9 Best Soft Dog Crate for Large & Small Dogs in 2023
A soft sided dog crate is an indispensable tool when you’re traveling with your pooch. Comfortable, lightweight and easy to clean, a soft sided crate can be really useful whenever you’re moving, bringing your pet on vacation, or even just taking your pet along for an afternoon picnic.
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But not all soft sided dog crates are created equal. You need a crate that’s strong and durable, and able to stand up to the rigors of use by your precious pups. That’s why we’re here with a quick overview of the top options on the market. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll be looking at the 9 best soft sided dog crates in 2023.
So read on, learn all you need to know about soft sided dog crates, and get the information you need to make the right buying decision. Let’s get started now!
What is the Best Soft Side Dog Crate?
- Frisco Indoor & Outdoor Soft Dog Crate – 42 Inch
- GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Home
- Frisco Indoor & Outdoor Soft Dog Crate – 26 Inch
- MidWest Canine Camper Sportable Tent Dog Crate
- GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Carrier
- Petmate Portable Pet Home
- EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft-Sided Dog Crate
- Precision Pet Products Soft Sided Crate
- Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
Key Components To A Soft Sided Dog Crate
While there are thousands – if not tens of thousands – of portable dog crates on the market, they are all built with the same general design, and typically have similar components. Let’s take an in-depth look at the most important components of soft sided dog crates now.
- Metal frame – Even though the dog crate itself is soft sided, it still needs to be supported by some kind of rigid frame. The best soft sided dog crates are always built with some kind of metal frame. Steel is often used, but aluminium may also be used on lighter-weight dog crates if saving weight is an important factor. While there are some soft sided dog crates that use plastic frames, we typically do not recommend these, as you may run into durability and safety issues, particularly with large dog breeds.
- Collapsible sides – Soft sided dog crates typically use a design that’s collapsible, allowing the rigid frame to fold, so that the crate can be collapsed and easily stored when it’s not in use, making the crate more convenient when traveling with your pup.
- Removable cover – The cover of a soft sided dog crate is typically quite easy to remove, allowing you to take the whole thing off to wash and allow it to dry in-between uses. Typically, it’s held in place with just a few fasteners or zippers.
- Strong, water-resistant fabric – The fabric used in a soft sided dog crate must be able to withstand the daily wear and tear of use, so it must be strong and tear-resistant. Most soft sided dog crates are built with strong nylon or polyester-blend fabric, which offers plenty of strength. In addition, these fabrics are also water-resistant, which is important if you plan to use your soft sided dog crate for activities like camping. Water-resistance also makes it easier to clean up the crate if your pup has an “accident!”
- Mesh panels – Most soft sided dog crates incorporate at least a single mesh panel into the design to provide adequate ventilation for your dogs. The best soft sided dog crates use multiple mesh panels, often 3 or more, to provide better airflow and give our pups a better view of their surroundings.
- Crate mats – Depending on the product you buy, it might or might not come with a crate mat. If it doesn’t come with a crate mate, we recommend buying an adequately-sized one. Crate mats prevent pet accidents from damaging or soaking into the fabric base of the soft sided dog crate, and also provide more cushioning for your dogs.
- Anchor points – Multiple anchor points on the sides of a soft-sided dog crate are essential for securing it to the backseat of your car, or in the trunk, depending on the size of your dog and your crate. These are usually reinforced straps that allow you to easily secure the crate and keep it secure when you’re driving.
Whenever you’re looking for the best soft sided dog crates, you should look for products that have all of the above design features, which are essential for your convenience, and the comfort of your dog.
6 Benefits Of Using A Crate With Soft Sides
Wondering why you may want to choose a soft sided dog crate, rather than a metal mesh or plastic dog crate? Here are a few of the benefits of choosing a soft sided dog crate for your pup.
- Enhanced portability – Soft sided dog crates are exceptionally portable, often weighing just a few pounds. Metal and hard plastic dog crates, on the other hand, can be quite heavy, making them hard to lug around on a trip, or to a destination like the local park.
Because soft sided crates are so portable, they’re a great option if you like to go on a lot of adventures with your pup, but you’d still like them to be crated at night, when you’re driving, or when you’re not around.
- Tool-free setup and collapsibility – Most metal crates can also be collapsed, but the process is quite difficult, and may even require tools, in some cases. Soft sided dog crates, on the other hand, can collapse in seconds, and can also be set back up just as quickly.
Collapsing and setting up a soft sided dog crate could not be simpler, so if you’re going to be doing a lot of setting up and collapsing of your dog crate on a trip, this can save you quite a bit of time and frustration.
