The 10 Best Dog Crates & Carriers For Car Travel: Keeping Spot Safe!

Dog Crates & Carriers By Meg Marrs 25 min read July 21, 2023 44 Comments

best dog crates for car travel

Dogs love the open road as much as we do!

But while most humans remember to buckle up before leaving the driveway, your fur baby doesn’t really have a say in the matter.

Many owners let their dog roam free in the car, which can be a deadly mistake.

Even owners who opt for using a dog carrier or crate designed for car travel will likely be shocked to discover that the vast majority of mainstream car carriers aren’t designed to keep your pooch safe in the event of an accident .

But don’t worry — we’re here to help!

Below, we’ll explain everything you need to know about dog carriers and car travel . We’ll outline the reasons why securing your dog is important, and share some of the best crates and carriers that are made from durable materials and designed to keep your pooch safe and secure in the car.

Best Dog Crates for Car Travel: Quick Picks

  • #1 G1 Kennel [Best Overall Dog Crate for Car Travel] : Made with a series of locks and a dual-wall construction, this rock-solid carrier is ideal for pup parents who place safety above all else.
  • #2 Sleepypod Atom [Most Affordable Dog Crate for Car Travel] : You don’t have to spend a fortune to help your pet stay safe and travel in style, thanks to this versatile car carrier.
  • #3 Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier [Best Soft-Sided Travel Carrier] Crash-tested travel carrier that’s perfect for smaller-sized pets traveling by car, plane, or train.

In some cases, harnesses can be the better option for car-riding canines. We break down some of the situations in which this is the case and list some of our favorites in our guide to crash-tested dog car harnesses.

Safest Dog Crates & Carriers for the Car

dogs riding in car

Below, we’ll share some of the crates and carriers that passed the CPS 2015 Crates and Carrier Crash Worthiness Study , complimented with additional CPS tests performed in 2016. We’ll be continuing to update this article each year when new crash test reports are released.

We’ve updated our recommendations below to include new products to the market and reflect new tests conducted by CPS.

Unfortunately, CPS hasn’t yet published an overview of their recent testing (which is understandable — they are a non-profit organization), but we’ve linked to the individual product test results and videos when available.

Also, we’ve included a few products below that have passed the safety testing conducted by other organizations, such as the Technical Research Institute of Sweden .

1. Diggs Passenger Carrier

This is a sponsored placement , in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

Diggs Travel Pet Carrier for Small Dogs and Cats, Plane, Train, or Car, with Shoulder Strap (Navy)

Diggs Passenger Carrier

A high-quality, tote-style carrier with a 5-star safety rating and an innovative canine-hygiene setup. .

About : The Diggs Passenger Carrier is a must-have for travelers with small canines thanks to its cushy interior pad, three accessory pockets, and top-notch safety marks. Also featuring a detachable crossbody strap, sturdy base, custom seat belt clips, and a buckle strap, it helps you safely (and comfortably) tote your pooch from point A to B in cars, planes, and more.

  • Fabric crate made from fuss-free durable nylon and mesh air vents
  • Smart setup for easy pee pad changing 
  • Available in Charcoal, Grey, Blush, and Navy color options
  • Meets most airlines’ specifications for cabin travel

Size & Dimensions :

  • Available in one size for dogs up to 18 pounds
  • Measures 20” x 10.8” x 11.5”
  • 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for pets up to 18 pounds
  • High safety rating from the Center for Pet Safety
  • Innovative pee pad setup makes traveling with accident-prone pups a breeze
  • Chic styling that’s eons beyond most canine carriers
  • More size options would be ideal
  • Accessory pockets mean there’s little extra space inside

2. Gunner G1

Best Dog Crates for travel

A tough-as-nails carrier featuring multiple locks, a stainless steel door, and dual-wall construction for impact protection.

About : The American-made Gunner G1 takes safety and quality seriously with its aluminum-framed lockable door (featuring multiple latches), durable plastic shell, and stainless steel hardware. Built-in tiedown pins allow for a snug fit in the car, while a recessed bottom with a drainage system ensures easy cleaning.

  • Double-wall construction provides maximum impact protection
  • Non-slip rubberized base prevents dangerous sliding
  • Water-repelling windows allow air circulation while keeping rain out
  • Available in 3 colors: Tan, Gunmetal, and Mossy Oak Greenleaf

Size & Dimensions : The G1 comes in four sizes, and the manufacturer recommends using their Kennel Fit Finder on their product page to determine the best one for your pooch.

  • Small (Measures 24.5” x 18.6” x 20.5”)
  • Medium (Measures 29.5” x 20.5” x 25”) 
  • Intermediate  (Measures 34” x 23” x 30”) 
  • Large (Measures 40.25” x 28” x 34.5”)


  • Gunner Kennel G1 Small : 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 30 pounds when used with G1 tiedown straps
  • Gunner Kennel G1 Medium : 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 45 pounds when used with G1 tiedown straps
  • Gunner Kennel G1 Intermediate : 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 75 pounds when used with G1 tiedown straps
  • Gunner Kennel G1 Large : Currently unrated
  • Quality and durable plastic construction earned high marks from pet parents
  • Comes with an impressive lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
  • Excellent choice for traveling with a Houndini escape artist
  • Not as portable as other options (it’s quite heavy)
  • Quality comes at a cost, and these crates are expensive

3. Sleepypod Atom

Sleepypod Atom Pet Carrier (Robin Egg Blue)

Sleepypod Atom

A travel-friendly bag that transforms from a crash-rated canine car seat to a stylish messenger tote with ease..

About : The Sleepypod Atom safely cradles your small dog for travel, whether you’re riding in the car, flying high, or buzzing through the subway on official pupper business. Built-in seatbelt straps hold your canine snug in her seat, while the sturdy base and plush interior keeps her cozy (you can even remove it for easy cleanup).

  • A well-built fabric crate with luggage-grade nylon exterior 
  • 3 mesh panels provide excellent ventilation
  • Padded shoulder strap and 3 pockets for toting your pup and her accessories comfortably
  • Available in 9 colors, including Robin Egg Blue, Jet Black, and Olive
  • Single size option measures 10.5” x 8.5” x 17” 
  • Suits dogs up to 12 pounds
  • 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 12 pounds
  • Quality and lightweight design earn high marks from owners
  • Dual zipper entries allow for top or side access
  • Removable privacy panel can help reduce travel anxieties 
  • Lack of size options is a bummer
  • Only suitable for tiny toy breeds

4. Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed (Blossom Pink)

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed

A canine carrier that mimics your four-footer’s bed with its soft, fuzzy interior and rounded shape..

About : The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed doesn’t sacrifice your pet’s comfort in the name of portability, allowing for less-stressful travel in its bed-like, lightweight design. Best suited for dogs who sleep in a curled up position , the round carrier features shearling bedding that can be removed for washing as needed.

  • Luggage-grade durable nylon shell stands up to the rigors of travel
  • Removable dome-style mesh topper contains pets while allowing airflow
  • Adjustable, padded shoulder strap for your comfort
  • Available in 5 colors: Arctic White, Dark Chocolate, Olive Green, Robin Egg Blue, and Strawberry Red
  • Single size option measures 17” x 17” x 6.5”
  • Recommended for pets under 15 pounds
  • 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 15 pounds
  • Comfort gets a paw’s up from most doggy travelers
  • Pet parents loved the carrier’s quality
  • Bed-like design can ease travel anxiety
  • Pricey compared to other carriers
  • A tad bulky to carry

5. Sleepypod Air

Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier - Strawberry Red | TSA Approved, Lightweight, Comfortable Travel Crate for Small Pets

Sleepypod Air

A favorite for woofs with wanderlust featuring a 4-star crash rating and an airline-friendly shape..

About : The Sle epypod Air is a fabric crate that’s made for safe, comfortable canine travel with two zippered entries, a sturdy base, and a low-profile design. The soft, machine-washable bedding inside keeps your canine cozy, while the breathable mesh dome and durable nylon shell exterior protect her from harm.

  • Luggage-grade super-durable nylon outer shell
  • Removable padded strap and dual storage pockets
  • Water-repelling interior liner
  • Offered in 8 eye-pleasing colors, including Orange Dream, Charcoal, and Glacier Silver
  • Single size option suitable for pets up to 18 pounds
  • Measures 17” x 17” x 13”
  • 4-Star Rating by the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 18 pounds
  • Works great for traveling in cars and planes
  • Pet parents raved about the quality
  • Owners report doggos love this carrier and even sleep in it at home
  • Storage pockets can bulge into canine space 
  • Not as fashion-forward as other carriers

6. Sleepypod Mini

Sleepypod Medium Mobile Pet Bed, Jet Black

Sleepypod Mini

A luggage-grade, dome-style travel crate that earned a 5-star crash rating for dogs under 7 pounds..

About : The Sleepypod Mini protects your most petite precious cargo from harm, securing to your car’s seat belt with the PPRS Handilock. Made to mimic your best buddy’s bed, this fabric crate features a rounded shape and a removable plush interior for cozier travel and a water-resistant foam liner in case of accidents.

  • Made with a supremely durable nylon shell with mesh windows for ventilation
  • Built-in safety tether prevents bolting when opening
  • Available in 8 colors, including Blossom Pink, Dark Chocolate, and Jet Black
  • Two zippered entries for versatile use
  • Single size option best for dogs 7 pounds and under
  • Measures 13” x 13” x 5”
  • 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 7 pounds
  • It earned top-notch safety accolades for toy breed dogs
  • Rounded design mimics your pup’s bed
  • It’s quite durable despite featuring a lightweight design
  • Only fits the tiniest of dogs (it’s not even ideal for leggier toy breeds)
  • Can feel a bit clunky to carry

7. Away Pet Carrier

best dog carrier for travel

Away Pet Carrier

Forget the frump with this fashionable nylon bag featuring slip pockets and dual tote-style handles..

About :  Away’s Pet Carrier doesn’t look like your run-of-the-mill dog bag with its tailored design. It performs as great as it looks, boasting a 5-star crash rating and a collar clip for added safety.

  • Constructed of nylon with a water-resistant liner
  • Interior sherpa bedding is removable and washable
  • Custom embroidery option for an additional fee
  • Available in 2 colors: Black and Coast (a medium blue hue)
  • Single size option measures 18.7”x 10.8” x 10.7” 
  • Suitable for dogs up to 18 pounds
  • 5-star Rating for dogs up to 18 pounds by the Center for Pet Safety
  • Design gets a thumb’s up from fashionista fur parents
  • Sturdy construction holds its shape
  • Comes with a 100-day satisfaction guarantee
  • One of the pricier carriers available
  • Only available in one size

8. Lucky Duck Kennel

Lucky Kennel Intermediate

Lucky Duck Kennel

A locking, hard-sided crate that’s earned a 5-star rating and is available in sizes suitable for dogs up to 110 pounds..

About : The Lucky Duck Kennel allows for safe car travels with big dogs as it is one of the few large-breed carriers crash-rated by the Center for Pet Safety. The rubberized bottom prevents slippage, as do the built-in tiedown points, which are designed for use with Lucky’s ratchet strap kit for maximum protection.

  • One-piece rotomolded durable plastic shell design in Gunmetal (Gray)
  • Ventilation slots for airflow
  • Pitched floor features a recessed channel to capture liquids away from canines and drain holes for easy cleanup
  • Reversible door with locking pins for added security
  • Lucky Duck Kennel Intermediate (Measures 32.5” x 22.5” x 24.5”) 
  • Lucky Duck Kennel Large (Measures 38” x 24” x 29”)
  • Lucky Duck Kennel Intermediate : 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 75 pounds when used with Lucky strength-rated anchor straps
  • Lucky Duck Kennel Large : 5-Star Rating from the Center for Pet Safety for dogs up to 110 pounds when used with Lucky strength-rated anchor straps
  • Largest travel kennel that’s earned 5 stars from the Center for Pet Safety
  • Secure enough to handle anxious travelers and escape artists
  • Comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty against defects
  • Height can be an issue for taller canines
  • On the pricier side

9. MIM Variocage Single

best dog carrier for traveling

MIM Variocage Single

A stainless steel kennel crash-rated for various accident scenarios, including front, rear, and rollover collisions..

About : The MIM Variocage Single offers supreme safety, as it’s manufactured by a company specializing in automotive safety products. Featuring a built-in crumple zone for shock absorption and a rear emergency escape hatch, this super durable option is made to protect your pooch in multiple situations.

  • Made with a powder-coated steel frame in a charcoal finish
  • Locking door with key for additional security
  • Barred design allows for maximum airflow and visibility
  • Mounting tabs for tiedown straps

Size & Dimensions : The manufacturer strongly advises consulting their measuring guide and speaking with customer support to ensure a proper fit. Each kennel size features an adjustable length for a customized fit for your dog and vehicle. 

  • Extra Small (Measures 28.7” to 38.9” x 21.8” x 23.2”)
  • Large (Measures 29.9” to 40.5” x 21.8” x 25.5”)
  • Large + (Measures 31.8” to 40.5” x 27.5” x 27.1”)
  • Extra Large (Measures 31.8” to 40.5” x 27.5” x 28.1”)
  • XXL+ (Measures 32.2” to 41.7” x 27.5” x 30.7”)
  • Max (Measures 36.2” to 45.6” x 27.5” x 33.2”)

Safety Reports:

  • All models pass Sweden’s Safe Pet Crate Test that covers front, rear, and rollover accidents
  • While the crate meets Sweden’s standards, the cargo connection points failed a 2015 Center for Pet Safety’s test in the U.S.
  • Crash-certified for multiple accident scenarios 
  • MIM offers a free kennel replacement in the event of an accident
  • Adjustable length is highly convenient
  • The rear escape hatch is an uncommon feature
  • Design allows curious paws (and possibly teeth) to slip out during travel
  • No U.S. crash certifications
  • One of the priciest canine carriers 

10. Ruff Land Kennel

best dog kennel for travel

Ruff Land Kennel

A rugged canine carrier whose angled back was designed with suv and crossover cargo areas in mind..

About : The Ruff Land Kennel allows for a snug vehicle fit with its special line of SUV-friendly designs featuring an angled back to accommodate your vehicle’s cargo area. Its rust-proof composite door opens both ways, while built-in handles make for easy hauling.

  • A durable option made from rotomolded polyethylene plastic 
  • Lightweight, stackable design allows for versatile use beyond the car
  • Includes top and bottom ventilation holes
  • Available in 3 colors: Whitestone, Rockstone, and Millstone

Size & Dimensions : Consult the manufacturer’s sizing guide to select the best fit for your dog.

  • Intermediate SUV (Measures 20″ x 31″ x 23″)
  • Large SUV ( Measures 21″ x 33.5″ x 27″)
  • Previously tested under the Ruff Tuff brand label with the Center for Pet Safety
  • First test using a 75-pound dummy failed due to tie-down bracket failures
  • Second test using a 75-pound dummy with new tiedown straps yielded no such failure, though the test dummy did impact the door 
  • Made specifically with SUVs in mind, ensuring a good fit
  • More affordable than most large-breed travel crates
  • Comes with a 1-year comprehensive warranty
  • No current test star ratings
  • Ventilation holes are on the smaller side

Why Dogs Need to Be Secured in the Car

why dogs need to be in car carrier

Whether you opt to use a dog car crate, or some other kind of canine car restraint, your dog  needs to be secure while you’re driving.

Many owners opt to let their dog have free reign in the car, but this can be very dangerous for both owners and pets. For one, in the event of an accident, your dog will become an instant projectile, flying through the windshield and injuring you, other passengers, and himself.

Unrestrained dogs are also a common cause of distracted driving.  Author Stephen King famously got into a horrific, nearly-fatal car accident when the other driver took his eyes off the road to correct his misbehaving dog.

Having an unrestrained dog in your car often results in distracted driving — using a restraint will keep both you and your dog safer.

This infographic from shows how dogs often cause distracted driving!

distracted driving with dogs

Even though it’s fun to have your pup by your side as a copilot, the distraction of your dog can be deadly for you both. It’s just not worth the risk!

The Search For A Safe Dog Car Crate

There are a number of things you’ll want to look for (as well as things you’ll want to avoid) when picking a safe dog car crate.

Starting with the things you DO want in a car crate, be sure to look for a crate that is:

Of Sufficient and Suitable Size. Pay attention to the size of your dog, compared to the size of the crate or carrier. A dog car crate should never be 6 inches longer than your dog. This is because the snugness is actually part of what is keeping your dog safe — providing too much excess space means increased momentum and force on impact, resulting in a more dangerous crash for your dog.

Built with High-Quality Connection Points. If your crate’s connectors aren’t strong and up to snuff, the crate will go flying in an accident. And that kind of defeats the whole points of having a sturdy dog car crate! In many dog crash tests, connector safety straps were a key point of failure.

On the flip side, you’ll want to avoid car carriers and crates featuring the following characteristics:

Wire Construction. Wire dog crates can be quite useful in many scenarios, but the car is not one of them. Wire crates just won’t do a ton to protect your fur baby in a car accident. While they are suitable for stopping your dog from distracting you while driving, a wire crate may collapse upon impact.

Soft-Sided Crates. Soft-sided carriers and soft crates  are fine enclosures for general use (especially if they’re made from something like durable nylon), and they work great as airline approved in-cabin carriers . However, a fabric crate will do little-to-nothing when it comes to protecting your pooch in a car accident. Since the carriers are soft, most will immediately collapse on impact.

Plastic. The majority of plastic crates have been reported to fracture and break upon impact, leaving your dog unsecure. Most traditional plastic crates simply aren’t sturdy enough to be crash-proof. Nevertheless, a few crash-tested crates are made from very durable plastic, so just be sure to dig in and do your homework before making a choice.

So what does that leave? Well…not much. The dog crates and carriers that have been deemed crash safe are few and far between. However, there are a few that are will work, and we’ll share them below.

The terms “dog crate” and “dog carrier” are often used interchangeably. In fact, we do so all the time.

However, some manufacturers and safety organizations — including the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) — make a pretty clear distinction between the two.

In these cases, the term “crates” is reserved for relatively large containment devices, which are typically meant to be placed in the cargo area of a truck, van, or SUV. By contrast, “carriers” are usually for smaller pets, and they’re designed to ride in the back seat.

CPS Study Reveals That the Majority of Dog Crates Aren’t Safe

cps logo

The CPS (Center for Pet Safety) is a non-profit research and advocacy organization that conducts crash tests for various dog safety products. The organization was established in 2011 after realizing the disturbing fact that there are no performance standards or test protocols for testing pet safety devices.

Key Lesson: Don’t Believe The Marketing

The truth is that  manufacturers of canine car crates and carriers aren’t even required to test their products . Many crates and carriers that market themselves as “crash tested” and safe fail to provide substantial protection in the event of an accident.

Most crates or harnesses that claim to be “crash tested” were only evaluated, at the manufacturer’s discretion, for one size . This means that a crate might pass for a very small dog, but lacks the stability and security for a medium or large sized dog.

It is quite shocking that dog car crates and carriers aren’t held to the same rigorous government safety standards that child car seats and other vehicle safety devices are — especially considering that a compromised crate can injure both pets and humans.  Car crates with connector safety straps that fail under stress means that your dog crate could go flying, hurting any passengers in the way (as well as your canine).

CPS Crash Worthiness Study & Testing Plan

After realizing the horrifying gaps in dog car crate and carrier testing, the CPS organization began conducting rigorous testing through the use of specially designed fake crash test dogs.

The CPS teamed up with Subaru to do an  objective study in an independent, third-party testing facility in Virginia . A startling number of car crates and dog car carriers failed, but thankfully, a few performed well and are now being recognized as the life-saving devices that they are!

This video explains a bit about the testing and highlights the three winners. We go into more detail about the winning crates below, but this video offers a nice quick overview:

How The CPS Testing Works

In the CPS (Center for Pet Safety) Crash Worthiness Study , two tests were performed.

One was completed with a crate placed in the back cargo area of a vehicle, with the back seats folded downwards , and the crate being secured through connector straps. The vast majority of crates failed in this scenario.

crash proof dog crates

In the second test, dog car crates were again placed in the cargo area,  this time with one side of the crate resting against the back side section of the back seats (which were kept in the upright position, rather than folded down flat). This allowed the crates to have additional support through the seatback, and many more crates were able to pass this test.

However, the problem is that if the crate relies on the car’s seatback for support, there is an increased risk of a seatback failure in the event of a front impact if the dog and crate have a combined weight that exceeds 40 pounds.

This wouldn’t just put your dog at risk, but your passengers too . So, in many cases, using the seatback support for your dog’s crate is not safe or recommended.

Let’s take a look at the top winners for the most secure and safe dog car carriers and crates!

Give Careful Consideration to Where the Crate Goes

crash crumple zones

Many owners place their dog’s car crate or pet kennel in the back of the car — the traditional cargo area. But unfortunately, this isn’t always a safe area for your pooch to be .

In many cars, the front and back sections are designed to be “crumple zones” when involved in accidents. The idea is that, by allowing certain sections of the car to crumple on impact, passengers in the interior of the car may remain safe.

This can be life-saving technology — so long as your loved ones aren’t stuck in one of those crumple zones.

Crumple zones can vary, especially when it comes to larger cars and SUVs that use more of the back car space for seating (making those areas unsafe to be designed as crumple zones, therefore making them safe areas to keep your dog).

Back crumple zones may not be a threat with all cars, but we recommend consulting with your car dealership to determine what the crumple zones of your car are . And then, make sure to place your dog’s pet kennel away from that dangerous crumple zone.

Placing your dog in the front seat isn’t a viable option either, as that exposes your dog to front passenger airbags, which are designed to save a human’s life — not your dog’s. Similar to how you shouldn’t place a child in the passenger seat, due to their size in relation to the airbag trajectory, dogs also can’t safely be placed in the passenger seat.

Usually, the back seat is the best place to install your dog’s car travel crate.

This is also the position where your dog will likely be the most comfortable. One study revealed that dogs exhibit less stress in the car when they are positioned closer to their humans, and can visually see them from where they are positioned. This can be key in helping reduce a dog’s anxiety in the car .

For Larger Dogs, Security Is Even More Important

While dog car safety is important for all canines, special care needs to be given to big dogs. Simply put, big dogs need a super durable crate.

Large dogs are even more of a dangerous projectile than small dogs, as a 70-pound canine body hurtling through your car at 70 miles per hour is going to be a whole lot more dangerous than a 10-pound dog .

However, even a small dog can exert a tremendous amount of force at high speeds.

unrestrained dog collision

On top of that, larger dogs will experience more force on impact. Unfortunately, this collision force is so strong that very few dog crates can hold up — the list of car-safe dog crates for big dogs is a very short one.

Additional Things to Seek in a Car Carrier for Dogs

Aside from the characteristics we’ve already discussed, you should also look for a few other things in any car carrier — whether it is crash-tested car crate or not.

  • Soft material on the inside : In addition to keeping your fur baby safe, you’ll want to look for a carrier that’s also comfy!
  • Keep the crate’s weight in mind : Generally speaking, you’ll want to look for the lightest crate you can find that still provides the safety and security your doggo deserves.
  • A water-resistant base : Even the best-trained pooches can have the occasional accident, so always try to stick to carriers with a water-resistant base.
  • Portability : Because of the very nature of car crates, you’ll want to ensure you select one that is as easy as possible to move around. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pick a collapsible dog crate, but it should be one you can move around easily.

How Do I Measure My Dog For a Car Carrier?

how to measure car space

Whether you use a soft- or hard-sided crate, you must keep your canine’s comfort in mind and make sure your fur baby gets the right size crate. Essentially, this means that you need a car carrier that is large enough that your doggo can stand up in it and lie down comfortably.

Measure from your dog’s neck (aka where the collar sits) to the base of the tail. Then, add a few inches. That’s the length you want to shoot for.

For height, measure from the top of your dog’s shoulders to the ground. If you’re buying a soft-sided crate or soft-sided carrier (or any kind of soft crate in general), you should add 2 to 3 inches to the height measurement. For hard carriers, add 3 to 5 inches.

Also, make sure to keep weight recommendations in mind when trying to pick the perfect size crate for your fur baby — pet owners with dogs falling between two sizes should probably opt for the larger size!

Distraction Prevention Vs Crash-Proof Power

dog carriers for car

It’s worth noting that while the majority of budget-friendly and popular consumer crates and carriers failed the safety test, most of these failed crash products do help substantially at least when it comes to distraction prevention.

Having your dog secured in the back seat, away from the driver, means a safer driving experience and, as a result, puts the entire car at lower risk for an accident.

So while the vast majority of crates will not protect your dog in an accident, even a poorly cash-tested device will likely be better than none at all. This holds true for many dog booster car seats and dog seat belts as well — most provide virtually no protection in an accident, but they will keep your pup from pestering you while you drive.

Still, we want to prevent distractions  and keep our dogs safe, so we’d certainly suggest opting for a dog car crate or carrier that is capable of doing both!

What to Do If You and Your Dog Are in a Car Accident

what if you and dog are in accident

Unfortunately, no matter how safe we try to be, accidents happen. 

If you and your pup are in a car accident, your utmost priority is safety, so now more than ever, keep a level head and assess the situation.

