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Dog Crates For Travel -- what do you like?

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I am looking at changing to different dog crates for my travel needs. I have always used wire crates, as Texas it is so hot and humid. My thought was too provide as much air and circulation and comfort. But in using the wire crates, I am so afraid I am compromising the dogs safety on the road. Since I have been faced with two car accidents in the past three years (neither my fault--really), I want to get the safest crate possible, but I also want the dogs comfortable and not too hot.

 

I will be traveling with four BC's that are my world! We drive a suburban.

 

Please give me your comments as far as what you like and use or would suggest.

 

Thank you for your input and your time.

 

Cindy

 

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RuffTough crates have a very good reputation. They are not cheap, but they are solid in structure, rather than two halves bolted together, and you can get them with one door or a door on both ends. I'd like to get some but haven't afforded them.

I thought they had their own website, but I can't find it. Anyhow, if you Google you can find various buying options.

~ Gloria

 



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I have the Variocage in my car and Ruff Tough in my RV. I like both.

 

I was worried about the Variocage being too hot, as it is metal. But even with my Element's "sun roof" and a shade cloth over the top, it has been fine. Once in awhile, if the back of the car is facing the sun and it is extremely hot, the doors get a bit warm. But my dogs don't tend to stick their noses through, and it has been fine. On really bumpy roads, it is a bit rattle-y, but I've fixed most of the noise-making-spots with some removeable caulking. I very much like that it has an "emergency exit" on the back - if I am rear-ended, and my rear hatch won't open, there at least is an option to get dogs out.

 

The Ruff Tough are great, and likely more flexible (as far as fitting into space - but very strong!) than the Variocage. They come with a certain number of vent holes drilled. I asked for more, and the company was more than willing to add some. I also drilled some extra holes with no problem. Just be sure to get the "double doors" so there's more ventilation there too. The tie-downs are better than the Variocage in my opinion. I have an upper one bolted to a bottom one, which is bolted to a platform on the floor. Both are tied down with heavy-duty straps to the platform. They is going nowhere!!

 

diane

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I went through the same process a year ago. The old wire crates seem sturdy enough, but the modern ones come apart if you look at them crosswise. I'm sure you'd end up with dogs impaled in case of an accident.

 

I'm glad now I didn't get the Variocage, because I totaled that car (my fault!) this year. No guarantees it would have fit right in the current car.

 

I heard good things about the Ruff Tough crates - one of my FB friends knew someone who was rear-ended, and the crates held up to it just fine despite being pushed forwards. So I ended up buying two Ruff Tough intermediate crates (with double doors) that fit in the back, and one Medium crate (which only comes with a single door) that sits sideways on the folded-down rear seat in my Subaru Forester. I don't think I can squeeze three Intermediate crates in it. If I have to travel with two passengers, I'll have to trade one of the Intermediates for a Medium (and Spain will just have to be a teensy bit crowded) in order to get the back seat on one side to latch (it won't, quite). I haven't yet figured what I'll do if I have to travel with three passengers - put one of the kids in a dog crate on the roof of the car?

 

The double doors are a huge bonus, and I wish the Medium crate came with that as an option. I use these crates even in a mid-Atlantic summer. If I'm at a dog trial, I just spread my shade cloth over the hatch of my car, open all the windows and sunroof, put the sunshade on the dashboard, take the medium crate out and put it in the shade, and turn on the battery-powered fan in the back. I have a thermometer that I keep in the car and I check it regularly. And, of course, the dogs have water in their crates. The dogs have never seemed uncomfortably warm.

 

The Ruff Tough crates are a shade narrower than a standard crate, which makes it easy for me to fit two of them side-by-side in the back of the Subaru.

 

ETA: If you're worried that the Ruff Tough crates you want won't QUITE fit side by side, you can always place one of them on a piece of wood. They aren't a perfect box - the widest part is in the middle - and having one slightly elevated might just give you that bit of breathing room you need.

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I am going to echo what others have said.

 

I have, and like, a Ruff Tough crate. Like Alchemist, I totaled my car about 2 years ago. I only had one dog at that time that traveled with me (senior dog would stay home), but I had a puppy due to arrive in a couple of months so I knew I would need a 2nd crate. The car I wanted was ONE inch too narrow to fit 2 wire crates (and now I am glad it was). It made me look for an alternative crate. LOVED the idea of the Variocage (I think it is the only crash-tested crate on the market), but at close to $900 for one cage (~$1100 - $1200 for a double), it was way out of my price-range. [still waiting for that winning lottery ticket.]

 

I heard about the Ruff Tough crate, called the company and liked what I heard. I also liked that the crate was just enough narrower to fit in my car. I should probably replace my wire crate with another Ruff Tough.

