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So you’ve packed your bags, sorted your accommodation and now all you need is something to keep your dog restrained, but comfortable, whilst you’re driving. The two main options to choose from when transporting your dog in the car, a cage or a carrier, allow your dog to sit comfortably whilst preventing them from jumping around - potentially hurting themselves or distracting you. There is the option of a travel harness, a type of doggy seatbelt, but these are best suited for dogs that will sit still when travelling. A dog crate or carrier on the other hand will accommodate even the bounciest of dogs. Crates also have the added bonus of usually being somewhere the dog has been in before if used for training, so they are already accustomed to being in their crate and knowing it is a positive place where they rest or eat a tasty treat!
The size of your dog crate depends on the size of your dog and the size of your vehicle's boot. These pieces of dog travel equipment need to fit appropriately in the boot so they don’t slide around when the car is in motion; this may frighten your dog. Also, the dog cage needs to be large enough for your dog to be able to stand, move around and sit comfortably. Large dog crates are best for breeds such as German Shepherds and Labradors. Breeds such as Spaniels should find that medium dog crates suit them well, whereas small breeds like Terriers should have enough room in a small dog crate or carrier.
Durability, security, accessibility and how easy it is to clean, are all things that you should look for when choosing a cage or carrier. All materials have their advantages and disadvantages so it depends on what is best for you and your dog. Fabric cages are more lightweight than metal crates meaning you will be able to lift and move them around easier. However, the fabric type can be harder to keep clean and odour free - an important point to remember if your dog is prone to having accidents when travelling or if they get carsick.
Large dog crates are usually made from metal, a durable and easy-to-clean material. These crates usually come with a large plastic floor which is removable so you can clean the cage thoroughly and allows you to collapse the cage for storage when not in use. Metal will make the crate much more cumbersome which is fine if you are leaving the crate in your car boot, but less so if you are looking to use the crate in your home as well as in your car.
Carriers are primarily made from plastic as their main function is to be lightweight enough for you to carry your small dog in. Carriers with a detachable lid are handy if you have a dog with mobility issues as you can easily lift them in and out.
Your dog’s crate or carrier should be a piece of equipment that you use throughout your dog's life. It is important then to make sure your dog feels safe inside it, seeing it as an extension of their home and place to sleep or rest. Many owners incorporate their dog’s crate as part of the furniture by decorating the outside with blankets which at the same time, creates a den-like appearance. This is great for dogs that are a little anxious, especially around firework season as your dog can retreat to this hiding spot away from the noise and bright lights.