If you live a busy and active lifestyle, you probably want to take your dog with you everywhere you go.
What pet owner doesn’t, right?
Well, many pet owners who have tried taking a willful dog out in the car will have immediately regretted that decision. Sure, a dog car harness can be effective with more placid pets for short trips. How about when you want to head on a lengthy road trip, though? What if your dog is not so mild-mannered but more prone to escape?
Luckily, there’s a simple solution. Today, we’ll be reviewing the best dog crates and carriers for car travel so you can all travel in complete safety, however long the trip.
Before that, we’ve doubled down on the most important factors to look out for when choosing the best dog crates and carriers for car travel. Check out this brief guide before you whip out your credit card.
- Size matters: You can find most dog crates in a range of sizes and this is where your buying decision should begin. Think about how you’ll be transporting your dog. When you’re heading off on a road trip in the car, you need to make sure you’ll be able to get the crate in and out with ease. You’ll also, obviously, need sufficient room inside your vehicle to accommodate the canine crate. When you’re shopping sizes, always err on the side of caution and make sure your dog has enough room not to feel restricted. We recommend choosing a cage that’s no more than 6 inches in length for your dog. Also, if you have two small dogs, get one crate large enough for both dogs rather than two small crates
- Airline-approved: Linked to sizing is sizing specific to traveling on planes. You should look for aviation-approved dog crates. You should also check closely with airline regulations before booking your flight or it might end up a very costly mistake
- Get the best materials: It’s no secret dogs will chew anything they can get their fangs on! Make sure that’s not the dog crate you’re choosing to transport them in. If you plan to use your dog crate daily, you should ideally look for something with harder sides made from metal or hard plastic. If you’re only intending to use your crate occasionally, consider a lighter, softer carrying crate. These are convenient even for flights
- Safety: Make sure the dog crates on your shortlist all come with sufficient ventilation for the kind of trips you plan to take
- Portability: The importance of portability will depend largely on your intended use. When you’re taking your pooch out in the car, it will naturally assume less importance than when you’re heading off on a multi-flight trip with your canine in tow
- Set-up: Only you know how comfortable you are with DIY and setting things up. Some dog crates are plug-and-play while others require a little tinkering around. Buy in line with your needs
- Connectors: Last but not least, sure the crate is securely fixed with the terminals. This will ensure your dog is safe throughout the journey
OK, with that basic framework in place, we’ll push on to the main event with our dog crate reviews. We’ve categorized these for you so you can find the best crate for a variety of use cases at a glance.
I. The 18 Best Dog Crates & Carriers For Car Travel
1. Our Pick: Petmate Two-Door Pet Crate
A close runner-up in our quest for the best dog crate is this neat two-door model from Petmate. How does this pet carrier stand out in a crowded field?
Firstly, you get the confidence boost of dealing with a company boasting half a century in the trenches.
Next, not only does this crate work well if you’re heading cross-country in the car, it’s aviation-approved, too. All major airlines will allow you to board your pooch within this crate.
2. Runner-Up: Diggs Revol Small Dog Crate
What can you do if you like the idea of a dog crate but you don’t have much storage space? Well, this collapsible model from Diggs hits the spot and also makes it easy when you’re setting up the crate and also when you’re packing it away.
The sizeable door makes it easy to get your pup in and out of this carrier. With wheels and ergonomic carrying handle, you’ll find all aspects of traveling with your dog a cakewalk.
Safety is uppermost with this crate as you would expect from anything you’ll be using to transport your beloved furball in. The rounded edges mean your pup won’t get knocked around even if you’re traveling on bumpy roads. The mesh is also shaped like a diamond for safety’s sake.
However you plan to travel, if you want to take your dog along for the ride, it’s vital you get the right gear for the job. If you’re looking for a dog carrier with a twist, we’d strongly recommend this model.
3. Best For Large Dogs: Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Kennel by Petmate
If you have a bigger dog in need of transportation, you’ll need a suitably rugged crate. Petmate’s Aspen Pet Porter is man enough for a large dog even though you’ll need to pay for the privilege. If you can weather the stiff price tag, what do you get for your money?
