10 Best Dog Travel Crates For Your Next Adventure
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Before you hop in the car for your next road trip with your partner in crime, you may want to invest in a secure crate for the car to keep your pup safer.
But it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find the right one since there are so many options to choose from. So, The Dodo spoke with Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and veterinary consultant for FiveBarks, to help you figure out how to pick the best dog travel crate.
What is a dog travel crate?
A dog travel crate isn’t going to be designed the same as the crate you have for your pup at home. They're more portable and sometimes more compact, too, which makes them great for car and air travel.
“They are not the same as the crate you would use in your home as they are transportable and usually have a handle,” Dr. Simon told The Dodo. “Some will fold flat and are smaller than your typical at-home dog crate.”
Why you should use a dog travel crate
There are a bunch of reasons why you should use a dog travel crate.
For your dog’s comfort
Traveling is stressful for pups sometimes — your dog can be thrown off by the unsteady movement of your car, especially since he’s not in control of that movement.
A travel crate can help your dog feel comfortable in such a stressful environment.
“For them, having a ‘safe space’ that they are familiar with is important while away from home,” Dr. Simon said.
For your dog’s safety
Safety is so important when your dog’s traveling with you, whether you’re in the car or on a plane. A travel crate can provide security, since your pup will be safely inside.
“It is also safer to have your dog crated while in a moving vehicle, avoiding them injuring themselves when moving about,” Dr. Simon said.
To keep your car clean
If your pup’s a bit on the messy side, a travel dog crate can help keep that mess contained in your car.
“For those who like to keep their car clean, travel crates are an excellent way of minimizing fur and slobber from spreading around their vehicle,” Dr. Simon said.
How to find the best dog travel crate
When finding the best dog travel crate, you need to keep your pup’s size in mind.
“Size-wise, ensure your dog is comfortable,” Dr. Simon said. “They should be able to stand up and turn around. However, the crate should not be much bigger than this. Overly large crates are bulky and difficult to move about and carry.”
You also need to factor in your dog’s individual personality and your personal travel needs because that will help you determine which style crate works best for him (and you).
Nylon travel crates
Nylon travel crates are best suited for tiny dogs or chill pups who won’t feel compelled to try to escape.
“Light, nylon travel crates are a sensible option for small dogs who aren’t likely to make a break for it,” Dr. Simon said. “These crates can be carried around, which is especially useful if you are traveling on trains or in a cab.”
The thing you need to consider with a nylon travel crate is that it’s not always weather- and dirt-proof.
“The downside is that they are not the easiest to clean and can get damp in the rain,” Dr. Simon said.
Metal travel crates
These crates are made with large, strong pups in mind, especially ones who are escape artists.
“Metal crates are a wise investment for large and boisterous dogs who might be tempted to try and escape their crate,” Dr. Simon said. “They are sturdy and offer good security, as well as being easy to clean.”
The catch with metal travel crates is that they might not be the easiest for portability.
“[T]hese crates can be heavy and are not really suitable to be carried around,” Dr. Simon said.
You also might want to go with a different option if your pup is a chewer.
“Some dogs may chew on them and it is possible they could fracture their teeth,” Dr. Simon said.
Plastic travel crates
Plastic travel crates are a great option for budget-conscious pet parents.
“Plastic travel crates are one of the most popular options as they tend to be inexpensive but offer good security for both in-car and on-plane travel,” Dr. Simon said. “As with metal crates, they are easy to clean. They are relatively lightweight, so generally easier to move about than their metal counterparts.”
In fact, plastic travel crates are Dr. Simon’s go-to recommendation for patients (but obviously the best type of travel crate is going to vary depending on your dog’s individual needs).
“I personally tend to advise on plastic crates in most cases as they provide the best of both worlds: secure and relatively sturdy but easy to carry along with you,” Dr. Simon said.
