What is the Best Soft Dog Crate to Travel with My Pet?

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Traveling with your pup can be tricky. To make it easier, you want to create a comfortable environment where your pet feels safe and secure.

A great way to do this is through a soft dog crate. Dog crates can also provide a cozy space where your dog feels secure, even at home.

Cocker Spaniel puppy in a red soft sided dog crate bag

Here are our top picks of the best soft dog crates for your pup.

Top 5 Picks for Best Soft-Sided Dog Crates

  Soft Dog Crates Our Rating
Best Overall Soft Dog Crates K&H Soft Travel Crate

  • Uniquely shaped soft dog crate specifically made for traveling by car or plane 
  • Large mesh sides provide plenty of visibility 
  • Includes a removable, washable pad
4.5
Best Budget Soft Dog Crates AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

  • Conforms to the under-seat dimensions of most airlines
  • Features carrying handles and an adjustable shoulder strap
  • It comes with a machine-washable fleece insert
4.5
Most Durable Soft Dog Crate (Premium Choice) Arf Pets 3-Door Folding Soft Crate

  • Efficient and straightforward storage thanks to collapsible bars with retractable springs 
  • Features heavy-duty, all-steel frame construction
  • The base is water-resistant, and the material is washer-friendly for easy cleaning
4
Best Soft Dog Crate for Small and Medium-Sized Dogs  K&H Soft Travel Crate

  • Uniquely shaped soft dog crate specifically made for traveling by car or plane 
  • Large mesh sides provide plenty of visibility 
  • Includes a removable, washable pad
4.5
Best Soft Dog Crates for Large Dogs Arf Pets 3-Door Folding Soft Crate

  • Efficient and straightforward storage thanks to collapsible bars with retractable springs 
  • Features heavy-duty, all-steel frame construction
  • The base is water-resistant, and the material is washer-friendly for easy cleaning
4

The 12 Best Soft Sided Dog Crates

It can be confusing when picking a soft crate for your dog, as many different options are available. For you to make an informed choice, we’ve weighed up the pros and cons of some of the most popular soft dog crates on the market. 

Chihuahua Miniature Pinscher mix dog comfortable on her soft crate
A mix breed of Chihuahua and Miniature Pinscher dog comfortably staying inside the soft crate – Image source

Best Soft Dog Crates for Small and Medium-Sized

While soft-sided crates don’t suit every pet, they are an excellent choice for small dogs. Here are some of the best options currently on the market:

1. Amazons Basics Folding Portable Soft Pet Dog Crate

Amazons Basics Folding Portable Soft Pet Dog Crate

Our rating: 4
Material: Polyester, PVC
Size: 21”-42”
Weight: 10.93 pounds

Collapsible soft-sided pet carrier comes in five sizes and five different colors, including beige/khaki, red, blue, grey, and black.

This crate is made of soft polyester and PVC with a plush fleece pad inner for your dog’s comfort. A top and a side door allow for convenient access for your pet, while all the sides feature breathable mesh windows. 

Pros:

  • Includes numerous side pockets for storing your dog’s treats, water bottle, and lead
  • A top handle and shoulder strap make this crate easy to carry
  • The corners are reinforced to reduce wear and tear and ensure longevity

Cons:

  • The crate cannot be taken apart to go through a washing machine

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Petnation Port-a-Crate E Series Soft Dog Crate

Petnation Port-a-Crate E Series Soft Dog Crate

Our rating: 4
Material: Steel, Mesh
Size: xx-small to large
Weight: 10.93 pounds

Firstrax Petnation Port-A-Crate E Series is a low-cost crate capable of carrying dogs up to 50 pounds (23kg). This soft dog crate can be assembled in seconds without the need for any tools, folding flat for convenient storage.

It also features carrying handles on the 16″ and 20″ models. The doors are located on the front and the top.

