The best dog carriers and cages for your car

Keep your dog safe and comfortable on car journeys with carriers and travel crates.

best dog car carriers and cages

by Chris Williams |

To almost everyone, the image of a dog with its head poking out the window of a moving car, its tongue and ears flapping freely, is the epitome of happiness. But not all of Britain’s nine million dogs revere car rides quite so much as that care-free Border Collie in the other lane.

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Why invest in a dog crate or carrier for the car?

It's a legal requirement to make sure your dog is safely restrained while you travel in the car, and you could be fined if they're not. Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that dogs need to be restrained to prevent driver distraction, or injury if braking suddenly.

Dog carriers and cages are the obvious solutions for dogs who dread the car, and for owners who wish to keep their dog secure while on the move. A dedicated safe space is better for everyone, including the dog.

At the ultra-practical level, pets that aren't restrained in any way may not be covered by insurance if you have a crash. It sure would be painful to watch the hundreds of pounds a year you spent on pet insurance go down the toilet because you didn’t bother with a dog cage for the car. Relative to other pet expenses, a faithful car carrier or crate is inexpensive and thoroughly worthwhile.

The best dog carriers and travel crates for cars:

Me and My Pets Car Carrier

Best dual-purpose carrier
Me and My Pets Car Carrier

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For little'uns of the dog world, here is a double-use and reasonably priced carrier. You can zip it up and fasten it into place by passing the seat belt through the rear strap. Alternatively, open the top flap, fasten the carry strap behind the headrest, and it becomes a booster seat your small dog or puppy can sit up in.

The dimensions are 44cm x 37cm x 30cm. You can easily collapse it flat when you need to store it and features some useful touches such as storage pockets and durable rubber feet. There is a smaller size too at 40cm x 35.5cm x 26cm.

Pros Cons
• Value • Not as durable as solid cages
• Ideal for smaller dogs

RAC Fabric Dog Carrier

Best large fabric carrier
RAC Fabric Dog Carrier

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At 75 cm x 51.5cm x 51cm, RACu2019s large dog carrier is the most generous of three sizes available. This steel frame inside a fabric shell is a fantastically versatile choice that adds considerable safety improvements over fabric carriers without it. Perhaps this also makes for a u2018friendlier' option than a cold metal cage. Of course, that is entirely subjective.

Because of its squared shape, it'll fit quite happily on most car seats and can be restrained with a seat belt. The top opens and so too does the front. You can easily wash the fabric cover when (not if) it gets a little mucky.

While it doesn’t have quite the robustness of a metal cage, the trade-off is that it’s very easy to fold away when it isn’t needed.

Pros Cons
• Three sizes available • Not suitable for dogs that like to scratch
• RAC dependability and practical design

Ferplast Atlas Scenic Car Transport Box

Best solid crate
Ferplast Atlas Scenic Car Transport Box

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This transport crate offers safety, quality and comfort and comes in two different sizes. The solid walls of this crate are plastic and the bars are metal. There are ventilation points all round and a low lip at the door to make it easy for even older dogs to get in and out.

While the design is very secure and protective, there is a trade-off. Because it can be in the boot of a car, this cage is for the journey only. You can't leave your pet in there for long periods of time. The plastic floor features drainage points for hygiene.

Pros Cons
• Great design • Price jump over fabric carriers
• Safe and secure

Aluline Double Dog Crate

Best for safety
Aluline Double Dog Crate

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Chunky dog cages like these are the best option for safety and peace of mind. We like the Trixie double-unit because it is versatile as well as sturdy. The full size is 80cm x 92cm x 65cm with an angled front for fitting into car boots, but there is a removable divider in order to transport two small dogs, or one medium to large one. However, this is the middle size. Therefore, if you require bigger or smaller, there are other size options too.

While the cage is very solid, you will likely want to add a blanket or mat of some kind to the floor to make it a bit more cosy. You can also purchase a pair of safety straps separately to help keep the crate in place. They are polyester and can hold up to 70 kilograms. It’s not like these should be put to the test, but if they were, it’s nice to know the straps will do their job.

Pros Cons
• Roomy for large dogs • Relatively expensive
• Very secure

Karlie Transport Box

Best dog crate
Karlie Transport Box

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These are not the most attractive pieces of equipment but they are built for a purpose and they fulfil that purpose very well indeed. Unlike the others above, this dog crate is approved for airlines too (always double-check first, of course). There are four sizes for you to choose from, the largest of which provides a generous 50-litre, 100x67x75cm space. The larger sizes also come with removable wheels to make transporting even easier.

In keeping with its strict functionality, the upper and lower parts can be separated and stored inside one another. In order to click together, there are lockable hinges. The side windows offer light and air for comfortable travelling.

Pros Cons
• Light • Not very aesthetic
• Sturdy

Dog car crate/travel crate buying advice

If you have a puppy that is still growing, wisdom suggests getting a carrier that will continue to fit once it has grown to size. It’s not like your children’s jumpers that need upsizing every year or two; one well-planned dog cage should do you.

On the subject of size, measure both your dog and your car! All the manufacturers of carriers and cages reiterate this too. Whichever carrier you’re considering, make sure it, your dog, and your car all fit neatly together in unison.

In regards to cage material, know your dog. Those carriers made from fabric, no matter how durable, are unlikely to be best chums with a dog that likes to chew. Metal or plastic cages and crates would certainly be more appropriate.

You'll find that most dog car carriers and cages are generally suitable for small and medium-sized dogs. For large dogs, harnesses can be a better option; or, you can buy bespoke large crates fitted direct to your car's boot.

How to make car travel comfortable for your dog

Common sense dictates that you should avoid feeding your dog just before loading them into the car for a journey. People get car sick for the same reasons, so too do dogs.

Keep the car at a comfortable temperature. The confined interior of a car heats up quickly and dogs, especially those with thicker coats, will feel the heat even more severely. On the subject of car temperature, do not at any point leave your dog in the car own their own. Cracking a window open is not enough to keep dogs cool in a parked car.

If you're on a long trip, take regular stops to allow your dog to stretch its legs and have a drink. It's very similar to humans isn't it?

Getting your dog used to car travel from a young age makes a huge difference to their ability to relax and enjoy a trip, provided you make it comfortable for them.

Read our other guides on dog car travel:

Best dog car seat protectors

Best dog car harness

Best dog booster seats and beds for cars

The best car boot liner to keep your boot pristine

The best car carpet cleaners for carpet and fabric stains

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