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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I can't possibly find an answer for this question on google or any forums! I don't know if I am just searching for the wrong thing or what but all I find are information from crate manufactures for crate use in home/extended times.

I am going to go to meet and possibly take a 1 year old puppy that is a rottweiler/lab mix home. I have no idea how big he is currently nor how big he will end up so I am planning on him ending up around 90 pounds which is between a rott and a lab and what this mix seems to top out at. They said he has the body of a lab, which doesn't help much as they can be between 50 and 90 pounds too! Its not the best situation since it is all basic vague information, all I know is he is a large year old puppy from two large breed dogs. I have seen pics of him but not enough to go, yea that dog weights x weight, and they don't know specifically how big he is.

I plan to get him a 48" crate for in the home, the size recommended for rotts as they can get to be 120 pounds.

BUT I would like a crate for my car! I cannot figure this out without having my physical hands on the dog to see. But I need the crate for the car before I can take him home.

Now obviously I can't fit a 48" crate in my little hatch back honda fit. And I am well aware that a 90 pound dog can be short and stocky or tall and lanky and both would need very different crate sizes. So I know this is not an exact science and it as much your guess as it is mine.

What would you recommend as the smallest size crate to put a dog this size in for short car trips, ie to the vet, hiking, the park, taking him home. Ideally I would like to get a 30 inch but I really feel this would be WAY too small.

Could I get away with a 36 inch do you think?

He is currently under exercised and untrained so getting a barrier and having him in the trunk is not an option for me. I want him in a crate and safe and not jumping around my car while we are driving.
 

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Weight really isn't much of a deciding factor with crates, since dogs of a similar weight can be drastically different in proportions.
The dog needs to be able to sit, stand, lie and turn around comfortably inside the crate, so his height/length is far more important.

I had a 36" crate for my terriers (left them with plenty of space... though they weren't in it together). It was too small for my medium sized whippet x collie thing to be in comfortably for any length of time. I'd say a 42" would be better, if possible
 

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In my main vehicle (a SUV) I have a setup like this rather than a crate, because the "trunk" is the wrong shape to hold big rectangular boxes. My dogs don't chew upholstery or anything, though.



eta: never mind, I see you've already ruled out using a barrier.
 

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After you get to meet him use a cloth measuring tape and accomplice to roughly measure nose to butt and shoulder to floor for the right size crate. In the car Sassy needed to brace herself or she would void her anal sacs so bigger wasn't better for her.

What about a cheap cloth crate? I have a $25 one from Target that would hold a dog and any mess in although it certainly isn't very secure. The 'frame' is spring metal so it squishes. I don't know of any that open from the side though and that is the only type that will work in your case.
 

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Can you contact the person you are getting the dog from and have them measure him for you?
That's a great idea. Just tell them you need to buy a crate to transport him in, could they give you a general idea of length and height.
 

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I think you should just bring the dog home loose in your car (you can get harnesses pretty cheaply to strap them in) and then decide once you have him. You may be able to use a 36", I know someone with chessies who uses 36". But you may not. A 30" should theoretically fit my male (based on height and length provided by the crate companies), but when I bought one he could rest his chin on top of it while standing next to it. He won't even go through the door because it's so small. It does fit my smaller dog though.

I would guess though that you will need a 42" and that's going to be hard to fit in most cars, and pretty much impossible in a Fit. And you won't really know if a 36" is possible without at least seeing it next to the dog or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Foxes&Hounds : The problem with the 42" is it is too tall and the corner will stop the trunk from closing. I re-measured and the largest we could safely fit in the car is a 36.

parus : If I was going to go with the barrier I would definitely go with one of these instead of one of the cheap ones you can get that fit "all" cars. My concern with these are at least for the time being how do I get him out of the car without him bolting out before I can get the leash? I don't know if he will chew up the car or not I am most concerned with a large dog bursting out of the back mid car ride and causing an accident.

Kathyy : A cloth crate absolutely will not work, I wouldn't trust him to not chew out of it. I do plan to put the seats down that fold flat and there is room for a crate in there (though at the expense of a trunk and 3 passenger seats)

ziggzmom + Amaryllis : I will try this rout but I don't feel they will be able to give me the answers. The person is getting rid of the dog for her daughter who is in the hospital and is very limited in her actual knowledge of the dog.

elrohwen : I will absolutely not be letting any dog free reign in my car while driving let alone a large puppy that has not been properly exercised or trained in many months.

My other option is springing close to 2 grand for a crate specifically for the car with a slanted front to remove the problem with the trunk closing. Though as one would assume, I would rather not spend that one a crate just for the sparse times he is in the car.
 

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I'd pick up a Kurgo harness and recruit a friend to ride with. Use the harness attachments to buckle him in the back seat and the friend's job is to watch him to prevent him from chewing anything. I've picked up several dogs with no training and pent-up energy from shelters/boarding and had good success with this method.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'd pick up a Kurgo harness and recruit a friend to ride with. Use the harness attachments to buckle him in the back seat and the friend's job is to watch him to prevent him from chewing anything. I've picked up several dogs with no training and pent-up energy from shelters/boarding and had good success with this method.
I feel really stupid... I never thought about having one of us in the back WITH him... wow... That is actually a really good solution to at the very least get him home safely before we can fit him for a crate in the car. Thank you! This also solves the problem of being able to get him out of the car without him bursting out and getting free.
 

