By Gary Walker
A dog crate can be used for a number of purposes, including kenneling and crate training. But one of the best reasons for buying a crate is for transporting your dog, as the crate provides protection and a safe environment in the car.
Before you rush out to buy a dog crate though, there are some of the important things to consider.
The size of the dog and the size of your car are both important. Quite obviously you want a crate that will fit in the back seat, but you also want one that can comfortably accommodate your dog.
Don’t be tempted to buy a crate simply because it is the right size for the car. Your dog should be able to turn around easily but should not have too much space, or he may be tempted to relieve himself in the crate.
Make sure that the crate has adequate ventilation, as dogs can overheat quite easily. This is especially important during the summer months, and with short-faced breeds that are known to have breathing difficulties.
There are 3 types of crate – the moulded plastic variety, the wire “cage”, and the vinyl “carry bag”. Of these, the plastic case is preferable for transporting your dog as it provides the highest level of protection.
If you follow the advice above on how much space to give your dog, then your dog is unlikely to relieve himself while in the crate. If it does happen though, you’ll want a crate that is easy to clean.
Fortunately, most crates are designed for easy cleaning. The plastic crates are usually very easy to take apart, then wash down and re-assemble.
Some dogs become anxious when put in a crate, and the most common reason is that they can’t see out. If your dog is one that becomes stressed about being in an enclosed space then the best solution is to use a wire crate, which allows them a 360-degree view. Apart from the fact that he can’t move freely around the car, it’s almost like he’s are not in a crate at all.
A dog crate is essential for protecting your dog while he’s in the car, but not all crates are created equal. The best bet for small to medium-sized dogs is a plastic crate. It is strong, lightweight and very easy to clean.
For bigger dogs, or dogs that become stressed in small spaces, you can use a wire crate. This still provides protection, although not as much as a plastic crate, so compensate by putting in extra cushioning.
Soft crates provide no protection at all, and are therefore unsuitable for transportation.