- Easy to store for occasional crating – If you only need to crate your dog occasionally, such as when a particular visitor comes by or when they’re recovering from an injury or a trip to the vet, a soft sided crate may be a good option for you. It’s easy to store and can be set up quickly, and because these crates are much smaller than most metal dog crates, you can stash it away in most closets without any hassle.
- Better enclosure for anxious dogs – Most soft sided dog crates include mesh panels for ventilation, and also have flaps that can be rolled down to cover these mesh panels, and enclose your dog. If your dog tends to feel more safe and comfortable in an enclosed area, a soft sided crate may be useful. Of course, this same effect can be achieved by draping a towel or blanket over a metal mesh crate, but this is not quite as convenient.
- Better ventilation compared to plastic – Naturally, a soft sided kennel does not provide quite as much ventilation as a metal wire or mesh dog kennel. However, it does provide much better ventilation than most plastic kennels and crates, as the multiple vents and screens allow for better airflow. If your dog tends to overheat easily, a soft sided dog crate may be a better option when traveling, compared to a plastic crate.
- Enhanced comfort for your dog – The fabric sides of a soft sided dog crate are more comfortable when traveling, compared to metal crates and hard plastic crates, which ensures they’re able to sit in the crate for a longer period of time without discomfort or stress.
For these 6 reasons – and quite a few others – you may find that a soft sided dog crate is ideal for your dog when you’re traveling. So, what are the 9 best soft sided crates for 2023? Read on, and learn about our top picks.
Overall Best Soft Dog Crates
|Our 2023 Picks: Best Dog Crates with Soft Sides|
|Frisco Indoor & Outdoor Soft Dog Crate – 42 Inch
|GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Home
|Frisco Indoor & Outdoor Soft Dog Crate – 26 Inch
|MidWest Canine Camper Sportable Tent Dog Crate
|GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Carrier
|Petmate Portable Pet Home
|EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft-Sided Dog Crate
|Precision Pet Products Soft Sided Crate
|Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
Frisco Indoor & Outdoor Soft Dog Crate – 42 Inch
Overall Best Soft Sided Dog Crate: This crate by Frisco is our top overall pick for the best soft sided dog crate in 2023. It’s built with a sturdy synthetic fabric, with reinforced corners and robust stitching to help prevent premature wear and tear.
Beyond this, it also has three large vents, which ensure that your dog remains comfortable throughout its trip, and has plenty of airflow and a great view of its surroundings. Each vent door can be easily opened and rolled up, and the zipper closure features locking clips, which can hold the zippers closed for extra security. This soft dog crate is still not escape-proof or chew-proof, but it is quite a bit more secure than some of the other products on the market.
Finally, it has a sturdy steel frame and a water-resistant base, contributing to a longer overall lifespan, and its tool-free design makes it easy to set up and collapse.
- Pros: Durable design, locking clips to secure zippers, plenty of ventilation, large enough for most medium breeds of dog, maximum weight capacity of 85lbs.
- Cons: High frame tension makes it difficult to replace the cover after washing, dimensions make it hard for some crate mats to fit properly
GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Home
Best Portable Dog Crate with Soft Sides: If you need a soft sided dog crate that’s very mobile and easy to use for camping, traveling and other such activities, the GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Home is the ideal choice.
The tubular design allows for a higher “roof” than many comparable dog crates, while providing a longer length that helps your dog turn around and move around as much as it needs to. A soft, padded floor keeps your pooch comfortable, while three large vents with rollable shades provide airflow. A sturdy, reinforced handle on the top of the crate makes it easy to move.
Best of all, the entire dog crate can easily fold into a small rectangle that is less than 2 inches thick, complete with carrying handles that make it easy to pack and store.
- Pros: Extremely lightweight and portable, easy to fold and unfold, ventilation on all four sides, comes with a removable sheepskin mat
- Cons: No metal frame which may reduce lifespan and durability, zippers do not lock, mesh door is very vulnerable to scratches and biting
Frisco Indoor & Outdoor Soft Dog Crate – 26 Inch
Best Small Dog Crate with Soft Sides: For smaller dog breeds, we recommend the smaller, 26-inch version of our top overall pick – the Frisco Indoor & Outdoor Soft Dog Crate. This model is rated for dogs up to 25lbs, making it a good option for smaller dog breeds like Boston Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, and other small and toy breeds.
The reinforced fabric and metal frame make this crate extremely durable, and the locking zippers help prevent your dog from escaping or damaging the crate. While it’s not escape-proof or chew-proof, it’s relatively secure, especially for smaller dog breeds. The mesh is strong and can hold up to wear and tear from pushing and scratching very well.