Follow basic safety steps to ensure you and your four-footer’s well-being:

  • Pull into a safe area, if you can. If you’re involved in a minor fender-bender on a busy roadway, it’s best for all parties to move to the shoulder, if possible, to avoid another collision (some states even have “If you can steer it; clear it” laws in place). It’s all too common for a two-vehicle crash to worsen.
  • Assess the vehicle’s safety. Are there any fluids or smoke being released into or out of the vehicle? Can you smell gas or chemicals? Are there downed live wires outside? The answers to these questions greatly affect your next actions. Downed wires outside of the car mean staying inside, while smoke, gas, or chemical leaks require you to grab your pooch and get out of the car pronto .
  • Check yourself. Glance over yourself for signs of injury. We know your first instinct is to check on your pooch, but if you hurt yourself further, you won’t be able to help your fur baby. Adrenaline can make it hard to pinpoint any pain, but a quick once-over can usually spot any bleeding or serious injury that you need to address.
  • Check your pet. In most cases, pet carriers protect your dog from serious harm but you’ll still need to check her for injuries when it’s safe to do so. Keep the car door closed behind you if possible, as a frightened pup is prone to bolting after an accident. Look for signs of obvious pain like a stiff posture, whimpering, or limping. You also want to check for blood or a misaligned limb. Dogs who aren’t properly secured in a carrier or with a harness are more susceptible to severe injury.
  • Use caution. A dog in pain may act aggressively, so don’t feel offended if your best friend is snappy or fearful of you. Your feelings need to take a backseat, but your safety shouldn’t so use caution when handling an injured dog.
  • Render emergency aid . If your dog is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean towel or clothing item. If she isn’t responsive and appears not to be breathing, proceed with dog CPR .
  • Secure your pet. Make sure your dog is properly leashed before exiting the vehicle. This is critical, as even dogs with the best recall may run away after an accident. 
  • Call the police. Report the accident to proper authorities as soon as you’re sure you and your dog are OK and secured. If you or your dog are injured, relay this information as well. This ensures the proper help arrives informed of the situation.
  • Seek veterinary care. Bleeding, fractures, or signs of pain require emergency treatment by a vet. If you need care and can’t go with your dog, emergency professionals will likely be able to transport your canine to receive treatment. We’d also recommend getting your doggy copilot checked over by your vet from head to tail even after a minor accident.
  • Contact your insurance company. Pet injuries suffered during a car accident are covered by some insurance companies. It’s worth giving your insurer a call to check on your status. This is a good feature for all pet owners to look for while insurance shopping.

Automobile accidents are traumatic for both humans and dogs. What once was a safe space suddenly isn’t, so you both may have residual anxieties about riding in the car. A good way to overcome this is by having driveway hangouts, where you reintroduce sitting in the car in a fun, stress-free way. Bring treats and offer praise as you relax in the backseat. Over time, you can work up to turning on the car and driving around the block, making the car fun again.

If you haven’t already, it’s also a good time to introduce a travel dog crate to ensure your pupper’s safety for future car adventures.

Do you use a crate or carrier in the car with your fur baby? Are you surprised to hear about the CPS’s study and the lackluster safety of most car crates? Have you found a supremely durable option with a sturdy base that’s made from high-quality materials yet not listed above? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!


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June 4, 2022

Very comprehensive, thank you! I’m considering the Ruffland kennel but there are 2 versions of tie down attachments available.

One is a D ring style and the other one is a bracket. Is one of these the one that passed the test? I looked at the videos at CPS but it was not clear. Thank you!

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June 6, 2022

Hey, Tanya. I *think* it is the bracket, but I’m not 100% sure. I’ve dropped them a line and will follow up here, but you should probably just give them a call before ordering to make sure. 🙂

June 9, 2022

I have contacted Ruff Land and although they market SUV specific kennels, including the ‘Backseat Rider’, there is actually no way to safely secure the backseat rider in the backseat. I contacted them about that and they couldn’t answer it, instead pointing me to their flat bed truck tie down video, but that method doesn’t work in backseats. On the question of brackets, they are bought separately and are attached by the customer through what seems like a flimsy hole in the plastic crate using a socket wrench. This seems like a significant weak point. The D rings in particular seem very flimsy. But regardless, all of the CPS crash test videos show failure, and until the failure points are addressed and they are certified, there are much safer options out there. Both Lucky Duck and Gunner can be secured in the back seat. They both have metal rods integrated into the kennel under which you pass the ratchet straps and wrap around the bottom of the kennel.

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June 30, 2021

I have a 15 month Female Doberman and doing obedience training so on the road weekly. I have an SUV so looking for a safe kennel made in USA can you recommend one that has a hard exterior?

Hey there, Marie. The Gunner Kennel has a hard exterior and may be large enough for your Dobie. But you may want to check out our article about crates for truck beds — there are some larger kennels with hard exteriors there. Best of luck!

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May 25, 2021

I’m a little confused, in the article you say: things to avoid “Soft-sided carriers and crates are fine enclosures for general use, and they work great as airline approved in-cabin carriers. However, they will do little-to-nothing when it comes to protecting your pooch in a car accident. Since the carriers are soft, most will immediately collapse on impact.” …then you go on to recommend 2 soft sided carriers?

May 26, 2021

Hey, Kathryn. This is one of those cases in which the language is just tricky. We discuss it in the product sections, but essentially, some of these carriers are pretty “soft,” yet they incorporate materials and design features that allow them to pass crash tests. We’re really trying to discourage owners from using a run-of-the-mill, general use soft-sided carrier — not the listed products, which are “soft,” but pretty darn safe for car travel. Thanks for checking out the article!

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May 9, 2021

FYI, the G7 Commuter carrier lost its rating from the CPS on 31 Dec 2019.

May 10, 2021

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Nick! I’ll update the article to reflect the change.

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August 22, 2020

Posting this warning for other dog owners looking to purchase a crate for their car. TransK9 crates have an unsafe flaw in the design. We bought this TransK9 crate for the back of our car because we believed it was safe, would protect our dogs from accidents, and we would all feel more secure. However, we experienced an incident where our dog got her snout stuck in the grate of the door so severely that she chipped two of her teeth and damaged the top of her nose (bloody and severely bruised). We had to use small bolt cutters to cut her out of the door. Luckily she didn’t break her nose, but we’re still watching her teeth closely, and she will need dental work.

We contacted the company, TransK9, for support, however what we received was lectures about anxious dogs and the importance of reading terms and conditions. They did offer to replace the doors with ones that have smaller openings, however a few days later they rescinded this offer and instead leaned on their terms and conditions as an excuse. They did offer to send us replacement doors identical to the ones Cooper got her snout stuck in.

No one wants to see their dog in pain.

August 24, 2020

Hey, Kathy. First of all, we’re so sorry to hear about Cooper’s ordeal! We hope she recovers fully and would like you to give her some scritches from us! We also appreciate you sharing your experience with the ThansK9 Crate. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open to see if this is a common problem, or just a one-off thing.

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February 29, 2020

What criteria are you using to determine that all other crates for large dogs failed in the CPS testing? I watched it, and the Vario performed as it was suppose to, as per manufacturer recommendations. Looking to outfit our new van and curious.

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September 12, 2019

None of the prices actually reflect the actual price. I know this article is older but it links to the amazon page. Anyway, any price for the pooches.

Hey, Jen. It is an older article, but we try to go in an update our titles periodically. They should all reflect accurate prices now, except for the Sleepypod Carriers. For some reason, that one is being difficult. Rest assured, we’re on the case, trying to get it fixed.

Thanks for pointing out the error!

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October 14, 2018

Thank you for the great article! I have two 20-25 pound dogs, is it recommended to get them each their own safe padded crate or a large one to put them both in? Or would separate harness seat belts be better? Or separate booster seats? I was in a pretty bad wreck a month ago and I just keep thinking how awful it would’ve been if my pups had been with me 🙁 hopefully I can find the best and safest solution for them!

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August 28, 2018

I’m so glad I found this before going on my three-week road trip with my dog.

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July 14, 2018

What about Impact Crates? I am not sure ion CPS has testes these crates, but a lot of people claim they saved their dogs in auto accidents.

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July 15, 2018

I’ve heard good things about Impact, they are definitely very secure crates, but they either haven’t been tested by CPS or haven’t passed the CPS crash test so we aren’t including them as a suggested option for car travel.

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June 27, 2018

How do I determine the size of the carrier for my dog? Should my dog be able to stand up in the carrier? Should my dog be able to turn around in the carrier? My dog is 15 lbs, height is 13” (from the base of neck above the shoulders to ground), and 15” long (measured from butt to shoulder).

June 28, 2018

Great question! We just added a new bit of info to the article based on your question. Yes, your dog should be able to stand and turn around. Sounds like you have the right measurements you need. Just add a few extra inches for length and a few more for height (2-3 inches for soft carriers, 3-5 for hard carriers).

Thank you for the helpful information. Unfortunately, all the soft sides are too short, and the Gunner small kennel is 4.5 inches too long. I think Gunner would be my best bet, but I wish the other companies would make taller models.

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May 27, 2018

There are a few other companies (Variocage, TransK9, Lintran) – I will do more research on those but so far I would go with TransK9. An important safety feature not mentioned here is a rear escape hatch door. What would happen if after an accident, the cargo door won’t open due to the damage, or the kennel door won’t open and I need to get the dog out? Worse, what if the car is on fire and I *really* need to get the dog out very quickly? TransK9 has an escape hatch in the back facing the front of the car, that folds down. Unfortunately, it seems that TransK9 was only tested independently. And It’s just as pricy as Variocage.

Good point – I can see why multiple doors might be important in the event of a crash.

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December 23, 2021

The Variocage has an escape hatch at the opposite end from the normal entry and exit doors (in the back facing the front of the car), to be used in case of emergency – just like the transk9 does.

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May 26, 2018

FYI, Gunner makes a medium dog crate for dogs up to 45 lbs. the price is $429.99, which is WAY too much for me. But, for those who can afford it, it’s out there. They have 4 sizes to accommodate all size dogs. They are ALL, very expensive, though. I wish I COULD afford it. My dog, like all dogs, deserves the best!

You recommend a carrier for SMALL dogs, several, in fact. And you recommend a carrier for LARGE dogs. But, there are NO recommendations for MEDIUM dogs! My dog is 35 lbs. He’s too big for the small and too small for the large! So what about all the MEDIUM dogs out here. We love our MEDIUM dogs, and want to,protect them, too!

Hey Marie – we only recommend these crates because they are the only crash proof crates on the market at this time.

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May 23, 2018

Thank you so very much for this article! I have 2 XL dogs (125 lbs each) Kangal/Great Pyrenees and am buying a new car that can accommodate 2 crates. I hope the Gunner Kennel will be able to safely transport them!! For a car I am looking at the GMC Yukon (or Yukon XL) hoping it will accommodate not one but two crates. I thank you so much for this article!!!

You’re welcome Nina! I wish there were more crash-test-approved dog crates, but unfortunately, these are the only options for now, especially for big pooches! Let us know how you do with the Gunner kennel.

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May 18, 2018

Great! just ordered a Gen7commuter. Thanks for the suggestions!

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April 26, 2018

Didn’t know about these crates. Thanks for sharing this information.

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April 13, 2018

Been reading a lot about Variocage as being tested and safe system …. Any further information? Not cheap, but certainly cheaper than vet bills would be.

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April 15, 2018

The Variocage test results are included in the 2015 Crate Study posted on the Center for Pet Safety website.

April 16, 2018

Hi Kim – Variocage did not pass the 2015 CPS crash test. You can find out more details about how the Variocage failed the crash test here” (they have videos too).

I checked out the videos on the CPS site, and it seemed that the Variocage’s only downside was that the straps broke. The crate was pushed in to half its size because, as is mentioned on the CPS site, it is designed to do that (a built-in crumple zone). Tight quarters for the dog after that but the crate itself looked intact to me.

I noticed that too Dagmar – there’s definitely a chance that means the Variocage could be a suitable option, but I’m hesitant to suggest it if it wasn’t passed by the CPS, especially when there are other options that do pass. Maybe next time we refresh this article I’ll spend time looking more into Variocage.

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February 8, 2018

Hi, I have a question. I have 2 chihuahuas . 1 is 8.5 pounds and the other is 7 pounds. They always travel together in a plastic crate. However I want to purchase a sleepy pod for safer travels. Can they be in the same crate? Is that safe ? Thanks!

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December 28, 2017

I have a service dog (lab 75 lbs) that I wanted to keep in a crate in the cargo area of an SUV like a CRV or RAV4 because I thought it was safer. After your article, I am having second thoughts. Since she is a working dog, safety is a big concern because even a small injury could put her out of work. Have you done research on safest SUVs for dogs or best way to secure a dog in the passenger area? Debbie

You may want to look at Volvos. I am not sure about the newer models, but I used to have the 240 wagon, and those had a safety cage that extended to include the cargo area, because a pop-up seat in the trunk of the cargo area was an option and therefore, there was a chance of passengers riding in the cargo area, and it could not be a crumple zone. I miss my 240 wagon for that very reason.

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December 9, 2017

please get to the large dog car harnesses! most of us cant buy a $600 cage. thank you

Don’t worry Katy – our article about car safe dog harnesses will be published in the next week or the following- promise!

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June 27, 2017

We have a golden puppy and want to transport her safely. I’m bummed there is nothing but the pod for small dogs and then the $600.00 gunner kennel for large dogs.

July 20, 2017

I know Tammy – it really sinks! Luckily there are some really high-quality harnesses that work well for serious car protection. We’ll be reviewing those soon.

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June 19, 2017

Shocking. As a dog owner it makes me angry that there is not more 3rd party testing.

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10 Best Travel Crates for Dogs in 2022

Last updated July 5, 2022 | Follow us on Facebook Here

Packing up the car and taking a road trip with your best (dog) friend can seem like a great idea. But there are a lot of places dogs aren’t allowed, and that’s where a travel crate can come into play, especially if you’re staying in hotels.

I personally have taken 5-6 trips across the United States with two dogs. We’ve used multiple types of crates, starting with the traditional house crate (hard wired metal) and finally settling on a foldable soft crate.

safest dog travel crate

Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate

With a great ease of use and ability to be easily cleaned, this water resistant crate is a perfect option. It offers a variety of sizes and is very easy to assemble and use.

safest dog travel crate

2Pet Foldable Dog Crate

This crate features a waterproof base and a portion of the proceeds go to a great animal cause. A washable fleece pad is the icing on the cake with this one.

Soft Crate vs. Hard Crate

You could not pay me to take a road trip with a metal crate, with one exception: I was driving a truck and the dog was comfortable or preferred the bed of the truck as opposed to the inside floor. Other than that I’m taking a soft crate every single time.

The primary reason is weight. Lugging in 1, 2, 3 or more hard crates into a hotel room is pure torture, especially if you have large dogs, which means large crates.

It’s true that hard crates are easier to clean up, so if you have an older dog or a younger dog prone to accidents then a hard crate may be worth it, but even then it’s a close call.

Travel Crate

While cars are made for human safety, they are not always the safest for pups, especially because they cannot wear a traditional seat-belt ( although there are dog specific seat-belts and harnesses ) as we can. Some (not all) travel crates make sure that your dog is secure and in the event of a crash, they stay inside the vehicle instead of being ejected.

However, most travel crates are simply meant for hotels or overnight stays where you can’t leave the dog in the room to roam about. We almost never use crates inside cars (occasionally in a truck bed). Instead we’ll set up our soft crates in the hotel room so we can visit a local museum, restaurant, or another attraction where dogs aren’t allowed.

10 Best Travel Crates for Dogs

1. noz2noz soft-krater indoor and outdoor crate.


This model also comes in 5 different sizes for dogs weighing up to 70 pounds. The crate is made of a tight-weave mesh fabric that is heavy-duty for pet wear and tear durability. The soft crate is ideal for long trips as it is well ventilated and it sets up in a very short amount of time.

The Noz2Noz model has a water resistant base for accidents and easy cleaning and the entire cover surrounding the steel frame is washable in your washing machine.

Pros: Comes in a variety of sizes, washable, water resistant

Cons: More expensive than other brands

2. 2Pet Foldable Dog Crate  


This crate features a steel frame design covered with a water resistant nylon variant over. It has mesh panel windows and a waterproof mat for the flooring of the crate. It also comes with a washable fleece cushion pad.

A portion of the sales also goes to pet shelters and charities, which is a great perk!  The crate also comes with a 1 year warranty.

The crate has installed carrying handles and is foldable and lightweight.

Pros: A portion of the proceeds goes to charity, waterproof, and lightweight

3. AmazonBasics Portable Folding Travel Kennel


A soft crate, this product comes in five different sizes to accommodate many different sizes of dogs, weighing up to 70 pounds. Featuring two doors on the front and the top, this crate makes for easy access and entry and has ventilation for your pooch on all four sides of the kennel.

With zippers to close the doors and straps to help to fasten unzipped doors, the mechanism is easy to use and provides for ultimate assurance that your dog is fastened in.

The kennel folds up flat for storage and transport and sets up quickly without any tools. The rounded corners of this kennel make sure not to damage the interior of your vehicle during travel.

Pros: Easy set up, folds up, zipper closures

Cons: No carry handles

4. Diggs Revol Small Dog Crate  


This particular crate is made of high-grade aluminum, steel mesh wire, and reinforced plastic, all of which are non-toxic and safe for your dog. The crate is collapsible, easy to transport and has three carrying handles. This crate comes with wheels and a large garage-style door.

This crate fits any breed up to 30 pounds and has a puppy divider, a removable tray and a ceiling hatch. The dimensions of this kennel are 25x17x19.

Pros: Easy to clean, collapsible, non-toxic

Cons: comes in one size

5. Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Porter


With eight size choices, this model dog crate packs a punch! One perk about this kennel is that with an easy-open latch, you can open the crate with one hand. This specific crate meets most airline cargo specifications and regulations.

It is made up of a heavy-duty plastic shell and metal screws and features a lightweight design.

Pros: Airline cargo certified, 8 size choices

Cons: Does not fold down

6. AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Kennel


You have two size options with this particular crate. It is a hard-shell, two-door top-load model. The top door is able to open up to the left or the right. While the exterior is made of plastic, the front door is comprised of a steel wire to safely secure your pup.

The price point is very reasonable and is easy to clean. If simplicity is your goal, this is a great option.

Pros: Simplicity and price

7. EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate


The EliteField model comes in 5 size options to accommodate your dog and over 10 color options! Although this is a soft crate, the frame is a strong steel tube and the crate cover is made out of a durable fabric.

This kennel has a total of three doors: one on the top, one on the front and one on the side. It comes with a carrying bag and fleece bed for free! Also, it should be noted that a 2 year warranty comes along with this product.

Pros: 2 year warranty, free carrying bag and fleece bed, many color choices

Cons: Higher price point

8. Guardian Gear Collapsible Dog Crate  


This crate features 4 different sizes and is able to accompany large dogs such as Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, Greyhounds, and St. Bernards. It is quick and simple to assemble and to take apart and has mesh windows on all four sides for ventilation and visibility.

This model has a machine-washable sheepskin mat, along with a carrying handle.

Pros: Has a very large size option, Quick Assembly

9. New World Folding Metal Dog Crate


This brand offers options! You can choose from 5 different sizes and a single or double door. It is a folding metal crate with two heavy duty slide-bolt latches. The New World crate has a leak-proof plastic pan for accidents. No tools are needed to assemble this kennel and it fits easily in the back of a vehicle.

Although it does not come with any soft bedding, your dog’s bed can be added for extra comfort.

Pros: A great price point, many customizable options

Cons: No soft bedding included

10. LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Crate


The Luckup crate is very heavy-duty and the frame is made of steel for durability. The finish on it is nontoxic for your pup’s safety. It has a double door and a locking caster. The bottom of the crate is made to easily be able to slide out for cleaning. You can choose from 3 different size options for this crate.

Unique to others, the bars are much thicker and appear to be more sturdy. It can fit in the back of a vehicle for easy transport.

Pros: Durability, Non-toxic

Cons: No carrying handles

My detailed travel crate setup

For the past several years we’ve used the same two Noz2Noz Soft-Krater without a single issue.

Unfortunately we didn’t start out using soft crates. We started with the traditional metal crates (that way a ton!).


Our first road trip was about 3 weeks across the U.S. and I will never, ever, ever again use metal crates. Holy cow was that a pain.

Our car is packed exactly the same, except we now use soft crates, which pack down even smaller than the picture below. Once we reach the hotel, if we need to leave the dogs for an excursion or something, we’ll unpack the crates and set them up like below.


You can see the 2 soft crates setup in the hotel room, and I also left the laptop in the picture because we use a program called iCam that streams the laptop camera to our phone. That way we can check on the dogs while we’re out.


The crates break down super quick, and we pack up the following day (or whenever we’re done at that hotel).

We don’t even own the metal crates anymore. We used to keep them around in case we needed to crate them in the house, but now we just use the soft crates for that as well.

Let me know in the comments which option you end up going with!

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August 14, 2022 at 7:29 pm

Nice info … however, never leave your dog unattended in a hotel room. In fact, in most places it’s a policy and in some municipalities, it’s against the law.

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safest dog travel crate


safest dog travel crate


The 9 Best Dog Crates of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

safest dog travel crate

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

The Spruce / Tamara Staples

The right dog crate offers a comfortable den-like space where a dog can go to feel safe. It should also be easy for you to clean and make it easy for you to access your dog. If you have a puppy, a crate is a valuable tool for potty training because dogs instinctually do not want to soil their home.

We conducted hands-on testing of 20 dog crates in our New York lab to find the best options, evaluating different styles of crates, including traditional wireframes, foldable soft-sided models, and hybrid crates that serve as functional side tables.

Our overall favorite is the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Single Door and Double Door Dog Crate , which is large enough to support a growing puppy and includes a crate cover, dog bed, and two detachable food bowls.

  • How We Tested
  • What to Look for

Standout Features

  • Why Trust The Spruce Pets

Best Overall

Midwest homes for pets icrate single door & double door dog crates.


  • Ease of Setup 5 /5
  • Ease of Use 5 /5
  • Durability 4 /5
  • Ease of Cleaning 5 /5

Thoughtful, simple design

Easy to clean

Useful double doors

Door bent under pressure

Our best overall pick is the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Single Door and Double Door Dog Crate because of its easy assembly, thorough features, and easy-to-clean tray. While many of the other crates that we tested also scored well for their easy-to-clean surfaces, the additional divider in this crate kit set it apart from the rest. Plus, this crate’s plastic tray slides out easily, making it simple to clean if any major accidents happen. We also love that this crate has rubberized rolling buffers to protect hardwood, vinyl, or tile flooring. 

This crate from MidWest Homes for Pets passed our lab tests with perfect scores in ease of setup, use, and cleaning. Its basic aesthetic may not win any beauty contests, but it's certainly functional. We especially love the double door model, which makes it a cinch to access the crate from the front or side, adding significantly to the iCrate's flexibility.

The practicality of this crate coupled with its easy-to-collapse and easy-to-clean design can't be beat. The setup is as simple as pulling the top of the crate up and snapping the hooks into place. Removing the plastic tray is also easy, as there is a slot for it to slide out from the bottom of the crate. A security hook also ensures that the tray stays in its place when your pup is on top of it. 

The only downside we found is the door does bend slightly when it’s pulled on, not significant enough for a dog to bust through the door, but it’s still a worthy concern for any owners with  especially excitable or high-strung pooches . Despite this one design concern, we’d still recommend this crate as a reliable and basic option that’s sure to last you multiple years and withstand pet wear and tear over time.

Price at time of publish: $50 for medium

Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 16 inches (extra-small), 24 x 18 x 19 inches (small), 30 x 19 x 21 inches (medium), 36 x 23 x 25 inches (medium/large), 42 x 28 x 31 inches (large), 48 x 30 x 33 inches (extra-large) | Material: Metal, plastic | Attributes: Collapsible, divider included, double door, removable pan, carry handle, water-resistant

The Spruce Pets / Tamara Staples

The Spruce Pets / Jessica Juliao

Best Budget

Amazon basics portable folding soft dog travel crate.

  • Durability 5 /5
  • Ease of Cleaning 4.8 /5

Durable construction

Foldable, streamlined design

Mesh windows

Some nooks and crannies might be difficult to clean

Finding a dog crate that doesn’t break the bank but still does its job well can be challenging, but we were very impressed with this crate from Amazon Basics, which has a PVC frame with polyester and mesh fabric cover, all for a very affordable price.

This crate has three openings (one at either end of the crate and one on the top) that are secured by zippers. They can also be rolled up and fastened to the top of the crate. This crate is super lightweight, making it a great option for travel, but it doesn’t have a carrying handle. 

Overall the crate is very durable and designed to endure—it didn’t budge or break when a sandbag was thrown on top of it and at the front of it. Long term maintenance and cleaning will likely require the use of a handheld vacuum to target the smaller nooks and crannies within the crate’s frame.

Price at time of publish: $76 for medium

Dimensions: 25.98 x 18.11 x 18.11 inches (small), 21.3 x 29.9 x 21.3 (medium), 36 x 24 x 24 (large), 42 x 31 x 31 inches (extra-large) | Material: PVC frame, polyester, mesh | Attributes: Folds flat, mesh windows, zippered entry

The Spruce / Jessica Juliao

"We threw a sandbag at the front of it and on the top, and it was totally fine! Nothing broke or scratched."— Maria Bouselli, product tester

Best Splurge

Diggs revol dog crate.

  • Ease of Use 4.8 /5
  • Value 4.5 /5

User-friendly design and durable construction

Removable tray included

Easy to clean and set up

Not very compact when collapsed

If you’re looking for a luxurious and incredibly durable dog crate, we recommend the Diggs Revol Collapsible Dog Crate. This crate collapses when you twist the top handle, and the sides lift up, offering multiple access points for your pet.

We like the intuitive design and the heavy-duty crate is hard to budge once in place, even with 45 pounds of force directed at the door in our lab testing environment. Throwing multiple sandbags at the crate also did not impact its structure or appearance.

This crate’s tray is removable so that you can easily clean it, and it has a raised edge to prevent any leakage if accidents do happen while your pet is inside the crate. The crate’s door is secured by a latch that's released by pressing a button, so it’s much more secure than other crates that only have a sliding bolt. But the crate is  not very compact , even when it’s collapsed, so it may not be easily stored under certain pieces of furniture or in small closets. While the price point on this crate is certainly a splurge in anyone’s budget, we do believe the price fairly reflects this crate’s high quality and unique design.

Price at time of publish: $475 for medium

Dimensions: 25 x 17 x 19 (small), 32 x 20 x 22 inches (medium), 39 x 25 x 28 (intermediate), 44 x 28 x 30 (large) | Material: High grade aluminum, steel mesh wire, reinforced plastic | Attributes: Collapsible, removable tray

Best for Small Dogs

Fable pets crate.

  • Ease of Setup 4 /5
  • Ease of Use 4 /5
  • Durability 4.5 /5
  • Ease of Cleaning 4 /5

Doubles as side table

Metal or acrylic door option

Two wood finishes to choose from

No removable tray

Door jiggles when closed

The overall design of the Fable Pets Crate easily double as a bedside table or end table in a family room. The dual function crate is relatively easy to put together out of the box, similar to the labor intensity of Ikea furniture.