 

The website shows a 350? pound man standing on a Ruff Tough crate. It doesn't collapse. The salesman told me a story about one of their customers (probably a young man) who had his Lab in a Ruff Tough crate in the back of his pick-up, but not fastened down. Apparently he was traveling at a high rate of speed (>80 miles per hour) when he had an accident, or had to swerve, and the crate (and dog) went flying out of the pick-up. The crate, and dog, were unharmed. Maybe I am a sucker for marketing, but I felt that these stories indicated the toughness of the crate. Admittedly, if someone rear-ended my vehicle enough to cause it to buckle, I am not sure the RT crates would hold up, but I think that is better that the possibility of a wire breaking on a wire crate and impaling a dog.

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One other note about the Ruff Tough - yes, they are definitely a bit narrower than others of a similar size.

All the videos on the web site show hunting dogs going in and curling up to lie down.

I suppose if they're in an open pickup or even one with a shell, it would be cool enough for them to do this comfortably.

 

However, when I travel, it is usually 6-8 hours (to agility trials). My 40 pound dog likes to stretch out a bit, and since our travel days tend to be long, and I'm asking him to run like heck (like he doesn't know any other way to do it!) when we arrive, I preferred that he have a tad more room. So, while he would easily fit in an intermediate size (that's what they call it) if he curled up, I ended up with a large.

 

I know that the smallest size a dog will fit into is the safest (less room for them to bounce around). But given my many years of driving (nope, not tellin'!) with no accidents, I decided to take the chance for him to be a bit more comfortable.

 

diane

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Thank you all so much for your feedback! You have really helped me with my decision. I think I will go ahead and try the ruff tough Crates! They sound like they will do the work I need them to do. And Diane, I travel long distances too, so I will probably get them a tad larger so the dogs can stretch out.

 

Cindy

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If you are in Texas, I highly recommend Jones Trailer Company. In addition to dog trailers, they make amazing crates. They offer a couple of different sizes or will do custom. Also have options for built in storage. I have one now and have just ordered a double for my new Yukon--very impressed with how sturdy they are plus good ventilation. And they look nice and they absolutely do not rattle. Good luck!

 

www.jonestrailers.com

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Dear Doggers,

 

If my dogs traveled in the back of an open pickup I might consider the ruff-tuff crates. Are they airline approved or would one need to buy a separate crate to fly them? The marchioro cages are sturdy, light, airline approved and have optional wheels which is handy moving your dog from the terminal to the rental car. I've totaled my 89 station wagon twice with dogs in these crates without harm to them.

 

Donald McCaig

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I have seen the Jones crates online before and was duly impressed -- but again, they are out of my price range.

 

Mr. McCaig - I would never transport a dog, untethered (crated or not), in the back of a pick-up. I HAVE seen a dog fly out. [A local person, but luckily they were driving somewhat slowly. Unfortunately, the incident didn't change their behavior.] I was horrified when I heard the story from the salesman, but it did support their claim of ruggedness.

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I currently have one Marchioro crate that I use for a car crate. I will continue to use it as it seems much sturdier than a wire crate. But I'll buy a ruff tough crate over another Marchioro crate as they seem to offer even better protection. I don't think the Ruff Tough crates are airline approved. But then an airline approved size for my dogs isn't going to fit well in the back of my vehicle.

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I would really love a wire crate that was significantly sturdier than most of the ones on the market. I have a smallish car and I really like being able to see through the crate out the back window.

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About 8 or 9 years ago I bought this collapsible/cloth crate at Costco for around 50 bucks. Plenty big enough for a 50-60lb dog. I love it, best travel crate ever IMO. Fully extracted, it fits in the back of my Expedition with enough head room for my old dog (new at the time) to jump on top of the crate and chill for the ride. he loves it up there! Now that I have two dogs the younger, more energetic BC goes inside so the one crate actually serves two dogs, kinda like a bunk bed in a car :)

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I would really love a wire crate that was significantly sturdier than most of the ones on the market. I have a smallish car and I really like being able to see through the crate out the back window.

Check out the Marchioro crates. They have wire inserts in the top that you can see through better than most plastic crates

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Dear Doggers,

 

If my dogs traveled in the back of an open pickup I might consider the ruff-tuff crates. Are they airline approved or would one need to buy a separate crate to fly them? The marchioro cages are sturdy, light, airline approved and have optional wheels which is handy moving your dog from the terminal to the rental car. I've totaled my 89 station wagon twice with dogs in these crates without harm to them.

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

What I like about the Ruff-tuff crates is that they are a single piece. I've seen photos of a couple of car accidents where two-piece plastic crates came apart on impact. Granted, those were pretty severe accidents. I doubt RuffTuffs are airline approved, though.

 

~ Gloria

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Bumping this up to ask if people would recommend a intermediate or a large size RuffTough for a 44# pretty leggy dog? Crates are used for travel and hanging out in while at SAR training.

