Dog travel cage and crate buying guide

Dog travel cage and crate buying guide

Jennifer, Self-taught DIY enthusiast, Manchester

Guide written by:

Jennifer, Self-taught DIY enthusiast, Manchester

13 guides

Want to bring your four-legged friend on holiday? Need to find a cage that'll double up as a bed wherever you go? Picking the right travel cage is essential to ensure your pet is safe at all times. From classic cages and crates to flexible carriers, read on for our tips on choosing the best container for your dog.

Important features

  • Mode of transport
  • Dog size and weight
  • Cage material
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Key factors for choosing a dog travel cage


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Choosing the right cage, crate or carrier comes down to the following factors:

  • the mode of transport you plan to take and the type of travel cage allowed;
  • the size of the dog and its weight;
  • the type of fastening system;
  • material.

Size guidelines by breed type 

Cage type

Size (Depth x Width x Height)

Breed

Toy

64 x 43 x 43 cm

Yorkshire terrier, toy poodle

Small

69 x 54 x 51 cm

Cocker spaniel, small beagle

Medium

81 x 57 x 59 cm

Bulldog, Staffordshire terrier

Large

91 x 62 x 66 cm

German shepherd, boxer

Large - Extra-large

101 x 68 x 75 cm

Rottweiler, German shepherd

Extra-large

122 x 81 x 89 cm

Saint Bernard, Great Dane

Dog size and mode of transport

Travelling with a large dog


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When travelling in the car, your dog should wear a harness connected to a seatbelt. Alternatively, you might want them to travel in a crate set up in the boot of the car or in a specially set-up compartment in the back separated from the seats by a grid.

Travelling with a small dog


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Small dogs can travel in a pet carrier or travel cage positioned at your feet or on a seat, as long as the cage is secured. Even small dogs must be fastened securely to the car by means of a seatbelt and harness if loose in the car. If you do not secure your dog, it will not be protected in the event of an accident. Furthermore, your dog could distract the driver and put all passengers in danger.

Travel cage or crate


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If travelling by plane, you will need to invest in a special dog travel crate. It is imperative to check that the model you choose meets the standards defined by the International Air Travel Association (IATA).

Travel crates shouldn't be seen as a prison but rather a safe way to transport your dog.

When choosing between a cage or crate, you'll need to think about the weight of your pet. Travel cages are suitable for small dogs (up to around 11 kg), while travel crates are best suited to medium-sized to large breeds.

Travel cages are similar to those used for cats. They feature an open grid front and may also be open at the back. They are made up of three parts:

  • a bottom half;
  • a top half;
  • a grid door.

The travel cage must be big enough for your dog to stand up in and turn around comfortably. It must also have adequate ventilation, which is why the front is open and the sides of the cage will usually feature ventilation grids. These cages generally come flatpacked; you will have to make sure to screw in the fasteners in the right place and to position the safety clips correctly. This is essential to ensure that the top and bottom parts are held together securely.

Don't forget to lay a cover in the cage for your dog's comfort and to place a favourite toy. Add a puppy pad if your dog is not toilet trained as the stress of travelling is sure to lead to accidents!

In terms of material, there's nothing new here: go for a material that is hard-wearing and can be easily cleaned. The following options are common:

  • a plastic cage with metal grids;
  • a metal crate with a plastic base;
  • a pet carrier made from flexible, synthetic materials.

The fastening system that comes with your cage or crate should be secure enough, but don't hesitate to double up on fasteners if you have a little escape artist on your hands!-

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Dog carriers

Dog carriers


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Suitable for toy or small breeds – usually weighing between 7 and 11 kg – this option requires a little more thought. You'll find pet carriers designed for cats and dogs. The only factor to think about here is weight.

Pet carriers come in a range of different designs. Some are entirely closed with mesh sides; others are basically dog beds with handles. While it is possible to find dog backpacks, the most traditional carriers are designed to be carried by hand or slung over your shoulder. Another option is a pet carrier on wheels. In short, your decision will come down to your own preferences!

It's a good idea to pick a model with a fastening system inside designed to attach a lead for journeys by car, train or even by foot.

If you are looking to buy a pet carrier, be sure to look out for the following.

  1. A ring system to attach a lead.
  2. Several mesh parts for good ventilation.
  3. A secure handle for lifting the carrier.
  4. Opening from the top for easy access.

Be sure to check that the zips are in good condition before you start your journey!

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Pet carriers

Travelling with a dog on public transport

Dogs must be kept on lead when travelling around the city.

Travelling on a plane with a dog


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Some airlines allow dog to travel in the cabin with you, as long as they weight less than 7 kg (carrier included). The carrier must be closed and secure, and your dog will not be allowed out of the carrier at any time.

Pet carriers with open parts are therefore not allowed on planes. You will need to buy a ticket for your dog at the same time as you purchase your own. The fee varies depending on the airline. If your dog is travelling in the hold, it must be secured in a IATA-approved pet carrier with food and water bowls fixed securely to the door. Some airlines require you to cable tie the door(s) in addition to the fastening system. It's always a good idea to double check this before travel!

Travelling by train with a dog


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Dogs are allowed on all British trains free of charge up to a maximum of two dogs per passenger. They must be kept on a lead at all times unless held in a travel cage or carrier.

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Guide written by:

Jennifer, Self-taught DIY enthusiast, Manchester, 13 guides

Jennifer, Self-taught DIY enthusiast, Manchester

I didn’t receive any special training, I learned everything on the job as it came up. And what a joy it is to be able to do little jobs around the house that we love so much. That is, until the moment we decided to move and had to do everything; from the floor to the ceiling, from the kitchen to the bathroom...In short, you become as good as a pros. So today, my friends don’t hesitate to call me when they need help. And when you dip your toe in, there’s no turning back. It’s a true passion that drives us to take on the challenges, to have an idea in mind and see it come alive with just a few tools. And a passion is even better when you can share it. So, whenever I can give you a little advice, it’s with great pleasure that I do it.

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