The crate is made out of bentwood and comes in two wood finishes, signature (lighter) or walnut (darker), with the choice of a clear acrylic door or white metal door. Both door options have square-shaped cut-outs for visibility and airflow. If your dog tends to paw at the door of their crate, you might find the metal door option to be more durable.

This crate has rubber pads that  prevent it from scratching hardwood and vinyl floors , but there is no carrying handle, which could make it difficult to move from room to room. That said, we recommend finding a designated spot and sticking with it to make it feel more den-like for your dog. This crate also does not have a removable tray, so you must crouch down to reach inside for any cleaning needs.

Overall, this crate is a great option for anyone looking for lockable crate blends into decor while still being very functional.

Price at time of publish: $395 for extra-small/small

Dimensions: 26 x 20 x 23 inches (extra-small/small), 34 x 24 x 25 inches (medium), 42 x 29.5 x 34.4 inches (large) | Material: Bent wood, metal or acrylic door | Attributes: Windows, side table

Best for Travel

Petmate two-door top-load pet kennel.

  • Performance 4.5 /5
  • Portability 5 /5
  • Quality 4.5 /5


Secure latch

Easy to assemble and use

Does not support dogs over 15 pounds

If you like to  take your dog on road trips , you should check out the Petmate Two Door Pet Kennel. It’s easy to attach the top and bottom pieces together, and the door is incredibly secure. Plus, the front and top openings allow for easy cleaning and access to your pet. In our lab testing, this crate’s door did not budge when pulled with 33 pounds of force and was not affected by the impact of a sandbag. 

The top carrying handle also makes this crate a great option for city dwellers who commute to their vet's office or groomers. While we love how convenient this crate would be for extra-small to small dog breeds, we wish it was just slightly bigger to accommodate dogs within the 20-pound range. Nonetheless, this crate is a great, lightweight option for any travel situation for owners of small dogs.

Price at time of publish: $81

Dimensions: 24.05 x 16.8 x 14.5 inches | Material: Recycled plastic | Attributes: Top handle, two doors with secure latches

"The crate is super simple to use! The door opens easily, and it even has a top part that comes off as well to check in on your dog. The latches definitely lock in but open easily by squeezing. And it's very easy to pick up and carry! I think a 15-pound dog would be very happy in this crate!"— Maria Bouselli, product tester

Best for Flights

Petmate aspen pet porter dog kennel.

ID tags and detachable bowls included

Secure door latch

Meets most airline standards

Not portable with large dogs

If your dog is a frequent flier with you, then you’ll want a crate with a reliable closure and durable frame. The Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier offers crate sizes for all dogs up to 120 pounds, and it comes with two “live animal stickers,” ID tags, and detachable food bowls.

The intuitively designed crate has a secure latch that's virtually impossible for a dog to open, even if you have a Houdini-like pup in your home. This kennel also meets most airlines’ standards for pet carriers, but be sure to consult with your preferred airline before making any flight plans with your pup. 

If you have an  especially reactive pup , keep in mind that the door to this crate may bend slightly with excessive force. While testing with roughly 68 pounds of force pulled against it, the door showed a slight bend, but overall we were impressed by the door’s durability and latch strength. This crate does not have a removable tray, but its plastic interior still make it relatively easy to clean, except for a few tight corners.

While Petmate does offer carriers with handles for their two smallest sizes (21-inch and 28-inch crates), the larger kennels may be more difficult to carry and maneuver through an airport, especially with a larger dog inside.

Price at time of publish: $122

Dimensions: 24.5 x 18.25 x 19.5 inches; 32 x 22.5 x 24 inches; 36 x 25 x 27 inches; 40 x 27 x 30 inches | Material: Plastic, steel wire | Attributes: Side vents, wire door with latch, top handle (small sizes only)

Best Soft Crate

Elitefield soft folding dog crate.

Dual zipper flaps on sides and top

Removable, machine washable bed included

Easy to carry with side pockets for storage of small accessories

Fabric is not chew proof

For overnight stays outside of your home, the EliteField Soft Folding Dog Crate is lightweight and easy to fold.

The alloy steel frame is covered in breathable nylon that is available in various colors. Three dual zipper flaps, one on top and two on each side, enable flexibility and convenience for checking on your dog and getting them safely inside. There are also two storage pockets on the exterior for small accessories, like a leash and a collapsible bowl. Inside you'll find a removable, machine-washable bed. The crate is durable, but not chew-proof so we do not recommend it for a teething puppy. Spills and accidents can be spot cleaned as needed.

Price at time of publish: $110 for extra-small

Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 14 inches (extra-small), 24 x 18 x 21 inches (small), 30 x 21 x 24 inches (medium), 36 x 24 x 28 inches (medium/large), 42 x 28 x 32 inches (large) | Material: Alloy steel, nylon | Attributes: Mesh windows, top handles, carrying bag, three zippered doors

Tamara Staples

Best Hybrid

Casual home pet crate end table.

  • Durability 4.8 /5
  • Ease of Cleaning 3.7 /5

Four wood finishes: white, espresso, black, and walnut

Space to place a padded mat

Latch on door keeps it securely shut

Top surface used as end table can support up to 120 pounds

Not chew proof

Latch can be tricky to maneuver and secure

Crate pan and dog bed sold separately

The Casual Home Pet Crate End Table is available in four wood finishes to complement your home decor while providing a cozy den for your dog. The smallest size of this crate can accommodate dogs up to 18 pounds inside and the top surface, used as an end table, can support up to 120 pounds. The extra-large version can fit dogs up to 90 pounds and support 200 pounds on top.

To secure the door shut, the latch has a three-step process: pull out, move up, and then push down into place. We found it a little difficult to maneuver which then made it easier for our dog to get out. If you have a dog that is determined to get out, this crate is not the right choice, but if you have a dog that enjoys their den space, then this is a suitable option.

The crate pan and dog bed designed for the crate are sold separately, but you can also put a blanket or mat that your dog already loves inside to help them feel comfortable in their new space. Assembly is required, but it comes together easily with clear instructions provided.

Price at time of publish: $153 for small

Dimensions: 20 x 27.5 x 24 inches (small), 36.5 x 24 x 29.25 inches (medium) | Material: Wood | Attributes: Lockable door, windows

Best Budget, Metal Wire

Amazon basics foldable metal wire dog crate.

  • Ease of Use 3 /5
  • Ease of Cleaning 3.5 /5

The crate maintained shape when picked up via handle on top with a 70-pound dog inside

Durable plastic tray is easy to remove for cleaning

Two doors and an optional divider

Door latches can be difficult to maneuver

The Amazon Basics Foldable Crate Metal Wire Dog Crate is sturdy and low maintenance. We tested the two-door style with one door on the short side of the rectangular shape and the other on the long side. The door latches are difficult to maneuver at first but loosen over time with use. If you are buying this crate for a puppy, a dividing gate is provided which gives you the option to expand the interior space they have access to as they grow. A durable plastic tray sized proportionally for each crate is easy to remove for cleaning with soap and water and dries quickly.

We placed our 70-pound dog inside the largest size of this crate (48 inches) and they had sufficient space to lay down. Using the handle on top, we were able to pick up the crate for a moment. The structure remained intact and supported our dog's weight.

Price at time of publish: $100

Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 16 inches; 24 x 18 x 20 inches; 30 x 19 x 21 inches; 36 x 23 x 25 inches; 42 x 28 x 30 inches; 48 x 30 x 32.5 inches | Material: Metal, plastic | Attributes: Double door, foldable, removable tray

For a dependable dog crate that accommodates dogs of all shapes and sizes, we recommend the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Single Door and Double Door Dog Crate . It's lightweight yet durable and folds down for easy transport and storage. If you're looking to splurge on a crate with more features, check out the Diggs Revol Dog Crate . Designed with safety in mind, it has an open, inviting feel that your pup will love.

How We Tested the Dog Crates

We tested 20 dog crates in  The Lab  in Industry City, Brooklyn. After setting up each crate, we conducted multiple strength tests on the crates to rate their durability. We asked each tester to place a 25- and 10-pound sandbag inside the dog crate and then apply 40 pounds of pulling pressure onto the door of the crate with a luggage scale. Testers then rated (out of 5) the crates on whether the door popped open, warped, or broke from the pressure of the scale. We also asked testers to throw a 25-pound sandbag at the side of each crate (this test was skipped for soft-sided crates) and rate its appearance and durability after the impact of the sandbag. 

In addition to these strength tests, our testers also made judgments on each crate’s overall appearance, ease of use, and ease of cleaning. We also asked our testers to consider which categories or scenarios each crate would be best suited for and, finally, asked them to consider the crate’s overall value.

What to Look for in Dog Crates

Safety is arguably the most important factor to consider when purchasing a dog crate, but the level of safety depends on the life stage and temperament of your pup. For example, a wooden crate might be safe for more mellow dogs who don't chew, but those with puppies or chewers will want to avoid this type.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to make sure that the crate has a stable frame that won't flip over or let your dog escape. Wire mesh options can pose more safety concerns , so you'll want to go for a durable, high-gauge metal option. This will minimize any possible injuries, like getting paws stuck in the wire or breaking out of the crate entirely, and give you greater peace of mind. Plastic options generally come with fewer safety risks, but you'll still want to make sure that the crate is chew-resistant, with no detachable pieces that can be swallowed or eaten.

The ideal crate size allows your pup to fully stand up and lie down, with room to stretch to his full body length without being constrained. But dogs still like a den-like experience, so make sure that the crate isn’t  too  big (for example, a smaller breed shouldn’t be housed in a crate intended for larger breeds).

So, when shopping for a crate, you’ll want to consult a dog crate size chart , considering your dog’s shape and size. Those with puppies might opt for a crate that comes with divider panels, which allow the crate to grow with your pooch (and also come in handy for training).

Apart from practical design elements like a removable tray—more on that below—you’ll also want to consider the overall look of your potential crate. Your dog’s crate is most likely something you and your family will be seeing often, after all.

While a traditional wire mesh crate is neutral enough, if you’re looking for something that will either blend in or stand out a bit more, there are plenty of options. Those with wooden furniture might opt for a wooden crate, which is perfectly suited for the  living room area  (though those with puppies or chewers should opt for a more durable option). And if you want something a bit more Instagram-worthy, opt for something like the Diggs Revol Dog Crate, which is just as practical as it is easy on the eyes.

Dividers are a great way for your crate to grow with your dog, reducing the need to buy a new crate several times a year. As your puppy grows, you can adjust the amount of living space to suit her needs. Additionally, if you have  two dogs  that don’t get along, you can use a divider to split up their crate. Just make sure that each pup has enough space to do its thing.

Removable Tray

Ideally, your pup won’t be in a crate long enough to have to “do their business.” But accidents again, and when they do, you’ll be glad to have a tray that you can remove for cleaning. Luckily, most crates come with this feature; if not, you can purchase a separate fabric pad that will absorb any urine or other messes.

Casters can prove super useful for at-home crate use, as they allow you to more easily move your pup’s crate from one room to another. This is particularly great for puppies; when they’re still young and potty training, you can keep the crate in your bedroom or hallway (as you would a baby), and as they get older, you can move it to your living room or kitchen area. Just make sure to lock the casters in place every time to minimize accidents or tip-overs. 

Why Trust The Spruce Pets?

This article was originally written by dog expert Christina Donnelly , who is a writer and animal welfare advocate. When researching products to add to this article, we read dozens of customer and third-party-site reviews, keeping safety, style, and comfort in mind.

Emma Phelps , an updates writer for The Spruce, offered additional assistance in updating this article with our latest testing insights from The Lab. After reviewing our testers’ feedback on all 20 crates that were tested, Phelps and senior editors compiled the final list of crates in this roundup. She then converted our testing insights into digestible product descriptions to inform readers about the user experience with each crate and its overall value.

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The Best Dog Crate

A small dog sitting on a cushion inside one of our top picks for the best dog crate.

No dog owner wants to come home to overturned trash cans or a pile of poo on the floor. A good dog crate is an essential to allay such mishaps—and help your pet thrive. This crate is a cozy and safe resting place that keeps even the most curious pooches contained while their humans are out of the house. Enlisting area rescue pooches and our own escape-artist dogs, we put 17 crates to the test. And we found the MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Folding Dog Crate to be the best all-around crate. It’s sturdy and secure, and it comes in five sizes, each designed to last a lifetime: This crate adapts with your puppy as they grow, thanks to removable dividers.

safest dog travel crate

MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Folding Dog Crate

The best dog crate.

This crate is the sturdiest and most escape-resistant, and it folds up and transports easily. Also, it will last for the lifetime of your pet.

Buying Options

The MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate has a tight grid of thick wire that makes it resistant to escape and damage. Its bottom pan won’t give in to claws and can’t be pushed out by paws, unlike the flimsier pans included with cheaper models. It folds up securely into a briefcase-style rectangle with solid clip-on handles, and it won’t come undone in a cacophonous crash if you grab the wrong part. Even if you are certain your dog doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety and won’t work to escape a crate, the Ultima Pro represents a sound investment in a safe space for your dog—and for future dogs as well.

safest dog travel crate

MidWest LifeStages Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate

Almost as tough and secure.

This crate often costs 30% less than our top pick, but it’s made with slightly thinner wire. It’s lighter, but it might not last as long.

The MidWest LifeStages Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate is designed with a slightly looser grid and thinner wire than other crates we tested, so it’s lighter and easier to carry. This crate is often 30% cheaper than the Ultima Pro. So if money is tight and you’re fairly certain your dog will stay calm in a crate, the LifeStages will do. However, that lighter design makes the LifeStages crate less likely to withstand long-term wear from a more-destructive dog.

Budget pick

safest dog travel crate

Frisco Heavy Duty Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate

Durable but heavy to carry.

This dog crate, often available at half the price of our main pick, is sturdy and secure. But the larger design makes it more awkward to carry.

The Frisco Heavy Duty Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate features thick wire that’s just as durable as that of our main pick, but this crate often costs half the price. The locking mechanism keeps dogs securely inside, and the removable tray doesn’t warp or slide out of the base after a dog has used it. But this wire crate is sold in slightly larger dimensions across sizes than other crates we tested. Overall, the Frisco dog crates are about 2 inches bigger, making them slightly heavier and more cumbersome to carry when folded up than the MidWest models we recommend.

safest dog travel crate

Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel

For more security or regular air travel.

With its sturdy plastic shell and secure door latch, this model is great for use at home or on a plane. But its smaller windows provide less of a view for your pup.

If you need a crate that you can use to occasionally fly with a dog, or you want something that a tenacious dog is less likely to escape from at home, a solid plastic crate (sometimes called a “sky kennel”) is a good bet. Petmate’s Ultra Vari Kennel is the go-to among the dog trainers we interviewed, and it’s the best travel-friendly pick for most dogs. This crate is easy to assemble and simple to latch shut, and it has proper tie-downs for safer airline travel in a plane’s belly. (This model is not specifically designed for in-car use, though, so consider a restraint harness instead). The Ultra Vari’s secure design features only one door, rather than two on adjacent sides like on our other picks. That leaves fewer ways for your pup to escape. But if you’re using this crate at home, in a crowded room it may be harder to find a spot for it where your dog gets a good view. The crate’s narrow windows also restrict the view, which might be a concern if you’ve got a particularly curious pup—or one with FOMO.

Everything we recommend

The research, why you should trust us, who needs a dog crate, what size dog crate should i buy, how we picked, how we tested, our pick: midwest ultima pro double door collapsible wire dog crate, runner-up: midwest lifestages double door collapsible wire dog crate, budget pick: frisco heavy duty fold & carry double door collapsible wire dog crate, also great: petmate ultra vari kennel, the competition, frequently asked questions.

As Wirecutter’s pets writer, I’ve covered everything from dog harnesses and GPS pet trackers to pet separation anxiety and training basics. I’m also a pet owner and experienced animal shelter volunteer who’s dealt with her fair share of both problematic and exceptional dog crates.

This guide builds on reporting by Kevin Purdy, a journalist and dog owner who has crate-trained his puggle Howard using a variety of crates. He’s also written earlier versions of Wirecutter’s guides to standing desks and bed frames, among others.

For this guide, we interviewed an expert dog-behavior trainer, a veterinary technician, and two of the manufacturers of crates we tested. We also read many relevant books and posts on dog training and behavior, to get input on what makes a good dog crate. 2 And we partnered with Friends with Four Paws , an Oklahoma-based pet rescue, to test out our crates with its dogs, both at home and during cross-country trips to meet their new families.

Not everyone buys or uses a dog crate, but they probably should. Everybody should at least consider a dog crate when they first bring home a dog, whether they’re puppy or full-grown, purebred or rescue. Veteran dog trainer Tyler Muto recommends a crate for each and every dog owner he works with. “If you talk to two dog trainers, the only thing you can get them to agree on is that the third dog trainer is wrong,” Muto said. “Other than that, almost every dog trainer will tell you that a crate is an essential tool for dog owners.”

At the least, crates help prevent accidents while dogs are being housebroken , and they keep dogs from accessing dangerous or unhealthy foods or objects when the owners are absent. Keeping a dog in a crate can halt the pet’s tough-to-break habit of destroying household items and furniture while an owner is away, Muto said. 1 Crates also provide a space where your dog feels safe and at home, and they allow owners to separate a dog from guests, contractors, or temptations when necessary.

Not everybody needs the same crate, however. For people who have dogs with significant separation anxiety or escape-artist tendencies, or for those who have to travel often with their dogs, a solid plastic crate may be needed. For those with dogs who fare better in a crate, or for people who need a crate only occasionally, it’s fine to use a wire crate that easily folds into a suitcase-style rectangle with handles.

People who want to use a crate regularly in a common area of the house—and who have a very crate-friendly dog with no separation anxiety—might prefer a furniture-style crate that blends in with their decor or can be used as an end table. However, over the years we’ve yet to find a model that meets our criteria for safety and security at a reasonable price, so we don’t recommend them . And though it might seem like a nice idea to use your dog’s chic crate as an end table—topped with books or a snazzy lamp—placing items on top of any crate can be dangerous should an accident occur.

Lastly, a wire crate isn’t ideal for owners who don’t plan on removing their dog’s collar each time they crate them. For a dog, wearing a collar in a crate introduces a risk of entanglement , which can result in injury or strangulation . As a result, many veterinary clinics and boarding facilities have strict collar-removal policies for dogs in their care.  At the very least, collared dogs should wear break-away or similar safety collars without tags that can get caught on the crate.

All of our dog-crate picks come in multiple sizes, so whether you’ve got a Cockapoo or a Chow Chow, you’ll likely be able to find a crate that’s the right size for your dog.

Get the most bang for your buck by choosing a crate with dimensions based on your dog’s adult size or projected adult size (if they’re still a puppy). All of our wire-crate picks have plastic dividers, to help adjust the crate space as puppies grow.

According to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers , a dog’s crate should be big enough for them to stretch out and stand to turn around without bumping their head. To find the right-size crate for your dog, note your dog’s weight, and measure their height and length from nose to tail. Manufacturers often share weight ranges or recommendations for their crates along with the dimensions. And though weight is important in gauging crate size, the measurements are key to ensuring the dog has enough room to be comfortable in the space.

For adult dogs, the APDT advises owners to add 4 inches of extra room to their measurements, and to select a crate with dimensions that size, scaling up if needed (a bigger crate is better than a smaller one). For puppies, add 12 inches to their height measurement to account for their potential adult size. Be sure to use the included dividers found in our wire-crate picks to block off the unused area, since puppies are prone to soiling in their crate if there’s a lot of extra space. (You can read more potty-training basics in How to Potty Train Your Puppy .)

The APDT has a handy chart to help guide you on which crate size might be right for your breed. If you need to buy a plastic travel crate for a puppy, keep in mind that those don’t come with dividers. In that case, it’s best to opt for a crate that fits your dog now, and then size up to a new crate as they grow.

Our four picks for the best dog crate, three of them with wire sides and one with plastic sides.

We read up on crate training from trusted sources like the Animal Humane Society , American Kennel Club , Association of Professional Dog Trainers , and Humane Society of the United States . We also assembled a panel of Wirecutter pet owners to chat about their expectations for dog crates. Then we interviewed credentialed dog behaviorists about the role of a good dog crate. Those we spoke with included Tyler Muto, a dog trainer at K9 Connection in Buffalo, New York, who has also served as president of the International Association of Canine Professionals , and Judi Bunge, a veterinary technician at McClelland Small Animal Hospital in Buffalo.

We then sifted through hundreds of internet listings and dozens of options from our local pet stores. We learned that every crate—no matter how high its ratings or expert recommendations—was the subject of at least one review story about a dog escaping or, worse, injuring themself trying to escape. Still, at the time of our research, some crates had attracted a number of complaints about specific flaws: doors that easily bent, latches that popped open with the bump of a nose, or trays that dogs could slide out through the bottom.

A screenshot of a zoom chat window with six Wirecutter staffers and their pets.

We eliminated wire crates that did not come with a removable divider because this inexpensive addition makes a crate resizable as your puppy grows. We also favored wire crates that had two doors, since that design allows for more-convenient placement, especially in smaller or irregularly shaped rooms. The plastic crates we reviewed were the exception to these rules because they can be used for air travel.

With these findings, the advice of our experts, and the input of a panel of dog-loving Wirecutter staffers, we identified a small set of contenders, ranging from $60 to $250, in wire, plastic, and furniture-style crates.

A person with a beard and ball cap kneels on the floor to examine the bottom of a dog crate we tested.

In 2022, we enlisted the volunteers at Friends with Four Paws , a rescue group in Oklahoma. Prior to joining Wirecutter, I adopted my dog Sutton from this rescue, and I also consulted the group for Wirecutter’s dog beds guide . Friends with Four Paws rescues animals from municipal shelters and owner surrenders, and the group transports many of them from Oklahoma to New York for adoption. So these dogs are well suited for testing out dozens of crates that need to withstand wear and tear, and we tested the crates with dogs weighing from 12 pounds to 80 pounds.

Dog trainer Tyler Muto was a key part of our original testing for this guide. He inspected each crate and considered each for its structural strength, tamper-resistant locks, and the quality of the lining tray. He also considered how easy each crate was to collapse, set up, and clean.

Overall, a quality wire dog crate should be easy to carry in one secure bundle, and, if necessary, sturdy enough to last through multiple dogs. A good plastic crate should be much the same (though it isn’t broken down often), and it should provide the necessary security and tie-downs for air travel. A furniture crate drops most pretenses of damage resistance, but it should still be sturdy, and its looks and convenience are far more important than with wire or plastic crates.

Along with Muto’s examination, we examined and tested the crates ourselves. To verify each crate’s strength against pulling teeth or forceful paws, we used a luggage scale to apply roughly 50 pounds of pulling pressure to each cage’s door, at the center and then at a looser corner away from the latch. We set up and broke down each wire crate at least a dozen times. After latching each crate shut and attaching its plastic handle, we carried each crate to three locations to see how well it stayed together (not all of the crates did so). We pulled the plastic tray out from each crate to see how easy it was to remove and whether cleaning involved any tricks or problems. Finally, we ran our hands around the corners and edges of each crate, looking for sharp wire, plastic edges, or unfinished corners that could injure a dog or a human.

A small dog sitting in our pick for the best dog crate, the MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate.

The MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate is the crate to get if you want one that will last for the lifetime of your dog, and if you’re likely to have another dog (or many more) in the future. This crate comes in five sizes, the smallest being 24 inches long; the largest clocks in at 48 inches long and can suit many large breeds.

Ultimately, our testers favored this crate over all others. Friends with Four Paws secretary Kim Crawford said that the Ultima Pro “definitely felt the most reliable and heavy enough to withstand even the toughest dogs,” and Kim noted that the rescue has always liked the brand.

This crate’s wire was thicker and its grid tighter than any other reasonably priced crate we tested, and 50 pounds of pulling pressure didn’t affect it at all.​​ Our testers said the lock remained secure and was easy for them to latch and unlatch. The crate also folded fluidly down into a “suitcase” for carrying and was easy to set up again.

The Ultima Pro’s tray is removable, but only by humans, and it’s easy to clean and tough. Available in five sizes, this crate comes with a divider for use with growing puppies, and it has rubber feet to prevent scratched floors—a hidden-gem feature of the Ultima Pro. It comes with a one-year warranty for manufacturing defects from MidWest , which has been in business since 1921 and making dog crates since the 1960s.

This crate is made of thicker wire than most crates in its price range, and it’s noticeably heavier. The Ultima Pro model that measures 36 inches on its longest side weighs 38 pounds. Other best-selling double-door crates of the same size weigh 18 to 20 pounds. But unless you’d be moving your crate often and would have trouble with that weight, we think the durability of the Ultima Pro is worth it.

Close view of the locking mechanism on the MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate.

There’s also simply more wire on the Ultima Pro, with five crossbeams, instead of the typical three, on its shorter side. This heavier, denser grid of wire means smaller lengths of wire between joints, so the wire is harder to bend. Wire that doesn’t easily bend means the crate stays in its cube shape, and all of its latches and hooks line up as they should. Every corner and clasp on the Ultima Pro is rounded, so as to prevent injury from escape efforts. The wire has a powder-coated finish that makes it more attractive-looking than the slick, glossy wire on cheaper crates.

The lock on the Ultima Pro is not complicated, but it is reliable and difficult for dogs to manipulate. The looped-handle locking mechanism is common on wire crates, but the Ultima Pro’s thicker wire makes the closing mechanism on this crate feel satisfying and secure. And in the event of an emergency, it’s easier to get your dog out of a crate with a smooth-acting lock that’s in its proper place.

Our top pick for the best dog crate, collapsed down to fold flat.

Folding up the Ultima Pro to move it is much the same as with other wire crates. Yet the crate’s sturdy nature makes this an easier task than with crates prone to bending. The collapsed crate holds together with small C-shaped clamps, and you can transport it with thick, plastic detachable handles. You need to fold the Ultima Pro in one direction in order to clamp it shut for carrying, but once it’s in its “suitcase” shape, it stays together.

The plastic tray on the bottom of the Ultima Pro is thick but not heavy, and our trainer expert thought it seemed the most likely to last. The included tray latch keeps a rambunctious dog inside the crate from sliding the tray out. In our tests, the latch remained steady when we pushed against the tray from inside the crate. That vulnerability exposes floors and carpets to damage, and a dog could get injured if they try to escape through that gap. As for cleaning, the Ultima Pro’s tray cleaned up fine with enzyme spray and dish detergent.

The MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate with the black plastic base pan pulled partially out.

An included divider allows you to choose the Ultima Pro model that’s appropriately sized for the eventual full size of your dog. As your puppy grows, you move the divider to give your dog enough space to turn around but enough enclosure to deter them from using the crate as a toilet. The divider is notably thinner than the crate, though, and only rounded hooks keep it in place. If your puppy is already exhibiting anxiety or escape tendencies, you may need to obtain a more secure crate that fits their current size.

One small detail on MidWest crates, the no-scratch rubber feet on the corners, could save you a lot of heartache someday if you have hard floors. First-time dog-crate owners might not know that the plastic tray sits on top of the wire on the bottom, so the crate itself rests on its wire grid. If your dog bumps the crate around, or if you move it often, these rubber feet are a small grace you’ll hardly notice, and that’s a good thing.

The Ultima Pro’s five sizes are available on both Amazon and Chewy, and on the authorized online retailer . You can also find it at many brick-and-mortar pet stores. This crate comes with a one-year warranty and a DVD on crate training (which you can watch on YouTube ). MidWest is very clear and helpful on which crate size works for which dogs, offering a useful breed/size/weight chart ; many other crate makers offer only a single weight estimate.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The flaws of this crate are directly related to its strengths. It is heavier than other crates we tested—the largest crate size is nearly 50 pounds. So if you’ve got a large dog, or you’re planning to move the crate around often, keep that in mind.

A small dog sitting in our runner up pick for best dog crate, the MidWest LifeStages Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate.

MidWest’s LifeStages Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate has the same design and company support as our top pick , the Ultima Pro. And the LifeStages crate is available in the same sizes (and one additional, slightly smaller size), from 22 inches long to 48 inches long. The only real differences, as stated by MidWest: This crate’s wire is slightly thinner, and the grid is a bit wider, with three crossbars instead of five, so the LifeStages crate weighs and costs less. Our expert trainer said that if you can find the LifeStages crate at a lower price than the Ultima Pro, he’d recommend it to most dog owners. We’ve seen the price of LifeStages crates fluctuate significantly on Amazon, sometimes costing more than the corresponding Ultima Pro size. If the Ultima Pro is out of stock in the size you need, or if the LifeStages crate is notably lower in price, it’s a solid choice.

A small dog sitting in our budget pick, the Frisco Heavy Duty Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate.

The Frisco Heavy Duty Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate packs most of the durability of our main pick but is usually about half the price. The Frisco wire dog crate features what our testers describe as a “super solid” locking mechanism that slides nicely and remains secure when locked. The tray is easy to remove and clean, and it didn’t slide out by mistake during testing. Like the LifeStages model, the Frisco features a wider grid with three crossbars instead of the five found on the Ultima Pro. Having just three bars doesn’t mean that this crate is substantially less durable: It’s got a strong, coated steel frame. But, as our testers noted, each size of the Frisco is proportionally slightly wider and taller than the MidWest models, making the Frisco heavier and more cumbersome to carry. This wire dog crate is sold in six sizes, from 22 inches long to 49 inches long.

A small dog sitting in our also great pick for the best dog crate, the Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel.

Not every dog thrives in a wire crate. Some dogs prefer a more-enclosed space, or they need more deterrence from attempting to escape. Some dog owners may prefer a much lighter crate, or one with added protection against accidents and wayward paws. And if you’re planning to do any air travel with your dog, an enclosed crate, or “sky kennel,” is required by the federal Animal Welfare Act and enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and airline carriers for any pet traveling as cargo (small pets can fly in-cabin in airline-friendly travel carriers ). Petmate’s Ultra Vari Kennel is a tough crate that will defeat most attempted escapes and contain accidents. It also meets most airline requirements, and it’s easy to put together, shut securely, and move around. This crate comes in six sizes, ranging from 21 inches long to 48 inches long, but only the two smallest sizes have carry handles.

Among the experienced dog handlers we spoke to for this guide, many recommended Vari Kennels by name. The metal-grated windows on these crates are tougher and more paw-resistant than the oblong holes you typically find punched into the sides of plastic crates, and their door design stands up to a lot of pressure. The interior has a groove on the floor to catch liquid, making most accidents easy to clean up. The Ultra Vari Kennel has tie-down holes, which allow owners to secure the crate in a plane’s cargo area or to loop with zip ties as needed. However, the experts we spoke to said that no crate is really safe in a car , and a restraint harness, like the Sleepypod Clickit Sport , is the safer choice.

The Ultra Vari Kennel isn’t foolproof, though. With enough force, a dog could pull inward on the door, bending it back far enough that the door’s two latching bits pop out of their plastic sockets (our expert trainer called this “taco-ing the door”). If you need the most secure crate for your dog, especially if you’re flying with it, the Petmate’s Sky Kennel model we tested has a door made of stronger metal, with a four-point lock that requires two steps to undo. However, we don’t recommend it because the crate’s shell isn’t as durable overall.

Our three wire-style top picks for the best dog crate, folded flat and set side by side.

Wire crates

As stated in How we picked , we limited our search to crates that had a number of reviews, enjoyed wide availability, and offered certain features we consider to be key, such as a divider, two doors, and a slide-out tray.

We like that the Diggs Revol Dog Crate has a wide plastic frame that’s easier to set up and collapse than most of the crates we tested (so your fingers are less likely to get pinched in the steel mesh wire corners). A former Kickstarter, the Diggs Revol launched in 2018 and at the time of writing is available only in size small (for pets up to 30 pounds). It also starts at about $245 at the time of writing, so it’s three times more expensive than our current pick, the MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate .

The ​​ Frisco Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate is easy to assemble, but the locking mechanism was flimsy, and our testers said a “pushy” dog could escape.

The Pet Gear The Other Door Steel Crate has a plastic frame similar to that of the Diggs Revol. It’s sold in a narrow range of sizes (27, 36, and 42 inches) and is expensive.

MidWest’s iCrate Folding Metal Dog Crate has the same design, features, and warranty as its respective “better” and “best” siblings, the LifeStages and the Ultima Pro crates, but has thinner wire. It’s not a bad crate if you’re certain your dog is calm and crate-comfortable, and it’s available in eight sizes, covering more small breeds. But it’s less resistant to bending and escape. Most people should spend a little more and get the LifeStages , unless you need your crate to weigh 20 pounds instead of 30.

The AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate (discontinued) fared well in our examination and stress testing, as well as in ease of fold-down and raise-up, and carrying stability. It’s not a bad crate in any real way. But for the extra $15 or $25 (at the time of writing), we think the stronger wire and bend resistance of the LifeStages or Ultima Pro (respectively) are worth it. And the AmazonBasics crate lacks rubber feet.

Our expert trainer said a determined dog could partly raise the garage-style door of the Kong-branded Space Saving Double-Door Pet Crate (no longer available) before the safety latch could catch, which is a safety concern.

OxGord crates are popular on Amazon, sometimes holding the best-seller slot in certain subcategories. They are popular because they are inexpensive, and they are inexpensive because their wire is thin. We pulled open the door of a 36-inch double-door OxGord crate using less than 50 pounds of pressure in less than a minute. And we pushed out its bottom tray with just the pressure of our hands.

Plastic/airline kennels

The Kennel Direct Pet Crate (no longer available) costs as much as the Ultra Vari Kennel , but its door is less secure than our pick.

The lock on the Frisco Plastic Dog & Cat Kennel easily slides open with one hand, and our testers worried a determined dog could slip the lock.

Our testers said the Petmate Sky Dog Kennel features a sturdy design best suited for air travel, but it isn’t ideal for moving from room to room when at home. It wasn’t as durable as our airline pick, either.

Grreat Choice Dog Carriers (now unavailable) are a PetSmart exclusive. These plastic carriers—which are designed with a sturdy metal door, fastened together with bolts, and equipped with tie-down holes—will keep most dogs inside. We saw nothing particularly wrong with them, but they don’t have the reputation of the Ultra Vari Kennel models. And the color combination of accident-ready brown and medical-waiting-room beige doesn’t do much for whatever room you have to store your crate in.

Furniture crates

We limited our search for furniture crates to models priced $500 and less. Although we didn’t make security and strength a deciding factor for this category, we did avoid crates whose reviews contained a number of escape or dog-injury stories, and we favored crates made of solid woods rather than fiberboard.

Casual Home’s Pet Crate End Table is very cheap for this category, and you’ll probably find out why halfway through building it. If it’s solid wood, it’s very thin solid wood, especially the bars on the door and sides. One Amazon review relates how a 10-pound puppy chewed a way out . In our tests, the top of the crate developed a deep gouge during assembly. A couple of the pre-drilled holes seemed off-center, too, and after assembly the crate was uneven and prone to wobbling on two diagonal corners.

The Richell Wooden End-Table Crate comes in one color (dark brown) and two broad sizes (“up to 44 pounds” and 88 pounds). We could list many things to critique with this crate, but the dealbreaker is that it has no bottom. The manufacturer doesn’t make this clear, but the crate has only three sides, a top, and a door; you slide in a plastic tray for the bottom. The design leaves definite gaps between the tray and the walls, and the tray is flimsy enough that a dog could bend it upward.

This article was edited by Catherine Kast and Jennifer Hunter.

What brand of dog crate is best?

In our testing, the best overall dog crate is the MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate . It has a tight grid of thick wire that makes it resistant to escape and damage. Its bottom pan can’t be pushed out by paws, unlike the flimsier plastic pans included with cheaper models. And the crate folds up securely into a briefcase-style rectangle with solid clip-on handles that won’t come undone if you grab it from the wrong end. The MidWest LifeStages Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate is slightly less tough, but it’s still more resilient than most other dog crates we found. And it’s lighter than the Ultima version, so it’s easier to move around.

Are wire or plastic dog crates better?

The two materials excel at different uses. Metal crates are tougher and more paw-resistant than plastic crates, and their doors tend to stand up to more pressure. They’ll hold up well against a puppy who’ll fling their body around or a dog who may gnaw at the door. But a light plastic crate, like the Petmate’s Ultra Vari Kennel , is better suited to traveling and is also extremely hard for a pet to break out of. But it’s a bit more expensive, and it has enclosed sides, which not all dogs love.

What should I look for in a dog crate?

A crate should be durable and resistant to bending. Look for a size that’s large enough for your pet to move around in (the manufacturer will have a sizing guide you can reference). Since buying multiple crates as your dog grows can get expensive, opt for one with a removable divider so it’s adaptable from puppyhood to full-grown. Crates with two doors are also useful because they can be more conveniently placed in smaller or irregularly shaped rooms.

What is the best dog crate for a car?

An important note: We did not test for car safety. For one thing, you should never put your dog in a wire crate in the car. Every book we read and every expert we talked to reinforced this advice, sometimes without our asking. Even the strongest wire crates fared extremely poorly in the 2015 Center for Pet Safety/Subaru crash tests of travel crates . Those tests (and earlier 2013 tests) also confirmed that almost no crate under $150 will pass a crash test, and some will make a crash worse for a dog. A failing crate not only imperils your pet but also could release the pet as a projectile, potentially injuring you, as well. If you plan to travel with your dog in the car often, consider buying a Sleepypod Clickit Sport or Terrain restraint harness or upgrading to a Gunner Kennel , both of which are CPS Certified . The Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel , our recommendation for a hardshell crate for home and flying, is better than a wire crate for car trips—but it's still not as safe as either a harness or a car-specific crate.

Meet your guide

safest dog travel crate

Kaitlyn Wells

Kaitlyn Wells is a senior staff writer who advocates for greater work flexibility by showing you how to work smarter remotely without losing yourself. Previously, she covered pets and style for Wirecutter. She's never met a pet she didn’t like, although she can’t say the same thing about productivity apps. Her first picture book, A Family Looks Like Love , follows a pup who learns that love, rather than how you look, is what makes a family.

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IPet Guides

9 Best Dog Crates for Car Travel (Crash-Tested in 2023)

Photo of author

October 30, 2023

Some links on our website are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. This commission supports our work, keeps our site running and our evaluations remain unbiased regardless of affiliate partnerships. Learn more .

Everyone knows how to pick regular crates. But who knows how to choose a dependable dog crate for car travel?

I wanted to do the honors when I realized how few people have covered this topic. That was the primary catalyst of this final product – a handpicked AND ranked list of amazing dog crates.

This list has EVERYTHING you need to know when traveling with a dog in a car.

GUNNER G1 Product Image

Table of Contents

Why Trust Me?

1. gunner g1, 2. dakota 283, 3. gen7pets commuter pet carrier, 4. ruff land kennels, 5. petmate sky kennel, 6. mim variocage, 7. diggs passenger travel carrier, 8. k&h carrier for pets, 9. aspen pet dog kennel, dimensional compatibility, build quality and material , ease of cleaning, ventilation, secure latching/locking mechanism, additional safety features, why use dog crates while traveling by car, benefits of investing in dog crates for car travel, rear bench seat, middle seat , front passenger seat, 4 most important tips for traveling with a dog in a crate, center of pet safety crash testing procedure, measuring your dog properly when buying a travel crate, types of dog crates for car travel, over to you, are all dog crates for cars crash tested, is it safe to put the dog crate in the trunk with the dog in it, what is the best car dog crate.

I picked 20 potential dog crates and examined them as much as possible. YouTube, Reddit, Quora, and even dog trainers… you name it, and I have checked with the source.

So, rest assured; this is the ultimate list of the best car friendly dog crates. 

Since it’s ranked, let’s start the list with the best.

9 of the Best Dog Crates for Car Travel

As you might already know, Gunner is a beloved dog crate brand, and they make the best car crates.

Their G1 kennel is crowned as the world’s safest travel kennel.

Let’s see what makes it so.

For starters, this dog’s crate is the only double-walled rotomolded crate in the market; it’s twice the safety of all regular rotomolded crates. In fact, it was crash tested by pet safety. 

I personally love how Gunner gives more reassurance as this Gunner kennel is 5-star crash tested. This crate is PROVEN to save real dogs in the event of a real car accident. 


Don’t believe me? You can check the video on the product’s site.

Pet parents will love the overall build quality of this crate; after all, it was made for travel. 

Coming in four sizes , Gunner has ensured that all puppies get to travel by car peacefully and comfortably.

The smallest size has external dimensions of 24.5″ (L) x 18.625″ (W) x 19″ (H) / 20.5″ (H) with carry handles, and the largest size is 40.25″ (L) x 28″ (W) x 33.25″ (H) / 34.5″ (H) with carry handles.

You can also choose based on your car’s or dog’s size.

This dog crate stays 12% cooler than leading Aluminum and single-wall rotomolded kennels. Your dog will also expend 20% less energy to stay warm inside. Your furry friend will be super comfortable inside with the spacious interior.

What else makes these the best car crates?

It comes with a robust frame system complimented by a strong locking paddle latch . But just in case, there are additional latches to ensure that not even Houdini can escape this dog crate.

Having an exposed dog crate in car travel is uncomfortable for your dog. That’s why the Gunner G1 comes with element-repelling windows. These windows keep your dog secured perfectly.

If it rains or the water bowl gets spilled inside, your dog won’t have to sit in a puddle. There’s a recessed bottom and a drainage plug . This ensures that the water drains quickly. It also makes it relatively easy to clean the inside of the pet crate.

The sheer difficulty of carrying these crates and safely tying them on surfaces. Gunner has integrated built-in tie-down pins and super strong carry handles to make the process easier. That’s not all; the G1 dog crate has a wider base and a non-slip bottom.

So, this heavy-duty travel crate stays sturdy and stable, whether you carry it on the back or inside the car. The overall ergonomic shape has a significant role in that.

Additionally, this is a dependable air travel crate too.

That’s not all; Gunner G1 is made in America , 100%. That’s probably why they’re confident enough to give a lifetime warranty.

This kennel comes in five attractive colors and is the hallmark of the highest-quality travel kennels. It’s my favorite dog crate simply due to its superior features.

Want to learn more about this dog crate? Checkout this review .

Dakota283 features a series of secure dog crates bespoke for car travel.

These are the G3 kennel, the original Kennebec kennel, the T1 low profile kennel, the 2D side entry kennel, and the Dakota hero kennel.

While these are unique products, the G3 kennel can be identified as common. 

So, what makes this dog crate car travel-friendly?

The smallest G3 dog crate size is 23L x 16W x 18.75H, weighing 20.2 lbs. The largest size is 38.5L x 25.5W x 29.5H, which weighs 59 lbs. 

Dakota 283

You’ll also notice how the T1 low-profile kennel is shorter and longer. On the flip side, the 2D side entry and Hero kennel are thinner and taller. 

So, there’s a great size range. 

The easy grip handle definitely helps you position the crate well. You won’t know how useful it is until you have to move a container with a dog inside.

The covered or walled nature of the crate is an admirable similarity to the Gunner G1 kennel. This provides ample protection and a sense of safety when dogs are inside. 

To increase that safety and security, the G3 kennels come with amazing mesh windows/ screen doors. This is a keyed paddle latching door , so dealing with it is easier.

The G3 series comes in eight colors in a diverse color palette. The hero and T1 low-profile kennel come in two earth-tone colors.

It’s normal for dogs to have accidents inside their cage during long car travels. But it’s unpleasant to both you and your pet to let things be. Dakota283 understood the risk, and that’s why you get an easy-to-clean drain hole.

That’s a tell-tale sign of a hassle-free crate.

You can also get a recess for crate stacking , which is sold separately. This is most useful when you have multiple crates (multiple pets) inside Dakota283 cages.

It’s relieving that Dakota283 crates are molded and assembled in the USA. Because of that, you’re also entitled to free shipping to the continental US.

This crate can be kept inside or outside your car and is the best alternative for the Gunner G1 crate.

The Gen7Pets Commuter Pet Carrier is an entirely different product from the Gunner G1 and the first alternative solution.

But let’s see if you find this pet carrier better.

The Gen7Pets pet carrier comes in one size and only in black . But it’s always better to have pet carriers/crates in darker colors, and that original look lasts longer. 

The downside is the lack of size range.

But if your dog fits the size of an 18″ L x 11″ W x 11″ H enclosure, that shouldn’t be an issue. After all, the company recommends their pet carrier for small dogs and cats weighing up to 20 lbs.

Gen7Pets Commuter Pet Carrier

At a weight of 4.41 lbs, the Gen7Pets pet carries are quite lightweight. 

Multiple carry straps compliment this lightweight nature. There are short and long (padded shoulder strap) ones for all situations. So you never have to worry about carrying it uncomfortably.

This is not a rotomolded or metallic crate; the Gen7Pets pet carrier is entirely made of nylon fabric. 

But despite the fabric made, another great reason why this pet carrier becomes the second best alternative is that it meets Federal Motor Safety Standards 213 , tested and approved. 

It’s obvious that it doesn’t provide security and safety remotely close to Gunner G1, but it’s still standardized.

Like Gunner G1 and Dakota283 crates, you can keep this outside or inside the car. This pet carrier is compatible with most car seat belts , and that’s an admirable plus point.

Your pet also gets comfortable two-way access points at the two ends of the pet carrier. At times, it’s more comfortable for you than for your pet to have multiple entrances. 

But it would help if you also were mindful about that extra entrance as it can be a risky exit.

Luckily, Gen7Pets is a USA-based brand , although they do not announce that these carriers are explicitly made in the USA. It also would have been nicer to have a warranty too.

But all things considered, the Gen7Pet pet carrier could potentially be the right dog crate for you.

At first glance, you’d notice how similar this looks to the Gunner G1 kennel. It’s another sign that Ruff Land Kennels were inspired by the best.

Let’s see what makes these kennels car-travel-friendly for dogs.

Similar to the Dakota283 product line, a set of crates is made for the secure containment of dogs.

Coming in six sizes , the smallest crate is 16″ wide at the widest point, 15″ tall, and 22 ¼” inches in length. The largest crate is as long as 40 3/8″, 22″ wide at the widest point, and 29 7/8″ inches tall.

Ruff Land Kennels

In other words, various dog breeds of different sizes can conveniently be contained in these cages during car travels.

That spacious comfort is complemented by the Ruff™ flex technology in the kennels’ walls, top, and floor. It can be helpful for bumpy car rides as this built-in flexibility can absorb energy that would be transferred to your dog.

Ruff Land Kennels continues to escalate the comfort factor during car travels with the SureVent™ tapered wall design too. This vent hole series ensures that your dog experiences ideal air circulation throughout the journey.

But there’s another specialty of the SureVent™ technology; the walls are tapered , so the vent holes never get plugged. This ensures the risk is eliminated even if you slide the kennel up against a wall.

How amazing!

These crates also have a no-bite grid pattern to ensure your dog doesn’t bite the mesh door. This feature increases the overall lifespan of the crate by design. 

That’s not the only specialty of this door that makes these crates so car-travel-friendly; this is a two-way or ambidextrous door that can be adjusted to swing either way.

While the safety and comfort factor is superior, so is the hygiene factor. In fact, these Ruff Land Kennels come with a UpSide™ raised floor interior to ensure that debris and liquids that fall are channeled away from your dog.

The icing on the cake is the Rattle-less design feature that ensures the crate rattles comparatively least by design. You know how annoying it is when cages rattle.

In conclusion, you can definitely rely on these made-in-US Ruff Land Kennels as one of the best dog travel crates.

Click here to learn more about this kennel .

If you still haven’t found the best travel crate for your dog, you might like Petmate’s Sky Pet Kennel.

Similar to the Rufflandkennels, the Sky Kennels also come in one color ; light grey. But it looks dark enough, so you are safe there.

With six sizes from 21″ to 48″ in length, Petmate allows many dog sizes/breeds to travel in cars comfortably with its size range. 

This USA-made spacious dog travel crate is made with 90% pre-consumer recycled plastic content.

Petmate Sky Kennel

While it is very environmentally friendly, the strength factor is considerably high too. I admire how this heavy-duty plastic construction comes with non-corrosive plastic wing nuts.

Some of these features automatically make this crate suitable for air travel, similar to the Gunner G1 kennel. 

Thanks to the four-way ventilation system , your dog can breathe effortlessly inside the Petmate Sky dog travel crate. The door comes with a chew-proof mesh design , a dial latch system , and a 3-way locking vault door too. 

In other words, just as much as your dog gets enough air, it will always be inside the cage.

Additionally, the interior moat makes it super easy to keep animals dry. So, even if it doesn’t have a raised floor or a drainage plug, it does bring something similar to the table.

To make carrying easier, Petmate has included a handle , but it’s only available for sizes 21″ and 28″ inches, making it a bit of a letdown. It would also have been amazing if Petmate had given a warranty.

Remember that Petmate’s Sky Kennels can be bought with a Norton shopping guarantee to protect your purchase.

As another alternative, the Petmate Sky Kennel is one of the safest dog crates recommendable for pet owners.

MIM Variocage is another one of the great dog car crates by design.

This dog cage comes in a completely unique shape. Made from carbon fiber , the MIM company boasts that it is the only tested crate in the market for car crashes.

That’s a bit misleading, given how Gunner G1 has undergone several crash tests more than the Variocage.

But it’s fascinating how the cage’s length is adjustable . There’s a convenient slider on the bottom of the cage for that — it’s that easy. This design is complimented by the crumple zone that helps absorb shock better.

MIM Variocage

You never have to worry about ventilation or ideal lighting since this is a carbon fiber wire crate of sorts. However, you might need to cover it when required. 

The door of the Variocage is impressive. 

It comes with a single-flick latch and a key lock system . The placement of the lock and the gas hydraulic motion strings ensure that there’s no way that even the best escape artists can escape this MIM product.

You can buy the MIM Variocage in six sizes and one standard color . 

The smallest cage is 38.97 “L x 21.85 “W x 23.22 “H, and the largest is 41.73 “L x 27.55” W x 30.71 “H. So, the space factor is effortlessly in favor of your furry friend.

But thanks to the different shapes it can take, you can technically have up to 18 sizes.

Did I tell you that this crate comes with an emergency escape hatch ? 

This dual-entry system skyrockets the safety of your dog at any time. In confined spaces like inside cars, these dual doors can be helpful. But pet parents must be attentive as it poses a danger and is another exit point.

You can conveniently keep the MIM Variocage on your car trunk or in front . But it would have been better if its build quality made fixing the crate to the vehicle easier.

Yet, it’s one of the best dog crates dog owners can count on.

Diggs is a brand that focuses on elevating the well-being of your furry friends. Their passenger travel carrier is another alternative.

Unlike the last few crates, this comes in one dark color and three lighter colors . However, this carrier is only available in one size .

The unique style factor of the Diggs passenger travel carrier is sky-high. You could use this for travel and take it to a five-star hotel, by plane, train, or even by foot all the same.

That should hint to you about the dog sizes the carrier can handle.

Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier

It’s small to medium dogs AND cats up to 18 lbs.

To be more specific about the dimensions, it has external dimensions of 20 “L x 10.8 “W x 11.5 “H and internal dimensions of 18 “L x 10” W x 10.75 “H while weighing 4.5 lbs. 

In other words, these are fabric-based soft-sided crates.

But you’d be surprised to hear that the Diggs passenger travel carrier for dogs is one of the crash-tested dog crates . In fact, this particular dog carrier has a five-star rating, which is the highest attainable. 

After all, you get custom seat belt clips and a buckle strap to keep your pet safe.

Any pet parent will use the cross-body strap just as much as the D-ring clip for your keys and the collar tether clip to secure your pet when the carrier is open.

Remember that this is a crate with multiple openings . While it is advantageous in car travel, you must ensure the secondary exits are 100% secure.

With enough ventilation and privacy , and a bed and pee included , the Diggs passenger travel carrier is one of the best dog crates.

Next, I will talk about another fabric-based soft-sided dog crate; the K&H carrier for pets.

This tent-like dog crate comes in three sizes , whose smallest has dimensions of 17″ x 16″ x 15″, and the largest is 29.5″ x 22″ x 22.5. In fact, K&H recommends the crate for dogs weighing up to 40 pounds.

But remember that it comes in only one color.

Nonetheless, your dog will get the utmost sense of security as it comes with double mesh sides , making it easier to see. 

KH Carrier for Pets

That indirectly means that it is always better to keep this dog crate inside the car. But don’t worry! K&H carrier has straps looped around the headrest and straps for any car seat. 

