How do you secure a dog crate in a van?

Whether taking your own pups for a ride or starting a career as an independent animal transporter, safety should be your top priority. As an online marketplace specializing in pet transportation, we get certain types of questions so often you wouldn’t believe! How do you secure a dog crate in a van? What kind of fastening do I need? What do you do when the crates won’t fit together? Am I doing something wrong?

And hey, we get it — anything can be intimidating at first. But with the right attitude and some guidance, you’ll soon get the hang of things. So with that in mind, here’s a quick step-by-step guide to securing dog crates inside a van. 

Step One – Get the right kind of container

There’s a broad offering of crates, carriers, kennels, and other animal containers out there. The cheaper ones sometimes lack the right reinforcements, but there’s also plenty of affordable ones that cut the mustard. Be on the lookout for those that come with safety straps and tiedown brackets. If you opt for a wire build, get crate coverings so that the dogs won’t get antsy in close proximity to each other.

Step Two – Get the right kind of vehicle

So you’re using a van to transport dogs, and that’s certainly the right idea. You want something roomy enough to provide sufficient volume, but there is such a thing as too much space. It’s usually easier to properly secure a crate in a minivan with fastening fixtures than in a huge empty hold. Here’s a shortlist of what you need to fit inside your budget:

  • Belts and harnesses, the sturdier the better
  • Waterproof kennel covering in the back for easy cleaning
  • Quality ventilation and temperature control

Step Three – Basic setup

Now that you’re properly outfitted, it’s time to set up the crates. Put simply, smaller ones go to the backseat, bigger ones go into the cargo area. Whatever you do, don’t put a dog crate in the front passenger seat! In most vehicles, airbags can be a huge hazard for pets. 

If you can, try to position each crate lengthwise along the wall. This is usually the most stable position before the tiedown. Always try to leave some room between the crates so the air can flow freely and you can maneuver around.

Step Four – The tiedown 

The small dog crates in the backseat you tie down using seat belts. The one going across the lap goes into the lower safety strap on the crate. The one going across the shoulder goes into the topside safety strap. Make sure everything is neatly buckled, and you’re done.

(In a pinch, a small crate could also be secured in the floor area of the passenger front seat. You’ll need to cushion it with towels or blankets so it can’t slide to either side. And as always, make sure not to block the air vents!)

The big dog crates in the cargo area are a trickier proposition. If there aren’t solid built-in fixtures to keep them in place, you’ll secure them with leather or nylon straps. First, locate the tiedown openings or rings in the corners of the crate — usually at the base. Stretching a strap from fixtures in the van walls across the crate, hook it to a ring or opening on the crate.  Once you’ve done this from two sides (left to right and back to front), tug the crate little to see if it’s loose. If necessary, apply additional straps until it’s set in its place.

Step Five – Hit the road!

And there you have it, each one’s snug as a bug. It might take you a few tries to get the hang of it, but it’s really not that complicated. Next time, when somebody asks “how do you secure a dog crate in a van”, you’ll be the one dishing out the tips!

Stay safe, and happy shipping!

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