How to Choose the Best Travel Kennel for Your Dog

Your dog will travel safe if you select a kennel that’s appropriate for your pet’s size and weight.

travel dog kennel
Your dog will travel safe if you select a kennel that’s appropriate for your pet’s size and weight.AmazonBasics

For some people, their dogs are their constant companions when at home. Consequently, when it comes time to travel, many like to take their canine friends along for the ride. To do so safely requires a high-quality travel kennel to keep your dog safe and restrained. While wire crates are great for at home or in hotels, some are tough to collapse, store, and transport while traveling in a vehicle. When choosing a travel kennel, consider these three important factors.

Vehicle Size

travel dog kennel
This kennel’s 23-inch length and 13-inch width allows it to fit in the backseat of many cars and in the back of nearly all SUVs.AmazonBasics

The size of the vehicle you intend to use when transporting your dog is obviously very important when choosing a travel kennel. If you have a very small compact car, you better have a very small dog or you’re not going to be able to transport it in a suitable-sized travel kennel. The best practice is to carefully measure the amount of space in your back seat and make sure you pick a crate that will easily fit there without having to jam or cram it in, or move the front seats excessively far forward. For SUVs, measure the rear cargo area to determine what size crate will fit. It’s important to do this with the tailgate closed or you could be in for a rude awakening when you put your crate in and try to close the door. Of course, if you have a full-size pickup truck and plan to put your kennel in the back, the sky’s pretty much the limit on how big your kennel can be. In that case, just choose the one that’s perfect for the size of your dog.

Dog Size

travel crate
This travel crate with a tightly woven mesh fabric surrounded by a strong steel frame comes in a variety of sizes so you can pick just the right one for your canine companion.PetNation

The size of your dog is also a critical factor in what size travel kennel to purchase. Instead of getting one that “looks plenty big,” follow general guidelines for how big of a crate you need for different sized dogs. Many experts recommend carefully measuring your dog to get a perfect fit. First, measure it from tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Next, measure from the elbow joint in the forearm to the ground. Then, measure across your dog’s shoulders. Lastly, when your dog is standing, measure from the top of his head to the ground. Kennel length should be the first measurement plus half the measurement from elbow to ground. Recommended width is twice the shoulder width measurement. Recommended kennel height is the same as the final measurement taken on your standing dog. Most experts recommend that owners of snub-nosed breeds like pit bulls add a minimum of an extra 10 percent to each measurement.

Think about Flying

airline pet carrier
This dog carrier is made for very small dogs and is approved for airline travel.Henkelion

Some dog kennel models have received certification from airlines to be used while transporting your dog in a plane’s cargo hold. If you plan to take your dog with you on a trip where you’ll be flying, you’ll want to focus on airline-approved kennels when shopping. Note that airline guidelines must be heeded when purchasing a kennel for a pet to fly. According to those restrictions, a crate must be large enough for your dog to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably, and brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds will require one size larger than normal for most airlines that permit them to fly in cargo. Some small carriers for small dogs are airline approved for taking onto the plane with you. Most are made for very small dogs or cats, and have mesh covering on at least a few sides so you can easily check on your pet while in transit.