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If you scroll back up a bit, I wrote about this a bit.

My almost-21" tall, 40 pound dog would fit into an intermediate.

But he really didn't have room to stretch out.

 

For some reason, the Rough Tuff crates are very tall compared to the floor space.

He really would have to "curl up" when lying down to fit into the intermediate.

Since we tend to travel long distances, the large is more comfortable for him.

 

diane

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I prefer the airline type crates and If I could afford the aluminum custom made (when I win the lottery) ones I'd probably use them. I do like the rough and tough. I find that while the wire crates afford more air flo, they offer no help if the sun is out-the dog is in the sun. I like the type of crate with vent holes on the rear as well as the sides as this offers more air flow while giving the dog shade should it be needed.

I now have a very nice dog trailer, and when hauling several dogs I would prefer the trailer over any crate any day. I also (on permanent loan) have a dog box, while it is nice and the dogs stay fairly cool/shaded in the back of the pickup, it offers little insulation. My trailer OTOH is well insulated and keeps them cool enough in temps over 100F and with a nice straw bedding they keep warm in low temps too.

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I don't like to give my dogs a ton of room while traveling - I think they're safer in crates that are a touch smaller than I'd want if they were crated at home. Since my Ruff Tough crates are specifically for travel, I keep them on the small side. So my largest dog (~ 44 lb) fits just fine (for travel - up to 8 hours) in an Intermediate Ruff Tough crate (with double doors). The next-largest (~ 35 lb, fine-boned) will fit (in a pinch) in a Medium but prefers an Intermediate crate. The smallest dog (~ 35-lb, medium-boned) fits fine in a Medium.

 

Ruff Tough now sells Medium crates with double doors. But do note that they're an inch or two longer than the single-doored Medium crate.

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Here is a link to 2015 testing done by the Center for Pet Safety. http://www.centerforpetsafety.org/test-results/crates/2015-crate-study-results/

 

Interestingly, both the Variocage and the Rough Tough kennel had failures. The crate they are recommending is a Gunner Kennel. It is around $500.

 

Watching the videos makes me cringe.

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This has been hashed out elsewhere....but at least one of the reasons both of those crates "failed" is that they were not installed according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Then again, maybe some people won't do that anyway.

 

Yes, dogs are safer in the smallest size they'll fit into. But as I said earlier, my dogs usually are traveling 6-8 hours, and I just don't want them cramped up for so long.

 

I'm much happier with my Variocage in my car and my Rough Tuff in my RV than anything else that was available at the time. People are saying that there's enough ventilation in the Gunners, but they look awfully "solid" to me (yes a safety feature, but no to ventilation!). There are NO holes or slots in the bottom half - where the dog is likely to be lying down. (And love that their video is more about labs chasing balls in the water than the kennel itself...)

 

Ya gotta do the best you can.

diane

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Thank you for posting the link. I checked it out. Very interesting.

 

My take on these results:

No question. Wire crates are really bad news. I am now going to replace my wire crate. (I have a Midwest wire crate and a RoughTuff crate in my car.) I always knew that they were not safe,and I had been thinking about getting rid of it (for a long time), and I think I should act now. One note: I thought that using the bungee cords (although a lot of people use them) was a sure formula for failure in these experiments. (poor experimental design) To be a true comparison, they should have used similar straps as used for the other test crates.

 

Gunnar Crate: It is very impressive. I like the double-walled design for safety, but it also drastically reduces the interior size of the crate. For example: the exterior width of the intermediate kennel is ~23", but the interior width is ~18". The exterior dimension significantly impacts whether or not it can fit (or how many can fit) in a car/SUV/van. I know that I can not fit 2 into my Flex. I am very impressed with several of its features: piano hinge on the door, stainless steel tie-down pins and the drain plug - among others. Unfortunately, the price is still pretty steep (although not as expensive as the Variocage).

 

ProLine Crate: I have not heard of this brand before. Based on these tests, I would not consider purchasing. Despite the poor results, I felt that one major flaw in the 'crate' was the weak strapping included. I would have liked to see the same tests done with straps that did not break.

 

Variocage: At close to ~$1000, it is definitely out of my price range. I felt the crate performed well. The side bars telescoped (as they were designed to) into a deformation-free zone which protected the dog. As for the ProLine, the attachment straps broke. I thought this crate performed well.

 

Rough Tuff Crates: I thought that the crates performed well - particularly #15702. (I could not identify the difference between the two since the website did not include model #s.) It was too bad that both crates did not perform equally well - with one failing at the strap attachment points. Personally, that did not bother me since I do not rely on stabilizing my crates by using the attachment points - preferring to use ratchet tie-downs. At a price point of less than $200, I think that these are a great compromise between value and safety.

 

This makes me feel better about choosing a Rough Tuff.

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