The Best Dog Travel Crates (Review) in 2021
- The Best Dog Travel Crates
- 1. Petmate Two Door Top Load
- 2. EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate
- 3. Henkelion Carriers Dog Carrier
- 4. Petsfit Travel Home Indoor-Outdoor for Dogs
- 5. Petmate Sky Kennel Dog Carrier
- 6. Midwest Spree Travel Dog Carrier
- 7. Sleepypod Air in-Cabin Dog Carrier
- 8. 2PET Foldable Dog Crate
- 9. MidWest Portable Tent Crate
- 10. Petnation Port-A-Crate Indoor-Outdoor Home for Dogs
A crate at home can be invaluable when it comes to caring for your pooch, from training your puppy to creating a safe, personal space for your pet to hang out and sleep. But when it comes to traveling, many home crates are simply too large to be portable. Which is where a dog travel crate comes in.
Designed to work with your car and even in-cabin on airline flights, a travel crate is lightweight, portable and just as secure as a full-sized dog crate. And they come in a range of sizes and materials so you can find the perfect one for your pooch. To help, we give the lowdown on ten of the best dog crates for travel you can currently buy.
The Best Dog Travel Crates
Designed for small dogs
Approved for airline travel
Plastic crate with steel wire door
Top entry and side ventilation
Made from durable, easy to clean hard plastic, the Petmate is also airline-approved, making it the ideal air travel crate. Designed for small dogs up to 20 pounds, you also get a neat top opening for easy access for your traveling pooch. The design is straightforward to look at, but the quality for the price is high, and the whole crate is comfortable to carry around. With a steel grate front door, you also get plenty of side ventilation, without losing that sense of privacy for the more timid pet. For car travel, overnight stays, trips to the vet and even overseas travel, we think the Petmate is the best portable dog crate you can buy for smaller pets.
Soft crate with steel frame
Four entry points and mesh windows
Includes a soft fleece pad
Collapses for storage
The EliteField 3 door folding crate is a soft travel carrier which works with dogs of most sizes. With multiple sizes and colorways available, you get plenty of choice and for car travel, this soft dog crate is an excellent option. It is also adaptive to how your dog feels during their road trip, with roll-back panels to give plenty of viewing space, or privacy when the panels are closed. The durable 600D fabric is lightweight, removable and washable, stabilized by a strong steel tube frame. With plenty of ventilation, fleece pad, side doors and locking entry, the whole Elitefield 3 door folding car crate also folds down in seconds, for total storage convenience.
Made from waterproof fabric
Padded sides and handles
Removable fleece pet bed
For travel on a budget, you can’t beat the value of this smart travel carrier from Henkelion. As a soft travel crate, it is nice and sturdy and is also airline approved. The top entry is convenient for loading and there’s plenty of air circulation, thanks to the four side mesh panels. The whole carrier is padded, and you also get a cozy fleece pad. For car travel, this carrier works well too, and keeps your pooch secure thanks to the two connection straps. Add in a water resistant outer and padded carry handles and you get a lot of soft crate for your money. It is, however, only sized for small dogs, up to 15 pounds.
Soft car crate with removable frame
Waterproof, includes a washable pad
Large mesh windows for ventilation
Collapsible for storage
The Petsfit is a sizeable travel crate for medium dogs that can also be safely used for crate training younger pups. Soft-sided, with a foldable frame, it is also easy to transport, so makes it a good choice as one of the best dog cages for car travel. And what we really like about this crate is that it can also be used as an open bed, by simply screwing off the frame. The crate space is well ventilated, thanks to the large mesh windows, which also feature roll down panels for when pooch needs a little more privacy. Waterproof, with a washable bed pad, the Petsfit is worth its medium budget price tag.
Plastic and metal crate for dogs
Airline approved; 360-degree ventilation
Four-way vault door; comfort carrying handles
Includes live animal stickers and food bowl
Designed for in-cabin air travel, we think the Petmate also makes a secure everyday travel crate for appointments and short car trips. Made from heavy duty hard plastic, with strong steel wire door and window grills, your pet will be totally protected and comfortable, thanks to the 360-degree ventilation. You also get a clip-on bowl for their food and water and live animal stickers for when your pooch is in transit or cargo area. Add in a sturdy top carrying handles available in two size options and you get a portable, secure and solid feeling dog crate for your money.
Hard plastic travel crate for small dogs
No-tool assembly; easy to clean
Built-in carrying handle
Available in three colors
Ideal for small dogs, as well as cats, this travel carrier from Midwest has all the core features you need to comfortably and safely transport your cat. Well-sized for a dog car crate, it also needs no tools for assembly, so a good choice if you need to break it down to store. With a heavy duty plastic body, well-served with ventilation strips, you also get a stainless steel wire door for secure access. A top pull out handle makes the whole carrier nicely portable, and the plastic parts release easily for convenient cleaning.
