Your dog might use a crate at home, but what about for traveling? Your canine companions should be secured when in the car, both for their safety and your own, and a dog travel crate in the trunk or on the back seat is a good method. If you need to take your dog with you on a plane, you must have an airline-approved travel crate, and many rail operators also require dogs to be kept in a crate while on their trains.
We reviewed dozens of dog travel crates to identify the best of the best. We considered a range of factors, including size, material, durability, comfort, portability, and average customer reviews. If you want to be sure your pup is comfortable in his crate (and out) while you’re on the road, check out our list of the best dog travel beds, and keep him entertained with one of the best dog chew toys. For the ultimate in convenient traveling with your dog, we’ve also reviewed the best dog travel bowls and the best dog travel water bottles.
After much consideration, the SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Travel Dog Crate stood out to us at the clear winner among the many dog travel crates available. Available in a range of sizes from small to xxx-large, you can buy one to suit almost any dog. It’s IATA airline-approved, which means it’s a good choice if you need to fly with your dog, but it’s also ideal for general travel use.
The 5 Top-Rated Dog Travel Crates
|Best Overall||SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Travel Dog Crate||4.1|
|Runner Up||Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog Kennel||4.7|
|Best Budget Buy||Aivituvin Pet Carrier for Dog and Cats||4.8|
|Best Soft Dog Travel Crate||EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate||4.4|
|Best Collapsible Dog Travel Crate||KindTail PAWD Fully Collapsible Dog Crate||4.5|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Travel Dog Crate
Strong and sturdy, the SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Travel Dog Crate is ideal for a range of purposes, from transporting your pet on an airplane to keeping her safe and secure on car journeys to taking with you on trips to visit family so your pooch can be crated at night. You can even use it as a regular crate at home, but know that it’s ready to travel when you need to.
This crate is available in five sizes from small to XXXL, and ranges in price from around $40 to around $300, depending on what size you need. While all the crates feature carrying handles, it’s not easy to carry a large dog in a crate, so all but the smallest size feature removable wheels, so you can roll your pooch from one place to another, if needed.
While the body of the travel crate is made of plastic, the door is made from wire, and there’s one wire window on each side. These help to provide adequate ventilation for your four-legged friend. Two water dishes are included with this crate, to help keep your dog hydrated on long journeys.16
SportPet Designs Plastic Kennels Rolling Travel Dog Crate Key Features:
- Airline approved
- Floor gutter allows for easier cleaning
- Wheels snap on and off
Our Runner Up Pick: Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog Kennel
Next on our list is the Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog Kennel, which is an excellent product, but missed our top slot because it’s only suitable for small dogs. With only two size options available—19 and 24 inches—it will only fit dogs of up to around 25 pounds, around the size of a Jack Russell or Shih Tzu, for instance.
The top load feature allows you to put your dog into the crate through a hatch on the top. This is ideal for pets who might be a little nervous about walking in through the door, but are happy once they’re inside. With ventilation on all sides, excluding the bottom, your pup will get plenty of fresh air, plus it allows him to see outside, which can reduce anxiety.
The plastic construction is durable, yet lightweight enough to be easily portable. Plus, the ergonomic comfort grip handle on the top makes carrying this dog travel crate even easier. Costing between $30 and $40, depending on the size and color you choose, this crate is extremely affordable, considering the quality.
Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog Kennel Key Features:
- Available in four colors
- Front and top steel doors
- Meets the requirements of most airlines
Best Budget Pick: Aivituvin Pet Carrier for Dogs and Cats
Looking for a travel crate for a young puppy or a toy breed dog? The Aivituvin Pet Carrier for Dogs and Cats is suitable for dogs of up to 15 pounds (such as Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and Pomeranians) and is a bargain at just $21.
Since it’s small enough to fit under an airplane seat, it’s suitable for anyone who wants to travel with their dog in the plane cabin. Due to its insubstantial weight and compact size, it’s also ideal for on-the-go use, carrying small dogs who can’t manage all-day outings without tiring.
Thanks to the fact it folds down easily, it’s great for packing up and taking on a dog-friendly vacation, if you want to be able to crate your canine companion at night or if you nip out for an hour or two. It features three mesh sides, providing ample ventilation for your pooch.
Aivituvin Pet Carrier for Dogs and Cats Key Features:
- Weighs less than two pounds
- Carrying handles and shoulder strap
- Meets most airline requirements for cabin use
Best Soft Dog Travel Crate: EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate
Unlike cheap soft travel crates, the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate is reinforced with a steel tube frame, making it a safe and secure hideaway for your dog. Available in five sizes, between 20 and 42 inches long, you can find an EliteField to fit almost any dog. Although not the cheapest option out there, starting at $40 and costing up to $90, we think they’re well worth the cost.
The sides are made from a strong 600D fabric with reinforced corners to make the seams last longer. They also feature mesh panels for ventilation. Since it folds down easily, it’s perfect for travel use, as you can pack it and take it with you wherever you need to go. With its strong frame, it’s also suitable for in-car use, as long as you can put it somewhere secure where it won’t slide around.
