Tips for Finding the Best Portable Kennel for Your Dog

Jack Russell Terrier dog put his paws on a travel box

Key Points

  • Choosing the right portable kennel ensures your dog's comfort, safety, and well-being.

  • Your dog's size, the kennel's durability, and specific travel needs are all considerations in selecting a portable crate.

  • This guide walks you through the various factors to consider when selecting the best portable kennel for your dog.

Choosing the right portable dog kennel is essential for your dog's comfort, safety, and overall well-being. You must consider various factors when making this selection, including your dog's size, the kennel's durability, and possibly its compliance with travel regulations.

To help you make the most informed decision, this guide walks you through the process to ensure you find the perfect kennel to meet your canine companion's needs along with car travel tips for dogs.

Measure First

Before purchasing a portable dog kennel, measure your dog accurately — from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail, and from the ground to the top of their ears. With these dimensions in hand, it's just a matter of finding a kennel that provides enough space for your dog to be comfortable and safe.

A suitable kennel provides ample space for your dog to move around comfortably, stand up, turn around, and lie down without any restrictions. You want your dog to remain comfortable during travel or extended periods inside the kennel to reduce their stress and anxiety.

Growth and Size Changes

If you have a puppy or a young dog, factor in their expected growth when choosing a kennel. Selecting a kennel that accommodates future growth avoids the need to purchase multiple kennels as they grow.

Consider any potential weight or size changes due to factors such as seasonal coat changes, medical conditions, or breed-specific growth patterns.

beagle puppy in crate in the back of a car

Durability and Material

The materials used in constructing a portable dog kennel significantly impact its durability and suitability for your dog. Choose one with strong, high-quality materials such as heavy-duty plastic, reinforced steel, or aluminum. These materials ensuring your dog is safe and the kennel lasts a long time.

When evaluating a kennel's durability, consider how well it holds up against regular wear and tear. Look for features such as rustproof coating, scratch resistance, and reinforced edges to ensure the kennel withstands daily use and transport without compromising its integrity.

Climate and Environment

Take into account the climate and environment where you use the kennel. If you live in a hot and humid region, choose materials that remain cool and provide adequate ventilation.

Aluminum gets extremely hot in warm climates, so if you live in the Sunbelt it is best to pick another option. Alternatively, if you live in the Frostbelt you want a kennel with insulation options to protect your dog from frigid temperatures.


Your portable dog kennel needs a secure locking mechanism to keep your dog safe and prevent escapes. Look for durable locks, such as latch closures or key-lock systems, that are not easily manipulated by your dog.

A secure latch is essential to prevent your dog from becoming stressed or possibly injured during travel.

Take into account how you plan to use the kennel, such as air travel, road trips, or temporary housing. Consider the security challenges these situations present and look for kennels equipped to handle these circumstances.

It is important the kennel meets all your needs to ensure your dog remains safe and secure.

Potential Hazards

Examine the kennel for potential hazards, such as sharp edges, loose parts, or gaps that could harm your dog or allow them to escape. Be sure the fasteners are secure and your dog cannot fit their head or limbs through openings.

A thorough assessment of these risks guarantees your dog's safety while inside the kennel.


A comfortable kennel floor is a must for your dog's comfort during travel or extended periods inside the kennel. Look for kennels with a solid and stable floor that doesn't sag or create pressure points.

Consider adding padded and non-slip pads to the kennel, which significantly enhance your dog's comfort. Padding protects your dog from hard surfaces or bumps and non-slip flooring prevents potential falls or injuries during travel.

Many dog owners love Primo Pads because they are comfortable for dogs, low-maintenance, and customizable. These features provide additional stability and security for your canine companion.

Temperature Fluctuations

The kennel you choose needs to maintain comfortable temperatures. Provide crate fans in warm climates or insulation in colder regions.

Selecting a kennel that provides temperature control contributes considerably to your dog's overall comfort and is of utmost importance in extreme climates.