Ideal for in-cabin pet travel
Soft crate with mesh ventilation
Machine-washable plush bed
Crash tested for safety
Yes, the Sleepypod may be at the top end of our best dog travel crates budget, but for sheer stylish air travel we think this is the business! And this premium air travel dog crate is more than looks, as it has all the spec you need to keep your pooch a happy high-flyer. With its clever expanding/contracting size, the Sleepypod works within most airlines’ under seat size restrictions, without compromising on safety or comfort for your pet. The crate has also been crash tested at the Center for Pet Safety. However, the Sleepypod can only accommodate small dogs up to 17 pounds. But they do get a good ride, with easy access top entry, full roof mesh panel, washable plush bedding and seatbelt straps to keep the crate secure if you take your pet in the car.
Foldable steel frame
Double door and mesh panels
Choice of size options for larger dogs
With a cool ‘camo’ fabric design, the 2Pet foldable comes in a choice of sizes so can even work as a large dog traveling crate. And its robust design, means it’s also a good choice for overnight camping trips. A strong steel tube frame gives the 2 Pet its durable structure, while the soft fabric cover is both water resistant and washable. The top entry makes getting your dog in and out a breeze, and the four-sided mesh windows come complete with roll down panels for when privacy is the order of the day. Tough enough for regular indoor and outdoor use, this is an ample size crate for the active, dog-loving household.
Tent style travel crate
Lightweight steel tube frame
Includes a faux sheepskin pad
For dogs up to 25 pounds
For a durable, ‘throw in the back of the RV’ type of travel crate, both you and your pooch will be impressed by the MidWest. Designed as a tent crate, this portable carrier will cope with the rigors of the open road and is also a good choice if you need a training crate for your puppy at home. It is pretty roomy, although not big enough to be a travel crate for large dogs, so the size of your dog could make your decision. But, if your pooch is no more than 25 pounds, he’ll feel right at home. It’s lightweight, has an easy to erect steel frame and the water resistant cover has ample mesh window space for your dog to watch the world travel by.
Tent travel crate for outdoor use
Heavy-duty, waterproof fabric
Easy fold down frame
Available in sizes up to extra large
Our final travel crate for dogs is the cute looking Port-A-Crate which is a great choice for outdoor active households who don’t like to leave their pooch behind. And the beauty of the Port-A-Crate is that it comes in sizes up to extra-large, so your big dog can come along. Easy to use – it sets up and packs away in seconds – this tent crate is durable, thanks to the heavy-duty tight weave mesh fabric. This also makes for great ventilation, keeping your pet comfortable and cool. With two doors, front and top, fastening straps, strong zippers and door latches, the crate makes a lovely home-from-home for your travel adventure-loving pet.
Best Dog Travel Crates Buying Guide
What to Look for in a Dog Travel Crate
To ensure a dog travel crates meets the needs of you and your pup, here are the main things to look out for:
Material: The material used for your dog travel crate needs to be durable and lightweight, and able to stand up to your dog, if they are a chewer or scratcher. The most popular materials for travel carriers are plastic, wire or soft fabric. Choose the appropriate fabric for your intended crate use, eg. you will need a hard-sided crate if your pooch is going into the airplane hold, or a soft carrier is ideal for the cabin or in your car.
Size: The crate must also be the right size for your dog. It should be big enough for them to sit, stand, lie down and turn around in, but sized to keep them safe and secure. We have more details on how to choose the right size of crate at the end of this guide.
Sufficient ventilation: Your pooch needs to be able to breathe and also have sufficient airflow inside their crate to prevent them over-heating. Look for a travel crate that has ventilation panels on at least four sides.
Easy access: It needs to have easy access so your dog can safely get in and out. Many crates have multiple access points, and a quick-access top crate door is always a good idea.
Safety: As well as easy access, safety is also a top consideration as the crate needs to keep them secure and protected once they are inside. A crash test pass from the CPS is ideal. Also look for a sturdy design, with sufficient inner padding and secure locks and zips on the entry points. An inner leash hook is also a good addition.
Portability: As you will be traveling with your crate, portability is essential, so make sure it's light enough for you to be able to lift it, with your pet inside.
Easy to assemble and clean: Look for a crate that's quick to put together and if it's collapsible, easy to fold down for storage. Hygiene is also a factor, so look for inner pads that are removable and washable, while wire mesh crates are the easiest to rinse out and clean.
Airline approved: If you intend to use your dog crate for flying with your pet, then make sure the model you choose is listed as airline approved and fits the size specifications of your airline carrier.
What to Avoid in a Portable Dog Crate
Avoid choosing a crate that's too large or too small. You also need to be able to clean it, so dog travel cages where you cannot remove the floor or inner pads really are not a good choice. And if your dog is a bit of a scratcher, chewer or is a larger dog, then you need a crate made out of durable, ‘dog-proof’ materials such as metal, hard plastic or wire.