Pros:

  • Features steel frame heavy-duty zippers with door lock ventilated mesh doors
  • Has rounded corners to protect your car and home interiors

Cons:

  • Although the crate features a cute design, the bone cut out window is relatively small
  • This model will not last long with dogs that like to chew
  • It does not feature any mat or blanket inside

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

Our rating: 4.5
Material: Steel
Size: small to large
Weight: 17 pounds

Suitable for a wide range of travel, the AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier conforms to the under-seat dimensions of most airlines.

A simple yet practical product, this is an excellent choice for pet owners on a budget. Made of lightweight materials, this carrier provides hassle-free storage and transportation.

Pros:

  • Features carrying handles and an adjustable shoulder strap
  • It comes with a machine-washable fleece insert
  • Features top and front openings with mesh panels for ventilation

Cons:

  • Not recommended for dogs bigger than toy breeds with a maximum load of 22 pounds (10 kg)
  • Not designed to leave your pets unattended in

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. 2PET Foldable Soft Dog Crate

2PET Foldable Soft Dog Crate

Our rating: 4
Material: Steel
Size: small to xx-large
Weight: 17 pounds

2PET Foldable Soft Dog Crate is a perfect multi-use pet crate that can be used indoors, outdoors, for travel or crate training.

It comes in five different sizes for all dog breeds, and the Oxford 600D fabric cover is fully removable, machine washable, and water-resistant, making clean-up and maintenance a breeze.

Pros:

  • Features shoulder straps and handles for easy portability
  • It comes with an interior waterproof mat and fleece bed for extra comfort for your pet

Cons:

  • The door can be a little small for dogs who love to move in and out of their crate
  • Some pet owners complained the zippered doors and mesh were a little weak

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. K&H Soft Travel Crate

K&H Pet Products Travel Safety Pet Carrier

Our rating: 4.5
Material: Mesh 
Size: small to large
Weight: 5.5 pounds

K&H Soft Travel Crate is a uniquely shaped soft dog crate specifically made for traveling by car or plane with your pooch. The crate can be secured with a standard seatbelt, while a headrest clip provides added security.

The large mesh sides offer plenty of visibility for your pup, while two entrance doors allow for ease of access in and out of the crate. 

Pros:

  • Includes a removable, washable pad to keep your dog comfortable
  • Quick to install, this crate also folds flat for easy portability

Cons:

  • It is not crash-proof, so it will provide little protection for your pet in the event of an accident

CHECK PRICE HERE

6. EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate

Our rating: 4
Material: Nylon, Mesh 
Size: x-small to large
Weight: 17 pounds

This lightweight EliteField Foldable Soft Dog Crate is constructed using durable steel tubing and easy to clean polyester and hex mesh fabric.

Featuring a unique three-door folding design, your pet has multiple ways to enter and exit the crate while being offered plenty of ventilation and visibility. 

Pros:

  • Both the cover and mat are removable for easy cleaning
  • The doors feature locking zippers for security
  • Comes with a free fleece inner and carrying case

Cons:

  • It is not possible to purchase replacement parts for this case should something break
  • Some pet owners complained this product is very smelly, but the smell should disappear in a few days

CHECK PRICE HERE

7. Go Pet Club Soft Dog Crate

Go Pet Club Soft Dog Crate

Our rating: 4
Material: Polyester with PVC backing
Size: 17.5″L x 14.5″W x 16.5″
Weight: 3 pounds

Go Pet Club Soft Dog Crate is a curved-top crate that offers your pet loads of room to stand up or lie down. It’s even great for tall dogs.

This crate features a large front door and mesh windows on all sides with roll-up flaps that can be closed at night or prevent drafts.

Pros:

  • It comes complete with a nylon carry case and a soft sheepskin mat
  • Folds to less than two inches thick, allowing for easy storage

Cons:

  • The front flap does not have a cover, so some pets can be overly stimulated in this crate
  • Some pet owners complained this crate came apart within just a few hours of use

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Soft Dog Crates for Large Dogs 

Greater Swiss Mountain dog lying inside its soft crate
A Greater Swiss Mountain dog lying inside its spacious soft-sided crate – Image source

While soft dog crates are typically designed for smaller breeds, you can still find some sturdier options out there for large dogs. Here are a few of our favorites:

8. Arf Pets 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate

Arf Pets 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate

Our rating: 4
Material: Mesh, Steel
Size: 27.5/36 inches
Weight: 10.01 pounds

Arf Pets 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate is a soft portable crate suitable for both indoor and outdoor use for pets weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kg).