It also features a carrying handle. If you opt for the even smaller 21-inch version for toy dogs, you will also get a shoulder strap, making it easy to carry the crate even when your dog is inside.
- Pros: Strong design with metal frame, easy to fold and collapse, 3-way ventilation
- Cons: No pet mat included, no vent shades, some customers report a plastic smell that is difficult to remove without washing the cover multiple times
MidWest Canine Camper Sportable Tent Dog Crate
Best Large Dog Crate with Soft Sides: If you have a large breed like an Australian Shepherd, a Golden or Labrador Retriever, or any other larger dog, the MidWest Canine Camper Sportable Tent Dog Crate is a good option.
This crate has been designed specifically to hold up to wear and tear from large dog breeds, with a reinforced floor and corners, and an included sheepskin pad, which helps keep your dog comfortable. The folding frame is made of steel which is strong and durable, and the water-resistant exterior helps keep your dog dry, even during rainstorms. A U-shaped wire also helps the unit keep its shape, and provides increased support for the cover, which is easily removable for washing and drying.
The unit is easy to collapse for transportation, and also features four-way ventilation, with a total of six vents to keep your dog comfortable even in hot environments. The 42-inch size is appropriate for dogs of up to 71-90 lbs.
- Pros: Plenty of ventilation, secure frame with reinforcing wire, easy to fold and store, water-resistant, appropriate for all large dogs
- Cons: No roll-down shades for the vented windows, cannot be buckled into a seat belt, heavy dogs may make the corners and bottom may wear out more quickly
GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Carrier
Best Soft Sided Dog Crate for Giant Dogs: If you have a giant breed dog like a Mastiff or a Great Dane, the GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Carrier is a great option. It’s larger than any of the other options on our list, with a length of 48 inches and a width of 32 inches, which can accommodate all but the largest giant breeds with ease.
It also provides best-in-class ventilation, with large vents on each side, and a smaller vent on the top of the crate. An included storage bag lets you keep accessories, treats and other essentials organized when traveling. The waterproof floor and included, machine-washable fleece pad help keep things clean for your dog.
Despite its large size, it can be easily folded up and transported, with the exterior and frame folding down to less than 4 inches. The nylon shell is easy to clean and water-resistant.
- Pros: The largest soft sided crate on our list, adequate for the largest breeds of dog, unbeatable ventilation, plenty of included storage
- Cons: Giant dogs will tear through the crate easily if not crate trained, frame is difficult to assemble when putting the item together
4 More Top Rated Soft Sided Crates for Dogs
Not sure that one of the above 5 soft sided crates for dogs is right for your pup? Need more options? We’ve got you covered. The following picks didn’t quite make our top rankings, but are still a great option for most pet owners. Take a look now.
Petmate Portable Pet Home
This product is adequate for small-to-medium sized dogs. It features a removable fleece mat and a waterproof design, as well as four-sided ventilation and window covers, which can cover the vents to provide a soothing, dark environment for your dog.
It folds down into a carrying case, making it highly portable, and is made of a waterproof fabric. It also includes two storage pockets and 4 fabric ground stakes to anchor the crate outdoors.
- Pros: Lightweight, highly portable, comes with a removable mat
- Cons: No metal frame, not adequate for large dog breeds, zipper closure is not very secure
EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft-Sided Dog Crate
The EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft-Sided Dog Crate is great if you need lots of storage. It includes two large storage pouches where you can keep treats, dog waste bags, and any other essentials you may need when traveling.
Additionally, it features mesh doors on 3 sides and plenty of ventilation. The frame is made of durable steel tubing, while the cover is made of high-density, durable polyester for water resistance and easy cleaning. It also comes with a free carrying case and fleece bed.
- Pros: Plenty of ventilation, easy to set up and fold down, durable hex mesh for vents and doors
- Cons: Bulkier than some of our other top picks due to storage pockets, zippers are not reinforced
Precision Pet Products Soft Sided Crate
If you have a bigger budget for a soft sided dog crate, this product from Precision Pet Products is a good option. It’s pricey, but features extra stitching and reinforcement to help prevent damage to the fabric, and has convenient features like a water bottle holder for a crate water bottle.
It uses an epoxy-coated tubular frame and has 4 reinforced doors with vents, and includes a washable mat and ground stakes, and is appropriate for dogs of up to 70 lbs.
- Pros: Extremely strong frame and durable fabric, plenty of ventilation, includes roll-down blinds for window vents
- Cons: The most expensive option on our list, shorter height than comparably-sized soft sided crates
Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
This product by Sherpa is ideal for air travel with toy or small dogs, and is part of the Guaranteed On-Board Program, approved by most airlines. With locking zippers, a reinforced mesh panel design, and a spring wire frame that provides plenty of structure, this product is rated to carry dogs of up to 22lbs.
