• You are here:
  • Home »
  • Articles »

Crash Tested Crates for Dogs to Keep Your Canine Safe While Traveling

When traveling with your canine companion in a vehicle, you want the peace of mind knowing he is safe in that journey. Crash tested dog crates and carriers can provide that assuredness. Before continuing, it’s important to note that this article address the safeness of a crate, not a carrier. That being the case, are you familiar with that difference?

Crate vs Carrier

While a dog carrier and crate are both used for transportation, there are some distinguishing factors between the two.

Crate

This crate is made of a more durable exterior. Most commonly its outer material is composed of primarily a hard thick plastic, steal, and wire. It can be used to accommodate both small and large dogs. Plus, it can house your pet both inside and outside of your home and when traveling. Crates have a wide variety of uses. However, a couple of the drawbacks to them, are that they are usually heavier and cost more than a carrier.

Pet Carrier
Carrier


A dog carrier is made of a softer, more pliable material than a crate. That makes it easier to carry and less expensive.  It has a limited number of uses in that it works well for travel, but not so much to train or contain your pet inside your home. The carrier is best for smaller dogs and ideal for traveling short distances. A drawback based on the above information is that it is less practical when compared to a pet crate.

Dog Travel Statistics

  • According to the American Automobile Association, also known as Triple A or AAA, just 16% of the drivers in America, when traveling with their dogs, secure them in their vehicle.
  • The American Humane Society estimates that 100,000 dogs die as a result of riding in the bed of a truck when the vehicle is involved in a collision. That number doesn’t include those who jump out of a window or those that are unsecured.
  • Experts, (though none were identified nor are solid numbers available), believe that tens of thousands of accidents are caused yearly by pets that aren’t restrained.
  • According to the Allianz website, a car crash at 25 miles per hour can project a dog that is not restrained, forward equal to a force of 40 times its weight. For example, a 75lb dog could have a 3,000 pound impact force and for a little dog of even 10lbs, that force at 30 miles per hour could reach 300lbs of pressure in a wreck. Both of the scenarios could be lethal for both the pet and passenger.


Based on those stats and others not noted in this article, it is extremely important to restrain your pet in do crate in a vehicle. However, finding the right crate can be difficult.

In the unfortunate event that you do get in an accident while traveling, tests performed by independent and unbiased organizations will help you find the safest dog crates that will minimize any injury that may happen to your pet. Fortunately, there is an organization that did just that.

The Center for Pet Safety is a non-profit organization that dedicates its work to companion and consumer safety of animals. The Center for Pet Safety also known as CPS, works with the owners of dogs and other pets all over the world, as an organization that advocates for consumers. They perform research as part of that effort, all for the purpose of protecting your pets. You can learn more about the group at https://www.centerforpetsafety.org/who-is-cps/.

With a goal of helping you and other dog owners protect your beloved four-legged companions when traveling, CPS partnered with the Subaru car manufacturing company. The purpose of the partnership was to test and study the effectiveness of dog crates that, by self-identification, were crashworthy and appropriate for travel.

2015 Dog Crate Crash Test Study

In 2015, a study was performed via the partnership where five crates were put to the test to determine their crashworthiness.

5 Crates Tested:

  • Gunner Kennel G1 Intermediate -
  • 4Pets Proline Milan -
  • 3 MIM Variocage -
  • Roto Molds Ruff Tough Kennel -
  • Midwest Dog Crates -

Click on the image below to view the video showing a portion of the testing process.

Findings

The G1 Intermediate by Gunner Kennels with its 8” tie-down straps, came out on top with the best performance. It was deemed to be a crashworthy crate based on specified test criteria. That criterion included containment of the canine throughout the crash from before it happens, while it’s happening and after. The other consideration was whether the points of connection remained intact throughout the test’s duration.  

One item to note is that the safety you get from that crate will cost you about $485.00.

According to the test, the Roto Mold Tough Kennel, the Proline Milan from 4Pets and Variocage Single from MIM Safe, all failed the test.

Variocage Dispute

Subsequent to the publication of the CPS/Subaru crash test study, responses from MIM Construction and supporters of the container disputed the failed rating of the crate and deemed the CPS test to be flawed. One of the arguments in support the claim of a flawed test is related to the connection of the positioning straps used with the Variocage. As stated above, the CPS study used the continuous connection of the strap throughout the wreck as a component of their rating. MIM argues that the release of their positioning strap plays an integral role in the controlled compression of the kennel which helps maintain its safety.

MIM Safe performed and recorded their own test comparing the Variocage and Gunner crates in a simulated roll over crash. (A rollover crash was not part of the testing used in the CPS study.) In that wreck, the outcome of the test showed that the Variocage actually passed that test, while the Gunner Kennel failed.

Variocage touts its rigorous crash testing efforts to ensure the top performance in dog safety when using their crates. The safety that crate provides comes at a cost that ranges from $800 to $1400 dependent on the model you purchase.

Click the image below to see the Variocage vs G1 Gunner Intermediate simulated rollover crash. 

simulated rolloever crash Gunner kennels

Variocage rollover crash test

Two different items identified between the two tests were that one was and independent study and the other was not. Additionally, the same collision tests were not completed in each study.

CPS has performed several additional studies since the crash test studies mentioned above. Those tests encompassed additional Gunner Kennel models

Finding the Right Crash Tested Crate

Important to the safety of your canine is ensuring that the crate is the right size. Generally speaking, the length of the container shouldn’t be any longer than six inches of the size of your fur-baby. Avoiding extra space in the kennel keeps your pup from flying all around the crate in case a crash occurs or there is a need to stop suddenly.

It’s also critical to make sure the kennel is properly secured. Whether it is connected to the inside of the car by way of lap and shoulder belts, cargo straps or latch anchors, or other straps, those connectors must maintain the connection. Therefore the strength of the connectors is critically important at the moment of impact of the collision, and beyond.   

In closing, just as with humans, there is no real guarantee that your precious pup will be safe during travel in a crash tested crate for dogs. However, there are some crates that have been proven to provide more safety in a car wreck than others.

While there is a higher cost associated with the crates that provide better protection, the price you pay to keep your dog safe, in the event of an accident would seem to be worth it?

>