Efficient and straightforward storage is achieved thanks to collapsible bars with retractable springs, while the heavy-duty, all-steel frame construction is designed to provide you with many years of use.

Pros:

  • The base is water-resistant, and the material is washer-friendly for easy cleaning
  • Features large mesh windows and air passages on all four sides
  • Includes three entryway points with mesh screens for keeping insects out

Cons:

  • It does not come with any sort of carrying case and is quite heavy to transport

CHECK PRICE HERE

9. Soft Side Pet Crate by Precision Pet

Soft Side Pet Crate by Precision Pet

Our rating: 4
Material: Mesh, Steel
Size: x-small to large
Weight: 14.19 pounds

Precision Pet Soft Side Pet Crate 4000 is a water-resistant indoor/outdoor dog carrier that features four reinforced zipper doors for easy access.

Suitable for dogs weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kg), this crate is made with a hygienic plastic floor that’s easy to clean and doesn’t absorb any moisture or odors. 

Pros:

  • It includes a convenient carrying case and ground stakes
  • Easy to fold down with no tools required
  • It has two top carrying handles and a shoulder strap

Cons:

  • There are no shades for the windows or doors for those dogs that need a dark space

CHECK PRICE HERE

10. Firstrax NOZTONOZ Sof-Krate

Firstrax Noz2Noz Sof-Krate N2 Series

Our rating: 4
Material: Mesh, Steel
Size: x-small to large
Weight: 4.8 – 22.57 pounds

Made for both indoor and outdoor use, this soft dog crate is made using a heavy-duty tight-weave mesh fabric with an extra-strong steel tube frame for enhanced durability.

Offering pet owners a hassle-free setup, this crate also features a washable cover and a water-resistant base. A top opening and front and side entry doors allow for easy access to your pet.

Pros:

  • Designed with rounded corners to protect your home decor and car interior
  • The crate folds easily with buckle straps for convenient storage

Cons:

  • The manufacturer has discontinued replacement parts for this model
  • Some pet owners said the material could be a little thicker and stronger

CHECK PRICE HERE

11. Pet Gear Generation II Deluxe Portable Soft Crate

Pet Gear Generation II Deluxe Portable Soft Crate

Our rating: 4
Material: Mesh
Size: small to large
Weight: 13 pounds

A basic foldable dog crate that holds your pet and all their essential items. The crate is made from nylon and mesh fabric, while the metal frame is easily collapsible using a simple push-button system.

Three access doors provide ease of use by your pet, while flaps with zippers also allow you the option of creating a dark environment for your sleepy dog.

Pros:

  • It comes with a waterproof mat and a fleece sheet
  • Includes convenient pouches for storing of all your dog’s goodies
  • Suitable for dogs up to 70 pounds (32 kg)

Cons:

  • Some dog owners complained that the zippers of this crate pull apart easily, making it easy for their dog to escape

CHECK PRICE HERE

12. A4Pet Collapsible Dog Crate and Kennel Soft Sided Large Pet Carrier

A4Pet Collapsible Dog Crate and Kennel Soft Sided Large Pet Carrier

Our rating: 4
Material: Mesh, Steel, Oxford Fabric
Size: 24-36 inch
Weight: 9.1 pounds

Suitable for dogs weighing up to 70 pounds (32kg), this pet crate is designed for indoor or car travel use. It’s leakproof and easy to clean with a waterproof bottom and a removable and washable cover.

The sides have mesh ventilation panels for allowing airflow to your pet while providing good visibility for your pet to look out and for you to check on your dog.

Pros:

  • Foldable and portable in 45 seconds with absolutely no tools required
  • Rounded corners protect your vehicle’s interior

Cons:

  • Some dog owners complained that the zippers of this crate pull apart easily, making it easy for their dog to escape
  • This product is not designed to leave your pet unattended inside

CHECK PRICE HERE

Is a Soft Crate Right for Your Dog?