Just as much as the comfortable space factor, your dog will love the comfort pad on the bottom . Cleaning it is easier as you can easily remove it.

Having multiple entries by design is another admirable feature. Once again, ensure all other entries are perfectly enclosed before you start driving.

This soft crate has strong enough fixed curved wires to maintain its shape . When you don’t want it, you can fold it flat . Nonetheless, note that this carrier can hold only well-tamed dogs.

You can’t secure just about any dog like the Gunner G1 as the K&H carrier is made of fabric not as strong as a double-walled rotomolded design.

The verdict? It’s a dependable carrier, but you should understand the conditions it works the best in.

The last resort of this list is the Petmate Aspen dog kennel. Let’s see why it made it to this list.

Coming in four sizes , this solid dog crate fits dogs between 25-90 lbs, which is an impressive weight range. The best thing is that even cats could fit in this crate.

Since it’s not fabric made, there’s no risk of collapsibility. On top of that, the mesh door’s wire design doesn’t have a lot of space between openings. 

This makes it impossible for dogs to chew and damage the door.

ASPEN PET Dog Kennel

The dog crate is made by connecting the top and bottom parts with nuts . The top part has ventilation all over, so your dog will be more than comfortable inside. The Aspen dog kennel’s interior shape satisfies natural denning instincts too. 

But it would have been amazing if the crate had carry handles, as it doesn’t fold flat.

Pet parents should know that this crate doesn’t come assembled . But don’t worry; it doesn’t take that much effort or expertise to get it up.

I also think it would have been better if this dog crate had some sort of warranty. 

In conclusion, this durable plastic crate, with an easy-open latch, is my best last recommendation for a car-travel-friendly crate.

With that, my top 9 list of best dog crates comes to an end. Next, let’s look at all the must-know information regarding dog crates.

Features to Look for in Dog Crates for Car Travel

A dog crate inside back of the car

While there are so many features to look for in a car travel dog crate, the following points cover all of them. Let’s look at it one by one.

Prioritize a dog crate that provides enough space for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. 

This is why you should know the space inside the car and the dog’s measurements. Opt for a bigger dog crate since the dog’s potential growth from puppyhood is faster than you think.

You shouldn’t underestimate the rigors of car travel. Some dog crates , like Gunner G1, are made to sustain all damages in car travel. 

If not for the best, even the wire or plastic alternatives should still be strong enough and built with lasting materials.

Car travel can get messy, so it’s best to get a bottom-covered/fully-covered dog crate or a crate with removable trays or pans. 

Remember that dog crates with stain-resistant or odor-resistant materials can keep unpleasant smells at bay.

Adequate ventilation is crucial to keep your dog comfortable during vehicle rides. Look for dog crates with proper ventilation options, such as mesh panels or ventilation holes. 

Don’t compromise overall quality simply due to higher ventilation by wire dog crates .

Choose dog crates with secure locks, preferably with more than one, to prevent accidental openings while the vehicle is in motion.

Crash-tested designs with built-in restraints or even non-slip rubber grip feet can skyrocket the overall travel experience.

Next, let me tell you why you should use dog crates when traveling by car (with a dog, of course).

Having a crate while traveling with your dog in the car brings you many benefits, and I’ll get to that in the next subtopic.

But why should pet owners use a crate, specifically?

It’s mainly to dedicate a space to your dog during the trip. The specialty is that your dog’s movement will be limited to this area. 

And there are so many benefits of having this dedicated space/crate for your dog while traveling by car. Let’s talk about them next.

A dog inside a crate in the car

Here are the ten most valuable benefits of investing in a travel friendly dog crate:

  • Enhanced safety for your dog during car rides.
  • Reduction of potential distractions for the driver.
  • Prevention of injuries during sudden stops or accidents.
  • Alleviation of anxiety and motion sickness in dogs.
  • Protection of your car’s interior from potential damage.
  • Compliance with legal requirements for pet transportation.
  • Creation of familiar and secure space for your dog.
  • Promotion of a calm and controlled travel environment.
  • Facilitation of easier management of your dog’s behavior.
  • Versatility for indoor confinement or training processes.

There are so many more, but I could summarize all of it as it’s worth it .

Now, where do you have the crate? Let’s talk about that next.

Where to Put Travel Dog Crates in the Vehicle?

A dog inside a crate inside back of the car

Picking the place depends on a few factors. Here are a few options to consider,

This is a great place for SUVs, hatchbacks, or even station wagons, but you must secure the crate to prevent it from sliding or tipping during the journey.

In the case of the absence of a cargo area, you can keep the dog cage on the backseat as long as it is securely fastened using seat belts or specialized attachments designed for dog crates.

Some vehicles have a rear bench seat, and it’s a great alternative place too. Just make sure that there’s enough visibility at all times.

Placing the dog cage on the middle seat gives the best visibility and closer proximity to passengers, allowing easier monitoring and interaction with the dog. This could also be the child car seat, especially for small dogs.

If you’re traveling only with your dog, keeping them in the front seat will make them feel more comfortable. With better visibility, you don’t have to keep looking back, either.

But I suggest NOT placing the dog crate in the passenger footwell, protruding into the aisle, or blocking airbags. It’ll be a peaceful ride if you follow these instructions.

I know there are long guidelines for travel with a dog crate, but let me make it easier for you.

As long as you follow these four tips, it’s ALL you need for a peaceful ride:

  • Properly acclimate and train your dog to the crate BEFORE traveling to ensure they feel comfortable and secure.
  • Pack essential supplies such as water, food, treats, and bedding to keep your dog comfortable and meet their needs throughout the trip.
  • Prioritizing regular exercise and bathroom breaks to allow your dog to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and feel restlessness during the journey.
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature, and ensure proper ventilation in the vehicle to keep your dog safe and prevent them from becoming too hot or cold.

That’s it — follow these, and everything should be fine.

Center for Pet Safety ( CPS ) is an independent organization that conducts crash tests for pet products. In this context, car travel crates. 

What’s special or standardized about them?

They use the test condition ECE R-17 which is a European test standard developed to assess the strength of seats, their anchorages, and head restraint.

So, CPS certifies products that meet rigorous standards and publishes the results on its website.

That’s the level of transparency CPS maintains.

car fitting dog crate kept on the floor

All you need to worry about are four parameters such as length, height, width, and weight. 

For starters, measure from the dog’s nose tip to the tail’s base, and add a few inches, and that’s the length.

When you measure from the top of your dog’s head/highest point of their ears to the ground and add a few inches, that’s the crate height.

Measure the widest part of your dog’s body, typically around their chest or shoulders, and again, add a few inches, and that’s the crate width.

Although the standard measurements are done, check your dog’s weight for a better choice of sizes.

That’s how you measure your dog for a travel crate or any crate.

Types of Dog Crates for Car Travel

While there are several dog car crate types, let me list down some of the most common types.

  • Rotomolded crates 
  • Soft-sided/ fabric crates
  • Plastic crates
  • Metallic (fully) or wire crates
  • Vari-kennels
  • Custom or build-in crates (to your car)

Out of these, you should prioritize the rotomolded and the metallic crates as they last the longest and are the safest.

Having a travel-friendly crate for a family with a dog is an investment. Some of the best crates are designed to fit not only as a car crate. They can also be your everyday, outdoor, and even airplane-approved crate.

The Gunner G1 is such a legendary car crate . As I told you, it’s the best dog car crate by design. Buy that, and you’ll never have to worry about any travel issues with your dog.

I hope this review was helpful to you. See you in another!

No; not all dog crates for cars are crash tested and if one is, the manufacturer will typically advertise it to increase its value.

No, it is not safe to put a dog crate in the trunk with the dog in it. The trunk does not provide ventilation or a sense of security for the dog.

The Gunner G1 is considered the best car dog crate for travel, with its certified safety and durability.


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8 Best Dog Travel Crates

by Brittany Chrusciel

Published on January 15, 2022

Traveling with our dogs can be so rewarding—the new sights, smells, and adventures of exciting destinations is enough to get any pup’s tail wagging. But if you’re planning a trip, finding the best dog travel crate is essential, whether you’re traveling by air , car , or train. Not only do dog travel crates and carriers keep canine companions safe while in transit, but they also come in handy at hotels and restaurants while on the road. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated one in three Americans adopted a pet, according to the Insurance Research Council . Now, 70 percent of U.S. households own a pet, according to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey from the American Pet Products Association (APPA). 

While travel is still a tricky feat due to the pandemic, more pet owners than ever before will be traveling, and many will bring their best fur friends along. For dog owners, the concern is not only keeping up with changing travel regulations but making sure your pooch is protected and comfortable for the entire journey. That’s where dog travel crates come in. 

Our Top Picks

  • Best Overall: MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate
  • Best for Small Dogs: KindTail Pawd Collapsible Dog Crate
  • Best for Air Travel: SportPet Designs Rolling Plastic Airline Approved Travel Dog Crate
  • Best for Car Travel: FurHaven Deluxe Pet Barrier and Seat Protector With Carry Bag
  • Best Collapsible: Diggs Revol Dog Crate
  • Best Soft Crate: Pet Life 360 Vista View Collapsible Dog Crate Carrier
  • Best Carrier Bag: Wild One Travel Carrier

Dog Crates For Travel: Why They’re Important

Dog in a travel carrier at the airport

Dog travel crates keep our pets safe and secure in all kinds of travel situations. If you experience turbulence on a plane or a fender bender while driving to your destination, the right dog crate will protect your pet from getting tossed around and injured.

Additionally, some travel situations require that dogs remain in a crate to keep crew members, passengers, and other pets safe. This is especially true if flying with dogs—whether your pet will be traveling in the cabin or within the cargo hold area. 

Even when pet parents aren’t dealing with airline restrictions, dog travel crates are essential during long car rides. According to AAA , over 30 percent of dog owners admitted to being distracted by their dogs while driving. This distraction can lead to dangerous—and even deadly—accidents. 

Besides the numerous safety benefits, a dog crate provides a comfortable space for your pet to relax, whether you’re in transit or after you arrive at your destination. This can be especially helpful if your dog suffers from car anxiety or is fearful in crowded places like airports, bus terminals, or train stations.   

Best Dog Travel Crates

Regardless of breed or mode of transportation, these dog travel crates will get your canine companion to their destination safe and sound.  

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Vetstreet may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Best Overall Dog Travel Crate

Our Pick: MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate

MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate

In operation for 100 years—no, really—MidWest benefits from its parent company’s expertise in metalworking. Its coated metal dog crates are tested to be safe and durable for “strong dogs.” This crate is both super sturdy but also it also folds flat, passing the road test for long-haul travel terriers. Five sizes, including a medium-large size, accommodates any breed.

  • Professional-gauge steel holds up to chewers
  • Front and side doors with slide-bolt latches provide safe access
  • Includes handle, divider panel, and removable tray
  • Rubber roller feet protect your floor

Things to Consider

  • Sturdy also means heavy, and the handle can be clunky

Best Small Dog Travel Crate

Our Pick: KindTail Pawd Collapsible Dog Crate

KindTail Pawd Collapsible Dog & Cat Crate

This sturdy, collapsible dog travel crate is designed for dogs under 15 lbs. Weighing only 6 pounds, this crate is easy to move around from place to place. We love the look of this travel crate, with its patterned openings that provide plenty of ventilation (and easy places to peek at your pet). But what really sells us is the compact design when it folds down. It can easily be tucked away in your car on road trips or you can carry it with you on a bus or train. 

  • Lightweight and easy to carry and pack
  • Has a nice look, if you want something other than wire
  • Folding it down is a cinch
  • It is not airline compliant and isn’t meant to be a carrier. However, it can be checked in at the airport. 
  • It does not come with a crate pad or a divider.

Best Dog Crate for Air Travel

Our Pick: SportPet Designs Rolling Plastic Airline Approved Travel Dog Crate

SP Travel Kennel Dog Carrier

This International Air Transport Association (IATA)-approved kennel comes in five sizes, from small to extra-large (up to 140 lbs.). Every size but small has four removable wheels so it can also roll.  

  • Every crate comes with two bowls, live animal stickers, and metal nuts and bolts
  • Features tie-down holes for bungees required by airlines
  • We recommend going one size up beyond what you think your dog will require
  • While the plastic is sturdy, the crate is a bit heavy (two handles are on larger sizes)

Best Dog Crate for Car Travel

Our Pick: FurHaven Deluxe Pet Barrier and Seat Protector With Carry Bag

FurHaven Deluxe Pet Barrier & Seat Protector with Carry Bag

While it’s not a traditional crate, some dog owners swear by this water-resistant and easy-to-clean barrier that converts the entire backseat into a holding area for your dog to spread out. Even better, a carry bag is included.  

  • Adjustable panels accommodate a human passenger in addition to your pet
  • A mesh window allows you to monitor your pup in the back
  • A front pocket can store a leash or treats
  • This product is not recommended for dogs with chewing behavior
  • Not ideal if you’re traveling with an anxious dog.

Best Collapsible Dog Travel Crate

Our Pick: Diggs Revol Dog Crate

Revol Dog Crate

15% Off Sitewide Automatically Applied at Checkout at Diggs

Inspired by the same safety implements used to protect babies, this collapsible dog travel crate features high-end materials, ergonomic doors, and a sleek design you’ll want to show off. While it’s not airline-complaint and you can’t fly with your pet in this crate, you can easily collapse it and pack it for road trips or on trains so that your dog has a safe space when you arrive at your destination. Plus, it’s the perfect everyday dog crate, so not having to buy a separate one for your road trips is a nice option. 


  • Handle and wheels make this collapsible crate perfect for a pup on the go
  • Diamond-shaped mesh and single-piece frame designed to prevent injury to your pet
  • Setup is a breeze
  • The price point is triple the going rate of many other dog travel crates

Best Soft Dog Travel Crate

Our Pick: Pet Life 360 Vista View Collapsible Dog Crate Carrier

Pet Life® 360° Vista View Collapsible Dog Crate Carrier

What’s not to love about this sweet, ultra-durable carrier that doubles as a soft, dog travel crate? A PVC frame provides structure, and the ballistic nylon is lightweight and scratch-resistant. Your pet will luxuriate in the crate’s Thinsulate sherpa pad, designed to keep them warm, while large mesh windows allow for ample ventilation.  

  • Comes in extra-small size
  • Folds down to 4 inches for storage
  • Top and side openings are convenient
  • Puppies might be prone to chew the side zipper; monitor your pet before use
  • May not be ideal for larger dogs

Best Dog Travel Carrier Bag

Our Pick: Wild One Travel Carrier

Wild One Dog carrier

Giving us style and substance is Wild One’s travel carrier approved for planes, trains, automobiles, or the living room. Small and medium breeds up to 16 lbs. are accommodated with ventilated mesh sides and a comfortable cushion that folds out into a dog bed. When you’re not using the shoulder strap, it converts into a leash.

  • Offers a timeless look in three classic colors
  • Easy-access storage pockets for poop bags and your phone
  • It doesn’t take up more space than necessary, so it’s easy to pack or put away
  • Not an option for larger dogs
  • Only three color options are available.

Dog Travel Crate Buying Guide

Dog in a travel carrier

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a dog travel crate should meet the following criteria: 

  • Be large enough for your pet to stand without touching the top of the cage, turn around, and lie down. (Editor’s note: A good way to do this is to measure your pup nose to tail and then head to floor while they are seated, then add 4 inches to all measurements.)
  • Be strong and free of interior protrusions, with handles or a grip.
  • Have a leak-proof bottom with plenty of absorbent material
  • Be ventilated on opposite sides, with exterior knobs and rims that will not block airflow.
  • Be clearly labeled with your name, home address and phone number, destination contact information and a sign stating “Live Animals” with arrows showing which way is upright.

Additionally, it’s important to note that airlines adhere to limitations on the size of carry-on dog travel crates and carriers, which vary by airline and aircraft. A soft-sided kennel with dimensions of, at most, 18” x 11” x 11” should fit most aircraft types. Always check with your air carrier on size requirements prior to travel. 

Another thing to keep in mind is where you will be storing the crate once you arrive. More and more brands offer portable dog crates that are collapsible, saving space and sanity. However, we found the best collapsible crates to be more expensive than other less flexible types of dog crates.

Most dog crates do not come with a mat, so make sure the one you purchase fits the dimensions of the crate and is plenty comfy for your pup. 

Safety Tips for Traveling With Dogs in Crates

Dog sitting next to plane bag dog carrier

As with any new thing in your dog’s life, it’s important to give your dog time to adjust to their crate and feel secure within it before you take a trip. Leave it out in your home for a few weeks before you plan to travel and create happy associations with the crate by using treats and positive reinforcement

Many crates are not considered “escape-proof,” meaning it’s essential that your dog is crate trained prior to traveling in their crate or carrier. 

Not all dog crates are designed to be carriers that you can tote your pet around in during travel. Make sure you clearly follow all guidelines and instructions from the manufacturer and use the crate or carrier how it was intended to be used.

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safest dog travel crate

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The 15 Best Travel Dog Crates & Carriers [2023]

Amar Hussain's image

Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 63 U.S. States Visited: 9

Keri Stooksbury


Countries Visited: 39 U.S. States Visited: 28

The 15 Best Travel Dog Crates & Carriers [2023]

Things To Consider With Travel Dog Crates

1. luxury carrier for high-flying pooches, 2. superstrong pet carrier for use on the plane, 3. multi-purpose crate for adventurous dogs, 4. rolling dog carrier for longer journeys, 5. 2-in-1 carrier and rolling kennel, 6. fuss-free travel kennel for everyday use, 7. lightweight pet carrier for easy transportation, 1. basic dog crate that can fold down for easy storage, 2. soft dog crate for smaller breeds, 3. plastic carry crate for the trunk of your car, 4. multi-purpose crate for bigger pooches, 5. heavy-duty crate for dogs who like their own personal space, 6. excellent pop-up-style dog crate, 7. collapsible crate for use in your vehicle, 8. for dogs who like to be close by you, final thoughts.

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

Keep your dog safe and calm with a dedicated doggie travel crate or carrier. Made from strong and durable materials, they are comfortable, secure, and an absolute must-have for dog lovers who never want to leave their furry friends behind.

Not all dog crates are suitable for every size of dog or type of journey. Consider the following before you buy:

There are 2 main types of crates and carriers to choose from, with both styles being better suited to different situations and doggie personalities:

Hard-sided Crates and Carriers — These are an excellent choice for long road trips and can be used as a secure spot for your dog to sleep in when you reach your destination.

Strong and sturdy, they are also an excellent choice for dogs who like to chew, and the molded plastic construction is easy to clean between uses.

Soft-sided Crates and Carriers — These are good for dogs who are used to traveling, and the lightweight design makes them more suitable for use on airplanes and shorter journeys.

As long as you choose the right size to suit your dog, these flexible carriers are easy for you to carry and come with additional features, such as padded shoulder straps and handy storage pockets.

While you may be restricted by airline regulations or the physical size of your cargo area, it is super important that the dog crate or carrier that you choose has enough space for your dog to travel comfortably in.

It should be big enough for your pooch to sit, stand, sleep and turn around in while still being compact enough to keep them feeling safe and secure. As a general rule, the crate or carrier you choose should be no more than 6 inches longer than your dog.

Crates and carriers are usually available in different sizes to suit a wide variety of breeds. Measure your dog from his neck to his rear legs and again from his shoulders to the ground to get a good idea of which size crate or carrier will suit him best.

Most manufacturers will also recommend a maximum weight for their crates and carriers . This is particularly important if you are planning on carrying your dog around in it.

If your dog is between weights or sizes, always choose the crate or carrier that can offer the greatest capacity to ensure that it is strong enough and roomy enough for them to feel comfortable in.

The crate or carrier you choose should be strong and sturdy enough to secure your 4-legged friend in transit without making them feel scared or uncomfortable.

Look for crates and carriers that have strong zippers or clasps on the doors to stop your dog from making an escape, and only ever choose a model that offers mesh sides or ventilation slots to ensure that your dog can breathe easily.

If you are traveling in your vehicle, the crate or carrier should be kept secure using the seat belt or shoulder harness to stop your dog from being thrown around on the road.

Some dogs get very nervous when traveling, and others really don’t like being confined in a crate or carrier.

Try and make them feel more comfortable by looking for options that offer soft and cozy seating areas that can be washed between uses , and maybe throw their favorite toy or blanket in there with them.

Bottom Line: Mesh sides are not only useful for ventilation, but they also let your dog see out, which may help them to feel more relaxed if they have eyes on their favorite humans at all times.

The 7 Best Travel Dog Crates for Airlines

BEST OVERALL: Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier

Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Take your 4-legged friend away with you in this awesome lightweight pet carrier. Suitable for medium-sized dogs, this carrier measures 17 x 11 x 10.5 inches and can hold up to 16 pounds in weight. With a patented spring wire frame, it can be pushed down to ensure that it fits neatly under your seat in transit.

Perfect for use while you fly, your dog will love the comfortable faux lambskin liner , and with a nonslip carrying handle and useful rear pocket for treats and poop bags, owners will love the convenience that this brilliant travel crate offers.

Available in a choice of colors for stylish doggos and their owners, this portable pet carrier can be folded up small for easy storage when not in use. Also available in a choice of small or large sizes, the Sherpa carry-on for your pooch is ready and waiting for your next adventure.

What We Like

  • This bag is super sturdy and incredibly comfortable

What We Don’t Like

  • The carrier is not as luxurious as some other models out there

Hot Tip: For all of your pet’s accessories, check out our guide to the best dog travel bags , including totes and backpacks.

UPGRADE PICK: Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier

Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier

This hardside pet crate offers increased security for your furry friend while also being lightweight and travel-friendly.

Made from durable plastic materials, it has been constructed using non-corrodible wing nuts , extra-strong steel wire, and an interlocking door to enhance protection and ensure that your dog will never escape or be injured during transit.

Available in a choice of sizes, you can choose from the 21-, 28-, 32-, 36-, 40-, and 48-inch options to ensure that your dog has enough space to suit its size, and with vented openings all around it, this crate will ensure that your dog stays safe and healthy.

  • The carrier has super-tough construction and additional safety features
  • This crate can feel heavy when your dog is in it

Petmate Vari Dog Kennel

Petmate Vari Kennel Heavy-Duty Dog Travel Crate

Comfortable and incredibly secure, this awesome travel crate is suitable for use both on the airplane and as a comfortable kennel space when you reach your destination.

With tie-down strap holds and wire vents for ventilation, your pooch will stay safely in place during your flight, and with an easy-open front latch, you can quickly release your dog for much-needed cuddles when you arrive.

The raised interior is perfect for letting them sleep on their favorite blanket, and suitable for dogs weighing up to 70 pounds, this travel crate lets your best friend travel everywhere with you.

Designed to meet most airline cargo specifications, this super-secure travel crate will help to keep your dog calm and relaxed as they fly. Also available in a range of smaller sizes, there is a Petmate Vari Travel Kennel to suit all breeds of dogs.

  • This travel kennel is practical, durable, and pleasingly affordable
  • There is no carry handle

Coopeter Airline Dog Carrier

Unique and highly portable, this rolling dog carrier makes light work of long journeys for you and your 4-legged friend.

Made from superstrong materials, it comes with a detachable 4-wheel platform and a longer-length handle that lets you pull the carrier along behind you.

With additional nonslip grab handles and an adjustable shoulder strap , you can also use it without the wheels when you want to. With mesh sides, your pooch will be able to breathe well and keep its eye on you at all times, and the soft-sided interior provides a warm and cozy space for naps.

Measuring up at 19.7 x 12.2 x 11.8 inches, this pet carrier is suitable for small-breed dogs, and when not in use, it can be folded up compact for easy storage. Comfortable, cozy, and incredibly cool, your dog will love traveling around in this innovative dog carrier.

  • The wheeled base and extendable handle are convenient to use
  • It is quite small, so check the measurements

SportPet Designs Dog Crate

SportPet Designs Rolling Plastic Kennel

This portable kennel has a spacious interior and a sturdy build, and your pooch will quickly grow to love it almost as much as you do.

The convenient removable wheels make it a breeze to glide through the airport, and with 2 dishes, 4 live animal stickers, tie-down bungee straps, and metal bolts and nuts included, this carrier meets all the IATA airline requirements for dogs in transit .

Available in a selection of sizes from S through to 3XL, this rolling pet kennel can accommodate all breeds of dog, and with superfast assembly, it is perfect for use both while traveling and back at home.

For added security, this crate also comes with locking snaps on the sides and a strong metal door with an easy-to-grasp latch to ensure that your best friend is safely tucked away during the journey.

  • This is a good-sized, very secure travel kennel
  • It is quite heavy when your dog is in it

Petmate Aspen Traditional Kennel

Aspen Pet Traditional Kennel

With sturdy plastic construction, this traditional-style dog carrier is an excellent choice for pets weighing between 20 and 30 pounds.

Offering a simple, fuss-free design, your furry best friend can enjoy 360-degree ventilation to feel cool and comfortable , and the easy-to-open squeeze latch door is perfect for superfast loading and unloading.

In addition, the raised interior is a safe and comfortable space for your dog, and the secure tie-down holes will ensure that your best bud doesn’t slide around in transit.

Easy to carry using the top handle, this travel kennel also comes in smaller 20- and 25-inch versions for smaller breeds. The functional design makes this suitable for use as a training kennel at home and a secure and safe space for traveling.

  • The design is fuss-free and easy to use
  • It doesn’t feel quite as high quality as some of its competitors

Petsfit Travel Carrier

Petsfit Airline Approved Dog Carrier

Lightweight and easy to carry, this travel dog carrier comes with a nonslip shoulder strap and grab handles, making it easy to take your best friend with you while you travel.

The mesh sides help to keep your dog cool, and the wire frame ensures that this carrier keeps its shape in transit.

Designed to conform perfectly with the under-seat dimensions of most airlines, your 4-legged friend can stay by your side as you fly, and the built-in safety tether on the inside will ensure that your pet is safely secured at all times .

For increased comfort, this brilliant carrier comes with a soft fleece mat that will help your pooch feel at home along the way, and with an additional backstrap, you can fasten the carrier to your luggage for seamless transportation around the airport.

