With so many distracted drivers on the road these days and after being in a car accident out of my control, I fervently looked for ways to improve my new puppy’s safety when traveling with me. I thought about my dog like having a toddler in a car, I wouldn’t let one climb free while I was driving. After some research, I found that the best way to keep my dog, myself, and other drivers safe was to secure a crate in the car. Of course, I was worried he wouldn’t be able to enjoy sticking his head out of the window or being able to look outside. But after a few month’s of using the car crate, I found he was happier, calmer, and more settled in the crate; no longer pacing and whining as we approached a dog park, trying to climb onto my lap, or chewing on my car’s stick shift. And as a bonus, it was convenient and easier to keep my car clean of fur, mud, and vomit! There are plenty of cool car crate options out there, but here are a few of my favorites after narrowing them down!
Ruffland Performance Kennel - Also known as the Ruff Tough Kennel, the RTK is affordable yet sturdy, a huge selling point for beginners like me! The crates are made out of one-piece roto-molded construction from UV-stabilized polyethylene which means it’s spacious, won’t crack, and easy to clean with no seams! They are flexible enough to absorb energy in a crash that would otherwise transfer to your dog. It comes in small-XL sizes and three plain colors. Since it is a non-metal crate, it is very lightweight which is perfect for transport and no gate rattling! However the unique shape of the kennel tends to take up more space with less space on the interior. These kennels are stackable, perfect for mobile daycare or grooming vehicles. The RTK is budget-friendly at about $100-$300.
Ruffland Performance Kennel feature race car-inspired Ruff-Flex Energy Dissipation Technology, made in the USA!
Gunner Kennels - I first heard about Gunner Kennels because they are the only CPS certified crate. After more research, I found that CPS certification was not end-all, be-all since there is no government regulation on crash testing for pets. Regardless, Gunner Kennels is a great product! Popular among hunters and owners who do dog sports, Gunner Kennels are double-wall rotomolded which can withstand 4,000 lb of force. It comes in small-large sizes and three outdoorsy colors. It is heavier, making it more heavy duty. Although the crates allow for good airflow, some dogs that run hot may get too warm as the Gunner Kennels are designed best secured on an open truck bed. However you can also attach a fan and use cooling pads! They retail for about $400-$700.
The idea of Gunner Kennels was birthed by Addison Edmond’s dog, Gunner, during a duck blind. Addison was tired of replacing flimsy plastic crates and designed one fit for his dog and the hard work he does!
Impact - These high grade .063” aluminum crates are sleek and sexy! Because the crates are made of aluminium, they are durable but 20% more lightweight than crates of similar design. The door also doesn’t come with a latch, great for chewers and escape artists. Impact crates are a great option if you are looking for a sturdy metal crate without dangerous wires, where dogs can hurt themselves on while riding in a vehicle. With ample ventilation, Impact crates also come in a collapsible option, high anxiety option (great for escape artists) and stationary option. They come in a wide range of sizes from small-3XL and many fun colors! These crates are perfect for dog trainers and boarding. Due to their wide variety, Impacts range from $400-$2000.
Impact Dog Crates are made by a family owned business in Idaho. Their dogs are always part of the activities that the Rocky Mountains of Idaho provide, including hiking, boating, and hunting.
Variocage - MIMSafe’s metal Variocage seem to be the safest crates on the market to this day. They have been crash tested and approved by Safe Pet Crate Test (SPCT) and Technical Research Institute of Sweden (SP). Made in Sweden, Variocage is meant to fit in your car’s cargo area against the back seats and designed to compress to a safe degree in an accident, absorbing the energy of the impact. This compression technique works similarly and with our car’s designed “crumple zone” without the crate splintering or breaking as many other crates would do otherwise. It also comes with an emergency hatch. They come in a few standard sizes and one color but many of their products can be custom made to fit your car’s model. The variocage retails for $800 to over $1000, a huge but life-saving investment!
MIMSafe is a Sweden-based manufacturer, creating safety products for the automotive industry for over 30 years!
Car crates are definitely a bigger investment than a traditional wire or plastic crate, but worth the value if it means the potential to saving our dog’s life! In fact, some of these manufacturer’s have warranties that will replace the crate with a new one if you get in an accident. With so many options, remember to size appropriately. Getting a large dog crate into the backseat of a car may not be feasible, and sometimes it won’t clear the roof. For short trips, a generously roomy dog crate won’t be necessary and can even be more dangerous for your dog in an accident. Also, many crates and other pet safety products fail testing due to the way they are secured, a loose dog crate in a vehicle may keep your pet safe but can become a projectile if not tied down properly. In a crate, your dog can still enjoy a comfortable ride in the car!