Additionally, it has a seatbelt strap to keep your dog secure when driving, includes 3 vents, and is foldable for easy storage and transportation. A shoulder strap makes it easy to carry, and the reinforced, padded floor keeps your dog safe and secure.
- Pros: Ideal for small dog breeds, locking zippers, allowed on most airlines, convenient, duffel-bag shaped design
- Cons: No removable cover, low height may make it unsuitable for taller dog breeds
The Top 6 FAQs About Soft Sided Dog Crates
Ready to shop for a soft sided dog crate? Got more questions about soft sided dog crates, and if they’re right for you and your pups? We’ve put together a few common FAQs below. Take a look, learn more, get the answers you need before you buy one of these products.
- Are soft sided dog crates escape proof? No. Most soft sided dog crates are not escape proof, and dogs can easily escape from them if they want to. Zipper closures are the most common on these products, and there is typically no support for any kind of latch or lock that can prevent your dog from escaping.If your dog is prone to trying to escape its crate, a soft sided dog crate may not be right for you. However, if your dog is properly crate-trained and will not try to escape, they will be comfortable and relaxed inside a soft-sided crate. We always recommend properly crate-training your dog before you try to use a soft sided dog crate.
- Are soft sided crates chew-proof? No. While the fabric that is used to create soft sided dog crates is strong and resistant to wear and tear, as well as water, it cannot resist repeated biting, chewing or scratching.Dogs who are prone to chewing within their crates can damage most soft sided crates quite easily, so you may not want to choose one of these products until this issue is addressed. Your dog could permanently damage the soft sided crate, or even chew or scratch through the fabric and escape.
To help minimize the risk of this, we also recommend including a chew toy or a piece of rawhide in the crate when your dog is first beginning to get used to its soft sided crate. They’re more likely to chew on this item than the walls of the crate, which ensures they stay safe and secure within your soft sided dog crate.
- How should I measure my dog for a soft sided crate? Choosing the properly-sized soft sided dog crate is essential when shopping. This is because most soft sided crates have no support for dividers, so there is no way to divide the interior volume and make it smaller for your dog.To measure your dog for a crate, you should first measure it from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail while it’s standing. Then, sit your dog down and measure from the top of its head to the floor. Add four inches to both of these measurements to determine the proper size of soft sided crate for your dog. Remember that the dog should be able to turn around and stand up comfortably in the crate.
- How do I clean a soft sided dog crate? While soft sided crates do hold up to wear and tear admirably well, we do recommend that you clean them periodically to ensure your dog feel comfortable – and immediately after your pooch has an accident in their crate.Most soft sided dog crates are relatively easy to clean. Some are even machine-washable. Note, however, that machine-washing the crate may cause excessive wear, and cause it to tear or rip prematurely if you do it often. For this reason, we recommend hand-washing your soft sided dog crate in most situations.
Simply remove the crate cover if you need to clean the entire crate, then wash it in a bucket of warm water with a mild detergent, and let it air dry. If you need to spot clean the cover, or it is not removable, you can simply apply a small amount of detergent with water, and agitate the area with a brush, then rinse away any detergent residue.
- Can I use a soft sided dog crate for air travel? This will depend on the airline with which you’re traveling. However, as a rule, most airlines will not accept a dog in a soft sided dog crate for air travel – because the crate is not escape-proof. If your dog manages to escape its crate during air travel, this could expose the airline to liability.This may depend on your airline, though, so if you really would like to use your soft sided dog crate for air travel, you can contact the airline for more information about their policy. Still, we highly recommend using an IATA (International Air Transport Association) approved kennel for your dog for its safety, and the safety of any other animals that are being transported on the flight.
- Can I completely replace my metal or plastic crate with a soft sided dog crate? No. Unless your dog must only be crated very infrequently, we do not recommend replacing a metal or plastic crate with a soft sided dog crate.Soft sided dog crates are primarily intended to be used for temporary crating when traveling and for other such purposes, and will not be an adequate replacement for a properly-sized metal or plastic crate for at-home crating purposes.
Explore The 9 Best Soft Sided Dog Crates – And Choose The Right One For You!
We hope this article has helped you choose the best soft sided dog crate for your pooch. While soft sided dog crates are not a replacement for a plastic or metal crate, they are extremely useful for traveling and are very portable, so it’s a good idea to invest in a high-quality soft sided dog crate for your pups! Browse our top picks now, and find the one that’s right for you and your dog.