Two Pembroke Welsh Corgis inside their crate
Meet Marley & Murphy, the two Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs staying inside their crate – Image source

Soft dog crates are ideal for pet owners looking for a lightweight, portable crate for traveling. They also provide a comfortable space for your pet to relax when they need time away from distractions.

Due to their soft fabric and mesh panels, this type of crate is best suited for small, calm breeds. Their soft construction doesn’t support large, heavy dogs or pets that are overly destructive, hyperactive, or aggressive.

Dogs need to be crate trained for a soft dog crate to be suitably used without damage.

What are the benefits of soft-sided dog crates?

There are many benefits of soft dog crates, including the following:

Vizsla dog lying on its new large soft crate
A Vizsla dog amazed on its new large soft-sided crate – Image source
  1. Lightweight and portable – Their lightweight fabric construction makes soft dog crates ideal for travel. You can use them to create a safe spot for your dog at the vet, when visiting friends, on the train, or when going away for the weekend. Some are even suitable for use on planes as in-cabin pet carriers.
  2. Easy to collapse and set up – Most soft dog crates can be collapsed and reassembled without the need for any tools or screws. They also weigh about half of what a plastic or metal crate weighs. 
  3. Work well with calm dogs – If your dog doesn’t necessarily need to be contained but just likes a comfy spot where he can feel relaxed, then a soft dog crate is ideal. Anxious dogs can be calmed by using a soft dog crate, while older dogs may also like a relaxed spot where they can escape and feel comfortable for a nap.
  4. Ideal for smaller dogs – Most soft collapsible crates aren’t strong enough to house big breeds but are perfect for pint-sized companions. 

Soft Dog Crates vs. Wired Dog Crates

If you are looking for a pet crate that can contain a destructive dog or new puppy, then a soft dog crate is not the best choice.

A heavy-duty metal or plastic dog kennel is best for aggressive and destructive dogs who tend to chew through the fabric of soft dog crates. 

Two Siberian Husky puppies sitting and standing inside a wire crate
Two Husky puppies looking good together in a wire crate

Wired crates are also best for sick dogs or puppies as they usually come with a removable floor tray that can be easily cleaned when your dog makes a mess. 

You would choose a soft crate over a wired crate for the following reasons:

  1. Portability – soft dog crates are lightweight, mobile, and easy to carry, while wired crates are usually a lot less mobile, larger, and more tricky to fold. 
  2. Noise-Free – even a calm dog can create noise in a wired crate when they move around or wag their tail. These noises are avoided with a soft dog crate.
  3. Nicer Design – soft dog crates typically come in a variety of styles and colors, whereas wired crates are more of a tool than a pleasing pet accessory

When soft-sided crates won’t cut it: Not always the best choice

While size is the obvious reason why a soft dog crate won’t work for your pet, there are some other things to consider that might not make this the best option:

1. You have a rough or destructive dog

As mentioned above, while soft-sided crates are great for calm, relaxed dogs, they are not the best for destructive canines that will put too much wear and tear on the fabric.

If your dog likes to dig or chew, he will rip a soft crate in no time at all.

Soft dog crates provide little resistance for dogs that are determined to find a way out and should not be used as a space to contain your dog unsupervised. 

2. You need a safe car crate – The soft sides of these dog crates do not protect in the event of a car accident and should not be used as a travel crate. 

3. Your puppy is not house trained yet – As soft dog crates are made of fabric, they aren’t straightforward to clean. While many are machine washable, they will get smelly quickly if your puppy isn’t yet potty trained. 

Complete Best Soft Dog Crate Buyer’s Guide

So how exactly do you go about choosing the best soft dog crate for your particular pup? Let’s run through the various factors you’ll want to consider in this regard.

Shih Tzu dog inside the travel carrier
Adorable Shih Tzu puppy ready for the travel

Picking the right soft-sided dog crate: What to look for in a soft-sided airline-approved dog crate?

