5 Best Portable Dog Kennels in 2019 – for Travel and Home (Buying Guide & Reviews)

In a hurry? Then check out Sky Kennel by Petmate as our best pick.

As a pet owner, you’re familiar with the importance of crate training at home. The best dog kennels, crates, and carriers are not only helpful in the house but on the go as well! Whether it’s for travel, daily outings, or veterinary visits, finding the right kennel is a must.

In this article, we’re going to review the following top 5 picks:

Dog Kennel Features to Consider

There’s a crate for almost every lifestyle and every pet situation. You can find something based on size, age, temperament, condition, and even usefulness. To find the best dog kennels that have all the essentials for you and your dog, you’ll have to know what to look for. Consider the following in your search:

Size

Your pet needs enough space in its crate to allow free movement. A kennel should be about 2-4″ longer and taller than your pet’s length and height. This ensures that there’s room for stretching and turning around.

Learning how to measure your pet for a kennel will help determine the appropriate amount of space needed inside. BEWARE: External kennel measurements won’t be as accurate and may only appear to fit larger pets.

Durability

During training, your pet is likely to test the durability of a crate by attempting to chew, scratch, or bore through it to escape. The materials and design of the crate are key factors in determining whether it’ll contain your pet.

Portability and Storage

Something that folds easily may not be strong or secure enough for long-distance travel just as a metal cage that folds might be too bulky for casual trips, but they’re still convenient for transport or storage. Hard plastic dog kennels that don’t break down to a smaller size are less space-efficient, but they offer security at home and on the road.

Ventilation/Visibility

Pets need adequate airflow that’s provided by slots in the body and doors. Fabric kennels let air pass through while still filtering light. Some crates have a minimal amount of slots to limit visibility for animals that are reactive to stimuli.

Security

Obviously, your search for a kennel is led by the need to contain your dog or other animals. Depending on your pet’s relationship with confinement and the intended purpose for a crate, your security needs may be a high priority.

The materials and design of your kennel shouldn’t offer any opportunities for escape or self-harm. Regardless of your pet’s disposition from inside, you also need to consider what could happen outside of the crate.

Consider anything that could risk the safety of the animal inside. Doors that open too easily are accidents waiting to happen. Flimsy framed kennels are at risk of being toppled over or smashed during car rides. Design flaws can cause a carrier to open or disassemble, potentially harming your pet.

Comfort

Maltese dog in black and white soft dog carrier

Although a hard plastic or all metal crate is an effective choice for longevity, your pet pal isn’t likely to adjust to it as well as a softer product. However, if your needs call for sturdy over comfy, crate mats are a possible solution that some companies gladly include with a kennel purchase!

The level of comfort is ultimately your decision, but in some cases (i.e. senior or post-op pets) it’s advised to consult a veterinarian about the type of kennel that best suits your dog’s physical needs. Many animals with medical conditions are stationary already, so a cozy fabric crate could be all you need.

Special Considerations

If you don’t plan to leave town with your fur-baby but still like the appeal of a very secure crate, some portable kennels offer homey amenities for at-home use. Traveling with a kennel is a bit more tricky. Here are some things to consider for kennel use inside and outside the home.

At Home

Perhaps a kennel or crate that breaks down or folds isn’t necessary if you don’t plan to move it around. Likewise, hard plastics and steel are the usual preferences if your dog is still in training. A collapsible or soft dog kennel can be manipulated more easily but offer more comfort than heavy-duty kennels.

In Transit

Traveling long distances with a pet calls for a more secure crate for a safe trip. Airlines require that kennel doors be fastened tightly and that the nuts and bolts be made of only metal to avoid escape. Regulations for crates might change according to your airline or updated flight standards, so be sure to research compliance lists before purchasing a kennel.

Your kennel needs for other modes of transportation vary as well. Shorter rides with calmer animals won’t demand more than a simple, lightweight dog carrier. However, a cross-country road trip with an energetic pup may necessitate something more substantial. Your purchase needs paired with reliable reviews will guide you in the right direction.

Top 5 Portable Dog Kennel Reviews

Below is a list of 5 popular kennel purchases to help you make an informed decision. The best and worse features of these products are available thanks to honest customer reviews.

1. SkyKennel by Petmate

This may be the closest you’ll come to a fully airline-ready carrier. It’s durable, structurally sound, and spacious for all sizes. Adequate airflow and visibility are available on each side, and it can be made more secure by adding metal screws in lieu of the plastic ones.

Security is Petmate’s top priority with this kennel. Protective features like steel wired windows on all sides, a 4-way locking mechanism, and bonus ID stickers reinforce your safety concerns.

The SkyKennel isn’t exclusive to frequent fliers, though. Pampered house pets can also enjoy these features and bonus items like the vaulted ceiling and attachable food/bowl.

Pros:

  • High durability from treated steel and thick plastic that resists corrosion and warping under pressure
  • Airline approved and ready to go (with purchase of metal nuts and bolts)
  • All around ventilation and visibility provided through 1 steel wire door and 3 windows
  • Maximum security from the single door made of steel wire with a 4-way latch that cannot be tampered with from the inside
  • Sizes range from small to giant in dog measurements, giving excellent mobility to animals enclosed

Cons:

  • Additional purchases are needed for airline standards to be met
  • Doesn’t fold or break down into a convenient, portable size

2. Portable Pop-Up Pet Cage by Petsfit

A pop-up play cube may not be the first choice for effective containment, but it has quite a lot to offer as an indoor retreat. Three points of entry, breathable fabrics, and portability earn this “kennel” a decent amount of praise.