Best dog travel crates
The Dodo rounded up 10 of the best-rated dog crates and booster seats for traveling. They all have stellar reviews from pet parents, so you can have some peace of mind knowing that your four-legged friend is in for the safest ride of their life. Buckle up, and check out the best of the best dog travel crates below.
With a fully-mesh side and sturdy gates at either end, this long pop-open kennel from Sport Pet is a spacious crate for the back seat. Safety loops attach to the headrests, and when you’re done traveling, the kennel stores completely flat in its own bag.
This soft-sided dog crate was designed to perfectly fit in the front seat of your car. Your small dog will feel safe and secure while traveling, and you’ll be able to easily get him in and out through the zippered top opening. Plus, with two sturdy handles, it’s easy to carry your pup around outside the car.
Your big dog will love this portable dog crate because it’s roomy and cave-like, and can go anywhere with him. “We originally got this crate to take camping with us so our new adopted fur baby would be comfortable and have her own space,” one pet parent wrote. “We used it in the car and that went well.” It can be easily folded down for storage purposes and comes with a washable fleece bed for added comfort.
“This is the perfect size for the back seat and trips,” one five-star pet parent said of the 2PET foldable dog crate for smaller dogs. It’s a foldable, soft-sided, mesh-paneled dog crate that doubles as a pet carrier for trips to the vet or general traveling. “Oh, one more thing: SEAT BELT! This was easy for me to thread through a spot in the back and the top handles to secure with the seat belt in the back seat.”
This double mesh-sided kennel comes with two compartments, making it awesome for multi-pet families who love to travel. Each kennel features built-in straps that can be attached to car seats for safe traveling and can come apart with a single zip if only one pet needs to go for a ride. “The quality of this product is CRAZY GOOD!” one five-star reviewer wrote. “Comes with furry pads for the floor too … There are straps on the back of the enclosure that allow you to secure it to the seat with seat belts or other types of straps using the child seat anchors. Easy to install and remove the product from the car, even when it is configured as one unit.”
Install the SWIHELP car seat either in the passenger seat or back seat of your car and give your pup a fun, safe car ride experience. It’s part crate, part booster seat, part nest for your dog to hang out in while road-tripping. “I couldn’t have asked for a better carrier for the car. Probably one of the best purchases I’ve made for my dog and for me,” one pet parent wrote. “Extremely easy to put on and take off of the car seat, and the perfect size for my dog as well.”
This doggy car seat from Petsfit secures easily with a two-strap system — a safety belt straps around the headrest of the back seat, and another safety buckle clicks into the back seat belt anchor. “I bought this booster seat for my daughter's dachshund mix,” one five-star reviewer wrote. “He was a terrible traveler and often got carsick. This seat made him high enough to see out the window. He is much happier and now enjoys going for a drive.”
Your pup will not only look absolutely adorable while hanging out in this booster seat, but they’ll be safe and secure as well. It comes with two safety straps, and can be buckled in with the seat belt. In fact, it’s so secure that one pet parent wrote it actually saved their pup during a collision. “On our road trip, I had his seat secured to the front passenger seat as usual, and he had just dozed off when we were in a high-speed collision,” they wrote. “Thank heavens he was in the booster! The booster seat stayed attached to the seat back … [and] it kept him from being thrown around the car and hurt.”
Turn your back seat or trunk into a dog haven. This seat cover from Doggie World secures to back seat headrests and offers waterproofed protection for your upholstery. If you need more security for your pup, you can turn the cover into a hammock-style soft crate by looping the second set of safety straps over the front seat headrests, too.
For your big dog, this easy-to-install barrier turns the whole trunk space into a travel crate. It’s extendable and sturdy, and can fit a variety of different car models. “I could not be happier with this dog barrier,” one of the 1,900 five-star reviewers wrote. “I have a 90-pound pit bull that always gets so excited for car rides he's bouncing all over the place and always trying to get in the front seat … No more having to put my arm across the seat while driving to keep him from barging through. It kept him safely contained in the back seat and, for once, it was a nice ride for both of us.”