Please give me a crate idea!
May 25, 2012 12:48 PM   Subscribe

What type of crate should we use for my sister's very large dog?

My sister has a pretty big mutt (lab, not sure what else) weighing just over 100 lbs and standing maybe thigh-high on us average ladies. She wants to take the dog on a road trip in her VW Rabbit and have the dog be as safe and comfortable as possible. If not contained, the dog likes to roam about the car, which seems dangerous and also causes the hair to go everywhere.

We've looked at the nylon crates but they seem flimsy; this dog can be reactive and may try to break out unexpectedly. Wire crates being more square-shaped seem to take up more room than necessary, and don't appear very cozy. Plastic ones are a pain in the butt to store.

Any suggestions? I've read the previous threads on crating dogs and they seem more about long-term crating rather than temporary crating for travel.

I would note that the dog is a rescue and isn't crated around the house. He would be exposed to it gradually in advance of the trip, which isn't til later in the summer.
posted by Pomo to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
They do sell car barriers, and for specific car makes. Amazon has them for the rabbit/golf.

They are much more practical for car trips, as the crate height in a smaller car sometimes is a problem.
posted by rich at 12:53 PM on May 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

What about a dog seatbelt harness? May not solve the hair problem much, but should stop the roaming.
posted by Gori Girl at 12:53 PM on May 25, 2012

If the rear barrier isn't going to give him enough room, you might also consider a seat hammock. Not fully enclosed, but it might be enough of a barrier to keep him from climbing up front, and it makes the hair cleanup a lot easier. I used one with my 80-pound leggy greyhound, and he liked it just fine.
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:56 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Great suggestions above, but have a note about plastic crates: most of the modern ones have some mechanism to be split into a top and bottom half, where one half can be nestled into the other for easier storage.
posted by batmonkey at 1:00 PM on May 25, 2012

What about a dog seatbelt instead of a crate? I would argue that you don't just want the dog to be confined, you want it to be safe if there is a crash and not be thrown from the car. Take a look at ruff rider.
posted by medusa at 2:11 PM on May 25, 2012

Our German Shepherd mix has a doggy seat belt (the Ruff Ryder) that we attach via the latch system in our car. We use the LATCH system (for carseats) because it doesn't give her enough slack to get into the front seat like just hooking the dog seatbelt into the person seatbelt does. She wears her vest and we buckle her in with a 2 foot or so chain that attaches on one end to the vest via carabiner and on the other end to the latch anchor via another carabiner. This gives her enough room to stand/sit/lay in one seat or let's her poke her head out of the window, but not roam the car. As for fur, we vacuum a lot, but for a short trip I imagine a sheet would do.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 2:33 PM on May 25, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. I do appreciate the seatbelt ideas but don't think they will deal with the fur-containment aspect enough: we want to minimize the exposure to allergens for other users of the car and don't always have the time for a really thorough vacuuming. I realize some fur will still escape with any crate, but it will likely be more in the hatch area.
posted by Pomo at 2:55 PM on May 25, 2012

Check into Vari-kennel plastic crates. They come apart into two halves that can be nested, for easy storage. They also are a teensy bit flexible for cramming into tight or awkward spaces.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:16 PM on May 25, 2012

Best answer: Nylon crates work great. You can't leave the dog unsupervised with them, though. However - assuming he doesn't set out to destroy it, it will hold up fine. We use them all the time. (or, well did, till we got the new car and could fit larger wire crates in there).

The wire crates are sturdier, and I prefer them because it's easier to see how the dog is doing. If they are sized correctly are pretty comfortable for the dogs. Get the tray and a thick pillow or pad. Put a cover or blanket over it if there is a lot of sunlight.

A smaller space is actually better for the dog - in the event of an accident, they are more restrained. If the dog isn't used to it, some practice will help - and of course, traveling goes much easier if the dog is well worn out beforehand. I usually run our dogs twice as long before a long trip and they sleep the whole way.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:18 PM on May 25, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks! Got the nylon style because all the right-sized hard ones were too tall for the hatch. He's already chilling in there in the living room, getting used to it.
posted by Pomo at 9:02 PM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

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