The thin frame bends down like that of a mesh laundry basket. This allows the entire product to fit snugly into a handy carrying bag to be taken with wherever you go. You can also leave it as is while traveling thanks to the added seatbelt strap on the back!

Docile animals can relax in this shady cube without disturbance, or playful puppy can prance through three different doorways without falling through. A fleece mat and pockets for special toys or treats are included for further comfort and convenience.

Comfort is also achieved with a soft, removable and washable mat to lounge upon paired with soft Oxford fabric and mesh that are smooth and breathable.

Pros:

  • Car ride-compatible with strap on the backside for seatbelt
  • Non-slip feet on the bottom
  • Steel wire frame for structural stability
  • Pop-up frame and carrying bag for convenient storage and travel
  • Side pockets for small item storage
  • Offers a good comfort

Cons:

  • Doors are sealed by Velcro and zippers, creating weak spots and nonexistent security
  • Low durability due to fabric walls, folding frame, and mesh doors
  • Low durability makes it incompatible with active heavier dogs.

3. Top-Load Kennel by AmazonBasics

The smaller the animal is, the harder it is to get your pet into its crate. This top-loading kennel lets you place your pet inside through the roof while the steel wire front door remains an option for a quicker exit.

Ventilation and visibility come through the small slots throughout so your tiny friend isn’t feeling confined. For basic security, the front door is inaccessible from within and the top door is barred shut. Since this kennel is limited to smaller creatures, a minimal amount of durability is assumed here with thinner plastics and clips for assembly.

Pros:

  • Convenient and easy to use a top-loading door that locks into place
  • Optional bonus security with included metal bolts
  • Plastic body and spring-loaded steel wire door suggest a more durable and secure crate option for small pets

Cons:

  • Considerable design flaw sacrifices safety, security, and possibly comfort as top door fastening levers tend to wiggle loose, causing the door to open very easily
  • Plastic is thin and prone to bowing with added weight, causing the top and bottom pieces to separate, unhinging the door
  • Little-to-no portability due to design flaws
  • Not intended for medium to large pets

4. Foldable Indoor/Outdoor Kennel by Petsfit

Here’s another collapsible crate from Petsfit with a little more space for the larger dogs. Adding a layer to the bottom and pockets to the sides is an appropriate (and well-received) measure for car rides and other excursions.

The pop-up design and relaxed fabrics are continued in this product, making it easy to fold up and go or store as you please. Keep in mind that fabric kennels aren’t constructed with the intent to be used as carriers.

This portable crate grants your pet the opportunity to venture at your side. No matter your location, extended trips, and overnight stays feel like home when your furry friend can take its room and favorite things along for the ride.

Pros:

  • High visibility and ventilation through two mesh doors and a mesh window
  • Waterproof bottom for external protection and durability
  • Maximum comfort from Oxford fabric and mesh body with a fleece mat included
  • Flexible frame and complementary carrying case for great portability
  • Spacious design is roomy enough for an extra large dog

Cons:

  • Manufacturer’s use of business-casual Oxford and loose mesh fabric causes lower durability which is worsened by the limber frame
  • Velcro and zippers offer no security or reinforcement

5. Folding Pet Carrier by Jespet

A steel tube frame, like that of a tent, supports this collapsible carrier even when it’s lifted by the adjustable strap. When not in use, the kennel folds up for space-conscious storage.

It can also be used for regular crate purposes, holding its own against wear and tear with help from its nylon walls. Three soft mesh doors unzip for an easy entrance and access to the removable fleece mat.

Pros:

  • Appropriate sizes are available to ensure proper durability and performance
  • Convenient and sturdy frame is collapsible yet strong
  • Ventilation and visibility is accomplished through the mesh screens on all sides
  • Comfortable nylon material is also very durable, increasing longevity
  • Fleece mat adds a comfort layer

Cons:

  • Low durability caused by the collapsible frame and loose mesh fabric
  • Zipper-shut doors and lack of solid body materials result in a limited security

Conclusion

The most obvious winner here is the Sky Kennel by Petmate. It doesn’t come with soft walls and windows or a fleece mat, but what it lacks in luxuries it makes up for in overall performance as a kennel.

The waterproof bottom on a Petsfit crate, useful as it may be, just doesn’t offer the same protection as a plastic base. Having said that, the top-loading carrier from AmazonBasics falls short because of its short-lived assembly and limited carrying capacity.

While some may consider portability and storage the main attraction of traveling carriers, others think of security. The SkyKennel is probably best suited in a spacious vehicle or at home as a stationary object because it doesn’t break down into smaller components.

However, having sturdy walls that don’t bend means that this kennel is airline approved, long-lasting, and effectively secure. Compared to nylon, mesh, and Oxford fabrics – and the thin plastic of smaller kennels – this heavy-duty crate is more likely to withstand time for longer.

There’s a kennel for every dog size, so even little pets are safe and comfortable. Steel windows and a single entrance give the right amount of visibility, ventilation, and security. As far as locking doors go, a 4-way lock is about as secure as it gets. It’s not as fancy as the others, but the Sky Kennel by Petmate is by far the best choice in all the important areas.

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