Do I really need a dog car crate?
According to the Highway Code, you need to ensure all animals are suitably constrained within a vehicle so they can’t distract you while you are driving, or injure anyone in the car.
There are no rules on how exactly this is done, however. A car boot crate is good if your car is otherwise full of passengers, or if you know your dog will be restless or do all they can to distract you. You should not take your eyes off the road to check on them.
So, if you’re unsure about them travelling inside the car, a crate will give you peace of mind that they’re secure and safe.
Are there any alternatives to dog car crates?
If your car is small, your dog is too large, or you don’t like the idea of them being in the boot, you may wish to opt for an alternative method of getting them around.
Car seatbelt clips or harnesses are the best way to transport your dog if you want them to sit on the back seat, without any restrictions or cages. You can also purchase boot guards which close off the open part between the boot and back seat, so they can’t jump over the seats but have the maximum amount of space possible in the boot.
Of course, this can mean that they aren’t as secure when it comes to things like emergency braking, or if they’re generally restless, so a cage would be good for any dogs who move around a lot.
Which material should I go for?
The majority of dog crates are metal wire. Your dog can see out, the cage is easy to keep clean and they are the most secure option so your dog’s movement is restricted.
Some crates are hard plastic and give more of a ‘closed’ environment. There is the option of a soft dog crate, too. These could be good for any dogs who get car sick so you need to restrict their movement and visibility, or if you will need to use a crate at the chosen destination and don’t want to carry a bulky metal cage around.
Soft crates can also be good for boots that are odd shapes, or if you want something which can be used on the car seats and adapt to shapes. Bear in mind they’re harder to look after and clean should the dog have any accidents, however.
Why do some car crates have two doors?
Most cages will have a door that you can open once your car boot is open. But many also have a second door, which is either at the top of the cage or rear.
If you were unable to open the boot for some reason, such as a car accident or parking restrictions, you will still be able to access your dog by folding down the back car seats or reaching over. This could be worth thinking about as a safety issue.
Will a dog car crate fit into my boot?
A cage that just about fits into a Range Rover will not squeeze into a Ford Ka.
It is important to measure the width of your boot, taking into account any bits which stick out or aren’t entirely flat. You should also measure the space between the door and back seat, and take into account whether the shape and slant of your boot door will have an effect on the shape of the crate you can buy.
Crates can also be placed onto a back seat and fastened using seat belts or straps, but do remember that there is a good chance your seats aren’t entirely flat and this could cause a bit of wobbling. Unfortunately, if your car is on the smaller side, you may not be able to find a suitable option.
Will my dog fit into a car crate?
It is all well and good to get a crate that fits perfectly in your car boot, but you need to ensure your dog can then comfortably fit into the said crate.
The height of the crate should at least go up to their neck, so they can lie down comfortably. While most other items need to be quite roomy, you shouldn’t give your dog too much vertical space as they could jump up, get thrown around or fall over when you’re driving due to sudden movements.
The width should match their length when they’re lying down. This will encourage them to do this, so they are safe.
If you’re buying a crate for a puppy but don’t want to have to buy another model in a few months when they have grown, try a crate with a divider. This way, you can restrict space but increase it when the time is ready, without having to buy a whole new crate.
Can I fasten a dog car crate to my boot?
A big question is how to secure your crate to the boot. This could be a good idea if your boot is larger than the crate and you know your car journey involves some bends and traffic as opposed to a flat, smooth motorway.
A few bungee cables or something similar could help it to attach to any Isofix points in the boot, or around car headrests. You may also wish to pad out the rest of the free space with cushions, bags or something similar so the cage can’t move.
My dog suffers from travel sickness – can a crate help?
A car crate will restrict the amount which your dog can move around, which in turn is said to reduce the likelihood of motion sickness.
A crate with solid, closed sides (like a plastic crate) can also help reduce visibility which is said to help travel sickness, but open crates can also be covered with a blanket or towel.