  • The carrier can be folded up when not in use
  • It doesn’t feel substantial enough to hold heavier dogs

The 8 Best Travel Dog Crates for Cars

BEST OVERALL: AmazonBasics Portable Crate Kennel

Amazon Basics Portable Folding Soft Dog Travel Crate

This soft-sided and easy-to-fold 36-inch dog crate is perfect for road trips and overnight stays and offers plenty of comfort and security for even the most nervous of 4-legged travelers.

With 2 separate doors, it is easy to load and unload your pet for their next big adventure, and with ventilation on all 4 sides, your dog will be able to breathe easily along the way.

The secure zipper closures keep the crate secure, and with roll up and down doors, you can let your dog see out or roll them back down when it’s time to snooze.

Made from strong and durable polyester material, this crate comes with a PVC frame that can be set up and folded back down in an instant , and with the ability to hold up to 90 pounds in weight, this is an excellent option for larger breeds.

  • The crate is spacious and highly durable
  • It doesn’t come with carrying handles

UPGRADE PICK: EliteField Dog Crate

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate

This 24-inch dog crate is also available in larger 20-, 30-, 36-, and 42-inch versions, and the soft-sided design offers incredible versatility and comfort for your furry friend.

With a strong steel frame, it is sturdy enough to handle your pup’s weight, and the highly durable 600D fabric and hex mesh fabric will keep your dog well-ventilated in transit .

Designed to be wider and higher than most standard dog crates, your dog will have plenty of space to move around, and with 2 accessory pockets on the outside, you can keep their treats, leashes and other essentials close at hand.

As an added bonus, this model also comes with a free fleece bed included, as well as a carry bag, giving you and your pooch everything you need to stay safe, comfortable, and most of all calm on long car journeys or back at home.

  • This soft crate offers stress-free transportation
  • The zippers don’t feel secure enough for dogs that push against them

Ferplast Atlas Scenic Car Crate

Ferplast Atlas Scenic SUV & Car Dog Crate

Suitable for medium-size breeds, this crate measures 39 x 26 x 26 inches, making it suitable for use in the cargo area of most SUVs and hatchbacks.

Strong enough to comfortably hold dogs weighing as much as 60 pounds, this crate comes with super-sturdy molded handles that let you lift the crate (and dog) in and out of the vehicle when you need to.

Offering vented panels all the way along the sides , this model offers excellent ventilation to keep your dog comfortable and relaxed along the way, and the tough plastic and metal mesh is designed to withstand even the most enthusiastic of 4-legged friends.

With a convenient locking system built into the front door and a sliding opening, this crate will keep your dog safely contained while also helping to save space in your cargo area, and the versatile design can be completely dismantled for easy storage when not in use.

  • This crate fits most vehicles
  • It doesn’t feel that it would be able to stand up to escape artists

Noz2Noz Indoor and Outdoor Crate

Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate for Pets

This soft-sided crate lets you take your best friend on long road trips with you, and the versatile and highly portable design is comfortable and convenient for your dog.

Made with a water-resistant base, it is perfect for nervous pooches as it can be cleaned up very easily , and the fully washable cover can be thrown into the machine between uses.

With a sturdy steel frame, it is designed to be strong and durable, and the novel design can be set up and folded down in an instant.

With mesh panels for increased ventilation and a better view for your 4-legged friend, this crate comes with rounded corners to prevent scratches. Available in a selection of sizes, this model can fit pets weighing up to 100 pounds.

  • The crate can easily be cleaned between uses
  • The zipper closure feels a bit flimsy

Petsfit Collapsible Dog Crate

Petsfit Portable Soft Collapsible Dog Crate

This 30-inch foldable dog crate is strong enough to comfortably carry dogs weighing up to 88 pounds, and the spacious interior has been designed to keep your pooch feeling calm and comfortable.

Made from high-quality materials, it comes with grid doors on the front, top, and side for easier loading and unloading, and the pocket on the back is a handy space to hold treats, snacks, leashes, and other doggie travel accessories.

Featuring an upgraded hexagonal structure grid, this crate is incredibly sturdy , and with Velcro-zippered doors, your dog will stay safely housed at all times.

With rounded corners on the top, this crate will slip neatly into your vehicle without causing any damage to the interior, and the foldable steel frame has a washable soft cover and can be folded down quickly for convenient storage when not in use.

  • The spacious interior is perfect for larger dogs
  • The mesh doesn’t feel particularly strong

Petsfit Travel Pet Home

Petsfit Collapsible Soft Dog Crate

Perfect for small and medium breeds, this pop-up style dog crate measures 30 x 20 x 19 inches and has 2 doors for easier loading and unloading.

Both doors can be rolled up so your dog can see out, and the mesh panels allow for increased ventilation along the way.

Lightweight while still being incredibly sturdy , this dog crate can also be used as an open bed, giving your dog their own space — both in transit and when you reach your destination.

With a removable and washable soft pad, this is a super-comfy base for your best friend while you are away from home.

With a patented screw-in design that lets you set the crate up in seconds, this is an awesome travel crate that can easily be dismantled and stored between uses.

  • The crate sets up superfast
  • There are more sturdy dog crates out there

AmazonBasics Carrier Kennel

Amazon Basics Folding Soft Dog Crate

This awesome soft-sided dog crate is anything but basic and offers a cost-effective way to transport your best friend from A to B.

Measuring 26 x 18 x 18 inches, this model is suitable for small breeds weighing between 12 and 25 pounds, but it also comes in 21- , 30-, 36-, and 42-inch versions for dogs of varying sizes . Made from durable polyester and PVC materials, it collapses down for quick and easy storage.

For added convenience, it also features accessory pockets on the top and the side for storing treats and other essentials, and with a top handle and shoulder strap, it is easy to carry your dog around in.

On the inside, the plush fleece-covered pet bed offers superior comfort on the road, and the multiple screened panels offer increased ventilation and an excellent opportunity for your pooch to keep a watchful eye on you.

  • The crate is comfy, practical, and easy to use
  • The mesh isn’t strong enough to handle dogs that like to chew

SlowTon Dog Booster Car Seat

SlowTon Dog Booster Car Seat

If your dog thinks it’s human, this convenient and comfortable doggie car seat might be just the thing for it to enjoy.

Made with a reinforced metal frame, this crate provides a safe and comfy shelter for dogs who like to ride in cars, and the quick and easy installation makes it easy to fit and remove from your car seat as often as necessary.

The nonslip rubber bottom won’t slide around on the back seat of your car , and the seat belt tether will keep your dog secure. With mesh windows on 3 sides, this model offers excellent ventilation, and the front and top zipper doors let you load and unload your dog without a fuss.

With a washable and reusable pet pee pad on the bottom, your seats will stay clean and dry, even with the most anxious of doggies, and with the ability to fold up flat when not in use, this is a super-fancy and incredibly safe way for your dog to travel around with you.

  • Pets are easy to secure and buckle in
  • The locking system could be sturdier

Whether you are looking for an airplane carrier for your bichon frise or a cargo crate for your husky, there are lots of safe and comfortable ways to keep your best friend by your side.

From hard-sided crates to soft and flexible carriers, finding the right model for you and your dog will let you both enjoy many miles of adventures together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Start slowly and be patient when getting your dog used to a travel crate. Leave the door open and line the crate with your dog’s favorite blanket and even an item of your clothing, so they feel comfortable. Use lots of treats and positive reinforcement to create a positive association.

Crates are an excellent and safe way to transport your dog in cars or while flying. Look for crates that have strong zippers, clasps, and sturdy doors.

Measure your dog’s length from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail. Your travel dog crate should be no more than their length plus 6 inches. Also, make sure that your dog has enough room to sit, lie down, and turn around comfortably.

There are several things to consider when choosing a travel crate for your dog. Safety and comfort will be high on your list of criteria. It’s also important to get the correct size for your dog, and the weight will also be a key consideration, especially for air travel.

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About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.


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11 best travel carriers for dogs in 2023

The size, material and safety certifications can all determine which travel carrier is right for your dog.

We all want our dogs by our side as much as possible, and that might include them tagging along on vacations and holiday trips. But traveling with a pet usually involves a range of safety considerations, including gathering the right health paperwork , keeping treats and water on hand and making sure they’re as comfortable as possible on a flight, train or car ride. Since most airlines and other transportation methods will require taking your dog in some type of enclosure, the pet carrier you choose is very important to keep your dog safe and comfortable. 

We spoke to veterinarians, vet technicians and travel safety experts about what to look for in a travel carrier for your dog and how to shop for one that’s both comfortable and safe. We also listed expert-recommended carriers and Select staff favorites.

SKIP AHEAD Best dog travel carriers | How to shop for a dog travel carrier | What size carrier is allowed on a plane? |  What is the pet weight limit for air travel? | What's the difference between a carrier and crate? | Is it safe to travel with a pet in the cargo area? | How to help your dog feel calm in a travel carrier

Our top picks

  • Best overall dog carrier: Away The Pet Carrier
  • Best airline-approved carrier: Sherpa Pet Carrier
  • Best tote carrier: Wild One Everyday Carrier
  • Best travel crate: Gunner Kennel G1

safest dog travel crate

select How to drive safely with a dog

How we picked the best dog travel carriers.

When shopping for the best travel carrier for your dog, our experts recommend considering the following factors:

  • Size: Pick a carrier that’s big enough for your pet to comfortably stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. The carrier should be as long as the tip of the dog’s nose to the base of the tail, according to veterinarian Dr. Kristen L. Nelson . Carriers will usually come in a variety of sizes to fit different breed types (though keep in mind that airline-approved carriers have very specific dimension requirements that will usually only fit small dogs under 20 pounds, according to our experts). 
  • Materials and build: Carriers are usually soft-sided and made of polyester or nylon, which are easy to clean and water- and tear-resistant, according to our experts. Choose a carrier with mesh sides to provide a good amount of ventilation. Most importantly, you should opt for a carrier that can stand up on its own and not collapse around your pet or deform easily, says Dr. Christina Carlo , a veterinarian and medical director at VCA Avondale Veterinary Hospital. Hard plastic carriers are usually designed for airplane cargo holds, but they’re a safe and durable option for car rides, too, according to Carlo.
  • Airline requirements: Commercial airlines will usually have certain dimension requirements for carriers that go in the plane’s cabin (with the passenger) and crates that travel in the cargo area of the plane. Most airlines like United Airlines , Jetblue and American Airlines have varying dimension requirements, so be sure to visit their site before traveling. 
  • Crash testing: Look for carriers and crates that have undergone independent crash testing by the Center for Pet Safety , which gives your pet the best possible chance of survival if a crash occurs, says Dr. Wendy Hauser , a veterinarian and special advisor to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.

Best dog travel carriers of 2023

Below, we gathered the best travel carriers for your dog based on experts’ guidance and Select staff experience. We also included top-rated options with a 4-star average rating or higher. We list key factors to consider, including the carrier’s material, weight capacity and dimensions. 

Best overall travel carrier: Away

Away the pet carrier.

This Away travel carrier is designed for both car and airline travel and won a Select Best for Your Pet award for best overall travel carrier. It has zip openings on the top and front with fully see-through mesh to help your pet see out of the carrier (if you prefer to avoid this, there’s a piece of fabric that rolls down to cover their view).

I use this carrier to fly with my 16-pound havachon, Bella, because it’s sturdy and makes her feel safe and supported thanks to its durable nylon and leather construction. The mesh gives her enough visibility to know what’s going on outside and helps me keep tabs on her, too. It also comes with machine-washable bedding on the inside that’s soft to the touch, and multiple pockets that keep my belongings and pet essentials accessible during the whole flight. If you’re traveling by car, the carrier has latches on one side that securely fasten to a car’s seat belt system. The Away carrier comes in black and blue colors and you can also personalize it with your initials for an additional $35.

Pet weight: Up to 18 lbs | Dimensions (LxWxH): 18.7 x 10.8 x 10.75 in. | Material: Water-resistant nylon

Away Pet Carrier

Away Pet Carrier

Best airline-approved carrier: sherpa, sherpa pet carrier.

Another Best for Your Pet award winner, this Sherpa carrier is a favorite of CPS founder Lindsey Wolko, who has used it for years to travel with her own pets. She specifically recommends it for traveling on the plane because it fits under the passenger seat (it meets the dimensions for most airlines, but always check your specific airline’s requirements before traveling) and has a large zip pocket to store pet supplies like water bowls, leashes and treats. However, it’s not the best pick for car travel because you can’t strap it in using your vehicle’s seat belt system — you’re better off placing it on the floor behind the driver’s seat for safety and to avoid the stitching or zippers to fail, says Wolko. 

NBC Select manager of editorial operations Shari Uyehara uses this carrier to take her 20-pound cavalier King Charles spaniel, Loki, on the plane and says it’s a great affordable option for travel. Loki can comfortably shift positions during the flight, and the carrier itself is structured enough to maintain its shape while under the seat, says Uyehara. The sides are made of see-through mesh that allows your pet to easily see out of it. Available in medium and large sizes, the carrier also has shorter top handles and a longer shoulder strap to fit your carrying preferences. 

Pet weight: Up to 16 lbs | Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 10.5 in. (medium size) | Material: Polyester and mesh

Sherpa Pet Carrier

Best hard-sided carrier for cargo: Gunner

Gunner kennel g1.

This crate earned a 5-star safety rating from the CPS in both the crate and carrier class (the only product to earn a dual certification), and it’s a favorite among our experts. The crate has a thick exterior layer for impact protection, which keeps your pet safe if there’s a crash or a fall, according to the brand. It also has a reversible door design that lets you open the crate from either side. The door also has an aluminum frame that won’t pop open in the middle of a flight, according to the brand. It comes in four sizes — small, medium, intermediate and large — and Gunner offers a size guide that gives recommendations based on your dog’s weight and length.

Pet weight: Up to 30 lbs for small, up to 45 lbs for medium, up to 75 lbs for intermediate and up to 110 lbs for large size | Dimensions: 24.5 x 18.625 x 19 in. (small), 29.5 x 20.5 x 23.5 in. (medium), 34 x 23 x 28.5 in. (intermediate), 40.25 x 28 x 33.25 in. (large) | Material: Reinforced aluminum frame

safest dog travel crate

Gunner G1 Kennel

Best soft-sided carrier: elitefield, elitefield soft-sided dog & cat carrier bag.

This pet carrier weighs just over 2 pounds and is the most lightweight soft-sided option on this list. The carrier is recommended by Dr. Amber Karwacki , a veterinarian and partner doctor at Heart + Paw in Callowhill, Pennsylvania, because it has mesh panels on both sides and the front to let air in and prevent your pet from getting too hot, according to the brand. It also comes with removable and machine-washable bedding and has a back sleeve that attaches to your suitcase, as well as loops that latch onto your car’s seat belt system. The polyester and synthetic build is water-resistant and available in six colors to fit your personal style. 

Pet weight: Up to 18 lbs | Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 13 in. | Material: Polyester

safest dog travel crate

EliteField Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

Best tote carrier: wild one, wild one everyday carrier.

If you’re looking for a tote to carry your dog around town or on the train, consider this Wild One carrier. This Select staff-favorite option has a small dip in its design, which allows your dog to peek their head out while you carry them around. Uyehara particularly loves how stable the tote is. “I love that Loki’s weight remains balanced in the carrier, but he still has room to move around,” she says. It also includes a safety clip that attaches to your dog’s harness, which ensures your dog is secure and won’t jump out at a bad time, according to Karwacki (but be sure to never connect this clip to their collar since it poses a choking hazard). It also comes with carrying straps of two different lengths — one length to carry it like a shoulder bag, and shorter straps to carry it by hand. There is a machine washable mat on the inside and three exterior pockets to hold all your pet’s essentials like bags, treats and toys.

Pet weight: Up to 20 lbs | Dimensions: 21.5 x 7.5 x 14.25 in. | Material: Recycled polyester outer, cotton interior

Wild One Everyday Carrier

Best collapsible carrier: Roverlund

Roverlund out-of-office pet carrier.

Another Select Best for Your Pet award winner, the small version of this Roverlund carrier is an airline-approved option for both dogs and cats because it’s less than 18 inches long. The straps are all ropes, which our staff found to be more comfortable and supportive than other carrier straps made from typical polyester or fabric. The interior lining is machine-washable and you can also shop the larger version of this carrier for dogs up to 25 pounds.

Pet weight: Up to 20 lbs | Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 10.5 in. (small size) | Material: Water-resistant polyester, mountain climbing rope

Roverlund Pet Carrier

Roverlund Pet Carrier

Best backpack carrier: apollo walker, apollo walker pet carrier backpack.

This highly rated backpack carrier, which earned a 4.6-star average rating from over 4,500 reviews on Amazon, has shoulder straps and two separate straps that buckle around your sternum and waist to help evenly distribute the weight of your pet, according to the brand. It has mesh panels on all sides to let your pet see out and comes with removable fleece bedding to keep them comfortable while creating a sturdy base that can hold their weight, according to Apollo. It also comes with a clip that attaches to your pet’s harness to prevent them from escaping or falling out.

Pet weight: N/A | Dimensions:  12.6 x 11.4 x 16.8 in. | Material: Polyester

Apollo Walker Pet Carrier Backpack

Best expandable carrier: Midwest

Midwest duffy dog & cat carrier.

This Midwest Duffy carrier is recommended by Karwacki because it’s expandable — the mesh sides open up to give your pet more room to move around and stretch their legs. It has two zippered side openings, as well as one on top to make it easier to take your dog in and out of the carrier, according to the brand. It also folds completely flat, so you can store it away when it’s not in use. It comes in three colors and sizes small, medium and large. 

Pet weight: Up to 15 lbs | Dimensions: 16.3 x 10.1 x 9.3 in. (small), 18.3 x 11.3 x 11.1 in. (medium) and 19.3 x 12.2 x 12.2 in. (large) | Material: Polyester

safest dog travel crate

MidWest Duffy Dog & Cat Carrier

Best carrier for medium-sized dogs: Arlo Skye

Arlo skye the pet carrier.

This Arlo Skye pet carrier has mesh panels on all sides, making it a well-ventilated option for your pup. It comes with memory foam bedding on the inside that’s both removable and machine-washable, as well as a foldable design to help you pack it easily in your suitcase or travel bag, according to the brand. It has dual openings on both ends and a back pocket sleeve to place it over your carry-on . The carrier is also highly rated with a 4.9-star average rating from over 60 reviews at Arlo Skye. 

Pet weight: Up to 25 lbs | Dimensions:  17.5 x 11 x 10 in. | Material: Poly-mesh and nylon

Arlo Skye The Pet Carrier

Best carrier for small dogs: Sleepypod

Sleepypod mobile pet bed.

The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed is an expert-recommended and CPS-certified option that has breathable mesh and a machine-washable interior — it’s built for plane travel for dogs under 15 pounds. Nelson recommends the Sleepypod because it’s easy to carry and gives the pet privacy while traveling since it’s fully enclosed with a mesh panel at the top.

Like several other carriers on this list, the Sleepypod doesn’t just limit itself to airline travel: It straps into a vehicle’s seat belt system, so you can comfortably take road trips with your pet. You can also separate the bottom of the carrier to transform it into a bed for your pet, which makes training easier since they can form a positive association with it, says Lindsey Wolko, founder of the Center for Pet Safety. The brand’s Sleepypod Atom is another CPS-certified carrier that’s crash-tested for even smaller dogs up to 12 pounds, the lowest weight requirement on this list. 

Pet weight: Up to 15 lbs | Dimensions:  17 in. (D) x 6.5 in. | Material: Polyester

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed

Best sling carrier: Tomkas

Tomkas dog sling carrier.

Designed for small dogs up to 10 pounds, this sling carrier crosses over your body so you can take your dog around town hands-free. The base has a built-in drawstring that adjusts the size of the opening to fit different sized dogs, and the crossbody strap length is also adjustable to fit your comfort level. The carrier includes a safety buckle inside that connects to your dog’s harness to prevent them from falling out, according to the brand. I purchased this carrier for my havachon, Bella, when she was a puppy weighing under 10 pounds, and I was able to comfortably carry her around when she got tired of walking. It held her weight well without tearing or damaging the fabric, and the crossbody strap caused less strain on my back.

Pet weight: Up to 10 lbs | Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 3 in. | Material: Polyester

TOMKAS Dog Sling Carrier

TOMKAS Dog Sling Carrier

safest dog travel crate

select 19 best pet products for dogs and cats, according to Select staff pet owners

How to shop for a dog travel carrier.

Carriers and crates are the most secure type of enclosure when traveling with your dog because they prevent them from escaping and minimize distraction while you’re traveling (especially while driving), according to Wolko. But the right carrier for your dog will depend on what type of trip you’re taking, your method of transportation and their temperament.. When shopping for the right carrier for your dog, our experts recommend considering the size and fit of the enclosure, whether it’s crash-tested, if it meets airline requirements and more.

Your dog or cat should be able to easily stand up, turn around and lay comfortably in their carrier. That means the length of your carrier from front to back should measure about the same, or one or two inches more than the tip of your dog’s nose to the base of their tail, according to Nelson. You should add a few more inches for brachycephalic breeds like pugs, pekingese and French bulldogs, though experts don’t recommend taking these breeds on flights because their shorter noses increase the risk of overheating and oxygen deprivation, says Nelson (some airlines even ban this breed from flying in the cargo hold , according to the American Veterinary Medical Association). To determine the right height of your carrier, make sure it measures the same or larger than the height of your pet from the floor to the top of their shoulders, says Carlo.

Place a mat or bed in the carrier to make the space more comfortable for your pet, says Carlo (though you should avoid this if your dog usually destroys their bedding because they might eat the pieces and cause intestinal obstruction). Putting soft blankets or their favorite toy in the carrier can also help promote familiarity and make them feel safe, according to our experts.

Whether your dog can see out of their carrier is a matter of personal preference, though our experts recommend mesh so the outside is visible, which helps avoid your dog feeling threatened or confused while they’re traveling, says Wolko. 

Materials and structure

Most carriers are soft-sided and made from materials like polyester, mesh and nylon fabric. Consider whether the carrier has structure, meaning it can stand up on its own and won’t automatically collapse around your pet, according to Carlo. You should also look for carriers that have pockets, so you have room for your pet supplies.

You can take a hard-sided, non-collapsible crate or kennel on an airplane, but they must be able to fit under the passenger’s seat, according to Hauser (this might be harder to do compared to soft-sided carriers since they don’t mold to a different size). Plastic hard-sided crates are usually good for transporting your pet in an airplane cargo hold and the cargo area of a car — they’re considered to be the safest option since they won’t lose their shape and provide impact protection in case of a crash, turbulence or hard fall, according to our experts. However, you should avoid metal wire crates because pets might be able to stick their feet or limbs out, which can be a safety hazard while traveling, says Karwacki.

Safety considerations

For car travel, look for carriers and crates that have undergone crash testing by the Center for Pet Safety, a registered nonprofit and advocacy organization that crash tests car restraints and containment devices. This provides an extra layer of safety when traveling with your pet, our experts say.

“Most carriers on the market only prevent distractions [for the driver], which is important, but in a crash, they may not perform as you would expect them to,” says Wolko. The CPS certification tests carriers as an unaffiliated third party. This is important when considering that many brands subjectively “pass” their carriers if they test them in their own labs, which can ultimately give pet owners a false sense of security, according to Wolko.

Though the CPS does not specifically test carriers and crates for airline travel, you can use most carriers that meet the airline’s size requirements and have ample ventilation, according to Wolko.

A CPS-certified crate usually has backup door latches and locking mechanisms to prevent your pet from escaping, which is especially useful if they travel in the aircraft’s cargo hold. “So, if something tumbles, the kennel is so robust that the pet is not getting out,” says Wolko. Most airlines have certain regulations for what carriers to use when transporting an animal in the cargo area of a plane. The International Air Transport Association, a globally recognized trade association for the world’s airlines, details specific requirements for crates to transport animals in the cargo hold, including construction and adequate ventilation (more on that below).

What size pet carrier is allowed on a plane?

For air travel, always check with your airline to see what type and size of carrier it allows. The approved dimensions of your carrier vary from airline to airline but, in most cases, carriers can’t exceed 11 inches in height, which allows it to fit under the seat in front of the passenger, according to Hauser. Also, the carrier will likely count as your carry-on luggage on most airlines, and in-cabin travel will usually require you to make a reservation or reserve a seat specifically for your dog.

What is the pet weight limit for air travel?

Certain airlines might also have specific pet size and weight requirements for in-cabin travel. Typically, pets must weigh 20 pounds or less, though this varies by airline, and most larger dogs can’t ride in-cabin unless they’re a trained service animal, according to Wolko. If your pet exceeds that limit, they’ll need to travel in the cargo area of the plane.

Most airlines will allow trained service dogs on board at no cost. However, several airlines like Delta Air Lines, Southwest, American Airlines and Alaska Air are no longer accepting emotional support animals on board.

What is the difference between a carrier and a crate? 

Carriers and crates for dogs are usually used interchangeably, but there are a few key differences. The CPS defines crates as enclosures that are secured in the cargo area of a plane or tethered securely to the floor of a vehicle like a van or SUV. They’re usually constructed of thick molded plastic or metal and designed for larger dogs, according to our experts.

Carriers, on the other hand, are usually designed for smaller dogs and made of a soft-sided fabric (though some are constructed of a harder plastic or nylon to prevent them from collapsing on your pet). When traveling in a car, the carrier usually goes in the backseat and is strapped in using the seatbelt system of your vehicle.

Is it safe to travel with a pet in the cargo area?

Yes, it is generally safe and common to travel with your dog in the cargo hold (also known as the lower deck) of an airplane, which also holds baggage. However, experts recommend only flying your pet in the cargo hold when it’s absolutely necessary because it can be a very stressful experience for them. 

“There’s a lot of weird noises, not much light down there — it’d be scary for anyone to go in the [cargo hold], ” says Karwacki. And, most handling risks come before they even board the plane: Dogs usually endure the most force when being transported across the rough, uneven tarmac to get to the plane, says Wolko.

The IATA lists specific requirements for crates, including construction and ventilation, to keep your pet safe when flying in the cargo hold. For example, the trade association specifies that crates must be sturdy and inescapable and adequately ventilated on three sides, with the majority of the ventilation being provided on the upper part of the container.

Most aircraft cargo holds are temperature-controlled and pressurized, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture . Animals can’t be exposed to temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 4 hours, per the USDA’s website. Most airlines won’t transport dogs altogether if ground temperatures reach those extremes.

