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9 Best Dog Travel Crates

Dog standing in front of a travel crate
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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. 

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, Great Pet Living 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.

Highlights

  • 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. 

Highlights

  • Lightweight and easy to carry and pack
  • Has a nice look, if you want something other than wire
  • Folding it down is a cinch

Things to Consider

  • 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 Large Dog Travel Crate 

Our Pick: SportPet Designs Rolling Plastic Large Dog Travel Crate

SportPet Designs large dog rolling travel crate

Made of durable plastic, this large dog travel crate rates highly for its convenient rolling wheels, waterproof materials, and easy assembly. We like it because it can be rolled or carried in a pinch and it comes in sizes that accomodate even the biggest dog breeds. 

Highlights

  • Large front door provides easy access
  • Comes with two dishes and four live-animal stickers
  • Wheels can be easily detached
  • Has tie-down holes for bungees

Things to Consider

  • Doesn’t fold down, so can be a bit bulky
  • Plastic may not hold up to heavy chewers

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.  

Highlights

  • Every crate comes with two bowls, live animal stickers, and metal nuts and bolts
  • Features tie-down holes for bungees required by airlines

Things to Consider

  • 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.  

Highlights

  • 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

Things to Consider

  • 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

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. 

Highlights                   

  • 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

Things to Consider

  • 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.  

Highlights

  • Comes in extra-small size
  • Folds down to 4 inches for storage
  • Top and side openings are convenient

Things to Consider

  • 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.

Highlights

  • 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

Things to Consider

  • 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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