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By air or land (or maybe even by sea), dog owners know that vacations are more fun with a dog. But how will you keep your dog safe on your journey together? Start with a dog travel crate.

Dog travel crates or carriers provide a safe, enclosed space for your dog to travel in comfort. These crates differ from a home crate with a few extra features, including providing ways to secure them during travel, along with helpful features for us humans, too.

While travel crates offer necessary security and durability during travel, they also function as a safe secure space for your pet at your destination. We’ve rounded up our favorite dog crates to help get your furry friend, great or small, safely from point A to point B.

Gunner Kennels Dog Crate

This heavy-duty travel crate is one of the safest options you’ll find; it has a five-star rating for crash safety.

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How to Choose a Dog Travel Crate

Before we get to our recommendations, here are the factors to consider when choosing a travel crate:

  • Size. It should be big enough for your dog to sit, stand, and turn around in, but small enough to keep them secure. Generally, travel crates should be no more than six inches longer than your dog.
  • Safety. However you plan to travel with your dog, a sturdy crate should securely enclose them and protect them from potential accidents.
  • Set up. No matter the crate you choose, it should be easy to assemble, store, and use. Otherwise, you’ll be less likely to use it.
  • Situation. Some crates work best for car travel, some for air travel, and some work well for both.

A note on car safety: dogs should always be restrained in the car, whether with a travel crate, dog car harness, or doggy seatbelt. We recommend choosing a product that’s been crash-tested by the Center for Pet Safety.

A note on air travel: The cargo area can be scary and even dangerous for dogs. In fact, some airlines don’t allow it due to liability concerns. But if you need to fly your larger dog, we recommend a durable and well-designed crate. Be sure to check that your air travel crate meets the TSA’s guidelines before heading out on your trip—see our expert guide for traveling with your dog.

If you’re planning to fly with a service pet, read about new changes effecting service animals on airplanes.

Best Large Dog Travel Crates

This kennel looks tough because it is. No clattering wire here, the Gunner Kennel is made from heavy-duty, double-walled molded plastic. Best of all, Gunner Kennels have a five-star rating for crash safety from the Center for Pet Safety and offer security for dogs up to 75 pounds. That makes it the safest large dog travel crate available.

The crates are available in four different heavy-duty sizes (small, medium, intermediate, and large), and there is an excellent array of kennel accessories that you can purchase in addition: a memory foam dog bed, an attachable fan, safety straps for securing during travel, a weatherizing kit, and a security lock.

Features we love:

  • Strength-rated connection straps, two strong carrying handles, and rubber grip feet for crash safety
  • Dual-locking single door that offers structural support and security, with the option to open from the left or the right
  • Online reviewers with escape artist dogs repeatedly call this crate escape-proof
  • Meets airline safety standards (but always check with the airline for additional requirements)
  • Online buyers rave about the company’s customer service

Gunner Kennels Dog Crate

This heavy-duty travel crate is one of the safest options you’ll find; it has a five-star rating for crash safety.

Shop on Gunner.com

Our bargain pick for a dog travel crate, this basic pet kennel comes in large and extra-large sizes. It isn’t crash-rated, but it’s still a solid way to secure your dog and prevent distractions on the road. It can also be used as a carrier for vet visits and other outings. Just be sure to secure it with safety straps (not included) and a seat belt in the car.

Features we love:

  • Made of durable plastic with a stainless steel-wire front door
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble for storage
  • It’s a bargain!

Frisco Plastic Dog Travel Crate

This affordable travel crate is easy to assemble and disassemble for storage.

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Coming in sizes ranging between 19 and 40 inches, RuffMaxx crates are for all sizes of dogs. It’s durable and meets airline specifications.

Features we love:

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Easy assembly
  • Warranty available

Petmate RuffMaxx Dog Travel Crate

Available in a range of sizes, this durable dog crate is another great choice for airline use.

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Another trusty pick from the Petmate brand, the Sky Kennel is specifically designed for air travel. Not only is it crafted from highly durable plastic, but it provides ventilation on all sides and a secure, interlocking front door. Bonus? It’s made with recycled materials.

Features we love:

  • Made of high-strength plastic produced in the USA
  • Simple to assemble
  • Includes ID labels and food and water cups

Petmate Sky Kennel

Designed for air travel, this crate is crafted from durable plastic with ventilation on all sides.

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This is one serious car crate! The Variocage was designed to surpass European crash tests and passed front, rear, and roll-over collision tests. The front door secures with a key lock and has a one-hand quick-release latch, and there’s a rear escape hatch with an external release, in case of an emergency that requires a quick vehicle exit.

Features we love:

  • Adjustable crate length to accommodate your dog’s size
  • Easy-to-clean rubber carpet
  • Tons of ventilation

4×4 North America MIM Variocage Dog Travel Crate

This car crate is extra-secure with a keyed front door. However, there’s a rear escape hatch for additional safety.

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Best Small Dog Travel Crates

When you travel, it’s important to have a crate that breaks down, or to have a separate crate just for travel. Folding the Revol is much easier (just twist the top lever and fold) versus the traditional crate which requires more room to lay the sides down, then fold.