First up, choose from 8 bold color schemes. You can also opt for a broad spread of sizings to suit. The smallest crate caters for dogs to 10 pounds while this line-topping dog carrier is ideal for dogs from 90 to 250 pounds. The model we’re reviewing here comes somewhere in the middle. If you have a medium-sized dog weighing in between 50 and 70 pounds, this model crate be spot-on.
Despite falling in line with most airline regulations, the lack of rear ventilation means you should reconsider if you’re heading on a long-haul flight.
The manufacturer also stocks a diverse range of accessories and add-ons allowing you to kit out your pooch for the lengthiest trip before carrying him to his destination in comfort, safety, and style. What’s not to love?
4. Best For Small Dogs: Sleepypod Pet Mobile Bed
If you have a small dog and you’re looking for a carrier to make traveling safe and easy, you have far more options at your disposal than owners of larger hounds. Our personal favorite from the pet crates we reviewed is this mobile bed from Sleepypod.
The mini bed is ideal for teacup breeds and extremely small dogs in general. If you upsize to the medium, you can accommodate dogs up to 15 pounds. In return for this extra space, you’ll need to sacrifice some portability.
If you loathe flat-pack furniture or any kind of practical DIY assembly, you’re in luck with this dog crate. You’ll be up and ready for your next road trip right out the box.
The shoulder strap is nicely padded for your benefit while the mesh dome is designed to allow your pup to get all the air he needs when you’re traveling together.
5. Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier
Petmate makes some highly effective pet products that don’t cost the earth, so how does this dog crate stack up?
Firstly, choose from one of 6 sizes to suit the breed of dog you need to transport. This crate is the 28-inch model, ideal for smaller pups.
The build is robust, although there’s a little too much plastic. That said, the hard shell should withstand plenty of punishment and give you and your furball years of happy traveling.
A 4-way vault door promotes easy access while also stopping any sliding or shifting. This is not available on the smaller crates, though, so look for a 36-inch crate and above to benefit from this valuable feature.
Your dog can see out of this crate from all angles, so he’ll stay connected and stimulated when you’re on the road.
Clip-on food and water bowls allow you to keep Fido fed and watered on the journey without the bowls flying around inside the crate.
Aside from a few complaints about inaccuracies with sizing, most user reviews of this dog crate are overwhelmingly positive. Ensure your small breed travels safely, comfortably, and stylishly.
6. Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
If you have a furball at home and you like to take him out in the car, or even when you’re heading overseas on a flight, the Sherpa Travel Original pet carrier is well worth popping on your shortlist.
The soft carrying bag looks like a regular hold-all, but it’s designed with the needs of a traveling dog in mind.
Made from a dense, durable fabric with mesh windows all around, you should get years of faithful service from this soft crate.
There are 7 muted colorways to choose from and 3 sizes. This is the Large model, measuring up at 19 x 11.75 x 11.5 inches. This bigger crate is intended for dogs weighing up to 22 pounds, so it’s not much use for larger breeds.
The front of the frame is made from a springy wire you can easily push down under most airline seats, even in economy class.
Lockable zippers are a welcome safety feature, and there’s a roomy rear pocket ideal for carrying any treats or accessories.
Approved for use on most airlines, you should nevertheless check with the airline you’re using before heading to the airport.
7. Mr Peanut’s Expandable Pet Carrier
If you frequently fly and you want to take your dog with you on the plane, you’ll need to make sure you get an airline-approved pet carrier. This carrier is designed to comply with the regulations on most airlines, but you need to check before flying to be safe.
There are just 4 elegant color schemes here, and there’s only one size, so you won’t end up wasting time on this element of your buying decision.
The tote looks sleek and it’s made from luggage-grade materials. It’s designed to accommodate smaller dogs to 15 pounds, so look elsewhere if you need to transport a bigger breed.
