Things to Look for in a Travel Dog Crate
When you’re looking for the best travel dog crate for your pup, it’s crucial you keep a few things in mind to help you make the safest, most suitable choice for you and your dog.
Fit for Purpose
If you’re going to be carrying the crate with you to use as your dog’s ‘bedroom’ away from home, a foldable lightweight crate will be best.
If you’re searching for the best dog crate for car travel, you need to think about how safe and secure your dog will be in the crate, as well as how you will fit and secure the crate into your car. Often plastic or wire crates are the best choice for car travel.
If you’re looking for the best dog crate for airline travel, the type of crate you need will depend on whether your dog will be in the cabin with you or in the cargo hold.
If your dog is in the cabin, a smaller, softer crate may be better. If they’re in the cargo hold, a sturdy, solid crate to keep them safe from being bumped around would be best.
Each airline has individual regulations and rules about which carriers they will allow onboard, so vital to check those requirements specifically.
If you’re going to be traveling by air with your dog a lot, it’s a good idea to look for crates that state they are ‘Airline Approved’ or ‘Guaranteed On Board’.
Furthermore, pet safety crash testing is also an important factor to consider, as these tests can guarantee the safety of your pet in the event of a car accident.
Most car crates proudly display their Center for Pet Safety certification, which is a good sign that the crate has undergone rigorous testing. Ultimately, you should feel confident knowing your pet is safe, secure, and comfortable in its crash-tested crate.
Choosing a crate made with high-quality materials means it’s likely to be safer, as well as more sturdy and secure. It also means the crate is likely to last longer and stand up to wear as you go on adventures with your pup.
Correct Size for Your Dog
It’s vital to choose a crate that is the right size for your dog. Ideally, you should measure your dog:
- from their nose to the base of their tail, and add 3 to 4 inches for the length of the crate
- from the top of their head or ears to the floor, and add 3 to 4 inches for the height of the crate
- across their shoulders and multiply by two for the width of the crate
Your dog should always be able to stand up fully, turn around comfortably, and stretch out in their crate, but not be able to walk around.
Correct Strength for Your Dog
Think about how strong you need the crate to be for your dog. If your dog is smaller or generally calm when they’re in its crate, a soft-sided crate might be suitable.
If your dog is bigger and typically chews their crate or tries to escape, a solid plastic or metal crate will be better suited.
Any crate you choose should have a secure closure to keep your dog safely inside the crate during travel (see also ‘How To Secure A Dog Crate In A Car‘).
A zip or small lock may be enough for some dogs, while escape artists may need double, reinforced locks. It’s also essential that the seat belt in the car should be securely attached to the crate.
Easy Entry and Exit
Think about how your dog will enter and exit the crate. Some crates have multiple doors to make things easier.
Good Air Flow
A crate must have good ventilation. Wire crates typically have a lot of ventilation. Look for ventilation holes in the side of plastic crates and mesh windows on soft-sided crates.
There’s no denying that dogs can make a mess. If you’re traveling, particularly if your dog is nervous, it might have an accident. Choosing a crate that is easy to clean will be helpful and more hygienic.
Some crates will have removable or washable linings. Others may be easy to wipe down. Some are ‘potty proof’, meaning there’s a pull-out area under the crate that easily pulls out so you can clean it, or you could add a puppy pad to the pull-out area during travel to absorb any accidents.
Comfort for Your Dog
Of course, it’s crucial your dog feels comfortable. Choosing a crate that is the right size with good ventilation is key for this. You can also add in a comfortable bed, blankets, crate-safe toys and chews, and water.
Ease of Storage
If you’re going to be storing the crate when you aren’t traveling, think about how much room you have. A crate that folds down may be more suitable.
Consider the weight of the crate as well as how easy it is to carry. Some will be more lightweight, may fold down, and may even have handles to make lifting them easier. The best heavy-duty dog crates may have wheels to help you move them.
Why You Might Buy a Travel Dog Crate
Just like people, when dogs are traveling by air or by road, they need to be secured safely to protect them in case of an accident. A crate can be a great way to keep your dog safe.
If you use a crate at home, your dog can see it as their ‘bedroom’ or safe space. Often when dogs travel in a crate or use it as a place to sleep while on holiday, it keeps them calmer and happier because they see the crate as a positive place.
The Importance of Crate Training
It’s crucial that your dog sees their crate as a safe place. This means you need to crate train your dog before you use a travel crate (see also ‘Dog Crate Training Pros & Cons (Is It Really Necessary?)‘).
Do your research if you’ve never crate trained before; there are lots of great guides online.
Some general crate training tips are included below:
- Get your dog used to their crate for a while before you plan on traveling.
- Never use the crate as a punishment, only as a positive place.
- Use lots of treats and praise to encourage them and make training fun.
- Never force your dog into the crate; encourage them to enter on their own.
- Start your dog off with being in the crate for short periods while at home and gradually increase the time as they get more comfortable.
- Use long-lasting treats or crate-safe toys while they’re in the crate to make it fun.
- Make their crate a comfortable, cozy place by using things like bedding and blankets.
Travel Dog Crate Safety Advice
Always choose a crate the correct size for your dog and ensure it’s sturdy enough for your purposes. Always secure the crate correctly during traveling. It’s crucial to make sure your dog can’t escape from the crate to keep them safe.
Travel Dog Crate FAQ
Can dog crates be too big?
Yes, a crate that’s too big can be dangerous, especially when traveling. Choosing the correct size of crate for your dog is crucial.
Is it really safe for your dog to travel in a crate?
Yes, the right crate can help to keep your dog safe during travel.
Do dogs prefer wire or plastic crates?
Dogs have preferences just like humans, but in general, a dog won’t mind what kind of crate they’re in as long as it’s cozy and comfortable and they are crate trained.
Finding the right travel dog crate can keep your pup safe and happy during travel, allowing you both to enjoy your adventures together. The world is yours to explore!