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I feel really stupid... I never thought about having one of us in the back WITH him... wow... That is actually a really good solution to at the very least get him home safely before we can fit him for a crate in the car. Thank you! This also solves the problem of being able to get him out of the car without him bursting out and getting free.
You're welcome. I suggest keeping a leash on him too so that the person in the car can hold the leash while the other person attaches/detaches the seat belt hookup. That prevents the dog from trying to leap out of the car while still hooked up (and thus ending up comically but possibly painfully dangling half out of the car)

I believe that Kurgo is the most widely available crash tested harness. Ruffwear also makes a tested harness but I haven't seen it in stores. Most dog harnesses are not crash tested and some can harm a dog. However, if the dog is very boisterous and more likely to be the cause of an accident, it can be a worthwhile trade-off to use a harness especially if you're travelling mainly on lower speed roads.
 

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I don't thinl elrohwen was suggesting you leave the dog loose - she suggested a Kurgo harness if you read her post. Loose as in not crated, but not free reign in the car.

The harnesses are a very viable solution especially with a dog that would need such a large crate to fit into the car. Like Shell said many crates are not crash tested and while tons of people use them for travel I'm more comfortable having my dogs in a harness similar to a person wearing a seat belt.

Also, under exercised and untrained doesn't necessarily guarantee a car ride fiasco. Good to be prepared for it, of course, but you may find out he actually likes cars/settles in them. You never know.
 

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I don't thinl elrohwen was suggesting you leave the dog loose - she suggested a Kurgo harness if you read her post. Loose as in not crated, but not free reign in the car.

The harnesses are a very viable solution especially with a dog that would need such a large crate to fit into the car. Like Shell said many crates are not crash tested and while tons of people use them for travel I'm more comfortable having my dogs in a harness similar to a person wearing a seat belt.

Also, under exercised and untrained doesn't necessarily guarantee a car ride fiasco. Good to be prepared for it, of course, but you may find out he actually likes cars/settles in them. You never know.
To be clear, I only referred to crash tested harnesses. And, I think that crates are probably overall a lot better containment solution but due to the restrictions of various vehicles, harnesses can be a decent alternative. Most likely, the best option would be an airline crate if the car can fit it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I don't thinl elrohwen was suggesting you leave the dog loose - she suggested a Kurgo harness if you read her post. Loose as in not crated, but not free reign in the car.

The harnesses are a very viable solution especially with a dog that would need such a large crate to fit into the car. Like Shell said many crates are not crash tested and while tons of people use them for travel I'm more comfortable having my dogs in a harness similar to a person wearing a seat belt.

Also, under exercised and untrained doesn't necessarily guarantee a car ride fiasco. Good to be prepared for it, of course, but you may find out he actually likes cars/settles in them. You never know.
This is actually what I was referring to, I would never leave a dog with unknown behavior loose in the back seat of my car with a harness on tying them down.

Aside from the human vanity of I am unwilling to risk a dog chewing, scratching, peeing, destroying my car, this is a dog that is likely to be large enough to reach someone in the front seat even when tied down. Not to mention the distraction of him flailing around the cabin and being a general over hyper 1 year old puppy.

I would LOVE to think this dog is going to be a perfect pet that has no problems and will be just a doll in the car, however I highly doubt that will be the case and would even bet money on it. Based on conversations with the owners I would suspect this to be a dog that would chew through the seat belt given the chance.

This was however with out the thought of having someone in the back with him to keep him under control. It would be a single one time thing simply to get him home so I can make sure I can measure him to find a crate that will work for him and my car.
 

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While a crate is still the safest option, IF you find that you have trouble fitting a suitably sized crate in your car; then a few tips:

A properly fitted harness and attachment to the seat belt or the LATCH hook (where a child's seat is attached) should not allow even a large dog to get into the front seat past maybe his nose. My dogs are about 75 lbs and 65 lbs and my fosters ranged from say 30 to 80 lbs and none of them were able to physically distract me from driving while buckled in.

There are waterproof seat covers available for pretty cheap at the big box stores and online. I have an ASPCA branded one that was maybe $15 and protects the seats from mud, spit etc. There are "hammock" styles to keep the dog from getting into the foot well area too.

Chewing can certainly be a problem. But depending on the dog, a combination of something like Bitter Apple spray on the attachments and cracking the window a few inches to draw attention can work well. I don't open the window enough for the dog to put his full head outside but just enough to get the wind and the scents that it carries into the car so the dog sticks his nose there and focuses on that instead of chewing.

Out of my bunch of wild and crazy fosters, 1 of 10 chewed leashes/attachments. Another 1 out of 10 had car anxiety and whined/screamed but was helped by herbal calming chews and counter-conditioning. But all told, 9 of 10 were/are (10th being Eva) not an issue to take in the car sans crate even though they were a bunch of hooligans overall.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I was actually just thinking about a third option and this post came right at the prefect timing. I was contemplating if the harnesses needed to be hooked into the seatbelt and if the function of the seatbelt was part of the crash test or if the harness would function exactly the same if tethered either to a car seat loop (which we have) or tie down loops (which we also have).

The other option would be combining a barrier with a harness and tethering him in the trunk. The barrier to make sure he doesn't get loose into the cabin and the harness to provide some level of safety as well as to keep him from bursting through the barrier.

The barrier alone is the only one that really flat out scares me as I have heard horror stories of dogs breaking out and causing wrecks because they are pressure mounted. Now of coarse this is not the norm and doesn't happen frequently but it is something I would greatly enjoy avoiding. But with a dog that I do not know and do not trust because I do not know him (I am not someone that trusts a dog just because they are mans best friend) I would rather assume his behavior is the worse case scenario.
 

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Here's one way to attach that doesn't allow for the extra "give" of hooking to a seatbelt (which only tightens when the brakes are applied) or to the seatbelt latch (which a wiggling dog can step on and release)



As far as I know, a plastic/airline style crate is superior to a collapsible wire crate for car travel
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yea the wire ones basically explode/collapse during an accident. Watching dog crash testing is both amusing and terrifying at the same time
 
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