The bag itself weighs just 4 pounds, so you won’t be unnecessarily burdened while carrying your fur baby. Faux-fleece padding gives Bonzo a comfy ride, even on lengthier trips.
A neat plywood base adds some welcome stability to this carrier without weighing it down.
Waterproof, hardwearing, and featuring mesh windows on all sides, this soft dog crate gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t. The padded shoulder strap makes it just as comfy for you as for your furball, too. What’s not to love?
8. 4 x 4 North America Pet Carrier
The first thing we should point out about the 4 x 4 North America pet carrier is that it’s extremely expensive. If you’re hunting for a cheap dog crate, this is absolutely not for you. If, however, you have deeper pockets and demanding tastes, you won’t find a better example on the market.
This is the only canine transport cage available that’s been crash tested from the front and rear, as well as being stress-tested for rolling over. You can pop your pup inside this thing with total confidence.
There is a class-leading choice of 14 sizes, giving something for all pet owners.
Once your dog is inside this traveling cage, the doors lock into place. These come equipped with hydraulic motion springs for your convenience.
This brand has been selling first-class pet gear in Europe for decades, so if the name is not instantly familiar, you can rest assured this is a highly reputable firm.
Aside from the stiff price tag, there’s really little else to knock about this dog crate. If you can afford it, you and your dog will be delighted with this investment.
9. PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier
PetAmi serves up a much more affordable pet carrier in the shape of this soft backpack-style model. What do you get for your modest investment, then?
Firstly, there is a bewildering array of color schemes to suit the temperament of your pooch. This heather gray model is understated and looks much more elegant than you’d expect from a budget dog crate.
We know you’re not buying a pet carrier for the way it looks, though. How does this bag perform?
Well, the carrier only makes a good fit for smaller dogs, so bear this in mind before going any further.
Two-way entry ensures there’s no fussing around or time wasted getting Rover in and out of this thing. Airflow is also promoted so your dog stays comfortable and well-ventilated on longer trips.
Nicely padded inside, your dog will ride in comfort. Padded shoulder straps, waist and belt buckles give you the same comfort, too.
Overall, this is an effective dog carrier if you have a smaller dog that’s well-behaved and not prone to pulling a Houdini act.
10. Lucky Duck Pet Carrier
Do you need a soft pet carrier that’s built for sustained use? If so, the Lucky Duck is well worth popping on your shortlist.
Made from a hardwearing and remarkably dense polyester, you shouldn’t find your dog damages this carrier. If you have a seriously aggressive chewer on your hands, though, you might be better advised looking at hard crates.
The fabric is weatherproof and also features great airflow, so you shouldn’t find your pup getting stuffy or uncomfy on the road.
There are large storage pockets so you can keep everything you need close to hand when you’re away from home.
Windows roll down if required and keep your pooch connected to the great outdoors without presenting a security risk.
While the vast bulk of user reviews are positive, we found some scattered complaints about quality control, so check the contents of your package closely upon receipt.
11. Noz2Noz Indoor and Outdoor Pet Carrier
If you fancy the security of a hard dog crate married to the convenience and lightweight nature of a soft carrier, Noz2Noz hits a home run with this highly versatile dog carrier.
Perfect for use indoors or outside, you get 5 different sizes to choose from. This is the 36-inch model, measuring up at 36 x 24 x 27 inches when fully assembled. This should comfortably accommodate most medium and large breeds to 70 pounds.
Anyone using this crate indoors will appreciate the rounded corners. This should eliminate the chance of any damage to your furniture.
You can set up this pet carrier in minutes with no tools or special skills required. Once assembled, you’ll keep your dog safely contained, whether inside your home or out on the road.
The water-resistant base is easy to spot clean. For a deeper clean, you can remove the cover and wash it.
For a secure yet compact and lightweight dog crate ideal for bigger pups, this carrier from Noz2Noz is a must.
12. 2Pet Foldable Dog Crate
Next up comes a superb foldable crate from 2Pet, so what makes it stand out?
