What are the best dog crate liners for traveling?

Now that you’ve fitted your crash tested crate, wire mesh or plastic crate into the car, the next stage is kitting it out so that your dog is comfortable in it whilst traveling. Let’s take a look at your options when it comes to lining your dog crates for travel and what we think are the best dog crate liners for traveling.

So what are we looking for when making a choice? My priorities when choosing what to line dog crates with would now be comfort, safety, and hygiene (easy to clean!).

Comfort: The lining material should be soft, cushioned, and warm to provide a cozy space for dogs to rest.

Safety: Safety should always be a top priority when transporting dogs in crates. The lining material should be non-slip and secured firmly to the crate to prevent shifting during transport. It should also be durable and able to withstand wear and tear, as well as frequent washing.

Hygiene: Keeping the crates clean and hygienic is important for the health and well-being of the dogs The lining material should be easy to clean and maintain, and resistant to odors and bacteria. It should also be machine-washable or easily cleaned with disinfectant wipes or sprays.

vet dog

Vet Bedding

I’m just going to start with my personal favorite. Vet bedding is soft, hygienic, chewproof, washable, warm, (and cool due to the way the fabric is ventilated) and it’s affordable too.

The thing that makes it perfect for travel is that one of the options it comes in has a nonslip rubber backing which stops it sliding all over the bottom of your dog’s crate.

It’s also easily cut to size without the edges fraying and seems to last forever despite frequent washing (I’ve still got the one I bought 7 years ago when my own dog was a puppy).

Vet Bedding is also hypoallergenic, which can be beneficial for dogs with allergies or sensitive skin.

dog crate mat

Crate Mats

Crate mats are another popular option for lining a dog crate when in the car. They are typically waterproof, made of foam or other cushioning materials and provide a soft, comfortable surface for dogs to rest on.

Being waterproof they can cope with wet dogs after walks as well as any ‘accidents’ and it won’t damage the mat itself, and they tend to be sold in sizes that will fit the crate bottom perfectly, so no chance of them sliding around during travel.

Be careful not to buy a non-waterproof mat as these will soak up every drip of moisture and mud and become unhygienic very quickly.

old towels

Old Towels

Using old towels to line a dog crate is a budget-friendly option but they can have their downsides.

Although they’re absorbent and can soak up moisture from wet or muddy paws, keeping the crate cleaner and drier, they can also slide about making your dog feel insecure. Not to mention, wet soggy towels are heavy to carry from the car to the washing machine!

If not secured properly, towels can bunch up or shift around during transport, potentially causing discomfort or injury to the dog.

So even though it might seem a good idea to give those old towels a second life, we’d definitely opt for something else.

Cool Mats

Using a cool mat in a dog crate in the car can be a good idea, especially if you live in a hot climate or if you frequently take your dog on car rides during warm weather. Cool mats are designed to help regulate a dog’s body temperature and provide a comfortable surface for them to rest on.

Although easy to clean they can slide around on the bottom of the crate so you might want to consider adding an anti-slip mat underneath the coolmat to reduce slippage. And of course, you might want to reconsider using them if you have a dog who chews.

dog bed

Dog Beds

Having a dog bed in a dog crate in the car can be a good idea, but there are some factors to consider to ensure the safety and comfort of your dog during car rides:

  1. Size and Fit: Make sure the dog bed fits securely within the crate without leaving any gaps. This ensures that your dog won’t get trapped or injured during the journey.
  2. Comfort: A comfortable dog bed can make car rides more pleasant for your dog. Choose a bed with enough padding to provide support, especially for longer journeys.
  3. Security: Ensure that the dog bed doesn’t interfere with the secure attachment of the crate within the car. The crate should be safely and firmly anchored to prevent movement during sudden stops or turns.
  4. Ventilation: Opt for a dog bed that allows for proper ventilation within the crate. Good airflow is crucial, especially during warmer weather.
  5. Washability: Choose a dog bed that is easy to clean, as accidents or spills can happen during car rides. Removable and machine-washable covers can be convenient.
  6. Behavioral Considerations: Some dogs may prefer a softer surface, while others might be more comfortable on a cooler or firmer surface. Observe your dog’s behavior and preferences to determine the most suitable bed.

Pros and Cons of no Liner in your dog crates

While it is recommended to line a dog crate with a comfortable and safe material, you may choose to not use any liner in the dog’s crate.


No liner means there is nothing to shift or bunch up during transport, which can potentially cause discomfort or injury to the dog.

Without a liner, the crate can be cleaned more easily and thoroughly.

Not using a liner can be more cost-effective in the short term, as there is no need to purchase bedding or replace it over time.


Without a liner, the dog may be lying directly on the hard plastic or metal floor of the crate, which can be uncomfortable and potentially cause sores or injuries.

The crate can become cold or damp, especially during long car rides or if the dog is wet from rain or snow.

What’s our choice?

We love our vet bedding. (I’ve even got some on my driver seat to make it more comfortable!) As long as you get the non slip, rubber backed stuff then the only downside is the price but I feel that the amount saved on tumble drier costs (vet bedding driers super fast outside) more than makes up for the initial outlay.

Vet bedding for the win!

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All articles on tetradog.com are written by qualified behaviorist and dog trainer, Cheryl Walker.


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