While the Revol sits much taller than a traditional crate and has a larger stow-away footprint, its solid, sturdy construction and ease of use make it a great option for car travel with small dogs.

For more about this crate and why it’s great for small dogs, see The Diggs Revol Dog Crate: Our Review

Diggs Revol Collapsible Crate

This foldable travel crate is a great option for traveling by car with your dog.

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Shop Diggs at the Diggs Website

One of the most popular travel crates on the market, the Sleepypod combines the features of hard-sided and soft-sided crates for a car-friendly, dog-friendly travel experience. All Sleepypod products have passed the Center for Pet Safety crash testing. They’re best for small dogs weighing up to 15 pounds.

Features we love:

  • Made from luggage-grade nylon that’s been tested for strength and safety
  • Tall dome lets your pet stand, look out, and enjoy the ride
  • Dome zips off so you can use the pod at home as a regular bed
  • Velcro positioning points for secure seat belt attachment

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed

This travel carrier sports a dome that keeps a dog safe inside while traveling but can be zipped off to transform the carrier into a regular bed.

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Easy access points are an important feature for air travel carriers for small dogs. Sleepypod comes through again, this time with a foldable design that offers the flexibility air travel often demands. This carrier, which comes in several colors, is custom-built for air travel. It contracts to fit in the space below most airline seats during takeoff and landing, and can be expanded while in flight to give your dog more space. Note: This carrier is selling like hotcakes, so get yours on Amazon soon!

Check out our video review of this dog travel crate:

Features we love:

  • Soft, fleecy padding keeps your dog cozy
  • Pass-through pocket lets you attach it to your roller luggage as you walk through the airport
  • The top and ends open for easy access to your pet, and there are large zipper pockets on both sides

To learn more about what Sleepypod offers the dog parent on the go, we have a full review of their carriers and harnesses in this article: Testing the Top Dog Safety Gear: A Sleepypod Review.

You might also be interested in the Sleepypod Go Bag, the brand’s travel bag that we review here, and our in-depth review of the Sleepypod Air here: The Sleepypod Air, Reviewed

Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier

This carrier is custom-built for air travel with a foldable design that can expand while in flight.

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This simple, classic dog travel crate is the official pet carrier of Delta airlines—of course, it works for other airlines, too! It’s TSA-approved and the perfect size and shape for most under-seat storage.

Features we love:

  • Spring-wire frame allows flexibility to fit under the seat
  • Mesh windows for ventilation, and top and side entry with locking zippers for safety
  • Rear pocket holds a leash, treats, and other travel necessities
  • Padded, adjustable, no-slip strap for easy carrying

Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier

This classic travel carrier is designed with a flexible frame to better fit under airline seats, as well as mesh windows for ventilation.

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Designed with your pet’s and your comfort in mind, this carrier works like a backpack. It has a shape that is natural for a pet to fit into and is easy for you to carry.

Features we love:

  • Durable mesh-covered windows offer ventilation, while a soft sherpa fleece liner keeps your dog comfy inside
  • Includes a collapsible water bowl and a name tag ID
  • Two external side pockets and one front zipper pocket to store accessories

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

This backpack-style carrier makes it comfortable to carry around your dog, thanks to its padded shoulder straps. Plus, it’s available in nine color options.

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This clever, stylish dog travel crate meets airline regulations to fit under seats but has a zip-out mesh section that expands to give your pup extra space in-flight. It’s made from attractive, durable nylon, with mesh windows for ventilation and a view.

Features we love:

  • Pop-out “apartment” gives your dog room to stretch after takeoff
  • Premium locking zippers for safety
  • Has seatbelt attachment point for car travel post-flight
  • The company donates a percentage of profits to animal welfare organizations

Mr. Peanut’s Expandable Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

This expandable dog carrier fits under airline seats but boasts a zip-out mesh section to give your dog more space after takeoff.

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What can’t this crate do? It rolls, it converts to a backpack, or it can be carried like a regular bag. And with lots of external storage, the Gen7 roller will allow you to pack everything your dog may need, along with your dog. It’s approved for airline travel and is for dogs up to 20 pounds.

Features we love:

  • Works for carrying, rolling, and as a backpack
  • Great for car or plane travel
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent handles and available pockets
Gen7Pets Roller Pet Carrier 

Gen7Pets Roller Pet Carrier

This versatile travel carrier can be rolled, carried, or worn as a backpack. It’s also lightweight and airline-approved.

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If you’re looking for a soft crate with many size options, the versatile Elitefield is a wonderful choice and it’s also the most popular of its kind. The various setup options make it one of the most flexible crates available, though the soft design doesn’t make it a good option for air travel with a large dog.

Features we love:

  • Lightweight but still quite durable
  • Five available sizes and over a dozen colors to choose from
  • Sturdy, steel tube frame for safety
  • Three entry doors with sturdy zippers

Elitefield Three-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate

This popular soft-sided crate offers three points of entry and folds down when not in use.

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