It’s best to be prepared when we have to transport our beloved dogs in the car and a car crate is a good option to keep a pet safe. However, not all types of crates offer the same level of safety: wire crates and foldable crates aren’t sturdy enough (they severely deformed in crash tests undertaken by the Center for Pet Safety). That’s why this post discusses plastic carriers and aluminum car crates only.
By the way, this blog is not an affiliate website, so I won’t recommend any specific crate or carrier in order to sell products. Instead, I’m trying to give an objective view.
Advantages of Car Crates:
Not only does a crate keep the dog settled and calm in a car, it’s in fact a very safe way of transport since the crate prevents even the most energetic pup from distracting the driver and, more importantly, from being thrown forwards and injured by the impact of the interior of the car, or even out through the windscreen.
In addition, we don’t know how a dog would behave in or after an accident; they can get hurt when they run away in panic – a nightmare scenario for every dog owner. When restrained in a crate, the dog cannot run onto the road and be killed by a car.
Some pups whine or bark in the crate, so crate training is best undertaken in the house, prior to traveling. Once the crate has become a safe place for your pup, it’s time to move it to the car and take some trips around the neighborhood.
Disadvantages of Car Crates:
Maybe the most obvious disadvantage of an aluminum crate is its size, which makes the cage bulky and cumbersome. Depending on the type of car you drive, an aluminum crate might be too long for the trunk.
If you have a big dog such as a Labrador Retriever, a Great Dane, or an Airedale Terrier, a suitable crate will set you back $400 or more.
Plastic crates for small dogs don’t cause any space issues as they can safely be stored in the footwell behind the passenger seat – the best places for a small crate (Please don’t put the carrier on the backseat; crash tests show that plastic crates secured with seatbelts easily break on impact). They can also be used to carry a pet, for instance to the vet. Carriers typically cost under $150.
What size dog crate should you get?
Dog breed sizes vary immensely, and so do the sizes of safety equipment. This chart gives a rough overview over the different sizes of dog crates:
For a more detailed chart, please refer to the website of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. In any case, car crates must be transported behind the passenger seat (plastic carriers) or secured in the trunk with tie down straps (aluminum crates).
If the trunk of your car isn’t long enough – don’t worry, there are lots of other safety items available. You might want to consider a pet barrier or a harness (some more on those options in my future posts).
Does your pup travel in a crate?