How to help your dog feel calm in a travel carrier

Your pet’s comfort level in their carrier can determine how smooth your travels are. Below, we list a few expert tips about how to get your dog adjusted to their carrier and how to keep them comfortable during long trips.

  • Know your dog’s safety and security preferences. Some dogs prefer more open-sided kennels with better airflow and visibility, while others feel safer with the cave-like security of a molded plastic carrier with smaller windows, says Hauser.
  • Make the carrier or crate their “happy spot.” Allowing your pet to build a positive association with their carrier helps them feel calm and safe while traveling, according to our experts. In your home and before traveling, leave the door open so that your pup can explore the enclosure on their own terms, which demystifies it, says Hauser. After some time, it isn’t uncommon to find pets that preferentially sleep in their enclosures,” she says. Once they get acclimated to the crate or carrier at home, you can then graduate to car trips and, later on, plane rides. Start off with brief trips that increase in duration over time.
  • Make the carrier feel familiar. As we mentioned, putting their favorite bed, blankets or toys in the carrier can help make them feel more comfortable.
  • Avoid any safety risks while on the plane. For example, if you’re traveling with your pet in-cabin, never put the carrier in the overhead compartment of the plane with your pet inside because it poses a suffocation risk, says Wolko. Also, feed your pet before you get on the plane — if they choke or get something lodged in their throat while you’re in the air, they likely won’t get help in time, according to Wolko.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Kristen L. Nelson is a veterinarian and author of “Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life.”
  • Dr. Christina Carlo is a veterinarian and medical director at VCA Avondale Veterinary Hospital.
  • Dr. Wendy Hauser is a veterinarian and special advisor to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.
  • Lindsey Wolko is the founder of the Center for Pet Safety , a registered nonprofit and advocacy organization that crash-tests car restraints and containment devices for pets.
  • Dr. Amber Karwacki is a veterinarian and partner doctor at Heart + Paw in Callowhill, Pennsylvania.

Why trust Select?

Mili Godio is an editor at Select who covers a variety of pet topics, including dog food , beds , treats and toys . For this article, Godio spoke to five veterinarians and pet safety experts about the best carriers for your dog and how to safely travel with them. She also compiled their recommendations for the best travel carriers to consider and researched dozens of options on the market based on expert guidance.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance , tech and tools , wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

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Mili Godio is an updates editor for Select on NBC News.

Long Haul Trekkers

Gunner Kennel Review: The Safest Dog Travel Crate

Categories Adventure Dog , Gear Review

Gunner Kennel Review: The Safest Dog Travel Crate

If I had known how much of a difference a Gunner Kennel would change the car riding experience with Sitka, I would have purchased one the day I got him.

Until I had Sitka, I had never really thought about the need to restrain my dog in the car. My other dogs lay quietly in the back, so I didn’t think twice.

Sitka, however, has severe car anxiety. When I picked him up from his foster, they had drugged him with Prednisone because it was so bad. The following day, we went for a trail run sans drugs. Throughout the entire short drive, he whined and paced constantly in the back seat and lunged and barked at passing cars.

I was certain we would get into an accident on the way to the trailhead.

I tried a seat belt and harness combination , but that didn’t work. He could still stand up and turn around and I’d have to pull over frequently to detangle him.

After some research, I realized that the best option would be a crate for the car .

I landed on a Gunner Kennel because my research quickly demonstrated that they are the safest dog travel crates on the market. Not only is Sitka’s car anxiety nearly non-existent while riding in his kennel, but I can drive assured that he will be safe in the event of an accident.

About Gunner Kennels

The founder of Gunner Kennels, Addison Edmonds wanted to create a heavy-duty kennel for his hunting companion, Gunner. He didn’t feel safe using clamshell plastic crates and was frustrated about having to replace lesser quality kennels each year.

So he set off on a mission to build the world’s best dog crate, because he believed that man’s best friend deserved man’s best kennel.

Gunner Kennels are made in the USA and work with over 20 small businesses throughout the country to create the kennels and accessories. In addition, they come with a lifetime warranty.

What Makes Gunner Kennels the Safest Travel Crate for Dogs?

Gunner didn’t cut any corners in the design of this heavy duty pet travel crate. These kennels go above and beyond, using the highest quality materials to create a travel crate that sets industry standards for safe travel crates for dogs.

In an accident with a car traveling 35 mph, a 60-lb dog can become a 2,700-lb projectile, according to Bark Buckle UP .

100,000 dogs are killed annually falling from pickup trucks and even more sustain injuries, according to Ford and the American Humane Association .

In a 2015 test conducted by the Center for Pet Safety , Gunner Kennels were the only crate to pass safety certifications. This means that Gunner Kennels are the safest crates available for dogs traveling in a vehicle.

5-Star Crash Test Rated

Gunner Kennels undergo rigorous in-house safety testing and received a 5-star crash test rating from the Center for Pet Safety .

A few in-house tests include:

  • Applying 4,000 pounds of force from a vice machine. The kennel broke the machine.
  • Dropping a 630-lb sled from over 8 feet onto the kennel
  • Tossing the kennel over a 200-foot cliff
  • Shooting at it with a 12-gauge shotgun

Gunner has the videos to prove their tests here .

Double-walled Construction

Gunner Kennels are made from a durable double-wall rotomolded polyethylene, the only such crates on the market, according to the Gunner website. The company designed them this way because it offers at least twice the impact protection than a single-wall crate.

The double-wall construction means that the exterior layer absorbs the majority of the initial impact, while the interior offers protection.

Safety Latches and Locks

Each kennel comes with the ability to lock the paddle latch on the door with a key, as well as with safety latches for extra security. These kennels are escape-artist proof.

Tie-Down Pins

For ultimate safety, Gunner Kennels are equipped with four tie-down stainless steel safety pins that allow you to anchor the kennel to your car to further prevent roll over.

Tie-down straps that meet Gunner’s crash test standards are sold separately, and made with an extra thick cam buckle.

You can read why Gunner believes their tie-down straps are the safest and why they recommend tying down the kennel to your car.

Can withstand Seasonal Elements

Gunner Kennels are designed to withstand inclement weather.

Yet another benefit of the thick walls is that it keeps the kennel cooler than single-wall models.

Gunner conducted a temperature test comparing several kennels left in the sun for hours on a hot day. The results showed that the Gunner displayed the lowest temperature, including a 40° difference between a Gunner lined with a Performance Pad and the kennel with the hottest temperature.

In addition, the non-slip rubber feet raise the crate off the ground. This reduces heat transmission from surfaces and prevents slipping. The ample window vents allow air to circulate well.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you can leave your dog unattended in the car on a hot day, but it does mean that they will be more comfortable.

Gunner also sells a fan kit that mounts to the crate to provide additional ventilation.

I have noticed that on really hot days, when I expect Sitka to be panting in his kennel, he’s totally fine when I open the trunk.

If you keep your dog’s kennel in the bed of a truck, an oversized drain plug creates an efficient drainage system to eliminate any water that entered the crate in rainy weather. You can also purchase a weather kit to keep your dog dry if you are traveling in inclement weather.

Customer Testimonials

Gunner has a page sharing story after story from dozens of customers who were in terrible car accidents where their dogs emerged completely fine.

I personally know of someone who was involved in a car accident with her two dogs. She was T-boned by a car running a red light at 50 mph. Her car flipped twice and she landed facing the opposite direction she was driving. A witness said that her car was completely airborne.

First responders had to use the Jaws of Life to pry the hatch open to get the dogs out. Her dogs emerged from their kennels with just a few scratches. Sammy was also ok, suffering a mild concussion and bruising.

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Will a Gunner Kennel Fit in My Car?

Gunner has a nifty fit finder app that takes into account your car, dog’s dimensions, and intended use. 

Additionally, Gunner has a customer gallery with photos of real setups. You can filter by make and model and dog size and breed to see if anyone in the gallery has a similar setup.

My Personal Gunner Kennel Set Up

Sitka weighs 42 lbs and I have a G1 Medium kennel for him. I drive a 2012 Subaru Forester and keep the kennel in the rear, with the rear seats folded down, however the kennel fits with the seats up, as well.

I strap the kennel to the car seat lock and the strap latch in the trunk of my car. Since I have it to one side and use the space in my trunk frequently, I loop the straps around the kennel. It’s not the perfect safety set up, but I think it’s better than nothing and it feels very secure to me.

Finding the Right Kennel Size for Your Dog

The fit of the Gunner Kennel will be more snug than what you’re used to with the crate you use at home . 

In fact, it may even seem too small, depending on the size of your dog. I thought I had made a mistake by ordering the G1 Medium for Sitka, but Gunner assured me it was the perfect size.

It took Sitka a couple weeks to adapt to the small, dark space, but now, he can’t wait to hop in.

The reason for the snug fit is because it offers more protection to the dog in the event of an accident. The less space they can tumble around, the better.

Gunner also found that dogs feel more secure when traveling in a tighter area, and I can confirm this. My whiny, car-anxious dog is totally quiet in his Gunner Kennel. Sometimes, he’s so quiet, I call his name to make sure he’s still alive back there.

Dimensions and Guidelines

While Gunner can’t guarantee a perfect fit based on dimensions, you can use their fit guidelines to make a best guess and schedule a call to discuss with a team member.

Gunner Kennels sell direct to consumer, which means that unless you know someone who has one, you won’t be able to try it on for size prior to ordering. Gunner does, however, offer consultation calls to help customers find the right fit

In general, here is what Gunner recommends based on size and weight of your dog:

  • G1 Small fits most dogs up to 30 lb
  • Interior dimensions – 21.75″ (L) x 14.5″ (W) x 15.5″ (H)
  • G1 Medium fits most dogs up to 45 lb.
  • Interior dimensions – 25″ (L) x 18″ (W) x 19.75″ (H)
  • G1 Intermediate fits most dogs up to 75 lb.
  • Interior dimensions – 30″ (L) x 18″ (W) x 25″ (H)
  • G1 Large fits most dogs up to 110 lb.
  • Interior dimensions – 33.25″(L) x 21″(W) x 29″(H)

Exceptional Customer Service

When I was figuring out what size kennel to get for Sitka, I had some trouble determining the best fit. Gunner offers 1:1 15-minute video consultations to help with sizing.

I scheduled an appointment online and spoke with someone a few days later. 

After the kennel arrived, I was worried it was too small, so I booked another call. Since it was a video consult, I could take my phone out to my car and have Sitka hop inside, in order to show the team member how he fit. He was able to assure me that the size was perfect.

Being able to have dedicated one-on-one time with a company representative was pretty amazing.

Is a Gunner Kennel Worth the Money?

Gunner Kennels are not exactly cheap. The smallest size starts at $499 and goes up to $799. Plus, there’s the additional cost of any accessories that you buy, and those ain’t cheap either.

They are certainly an investment, and I personally believe they are one worth making.

Here’s why: Peace of mind.

If you are in an accident, and your dog is saved because of the kennel, it is worth every penny and more for the life of your dog.

Moreover, keeping your dog in a kennel can prevent accidents from happening in the first place. I guarantee you that Sitka’s anxiety would eventually have caused an accident if I hadn’t tackled the problem.

The fact is, Gunner Kennels are one of, if not the safest dog crates for car travel on the market and they have proven time and time again that they keep dogs alive.

If you can’t afford the payment in one shot, Gunner does offer financing to make it easier on the wallet.

I had initially purchased a Dakota 283 because the Gunner Kennel was a bit out of my price range for me at the time. While I still think the Dakota 283 is an exceptional dog crate for the car (it’s a good choice if you can’t save up for the Gunner), the ease of finding information, frequent tests, customer testimonies, and accessibility to the Gunner team wins me over.

Can You Fly with a Gunner Kennel?

The short answer is yes, Gunner Kennels meet most airline requirements , and due to its durability, escape-proof door, and superior climate control, they would make an ideal kennel for flying. 

The longer answer is that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has strict standards for pets, requiring they can fully stand up, turn around, and lie down in the crate comfortably. 

While Sitka can do all of these things in his crate, I’m not certain this setup would meet IATA guidelines since the fit is so snug.

Where to Buy a Gunner Kennel

Gunner is a direct to consumer model, which means that is the only authorized retailer of GUNNER products. They chose to use this model in order to ensure the quality of the kennels sold.

If you live in Canada, you can purchase one from an Ontario company called K9Dynamics to significantly reduce the cost of shipping ($435 vs $93.80 CDN).

Parting Thoughts

Gunner has put A LOT of thought into the design and safety of these kennels. I truly believe that they will keep my dog alive, even in an extreme car accident.

I love that I can easily find all of the information I want and need on their website, ranging from safety tests, fit and size questions, and customer testimonials. It’s all there.

Gunner has put these kennels to the test with the strongest possible force they can find. That, plus the numerous stories from customers who have been in accidents proves that these kennels are practically indestructible. 

Gunner Kennel Review: The Safest Dog Travel Crate on the Market?

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PetSafe Happy Ride Collapsible Dog Travel Crate - Foldable, Portable Dog Crate for Cars - Pets Up to 60lbs - Secures to Seat, Pop-Up Metal Frame, Mesh Zipper Windows, Removable, Washable Fleece Liner

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PetSafe Happy Ride Collapsible Dog Travel Crate - Foldable, Portable Dog Crate for Cars - Pets Up to 60lbs - Secures to Seat, Pop-Up Metal Frame, Mesh Zipper Windows, Removable, Washable Fleece Liner

Purchase options and add-ons, about this item.

  • FOLDS DOWN FOR STORAGE: Durable, aluminum frame travel crate quickly folds down for convenient storage
  • SPACE-SAVING DESIGN: This portable dog crate fits on 1 seat so that you will have room for human passengers in the back seat
  • STAYS SECURELY IN PLACE: The headrest strap and vehicle seatbelt keep the crate from moving when your pet moves
  • COMFORTABLE CAR RIDE: Mesh gives your pet visibility and plenty of ventilation; a comfy pad with a fleece cover provides your pet with a soft place to snuggle into during the road trip
  • PORTABLE: Use this portable dog crate to bring your dog to the vacation rental or any car ride; a leather handle on the back lets you carry the crate when you get to your destination
  • EASY PET ACCESS: 2 doors on each side of the travel crate allow you to help your pet into the travel crate from the driver or passenger side of the vehicle
  • WATERPROOF AND MACHINE WASHABLE: The fleece cover and outer shell of the crate are both waterproof and machine washable for easy cleanup
  • FITS MOST VEHICLES: This travel crate will fit most vehicles but might not fit some compact vehicles; measures 27 in L x 19 in W x 28 in H when open

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Road Trip Ready - 2022 Pet Innovation Crate Product of The Year

Ride in Style!

Give your dog their own space in the car. This dog travel crate is spacious and only takes up one seat, leaving room for passengers. It installs using your car's seatbelts to help reduce driver distraction without having to worry about the crate moving. When you're all done with your travels, the travel crate folds down using a collapsible metal frame and can be easily washed. Trust PetSafe to keep your pet healthy, safe and happy.

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Product description.

The Happy Ride Collapsible Travel Crate will give your dog a comfy place to ride where he'll be safely contained, not restrained. This travel crate is spacious without taking up the entire back seat. It fills up only one seat, so you'll still have room for passengers. This roomy crate has a large mesh front and sides that let your dog see everyone inside the car and help keep him from getting too hot or cold. It also gives your dog visibility to look out the car window and lets you easily peek into the back seat to check on him. Inside the dog travel crate is a pad with a removable waterproof fleece cover that’s also machine washable. The outer shell of the collapsible crate can also be removed and tossed in the washing machine after extra messy adventures. You won't have to worry about the travel crate moving when your pet does. Loop the headrest strap over the front seat's headrest and pass the seatbelt through slits on the back of the crate to keep it in place. A layer of fabric hides the seatbelt from your pet, so they won't be tempted to use the seatbelt as a chew toy on a long drive. This car crate has 2 doors that fully unzip to help you easily get your pet in and out of the car, whether the crate is behind the driver's seat or the passenger's seat. The crate also has 2 storage pockets with a hook and loop closure to keep your dog’s leash, poop bags and treats packed and tidy while on the road. There are 2 drawstring openings, one on each side of the travel crate, so you can reach in to give your dog an extra pet or treat without unzipping the door. When you arrive at your vacation rental, or if you need to make some more space in your car, this portable dog crate easily folds down for convenient storage until you and your dog hit the road again. Your pet deserves the best. Trust PetSafe to keep your pet healthy, safe and happy.

Product details

  • Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 26.97 x 18.98 x 27.99 inches; 12.54 Pounds
  • Item model number ‏ : ‎ ZTV00-17289
  • Date First Available ‏ : ‎ March 5, 2022
  • Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Radio Systems Corporation
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09T1P2B7J
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ China
  • #169 in Basic Dog Crates

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Best Dog Kennels for Large Breeds in 2023


October 29, 2023

Dog kennels are an essential item for any dog owner. They provide a safe and secure place for your furry friend to relax and sleep, especially when you’re not at home. But with so many options available, it can be challenging to choose the right one. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best dog kennels on the market.

When it comes to dog kennels, there are a few critical factors to consider. Firstly, the size of the kennel is essential. You need to ensure that your dog has enough space to move around comfortably. Secondly, the material of the kennel is crucial. You want something that is durable and can withstand the elements. Lastly, the ease of assembly is also something to consider.

After researching and testing various dog kennels, we’ve narrowed down the top ten options for you. We’ll be discussing the features of each kennel, including the size, material, and ease of assembly. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of which dog kennel is the best fit for you and your furry friend.

Best Dog Kennels

As dog owners, we know how important it is to provide our furry friends with a safe and comfortable space to rest and relax. That’s why we’ve researched and tested the best dog kennels on the market to help you find the perfect one for your pup. From sturdy wire crates to cozy plastic options, we’ve got you covered. Check out our top picks below.

SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Plastic Wire Door Travel Dog Crate – Medium, Gray

SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Plastic Wire Door Travel Dog Crate - Medium, Gray

If you’re looking for a durable and easy-to-assemble kennel for your furry friend, the SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel is a great option.

  • The kennel is made of thick, impact-resistant poly shell that can withstand rough handling and keep your pet safe and secure.
  • The metal slats used for ventilation prevent dogs from chewing their way out of the kennel, ensuring your pet stays safe.
  • The kennel comes with everything you need, including two dishes, four live animal stickers, and metal bolts and nuts, to make airline travel with your dog as easy as possible.
  • The kennel is only suitable for dogs with measurements under 24″ L x 16″ H, so it may not be the best option for larger breeds.
  • Some pet parents may find the kennel a bit heavy, especially when traveling by air.
  • The kennel may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option out there, but it is functional and practical.

We recently purchased this kennel for our dog and were impressed by its sturdiness and durability. It was easy to assemble and the locking snaps and metal hardware provided peace of mind that our dog would be safe during travel. The metal slats also prevented our dog from chewing his way out of the kennel, which was a huge relief. The kennel was a bit heavy to carry around, but the wheels made it easy to maneuver. Overall, we highly recommend the SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel for pet parents who are looking for a reliable and secure kennel for their furry friend.

SFTORMAS Heavy Duty Dog Crate

SFTORMAS Heavy Duty Dog Crate

We highly recommend the SFTORMAS Heavy Duty Dog Crate for those looking for a durable and secure kennel for their furry friend.

  • The upgraded heavy-duty design can withstand aggressive chewers and heavy-duty use, making it ideal for large and strong dogs.
  • The spacious interior provides plenty of room for your furry friend to get around with ease.
  • The upgraded door lock system ensures that your dog stays safely inside, even when you are not around.
  • The assembly instructions are not very clear and can be difficult to follow.
  • The cage may arrive with some scratches or dents due to shipping.
  • The cage is quite heavy and may be difficult to move around.

Our experience with the SFTORMAS Heavy Duty Dog Crate has been very positive. The upgraded heavy-duty design is truly impressive and can withstand even the most aggressive chewers. The spacious interior is perfect for large dogs and allows them to move around with ease. The upgraded door lock system is also very secure and ensures that your dog stays safely inside the crate.

However, the assembly instructions can be a bit confusing and may take some time to figure out. Additionally, the cage may arrive with some scratches or dents due to shipping, but this does not affect its functionality. Lastly, the cage is quite heavy and may be difficult to move around, especially for those with back problems.

Overall, we highly recommend the SFTORMAS Heavy Duty Dog Crate for those in need of a durable and secure kennel for their furry friend.

FDW Dog Crate Dog Cage Pet Crate for Large Dogs Folding Metal Pet Cage Double Door W/Divider Panel Indoor Outdoor Dog Kennel Leak-Proof Plastic Tray Wire Animal Cage (Black, 48 Inch) Black 48 Inch

FDW Dog Crate

If you’re looking for a durable and easy-to-assemble dog crate, the FDW Dog Crate is a great option.

  • The crate is made of high-tensile strength wire gauge and features a durable black electro-coat finish that resists rust, corrosion, and fading.
  • The crate has two large doors, one on the front and one on the side, that are easy to open and close. The heavy-duty dual latches provide a safe and secure environment for your pet.
  • The crate includes a durable leak-proof ABS composite tray that is easy to clean and will not stain, warp, corrode, or retain pet odors.
  • The crate may not be suitable for dogs that are prone to chewing or scratching.
  • The crate is not collapsible, so it may be difficult to store if you have limited space.
  • The crate may be too large for smaller living spaces.

We recently purchased the FDW Dog Crate for our large dog, and we have been very pleased with its durability and ease of use. The wire gauge and electro-coat finish make the crate resistant to rust, corrosion, and fading, even in extreme climates. The two large doors and heavy-duty dual latches provide a safe and secure environment for our pet, and the leak-proof ABS composite tray is easy to clean and maintain.

One thing to keep in mind is that the crate may not be suitable for dogs that are prone to chewing or scratching. Additionally, the crate is not collapsible, so it may be difficult to store if you have limited space. Finally, the crate may be too large for smaller living spaces, so be sure to measure your space before purchasing.

Overall, we highly recommend the FDW Dog Crate for its durability, ease of use, and overall value.

BestPet Dog Crate

BestPet Dog Crate

If you’re looking for a spacious and secure dog crate, the BestPet Dog Crate is a great option to consider.

  • The rounded corners and heavy-duty slide-bolt latches make it a secure home for your furry friend.
  • It’s easy to set up and fold flat for convenient storage.
  • The leak-proof tray makes it easy to clean.
  • The wire gauge is smaller than some other brands, making it less sturdy.
  • The single door can get stuck when locking or unlocking.
  • The plastic tray may crack or warp over time.

We recently purchased the BestPet Dog Crate for our large dog and have been pleased with its performance. The rounded corners provide added safety for our pet and the two large doors make it easy to access from multiple angles. The setup was a breeze and we were able to fold it up quickly for storage when not in use. The leak-proof tray has been a lifesaver for easy cleaning and maintenance.

While the wire gauge may be smaller than some other brands, we haven’t had any issues with it being too flimsy for our dog. However, the single door can get stuck when locking or unlocking, which can be frustrating at times. Additionally, the plastic tray may crack or warp over time with frequent use.

Overall, we would recommend the BestPet Dog Crate for its spacious design, ease of use, and secure features.

Lucky Kennel Intermediate

Lucky Kennel Intermediate

We highly recommend the Lucky Kennel Intermediate for pet owners who prioritize safety and durability when it comes to their furry friends.

  • The kennel is 5 Star Crash Test Rated from the Center For Pet Safety, ensuring that your pet stays safe in the event of an accident.
  • The patented one-piece rotomolded kennel is engineered for extreme strength and can withstand up to 4,000 lb. of force. It also withstood 630 lb. dropped from over 8 feet, making it a reliable and sturdy option.
  • The kennel is lightweight at only 38 lb., making it easy to transport and move around as needed.
  • The location for customizable nameplate is sold separately, which can be an additional expense for pet owners who want to personalize their kennel.
  • Some users may find the injection molded reversible door to be a bit flimsy compared to other kennels in the market.
  • The kennel is slightly smaller than other intermediate-sized kennels, so it may not be suitable for larger breeds.

We were impressed with the Lucky Kennel Intermediate’s durability and strength. The corner locking pins and locking paddle latch also provided added safety and security for our pet. The easy clean drain holes also made it hassle-free to clean up any messes. However, we did notice that the door was a bit flimsy compared to other kennels we’ve used before. Overall, we would recommend the Lucky Kennel Intermediate for pet owners who prioritize safety and durability for their furry friends.

TRIXIE Dog Kennel Sunshade

TRIXIE Dog Kennel Sunshade

If you’re looking for a way to keep your dog cool and dry on hot or wet days, the TRIXIE Dog Kennel Sunshade is a great option.

  • Easy to attach to TRIXIE’s Outdoor Dog Kennel Model 39211
  • Provides full protection from sun, rain, and wind
  • Made of tough reversible polyester that resists wear and tear
  • Only fits TRIXIE’s Outdoor Dog Kennel Model 39211
  • May not be sturdy enough for aggressive chewers
  • Some users reported missing parts and bent panels

We recently purchased the TRIXIE Dog Kennel Sunshade for our dog, and we were impressed with how easy it was to attach to our TRIXIE Outdoor Dog Kennel. The elastic straps made it simple to secure the sunshade to the kennel, and it provided full protection from the sun, rain, and wind. We were also pleased with the quality of the material – the reversible polyester seems durable and able to resist wear and tear.

However, we did notice that the sunshade only fits TRIXIE’s Outdoor Dog Kennel Model 39211, so it may not be suitable for other kennel models. Additionally, some users reported that the sunshade wasn’t sturdy enough for aggressive chewers, so it may not be the best option for dogs who like to chew on things. We also saw a few complaints about missing parts and bent panels, so be sure to inspect the sunshade carefully when it arrives.

Overall, we think the TRIXIE Dog Kennel Sunshade is a great product for anyone who wants to provide their dog with extra protection from the elements. It’s easy to attach, provides full coverage, and seems durable enough to last for a while. Just be sure to check that it fits your kennel model and inspect it carefully for any defects.

Petmate Vari Dog Kennel

Petmate Vari Dog Kennel

We highly recommend the Petmate Vari Dog Kennel for pet owners who want to ensure their furry friends travel safely and comfortably.