Choose from 5 different sizes to suit your fur baby. This is the 24-inch medium model intended for dogs weighing up to 25 pounds. If that seems like a good fit for Rover, read on.
The soft and supple Oxford fabric is also dense and hardwearing. Rated at 600 denier, you should get lots of happy service from this carrier.
The cover is washable and easy to maintain. You can safely pop it in the washing machine, and then allow it to dry naturally before replacing.
If you have a power chewer in the house, the zipper is reinforced to inhibit your dog from tampering with the full-frontal closure.
The folding nature of this carrier means you don’t need to worry about storage and you can slip this carrier in a small space when it’s not in use.
Backed by a comprehensive 1-year warranty, what have you got to lose?
13. Petsfit Travel Pet Home
Petsfit produces a deep bench of pet gear that delivers performance on a budget.
This is a soft dog crate that’s also collapsible to streamline storage. Considering the solid structure, the materials, and the finish, it’s also priced very keenly.
Unlike some inferior dog carriers, you shouldn’t find this model traps in any unwanted and foul odors.
A pair of doors let you get your pup in and out of this thing with ease. It’s only good for much smaller dogs, so if you have a beefier breed, explore some of the many larger dog crates on our shortlist.
There is a soft pad inside to keep your furball comfy while he’s on the move. This is removable and washable so you can stay on top of hygiene the easy way.
Lightweight yet rugged and also extremely easy to stash in small spaces when not in use, Petsfit hit all bases with this dog crate.
With the exception of some scattered complaints about the difficulty of setting this crate up, most user reviews are positive.
14. EliteField Folding Dog Crate
EliteField’s folding dog crate comes in a showstopping selection of colorways, but what else do you get for your money?
The build is impressive. Made from a very strong and resilient mesh, you shouldn’t find your dog chewing and damaging this carrier.
You can set this carrier up or disassemble it in seconds, and you won’t need any tools or DIY skills either.
With doors in the top, front, and side, you can get your dog in and out of the carrier with ease.
Choose from carrying this unit by the handle or with the shoulder strap provided.
Crowned by a class-leading 2-year warranty, you can buy with complete confidence knowing you’re getting one of the best dog crates on the market from a highly reputable brand.
15. Sleepypod Pet Carrier
For any regular flyers, there may come an occasion where you want to travel with your smaller dog on board. If so, this in-cabin pet carrier might be just what you’ve been looking for.
Available in 6 color schemes, this carrier works equally well in the car or in the cabin of a plane. Designed to meet most major airline guidelines, all you need to do is call to confirm the precise dimensions before you fly. It’s never worth taking a chance when you’re transporting pets.
Both the top and the ends of this bag open, promoting easy access to your canine.
The outside of this carrier is made from luggage-grade nylon. Inside, Rover benefits from plush padding in polyester to give him a secure but cushioned ride.
Ideal for dog weighing up to 17.5 pounds, if this sounds like the perfect fit, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
As an added kicker, this carrier is machine washable, giving you hands-free upkeep and your dog a spotless mobile base at all times.
16. Petmate Ruff Maxx Pet Kennel
Next up is another entry from the inimitable Petmate. This brand has a hard-won reputation for manufacturing great pet equipment at very competitive prices. This pet kennel continues that winning tradition.
The plastic build might not make for the most attractive crate, but you’re buying a piece of kit like this for the way it performs not based on its good looks.
This is a 19-inch crate that’s intended to accommodate smaller dogs to 10 pounds.
Setup couldn’t be much easier, even if you’re not too practically-inclined. You get all the nuts and bolts you need to get going right out the box with the minimum of fanfare.
With ventilation and viewing windows through a full 360 degrees, Fido will stay comfy, safe, and able to keep his eye on what’s unfolding on the road.
Ideal for traveling in the car, this is not the best crate if you need to take your dog on a plane.
Petmate has been helping pet owners just like you for half a century now, and they show no signs of resting on their laurels.
