used, it is best if it is on the floor, against the seat back. This prevents it from flying through the air if there’s a crash. Next best would be one held on the seat by a seat belt. As with airline crates, smaller is better, as long as your dog can comfortably stand, sit, turn around, and lie down. A larger crate means the pet can get thrown around within the crate in an accident. Another way to safe guard a dog is to secure a bungee cord around the door, as sometimes crate doors can pop open in an accident.

Made From Sturdy Materials

Ellen Russell, DVM And Founder Of The Malamute Mom

Safety should be a priority when selecting a travel crate for the car. Look for one made from sturdy materials, like metal or high-grade plastic, and check that it has been designed to meet safety standards. Make sure that the crate is properly sized for your dog and gives them enough space for them to stand up, turn around, and lie down without being cramped. Also, look for travel crates that are well-ventilated on all sides, and have secure doors with latches that are easy to open and close (but won’t accidentally open during the trip). You’ll also want to make sure the travel crate is comfortable for your pet. Look for one with a soft, padded bottom and sides that are easy to clean in case of any accidents during the ride. It should also come with secure straps so you can safely fasten the crate to the car seat or floor without worrying about it sliding around while you’re driving.

Pitbull (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Pitbull (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Prioritize Safety, Comfort, And Convenience

Oliver Brown, Owner Of Wheel Size

A good dog crate for car travel should prioritize safety, comfort, and convenience for both the pet and the owner. Here are some important factors pet owners should consider when choosing a dog crate for car travel:

• Size and Fit: The crate should be appropriately sized to provide enough room for the dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. However, it should not be too large that the dog can move around too much and potentially get injured during the journey.

• Durability: The crate should be sturdy and well-built to withstand the rigors of car travel. Look for crates made of strong materials, such as reinforced plastic or metal, to ensure they can withstand any sudden stops or impacts.

• Safety Features: The crate should have secure latches or locks to prevent accidental openings while in transit. It should also be designed to prevent the dog from escaping or getting injured by any sharp edges or protrusions.

• Ventilation: Sufficient ventilation is crucial to keep the dog comfortable and prevent overheating. Look for crates with adequate airflow through mesh panels or ventilation holes, ensuring proper air circulation.

• Easy to Clean: Car travel can sometimes be messy, so it’s important to choose a crate that is easy to clean. Removable and washable mats or liners can be beneficial to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

• Portability: If you plan to travel frequently with your dog, a portable crate that is lightweight and easy to assemble and disassemble can be convenient. Some crates are specifically designed for easy transportation and storage.

• Compatibility with Vehicle: Consider the dimensions of your vehicle’s cargo space to ensure the crate will fit properly without hindering other passengers or compromising safety.

• Familiarity and Comfort: Introduce your dog to the crate gradually before the trip to help them feel comfortable and secure inside. Familiar scents, bedding, and toys can provide a sense of familiarity and help alleviate anxiety.

• Legal Considerations: Research and comply with any local laws or regulations regarding the transportation of pets in vehicles. Some jurisdictions may have specific requirements, such as restraining the dog in a crate or using safety harnesses.

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