  • The sturdy plastic shell and easy-open latch of this medium dog crate provide secure protection for your pet during transport.
  • The kennel is easy to assemble with no tools required, and it is lightweight and portable with a fold-down handle for easy transportation.
  • With ventilation on four sides, pets can breathe comfortably during air travel. The kennel is also airline-friendly, meeting most airline cargo specifications.
  • The kennel is suitable for pets 30-50 lbs, so it may not be the best option for larger dogs.
  • If in doubt about the size, it is recommended to buy a size up, which may be inconvenient for some pet owners.
  • The plastic shell can be easily wiped down for cleaning, but it may not be as durable as metal or wire crates.

The Petmate Vari Dog Kennel is a versatile and eco-friendly option for pet owners who want to provide their pets with a safe and comfortable space during transport. The stay-dry moat that surrounds the interior of the kennel pulls fluids away from pets in case of wet accidents, making it a great puppy carrier or kennel trainer for housebreaking.

Petmate is committed to providing high-quality and eco-friendly pet products that pet parents can trust. The Vari Dog Kennel is made from certified 90% to 100% pre-consumer recycled material, has a metal nut and bolt assembly, and is made in the USA with imported handle and other components.

Overall, the Petmate Vari Dog Kennel is an excellent choice for pet owners who want a reliable and convenient crate for their pets during travel.

Pet Spaces Adjustable Kennel Cover, Extra Large X-Large

Pet Spaces Adjustable Kennel Cover, Extra Large X-Large

We highly recommend the Pet Spaces Adjustable Kennel Cover for those looking to protect their furry friend from the elements in a comfortable and flexible way.

  • The cover is machine washable, making it easy to clean and maintain.
  • The cover is water-resistant, ensuring your pet stays dry in rainy weather.
  • The drawstrings allow for flexible sizing, making it easy to adjust to fit your kennel.
  • The velcro straps to hold the front window up may not be strong enough to hold it in place during heavy winds.
  • The cover is not insulated, so it may not be suitable for extremely cold weather.
  • The zipper may not be very durable and may break after extended use.

We recently used this kennel cover during a camping trip and were impressed with its functionality. The cover was easy to put on and fit our kennel perfectly. Our dog was able to stay dry during a sudden rainstorm, and the cover held up well in light winds. The drawstrings made it easy to adjust the size of the cover, and the machine-washable feature made it easy to clean after the trip.

However, we did notice that the velcro straps to hold the front window up were not very strong and may not hold up during heavy winds. Additionally, the cover is not insulated, so it may not be suitable for extremely cold weather. Lastly, the zipper may not be very durable and may break after extended use.

Overall, we highly recommend the Pet Spaces Adjustable Kennel Cover for its flexibility, water-resistance, and ease of maintenance.

Buying Guide

When choosing a dog kennel, there are several important factors to consider. We’ve compiled a list of features to look for to help you choose the best product for your furry friend.

The size of the kennel is crucial to ensure your dog has enough space to move around comfortably. It’s important to choose a kennel that is appropriate for your dog’s size and breed. A kennel that is too small can cause your dog to feel cramped and uncomfortable, while a kennel that is too large can make your dog feel insecure and anxious.

The material of the kennel is also an important factor to consider. The most common materials used for dog kennels are plastic, metal, and wood. Plastic kennels are lightweight and easy to clean, while metal kennels are durable and sturdy. Wooden kennels are aesthetically pleasing but may require more maintenance.


Proper ventilation is important to ensure your dog is comfortable and safe inside the kennel. Look for kennels with adequate ventilation to ensure your dog has access to fresh air and proper airflow.

The security of the kennel is crucial to ensure your dog is safe and secure. Look for kennels with secure latches and locks to prevent your dog from escaping or intruders from entering.


If you plan on traveling with your dog, a portable kennel may be a good option. Look for kennels that are lightweight and easy to assemble and disassemble for travel.

Keeping your dog’s kennel clean is important for their health and well-being. Look for kennels that are easy to clean and maintain, with removable trays or floors for easy cleaning.

By considering these factors, you can choose the best dog kennel for your furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best dog crate for high anxiety dogs.

If your dog has high anxiety, we recommend a crate that is sturdy and secure, with a calming effect. The Petmate Sky Kennel is a great option as it is made of heavy-duty plastic and has a calming effect on dogs. The crate also has a secure door and a ventilation system.

What dog crate has a 5 star crash rating?

The Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate crate has a 5-star crash rating from the Center for Pet Safety. It is made of heavy-duty materials and has a secure locking system to keep your dog safe during transportation.

What is the safest dog crate?

The safest dog crate is one that is made of high-quality materials and has been crash-tested for safety. The Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate crate is a great option as it has a 5-star crash rating from the Center for Pet Safety.

What are the top-rated dog kennels according to consumer reports?

According to consumer reports, the top-rated dog kennels are the Petmate Sky Kennel, the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate crate, and the Midwest Life Stages Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate. These crates are durable, secure, and provide a comfortable space for your dog.

What are the features of the best collapsible dog crate?

The best collapsible dog crate should be easy to set up and take down, lightweight, and durable. The MidWest Homes for Pets Life Stages Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate is a great option as it has a double door design, is easy to set up and take down, and is made of durable materials.

Do dogs prefer crates or kennels?

Dogs prefer a space that is comfortable and secure, whether it is a crate or a kennel. It is important to choose a crate or kennel that is the right size for your dog and provides a comfortable space for them to relax and rest.

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Best 5 Safest Dog Crates For Car Travel (Crash Tested) 2022


Best 5 Large Wire Dog Crates All Pet Size Breeds Fit Into

Is your wish to take your dog with you when you’re traveling but you want to get him the safest dog crate for car?

We know how much fun it can be so we’ve collected and reviewed the safest and best ones because we know how important it is to make your dog safe when he’s inside the car. We also know that not every crate is for everyone so we’ve placed them into categories like large, small, and more for you to surely find what you need and want.

The Summary

Diggs Revol Travel Dog Crate Summary

Best 5 Safest Dog Crates For Car

Best of best safest dog crate for car, diggs revol travel dog crate.

How Much It Weighs You would think that this crate would be lighter since it’s made out of reinforced plastic and aluminum wire for the sides but it is not. It weighs 31 lbs which is far more than any other plastic dog crate. Keep in mind the crate’s weight when you’re traveling because you might have to carry it from time to time.

Diggs Revol Travel Dog Crate

Transports With Ease The crate does come with wheels on the bottom and a carry handle on top. It also has a collapsible construction so transporting it to your car or elsewhere might be much easier with these features

Safety Inside The Crate The crate is incredibly safe for your dog or puppy since, during its making, baby industry standards were kept in mind. this means that your dog won’t get hurt while he’s inside. Another thing it comes with that makes it excellent for puppies is the puppy crate divider .

Diggs Revol Travel Dog Crate Review

Price Point This safest dog crate for car is a bit pricey but it stands by its price point because of how safe it is and how well it’s built. The crate will easily house medium-sized dogs when they’re all grown up so keep this in mind before you accidentally buy a crate too small for your puppy that will grow up eventually.

  • Made with aluminum wire and reinforced plastic
  • Has a puppy divider
  • Has built-in wheels and a carry handle
  • Can house medium-sized dogs
  • Incredibly safe inside

Buy On Amazon


A4pet soft collapsible dog crate.

Important Soft Crate Facts The important thing to know about soft dog crates like this one is that it’s not exactly a sturdy dog crate . They can last you a long time but keep in mind that it will not work well with dogs that are like to chew on things so it’s best to get it if your dog is a calm one.

A4Pet Soft Collapsible Dog Crate

Leak Proof Crate, Clean Car The crates’ bottom will perform just perfectly inside a car because it is water and leak proof. You can easily clean the bottom and it will prevent any litter from going onto your car floors which could be troublesome otherwise because cleaning your car can be expensive.

How It Looks The frame of this safest crate for car uses foldable steel for it and the crate cover is made out of oxford fabric. There are mesh fabric ventilation windows on each side except for the back where there is a pocket for storing dog accessories if you need it.

A4Pet Soft Collapsible Dog Crate Review

Crate And Dog Size Info As we’ve already mentioned, your dog should be crate trained for this crate to serve you well and they can weigh up to 70 lbs to fit inside comfortably. For safety measures, you should measure your dog and compare them to the crate’s dimensions as well.

  • Has a foldable steel frame
  • The bottom of the crate i leak and water proof
  • Can fit inside 70 lbs dogs
  • Made for calm and crate trained dogs
  • uses mesh fabric for the ventilation windows


Sportpet designs plastic kennel.

Approved By IATA You can use it for more than just your car travel because this safest crate for car travel is also an IATA approved dog crate. What this means is that it complies with guidelines provided by most airlines but you should always check with your specific airline to see if the crate has everything needed.

SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel

Necessities For Air Travel The crate wouldn’t be IATA approved if it didn’t have some accessories needed for it to be and they are: 2 detachable water bowls, 4 ”live animal” stickers, holes for it to be tied down with bungees and it comes with nuts and bolts needed to double secure that the crate won’t open.

Strudiness And Safety The crate is made out of sturdy plastic so it is the safest dog crate for car travels as well. It has only one entry point that locks with a lock that you have to pinch to unlock so there’s no fear of the lock sliding out and accidentally unlocking itself during travel.

SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel Review

Large Dog Crate This is a crate made for crate trained dogs so make sure you’ve done the training before considering taking your dog for travels. Your dog shouldn’t be longer that 32-in and taller than 24-in. If your dog’s to heavy for you to carry the crate, you can easily attach wheels on the bottom to move it like that.

  • Made out of sturdy plastic
  • Has accessories needed for air travel
  • IATA approved crate
  • Can fit inside large dog breeds
  • Comes with wheels that you can attach to it


Midwest side-by-side suv crate.

Vehicles That It’s Made For This crate is not limited to cars only, it can be used for traveling with a van and it’s even an SUV dog crate . The crate is built out of steel wire that is coated with a black e-coat. The e-coating makes this safest dog crate for car travel rust-resistant.

Midwest Side-by-Side SUV Crate

Front And Back Entrances The crate has a front door and a back door which makes traveling easier. The doors lock safely with sliding bolt locks. The locks are really important because you don’t want a distraction while driving so knowing that your car will stay inside his crate at all times is useful.

Narrower Than Most The crate features a bit narrower design that other crates of this type. the reason for it is so that the crate doesn’t take up as much cargo space or so that the crate can be placed in the back seat of your car with ease.

Midwest Side-by-Side SUV Crate Review

The Right Dog Size There’s a leak-proof plastic tray on the bottom so that any accidents that might happen stay inside the crate and not on your car seat or floor. It can house dogs up to 90 lbs. this means it is best suited for large dog breeds like german shepherds and other dogs of similar size.

  • Uses steel wire as a building material
  • Coated with a black e-coat that makes it rust proof
  • Features a narrow design
  • Can house dogs up to 90 lbs
  • Has a leak-proof plastic pan on the bottom
  • There’s a front and back door for access


Mim safe variocage travel crate.

Crash Tested Crate This is arguably one of the best crash-tested dog crates that passed tests from different crash scenarios like roll-over, front, and rear crash scenarios. it’s made out of durable metal but it is still light to carry around because of its weight of 37.5 lbs. It can easily be the safest dog crate . The only con is that it’s extremely expensive.

MIM Safe VarioCage Crash Tested Kennel

Car Crumple Zone Mimicking This safest dog crate for cars mimics the car’s crumple zones that are usually there to save you to save your dog as well. It has a front access door that has hydraulic gas motion springs and a back escape door

Adjustable Size The crate even has an adjustable size because the steel rods on the side can be extended to give the crate more length but that’s not the only thing that it’s for. It will lessen the impact on the crate in a car crash because the rods will act as shock absorbers.

MIM Safe VarioCage Crash Tested Kennel Review

Choosing The Right Size There are two things to take into consideration when choosing the size of this crate. Your dogs height and length and the car’s dimensions. You can use the chart that the manufacturer provides to see how to measure your dog and car although the car dimensions will be less of a problem since the crate has an adjustable size.

  • Made out of sturdy metal
  • Passed the roll-over, rear, and front crash scenarios
  • Has an adjustable size
  • Has a front access door and an escape back door
  • Adjustable in size

How To Pick The Safest Dog Crate For Car

There’s more to the safest dog crate for a car than just its durability. You have to think about the inside safety, how the doors lock, the crates’ build materials and even their size so make sure you read these tips so you’d what really makes a crate for car travel a safe one.

Inside Safety – What inside safety stands for is how the crate will protect your dog while he’s inside. You should look for rounded corners and edges that don’t have exposed sharp materials. These will protect your dogs’ paws and other parts of his body

Outside Safety – You should think about why the crate locks and how difficult it will be for your dog to unlock it or if the locks on the crate can slide open due to vibrations when traveling by car. this is important because you don’t want your dog to exit his crate while your driving because this can easily distract you and your dog can become rowdy and keep you from focusing on the road.

Crate Training Your Dog – Even if you found the toughest dog crate that won’t allow your dog to escape the crate, it is of utmost importance that you properly crate train your dog before traveling. The reason is simple, a troubled and anxiety-ridden dog will distract you and make it unsafe for you to travel.

Choosing The Appropriate Size – Different types of safest dog crate for car will require you to choose a different crate size. For example, an XL plastic dog crate won’t be able to house an extra-large dog so the safest way to determine your crates’ size is to measure your dogs height and length, add 3-4 inches to both, and see if it matches the crates’ dimensions.


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Find A Pet Shipper

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Do you ship animals! See details about joining IPATA and becoming a globally recognized company who promotes humane animal transport.

Need to ship a pet? You’re in the right place! Search from a list of trusted IPATA member pet shipping experts from all over the world.

View IPATA members (Including airlines) who provide goods and services to the pet transportation industry.

Shipping a Dog, Cat or Other Pet?

There is no single checklist because every pet is different and unique. But IPATA can help. Here are some FAQs to get you started.

Do I have to join IPATA to ship my pet?

How do I select a kennel, or crate, to ship my pet by air?

Can pets travel by bus, train or on ocean vessels?

Why does an airline refuse to fly pets when it is too hot or cold?

How do I find quarantine requirements for a specific country?

Are cargo holds safe for pets?

Is tranquilization okay for my pets?

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Why choose a pet shipper who is a member of IPATA?

IPATA The Pet Shipping Experts International Pet and Animal Transportation Association

Have You Been Scammed

Were you told ipata was shipping a pet to you.

Do you have a receipt from “IPATA” covering payment for a puppy or for shipping?

If so, this is a SCAM!

IPATA is an association of professional pet shippers. IPATA does NOT ship pets ; our members ship pets but under their own company name .

There is no legitimate pet shipping company with “IPATA” or “ipata” in their name.

If you see a company using the IPATA name, please report it to [email protected] For more information on pet scams go to

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Pet shipping news last update: 9/12/2023.

Last update: 9/12/23

IPATA Launches New Brachycephalic (BOAS) Online Portal and Certification Program for Pet Shippers, Airlines and Veterinarians IPATA 9/12/2023

  • The Essentials of Travelling Abroad with Your Dog StuffCoNz 8/2023

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  • An Expert Breaks Down How to Safely Travel With a Pet Post-Pandemic Modern Wellness Guide 2022
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  • COVID Travel Restrictions in Canada Update: New Vaccination Requirements for Travel within and from Canada Jet Charter Canada 10/7/2021
  • Moving With Pets? We Have the Experts’ Advice to Do It Properly Porch 4/19/2021
  • Scam Alert: How to Get a Pet and Not Get Taken  Nerd Wallet  4/15/2021
  • Tips to Make Moving Safer and Less Stressful For Your Pets  Healthy Pet Spring 2021 (Download)
  • An Expert Breaks Down How to Safely Travel With a Pet Post-Pandemic , Modern Wellness Guide  6/2021
  • 7 Essential Tips for Traveling with a Puppy , BeChewy  6/15/2021
  • How to Buy a Pet Without Getting Scammed , Market Watch 4/30/2021  
  • How Much Does it Cost to Fly with Your Dog on a Plane, Daily Paws 03/02/2021


Pet Express - The Pet Travel People

Our team cares for your pet as much as you do.

From our Pet Transport Services team, who specialize in making all the travel arrangements for your pet, to our Pet Handlers, who care for your pet during the travel process – we all love your furry family member !

Get a pet travel quote  

Why choose the international pet shipping & pet transport experts, caring team.

Caring for your pets is our job, and we put the welfare of your animals above all else, always. Pet safety is always our top priority. But we also care for you. We’re here to answer your questions, support your decisions and make sure you feel comfortable and confident in our pet shipping service at all times.

Family-Owned & Operated

We’re a family – owned and operated company, and we take that family approach into our care for you and your pet’s journey. When you work with us, you and your furry friends are family.

Highly Knowledgeable

Whether it’s juggling veterinary protocols, understanding the quarantine requirements of countries worldwide, or ensuring your pet has access to food and water while they travel, we have the information you need. We make the entire pet shipping experience hassle-free and are dedicated to transporting your family safely right to your front door. 


We find solutions, not problems. Our pet shipping services are comprehensive and suitable for any big trip. We’ve transported pregnant pets, handled breed restrictions, dealt with cancelled flights and managed it all through a global pandemic. We have a ‘make it happen’ attitude because we know how important your pets are to you.

Industry Experts

International pet transportation is constantly changing, even more so now. We keep abreast of all the most recent regulations, airline protocols and individual country requirements to ensure your pet arrives at its destination happy and well.

Caring Partners

We wouldn’t leave your pet transport needs with anyone who wasn’t as caring and supportive as we are ourselves. We’ve chosen to work with only the best industry partners, such as Canine Companions for Independence.

We are the pet transport people.

Since 1978, our pet transportation business has been trusted by families to safely relocate their pets all over the world.  We are a family-owned and operated business that believes that the pets who move with us are very special, and so are our values: we love pets, we are the experts in pet transport, we are genuine when it comes to our knowledge and care, and we strive to exceed expectations.

How pet transport services work

Pet Express can take care of the entire process and provide a pet shipping service that is stress free – for both owners and pets!

Book a Travel Crate

We can provide the correct size crate to keep your pet safe & happy.

Get Pet Itinerary

A broken down itinerary of your pet’s travel and shipping information.

Pet Fit to Fly

Your pet is given the all clear by one of our partner vets to take off.

Time to Fly

We take care of pickup, accommodation and transport to your destination.

Wherever Your Pet Needs to Go, We’ll Get Them There

Moving your beloved pets can be emotional and confusing, especially when every country has their own set of rules and regulations. We transport pets cross country or anywhere in the world. And whether they’re going to Sydney, Australia, Florida, USA, or London, UK, we always ensure the process is smooth and seamless for both you and your multiple pets, no matter where you need them to go.


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Is it safe for pets to fly?

Air travel is as safe for pets as it is for people. Airlines have staff that are trained in pet shipping and who will care for your beloved pet on their journey. And, of course, we take care of everything to ensure your pet has a happy and safe journey.

Where does my pet travel on the plane?

Where can i get a strong, comfortable travel crate, how much will it cost to relocate my pet, will my pet have to stay in quarantine, what we’re talking about on the blog.

Our entire team are pet owners as well as pet relocation specialists. So, when we say that we live and breathe pet relocation, we really mean it.

On the blog, we write about location relocation requirements, how to keep your pet healthy and happy during their pet transport service and everything in between. Check it out.

Read Our Most Popular Blogs

safest dog travel crate

The Specialists in Cat and Dog Transport Services

Experience makes all the difference when taking part in dog or cat shipping. International destinations (and Hawaii) have rules and restrictions that must be adhered to. Using our experienced pet transport service knowledge of dog and cat breeds and sizes, airline restrictions and direct routing (even through COVID changes), we make sure your pet arrives happy and well at their new home. We’ll even transport them right to your front door.

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Main content

Transporting animals in the aircraft.

You can take your dog or cat with you on Lufthansa flights. Please read the following information carefully before booking a flight with your pet.

Illustration zeigt eine Katze und einen Hund vor der Transportbox // Illustration shows a cat and a dog in front of the pet transport box

A good trip for your precious pet

Depending upon the kind of animal, its weight and size, and the regulations applicable in different countries, transport is possible at an extra cost either as additional carry-on baggage in the passenger cabin or as excess baggage in the aircraft’s air-conditioned cargo hold. Lufthansa Cargo also offers the transport of the above-listed animals and other species as air freight. Special rules apply to assistance dogs. Please note that because of local circumstances and restrictions, the transport of large animals in the cargo hold to certain destinations is not possible.

What travel options apply to which animals?

The transport options for animals with Lufthansa depend upon the kind of animal, as well as its weight and size. Further information is available on this page and the following pages.

Register small dogs and cats as carry-on baggage in the cabin

Only smaller dogs and cats weighing no more than 8 kg including their carrying container may be transported under certain conditions as additional carry-on baggage in the passenger cabin. Larger dogs and cats and all other animal species, regardless of their weight and size, are not allowed in the cabin. You must register no later than 72 hours before departure. Otherwise, please contact the Service Centre up to 24 hours before departure.

To enable you to take your pet with you into the cabin as carry-on baggage, we need your confirmation that the animal meets the stated requirements. Please present two copies of the completed and signed form at the check-in counter to confirm this.

Register larger dogs and cats as excess baggage in the cargo hold

Dogs and cats weighing more than 8 kg including their carrying container may be transported under certain conditions as excess baggage in the aircraft’s air-conditioned cargo hold. You must register no later than 72 hours before departure. Otherwise, please contact the Service Centre up to 24 hours before departure.

For the carriage of all other animals, please contact ​ Lufthansa Cargo.

Assistance dogs

You can take your assistance dog with you on board Lufthansa flights free of charge. Please find out about the general requirements for taking an assistance dog into the aircraft cabin with you.

Fighting dogs

Special regulations apply if you wish to take any breed of fighting dog with you when you fly.

Snub-nosed animals

Dogs and cats belonging to snub-nosed breeds have anatomically restricted airways with the accompanying difficulty in breathing. For this reason, there are special instructions and rules for transporting these animals.

Other animals/Animals as air freight

If you are unable to travel together with your pet, country regulations stipulate that animals must be transported by air freight. If you would like to transport an animal not listed on, you can have your animal transported as cargo. Different prices apply to shipping animals as air freight (for example, with Lufthansa Cargo). You require a carrier which specialises in the carriage of animals for this. You can find the contact details of one near you with the help of the ​ animal freight forwarder search . If you have any questions about this, the ​ Lufthansa Cargo Service Center will be happy to help you further. It is contactable in Germany on tel. 0180 6 – 747 100 (calls cost EUR 0.20 per min. from the German landline network; max. EUR 0.60 per min. from mobile phone networks).

General advice on transporting animals on Lufthansa flights

Compliance with animal welfare provisions and import and export regulations for animals.

Please make sure that you find out about the import and export regulations applicable to your pet in your departure, transit and destination countries in plenty of time and before booking your flight. Such information is available from the relevant consulates, for example. Lufthansa also reserves the right to apply even stricter regulations where necessary and refuse bookings on certain routes (such as to the UK, Ireland, or Bangalore in India, for example) to exclude the animal from travel. Please also ask your vet about applicable animal welfare provisions for travelling with your pet. Obtain all the travel documentation required for your pet so that nothing stands in the way of your trip. Lufthansa also reserves the right to refuse to transport animals in the cargo hold if there are extreme weather conditions at the destination. This can happen at short notice or seasonally. Please note: each passenger is allowed to take a maximum of two animals with them (in an approved carrying container). Animals can be transported either in the cabin and/or in the cargo hold:

  • No more than two animals (dog or cat) in the cabin (in an approved carrying container) or no more than two animals in the cargo hold (in one or two approved carrying containers)
  • One animal (dog or cat) in the cabin (in an approved carrying container) and one animal in the cargo hold (in an approved carrying container)

Please also note the minimum age of the animals to be transported. For dogs and cats the minimum age is:

  • and 15 weeks for carriage from/to/via Germany.

In the event of Lufthansa having to refuse the carriage of your pet because of non-compliance with the regulations, Lufthansa is not liable for any resulting costs (e.g. rebooking charges, animal boarding costs, hotel accommodation).

Importing dogs to the USA

Due to the risk of rabies, there are currently restrictions on importing dogs into the United States. You can find more detailed information about these CDC restrictions and the possibility of obtaining an exemption on the website of the United States Center for Disease Control.

If you have an existing booking confirming transportation of a dog, please contact the relevant Service Center.

For new bookings, please observe the new transport restrictions. You can find further information about these restrictions and the possibility of gaining an exemption on the homepage of the United States Center for Disease Control.

The restrictions apply to all dogs transported to the USA by aircraft, including assistance dogs. 

You can find further information about the transport restrictions here:

Restrictions on flights with several airlines

All the regulations mentioned here apply exclusively to flights operated by Lufthansa. On code-share flights, please therefore make sure that you check the regulations of the airline operating the flight concerned. If you are travelling with several airlines, please ensure you have confirmation from all the airlines concerned that they will transport your pet.

Registration deadlines for taking your pet(s) with you

Your pet must be registered and confirmed for the flight by Lufthansa no later than 24 hours before departure (for assistance dogs, the deadline is 48 hours before departure).

As the allocation is limited, we recommend that you book your pet in early, preferably at the same time as you book your own flight.

Information concerning your pet’s welfare

  • If possible, get your animal used to its carrying container at home before the journey by putting it into the closed carrying container several times for about two hours at a time and rewarding it afterwards with a treat.
  • Many animals get very nervous both before and during a flight. Nevertheless, you should think very carefully before giving your pet a sedative. This makes it difficult to predict how your animal may react. It can, for example, cause circulatory problems during the flight. Please ask your veterinary surgeon’s advice about this.
  • Put your pet’s "comfort blanket" and its favourite toy in the carrying container in order to soothe and calm it with familiar smells.
  • Ask your vet how to adapt your pet’s food needs for the flight.

Check-in options

Online and mobile check-in 23 hours before departure is possible for all passengers travelling with animals. The boarding pass must be picked up at the check-in counter at the airport.

Taking pets into Lufthansa lounges

You are welcome to take your four-legged friends with you into our lounges. Please understand, however, that out of consideration for our other guests, your dogs or cats should not be allowed to wander freely around Lufthansa lounges and should await their onward journey in their carrying container or pet carrier.


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