We love the soft, fleece interior that makes it comfortable for your four-legged friend to sleep or lounge around—all in all, an extremely well-designed dog travel crate.
EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate Key Features:
- Convenient storage pockets can hold treats or accessories
- No tools required for assembly
- Strong, reinforced material
Best Collapsible Dog Travel Crate: KindTail PAWD Fully Collapsible Dog Crate
The first thing you’ll notice about the KindTail PAWD Fully Collapsible Dog Crate is that it doesn’t look like a typical dog crate. It has an ultra-stylish, modern design, so it’s a great option if you’re after a crate you can use at home and on the go. It also comes in a choice for 4 colors: white, green, pink, and gray.
This crate doesn’t just boast good looks, however. It’s also very practical—it collapses into a flat briefcase-shape that you can easily carry around thanks to its built-in handle. Other great features it offers include its dog-safe rounded edges, and breathable, easy to clean design.
KindTail PAWD Fully Collapsible Dog Crate Key Features:
- Folds flat with a built-in handle for enhanced portability
- Dog-safe rounded edges
- 4 color choices
Who Should Buy a Dog Travel Crate?
While not every dog owner will need a canine travel crate, they’re useful for a wide range of purposes, depending on the type you choose, so you may have more need for them than you realise.
Some travel crates are designed for care travel. Secure them in the trunk (as long as your car is a hatchback style, rather than a sedan) or the rear of the car to help keep your dog safe in case of a collision. Others are made for air or rail travel, as most airlines and rail carriers have strict rules about the type of crate your dog must be secured inside to use their services. You might also want to use a travel crate when bringing your dog on vacation or a trip to see family or friends. If your dog is used to being crated at night, using a travel crate will help her feel more secure in a new and different place. These types of travel crates usually fold down for easy transportation.
Important Features to Consider
A dog travel crate should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a travel crate for your dog:
- Material. Travel crate may be made from soft fabric, plastic, wire, or solid metal. The type you choose should depend on what you need it for and your dog’s behavior. Soft crates are fine for dogs who won’t chew or scratch at their crate, whereas solid metal options are best for destructive dogs. You’ll need a hard-sided crate if your dog’s going in the hold on an airplane, whereas soft carriers are generally preferred for cabin use.
- Size. Make sure your chosen crate is large enough for your dog. You may have to measure your dog to get the correct sizing. It should be large enough for your four-legged friend to comfortably stand up, lie down, and turn around, but no larger.
- Airline approved. If you need a travel crate to transport your dog on a plane, make sure it meets the requirements set out by your airline. Sone crates are listed as “airline approved” but all airlines have slightly different requirements, so it’s best to double check the rules of the airline you’ll be flying with before buying.
- Ventilation. Dog travel crates need plenty of ventilation, otherwise your pooch could dangerously overheat, especially in warm weather. We’d recommend choosing a crate with ventilation on no less than four sides.
- Portability. An important requirement for a dog travel crate is that it’s portable. If you’ll be moving the crate with your dog inside, it should have carry handles and/or wheels. It should also be lightweight enough to move with your dog inside it.
- Foldability. Some travel crates fold down to make them easier to pack and take with your on vacation, or for easier storage while you’re not using them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are travel dog crates?
Travel dog crates are crates designed for traveling in one form or another. Either on a plane or train, in the car, or for use when you’re not at home, sort of like a canine pack n play.
How do you determine the size of dog crate you need?
Measure your dog from the floor to the top of the head and add two inches to find the correct crate height for your dog. Measure from his nose to the tip of his tail and add two inches to find the correct crate length. The width is in proportion to the other measurements, so if you choose a crate of the correct height and length for your canine companion, the width should be right, too.
What size dog crate do you need to fly with your pet?
There are no particular size rules if you want a crate to fly with your dog. However, the crate should be the correct size for your dog, as outlined above. If you want to be able to bring your dog in the cabin with you, he’ll need to be small enough to go in a crate that can fit under the seat in front of you. The maximum crate size for in-cabin use is approximately 18 inches long by 11 inches wide by 11 inches high, but this may vary between airlines.
What are the airline requirements for travel dog crates?
Requirements for flying with your pet in the hold, rather than the cabin, vary between airlines, so check the exact requirements before you buy a travel crate. However, these are among the most common requirements that most airlines ask for.
- The crate should be made of rigid plastic, metal, weld metal mesh, or fiberglass.
- The door should have a secure spring-loaded locking system.
- You dog must be able to stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably. Brachycephalic breeds must have a crate one size larger than would normally be necessary.
- The crate must have ventilation on at least two sides for domestic flights or four sides for international flights.
- Water and food bowls must be securely attached and refillable from outside the crate, without opening it.
- The floor of the crate should be solid and leakproof.
- If the crate has wheels, they must be removed or taped up so that it can’t roll around on the flight.