Benefits of Travel Crates for Dogs
Here are the key reasons why you should consider buying a travel crate for your dog:
- For keeping your pet safe when you travel: Many dog crates for cars have been crash tested and are designed to fit in the trunk or on the back seat, so you can keep your dog secure when you travel.
- For flying: Airline-approved dog travel crates mean you can take your smaller dog with you in the cabin when you fly, instead of putting them in the hold.
- As a temporary bed: As well as providing a safe way to transport your pet when you travel, a traveling cage for dogs can also double up as temporary comfortable bed, when you reach your destination.
- For vet visits: A lightweight travel crate can also double up as a carrier for your dog, if they need to visit the vet or you need to take them on a short trip. Nervous dogs may also benefit from a smaller, protected space when you take them out, especially if it's familiar to them, or contains their own blanket or their favorite toys.
- For ‘dog rest’: If your dog needs to be confined after veterinary treatment, a travel dog crate can be a secure space to let them rest and recuperate.
Hard Crates vs Soft Crates
When it comes to selecting the perfect dog travel crate for your pet, you can choose between a hard or soft crate.
Hard Dog Travel Crate
A hard crate can be made of wire or plastic and are a safe and secure way to contain your dog. Hard dog crates are the most robust construction which will safely house your dog. They are also excellent for ventilation, especially metal wire crates that look like a cage and you can easily view your pet. But they are rigid and so can be on the larger side, although many plastic travel crates are sized to comply with airline requirements. But their hard frame means they are not as lightweight and may not fit in smaller spaces.
Soft Dog Travel Crate
Lightweight and portable, soft travel dog crates are typically made from durable, weather-resistant fabric which makes a comfortable, more private space for your pet, and is easy to carry and store. Many have excellent ventilation, via mesh panels and holes, although they don’t offer the same level of visibility as a wire travel crate. But soft dog travel carriers are the most in-cabin, airline friendly and many soft travel carriers are even machine-washable so you can keep on top of that canine hygiene.
Our Top Pick
Approved for air travel, the Petmate Top Load Crate is a versatile and well-priced carrier which is also suited to car travel as well as short day trips. Designed for smaller dogs, the space is private but there's plenty of ventilation, and the top load entry door makes it easy to get your pooch in and out. Easy to clean and straightforward to use, the Petmate will be your go-to crate every time your little pet needs to get his travel on!
Dog Travel Crates FAQ
Q: What is the safest dog crate for a car?
An unrestrained dog in a car can, at best, be a distraction; at worse, it can become a danger to you as a driver or passenger should your car be involved in a collision. Which is why a dog travel crate is a good idea if you're looking to take your pet with you. The safest dog car carrier crate is one that is the right size for your pet, has been crash tested and fits comfortably inside your trunk or secured on your car’s back seat. Hard crates made from plastic can offer more protection for your pet than a softer fabric travel carrier, but wire crates can crumple on impact. Whether plastic or padded material, what you need to look for is a portable pet crate that can be secured to your car seat or trunk and has an impact rating, if possible.
Q: How do I get my dog used to a travel crate?
The key to getting your dog used to his new portable kennel is to take your time and allow him to get used to his new temporary sleeping space:
1. Allow plenty of time before your trip so your pooch can get dog crate acclimatized. Let your dog explore the new crate by leaving the open crate near to him and allowing him to get curious. You can also help him a little, by popping his favorite blanket, toy or a few treats inside.
2. Once he seems comfortable walking into the crate, encourage him to spend longer inside without the door shut, so he comes to see the inside of the travel crate as a happy, chilled space.
3. Gradually move on to closing the door while he is inside, building up the time he spends inside, praising and rewarding him for his efforts.
4. Now that the crate is a comfortable space for your pooch to use, try taking him in it on a few short journeys in the car, so he gets used to the confinement and the movement of travel.
5. You should now be at a place where the crate is not a strange, space and your dog is happy and calm when inside, you are ready to hit the road with your pooch!
Q: How do I choose the right size?
Getting the right size of travel crate is essential for your dog's comfort and safety. You need a crate they can comfortably sit, lie down, stand and turn around in, yet is small enough to keep them safe, and secure. The best way to get the right size of crate is to measure your dog from the floor to the top of his head when standing and then measure his length, from his nose to the tip of his tail. Now add two inches to each of these measurements and you should be able to choose the correct crate for your pet.
You also need to make sure your travel dog crate is the right size for transporting or traveling you are intending to do, whether that is to fit in the trunk of your car or to comply with the in-cabin size regulations of your chosen airline if you want to fly with your pet.
Q: How should I clean travel crates for dogs?
Always read your new dog travel crate instructions before cleaning it, as some parts may not be removable or washable. But as a general rule of thumb, most wire and plastic travel dog crates can be taken outside, and rinsed with water, or even a hose and then left to dry. Make sure you remove any soft floor pads beforehand and read their label to see if they can be hand or machine-washed. Soft crates made from fabric can typically be spot-cleaned and some may be able to be popped into the washer, for an extra deep-clean.