Picking the right soft dog crate can be difficult. Narrow it down by looking at the following:

1. Soft Dog Crate Size

Size is one of the most crucial factors when choosing a soft dog crate. Your dog’s crate needs to be spacious enough to not be crammed inside but small enough to provide them with a cozy environment they need not feel agitated. 

Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around in its crate without hitting its head on the top.

Too small and they’ll be uncomfortable whereas too large, and they could start using the crate as their yard, pooing and peeing on one side and sleeping on the other.

As soft dog crates are quite small, be sure to triple-check the size of the one you plan to get. You may decide to buy a crate with a divider that helps you make the crate smaller initially, increasing the size as your pet grows. 

Read our article to learn more about picking the right dog crate size for your pet.

2. Windows and Ventilation

Your dog should always be provided with ventilation, especially in hot weather. Plastic drop downs or flaps can help protect against rain and cold. The more openings the better to allow sunlight and the flow of fresh air.

Dog sitting in front of playpen
A cute dog sitting in front of its playpen

3. Quality, Light-Weight Frame

Your soft dog crate needs to be sturdy and durable, made of high-quality but lightweight materials. If your crate is too heavy, it won’t be easy to transport, whereas a flimsy frame will likely break. 

4. Visibility

While some dogs need a dark, quiet space to nap and relax, others like to see out and be part of the action. Large windows also provide you, as the owner, with plenty of visibility for keeping an eye on your pet.

Many soft dog crates have adjustable covers, so you can choose which option works best for your dog depending on his mood and the environment. 

5. Cushioned Mat Bottom

Check to see if your chosen soft dog crate includes a mat. You preferably want one that is washable and waterproof, while older pets may benefit from an orthopedic dog bed inside their crate. 

6. Ease of Assembly

For ease of use, choose a soft dog crate that doesn’t require any tools to set it up and only takes seconds to unfold. Shoulder straps and carry handles are also great for transporting your crate. 

7. Storage 

Check the storage dimensions of your soft dog crate and look for one that is easily foldable with soft fabric. A carrying bag or storage case is, of course, a welcome addition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Australian Shepherd inside its soft crate
Smiling Australian Shepherd dog inside its soft crate – Image source

How to buy the best soft-sided dog crate?

Before buying your soft-sided dog crate you will need to do the following:

  1. Measure your dog beforehand to ensure you’re buying the right size
  2. Research the functionality and go for one that’s easy to use, rather than choosing a crate based on a nice design
  3. Always plan for the future. Buy a crate that will not only fit your young puppy now but that will work for them as a full-grown adult.
  4. Consider the cost factor. While some crates may be more expensive, they are built from better quality materials, giving them longevity. Also, check what warranty the manufacturer offers on their products.
  5. When in doubt, get a bigger crate. If your dog feels uncomfortable in its crate, they won’t use it.

What’s the best crate for a dog with separation anxiety?

Using a crate as a safe, fun place for your dog can help combat separation anxiety. You can do this by feeding your dog in their crate, using it as a playpen for games, and giving them treats in their crate.

Soft-sided crates are an excellent option for dogs with separation anxiety as they provide a comforting space.

That said, dogs with separation anxiety do like to chew so you’ll need to look for a crate that is pretty sturdy with reinforced corners, zippers, and doors.

What are soft-sided dog crates airline-approved?

There are strict guidelines regarding the type of carriers that can be used on airlines in the cabin. While there are no universal guidelines that work for all pets, generally, carriers need to be small enough to fit under the seat.

Some airlines also advise that ventilation is necessary on two sides and that the carrier must be made from water-resistant materials.

Which Soft Crate is Best for Your Dog?

Investing in a dog crate can be expensive, so you want to make sure you make the right purchase.

You’ll want a crate that’s comfortable, fits your dog well, suits your desired use, and that your dog feels secure in so that he doesn’t become an escape artist. 

Have you purchased a soft dog crate for your pet that you absolutely love? Let us know in the comments below.

Further Reading: The Best Crates for Your Pup

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