17. Gen7Pets Pet Carrier
If you like heading out in the car with your fur baby, it’s vital to keep him safe and secure on the road. Gen7Pets soft carrier is ideal for the purpose.
This is a soft carrier that’s made from a rugged and hardwearing nylon. The stitching is strongly reinforced so you should get no problems developing over time.
You should fix this carrier into your vehicle exactly as recommended by the manufacturer.
Carrying the bag is no sweat thanks to the robust and padded shoulder strap. It’s reasonably lightweight, too, considering the rigidity of the structure.
Not only does this make a good fit for taking Fido out in the car, but the carrier is also approved for use on most major airlines. The same proviso applies that we’ve mentioned through these dog crate reviews: always call the airline in advance of flying to make certain you won’t be disappointed when you check in your dog.
There is a removable comfort pad inside this carrier. It’s machine-washable giving you no-hassle upkeep and one of the best dog crates you’ll find.
18. Petego Jet Set Pet Carrier
One of the most versatile dog crates we explored comes from Petego in the form of the Jet Set Pet Carrier. What makes this portable pet crate stand out in a crowded space, then?
Off the bat, this dog bed looks great. While this will only form part of your buying decision, design obviously counts for something. Beyond this, you can choose from a decent palette of colors so you can liven up your dog’s dog with a flash of brightness.
We found a handful of user complaints about the poor quality zippers. This is one of our pet peeves so make sure you zip and unzip this thing with extreme care.
In all other respects, though, this is an adaptable and highly effective dog carrier. With some car seat straps thrown in, you have all you need to take your dog with you everywhere you go.
Tips for Safe Car Travels with Your Dog
Dogs may panic when lying in a crate during their first ride. This initially strong reaction can become increasingly violent and even jeopardize your car trip.
Many of our customers shared a simple but effective solution. They start using travel dog crate at home so their pooch becomes accustomed to this type of temporary confinement. Regular use of a travel dog cage will help your dog to be fearless when you undertake car travel for real.
1) Is it safe to put my dog in the trunk of the car?
Absolutely. This is one of the best options when you’re heading on a road trip. One point worth bearing in mind, though, is that a cage typically works more effectively in the trunk than a carrier. In the event of any sharp breaking or quick maneuvering, a cage will offer your dog some welcome extra protection.
2) Is it OK to pop my dog on the passenger seat to keep me company when I’m driving?
This is inadvisable. If you have an accident and the airbag deploys, the force could kill your dog. Instead, place your dog in the footwell if you insist of him traveling up front with you. Nudge the rear seat forwards until your dog’s crate is fully secure and you should have no issues traveling with him like this.
3) Why is it not recommended to travel with an unrestrained canine in the car?
Firstly, if you brake sharply or have a collision, your dog will become a potentially deadly projectile, rocketing forth at huge velocity and possibly right into the back of your head. Unrestrained dogs, especially those who are poorly behaved, can also be an extreme distraction in the car. Finally, if you have a crash, an unrestrained dog will end up seriously injured and possibly even dead.
4) Are all dog crates for cars crash tested?
No, they are not. We draw your attention in our reviews to this element when manufacturers disclose details of testing. Some of the best dog crates and dog cages are rigorously tested, allowing you to hit the road without worrying how Rover will fare in the event of an impact.
5) Do dog crates trap in unpleasant smells?
Some of them can, yes. This is why it’s crucial to look for a crate with a pad you can remove and machine wash. This saves you from scrubbing dog dirt by hand and ensures no nasty smells linger in the cage.
Over time, dogs gradually became just like human friends. They stay with us through times of happiness and sadness, in sickness and in health. With our most faithful companions always ready to follow us on our journeys in life, using the best dog crates and carriers for car travel makes this possible.
After reading today’s guide, you should now be perfectly placed to find the right dog carrier the easy way. Choose one of the crates we review and you’re safe. Roll with a crate not on our list and all you need to do is bear in mind the guidance we kicked off with.
Before you go, bookmark BarkVA and come back any time you have a problem with your pet that needs solving. Well see you soon!