How to Choose the Right Pet Cargo Crate?

For Shippers · Pet Safety · Pet Shipping · 30 July 2021

chihuahua dog inside a box or crate for animals, waiting for an owner, isolated on white background

chihuahua dog inside a box or crate for animals, waiting for an owner, isolated on white background

If you are transporting a pet of any kind in a vehicle it is really important to make sure they are in an appropriate pet cargo crate. A pet cargo crate keeps your animal safe during the journey but also increases the safety of the whole entourage in the car. Animals not in the cargo crate may distract the driver or passenger causing an accident. This article will look at how to choose the right cargo crate for your pet. 

What is a pet cargo crate?

A cargo crate is essentially a small cage or enclosure that is either permanent inside a vehicle or can be secured inside for transporting animals. They can be constructed from a range of materials and come in a huge array of sizes for animals of all kinds. 

Pet Shipping with CitizenShipper

Portable or fixed?

Pet cargo crates can be fixed inside the vehicle or they can be moved in and out and used as a carrier crate too. Many professional transporters will have fixed cargo crates that allow them to carry multiple animals in a safe and secure manner. Similarly, if you have large dogs such as greyhounds creating a permanent fixture can make travel really easy and simple. Often the architecture of the car is used as the core elements with walls and doors created from the plastic coated wire. Vans and station wagons are perfect for this. You can see an example in the image below from BlackHound.

Two dogs in a dog cage at the back of an SUV

Portable crates can be fixed inside the vehicle for the journey using the car’s seat belts or other fixings to ensure the crate doesn’t move during the journey. Portable crates are good options for smaller pets such as lap dogs or cats which may require being carried right inside the vet or destination. See below for an example of a portable carrier attached to the seat with a belt. This one is made by Gen7.


If you choose a portable crate, the decision-making doesn’t stop there. You also need to choose the type of crate:

Hard-sided Kennels: Asuitabled travel carrier for your dog should be made out of sturdy material – it could be wood, plastic, or metal. Standart crates are usually made from plastic. If you ever consider air transport for your pet, a plastic kennel is the standard requirement of most airlines since it’s regarded as the best way for transporting a dog. Hard plastic carriers give room for your pet to move around, and they are easy to clean. Usually, hard plastic pages are the most durable, and clearly, they are also the safest! 

Soft-sided Crates: If you have a small pet, a soft-sided carrier might be a good choice. Usually, soft-sided carriers are designed to be portable and light, so you can easily fold them up and just take them out when needed. When choosing soft-sided pet cargo carriers, pay attention to the manufacturer’s information about the size since many dog owners report that they have to go a size bigger than usual with this type of crate.

Wearable dog carriers: If you have a small light pet and just need a carrier for your city walks, a wearable carrier can be a good option. They come in many shapes and sizes, such as front or backpacks, and you have your hands free while your pet can watch the surroundings in its cozy package. Usually, they are washable and lightweight. This is a good option if you need to go partly by vehicle then ride or walk some distance. 

Choose the Right Carrier Size

One of the essential factors for selecting the right carrier for your pet is size. Too big and the animal can move too much and cause a distraction or hurt themselves, too small and the animal may feel trapped and panic. The crate must allow your pet to sit, stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably with its paws extended. Measure your pet – once from the base of their tail to the tip of their nose and once from the floor to the top of their head – and add 3-4 inches to determine how tall and long the cargo should be. If you own a pug-nosed dog, go for a bigger size as these breeds need more space for clear breathing. Enough air is essential. If you know your pet likes to be cuddly you may go for a more snug fit. 

Other transport details 

Getting your pet in and out of its crate. Think about your pet’s mobility and behavioral issues. If you have large, obedient dogs, a fixed large container will be perfect. However, if you have an old dog that needs to be lifted into a car, a softer, lower-positioned crate would be the better choice. 

Think about the type of journey you are planning to take with your pet. If you plan on long road trips you should choose a crate that allows for food and water to be served to them while they are inside. If you are only going to be doing short trips then you won’t need water in their crate but make sure you take a spare bowl for a drink on the side of the road. You can attach labels in another way, but it’s even handier if the kennel of your choice already has an area for labeling. 

How to Decide?

Ensure that your pet cargo crate is the right size, is well ventilated, and gives your pet a cozy and safe way to travel. A suitable carrier is the second home of your pet outside the house, and it’s your pet’s safe space in stressful driving situations. It should be comfortable and easy to handle. 

How to Prepare the cargo crate for Your Pet?

After all that careful decision-making, it’s now time to introduce your pet to its new home. Don’t rush things with a journey straightway but allow your pet to gradually get used to its new object by plav=cing it close by or allowing your pet to spend some time in the crate without a movie. Once there is some familiarity, you can take a short trip. Carefully observe your pet and check they seem comfortable, have enough space, and don’t get stressed. 

Last updated at December 15, 2021

Share this:
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x