A well-ventilated portable dog kennel is essential. Examine the kennel for ventilation openings, such as grates or mesh windows, and be sure they are appropriately sized to provide sufficient airflow.

Adequate ventilation regulates your dog's body temperature and reduces the risk of overheating or discomfort.

Not to raise alarms and fear, but a sad fact is that many pets die of heat-related causes every year. PETA reports that "in 2022 alone, fifty-seven animals endured heat–related deaths and another 488 were rescued from the heat — and those are just the ones that were reported. Most almost certainly aren’t."

Ensure Sufficient Air Circulation

When determining if a kennel provides adequate ventilation, check for airflow circulation throughout the entire space.

Ensure there are no stagnant air pockets or areas of restricted airflow inside the kennel. Having access to fresh, circulating air maintains your dog's overall comfort and health inside the kennel.

Also consider where the kennel is placed when in use and how it impacts the air circulation. Place the kennel in an area allowing appropriate airflow, such as by an air conditioning vent or away from obstructions.

Careful positioning of the kennel maintains a comfortable environment for your dog.

Easy Setup and Storage

Assess how easy it is to assemble and disassemble the portable dog kennel. Look for kennels with straightforward instructions and a hassle-free setup process.

A simple assembly process saves time and allows for quick preparation during travel or other outings with your dog.

A folding or collapsible kennel saves valuable storage space when not in use. These kennels are compact for easy transportation and minimal storage requirements.

Selecting a collapsible kennel is convenient and simplifies your storage issues.

Storage Space

On the subject of storage, take note of the available storage space in your home or vehicle. This effects your kennel selection.

Pick a kennel size that fits comfortably within your designated storage area without compromising its use or your dog's comfort and safety. Knowing you have an adequate storage solution makes storing your kennel much simpler and stress-free.


When determining how easy it is to transport the kennel, look for useful features like built-in carrying handles or wheels. These features allow you to move the kennel more efficiently and easily, bearing the weight and making it more convenient.

Consider how the dimensions and design of the kennel fit into your specific travel requirements. Evaluate if the kennel is easy to carry or maneuver through crowded airports or train stations and whether it fits comfortably in a vehicle.

Having an easy-to-move kennel yields a more seamless travel experience for both you and your dog.


The weight of the kennel is another important factor that impacts its overall portability and ease of use. Lightweight materials and designs are easily transported without compromising durability and safety.

The weight of the kennel is especially important for air travel, where weight limits and restrictions apply.

Compliance with Travel Regulations

If you plan to fly with your dog, ensure the portable kennel meets all airline requirements for size, weight, and materials. Each airline has specific guidelines for pet travel, so you must check with your chosen carrier before purchasing a kennel.

The US Department of Agriculture has prepared instructions that "include the suitability of the dog's kennel and the health and readiness of the dog for air travel."

Compliance with these regulations is necessary for hassle-free air travel with your dog.

International Travel

When traveling internationally, research and familiarize yourself with your destination's regulations regarding pet travel and kennels. Different countries have specific guidelines on kennel size, material, or design.

Being aware of these regulations ensures smooth and stress-free international travel.

Depending on your destination or travel method, you may need additional permits or documentation related to your dog or their portable kennel. Research the requirements for your travel plans in advance, to avoid last-minute complications or potential delays.

large dog in kennel in back of a car

Best Choice

Making an informed decision when choosing a portable dog kennel is vital for your dog's comfort, safety, and well-being.

In July 2023 People magazine released a list of seven best kennels for all types of dogs. The magazine's researchers tested 20 models to come up with these recommendations.

By carefully considering your dog's size, the kennel's durability, ventilation, security, and compliance with relevant regulations you successfully provide a safe and comfortable space for your canine companion.

The time and effort invested in finding the right kennel yields a lifetime of benefits for you and your beloved pup.

Subscribe to Bark Spot for more research-based information on improving life with your dog.

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