Giving your dog a safe, soft space to sleep, travel, and spend time can result in a happier, calmer pup. For most pet parents, this means crate training. And because of the portability, convenience, and level of comfort a soft sided dog crate offers, many pet parents are turning to this option when it comes to choosing a crate for their pup.

Read on to discover the benefits of soft dog crates, as well which ones we chose as our favorites for keeping your furry friend cozy and contained.

Our Top Soft Dog Crate Picks

Benefits of Soft Dog Crates

Soft crates for dogs can be used in your home or on the go. Plus, most can fold down to a slim, easy-to-tote size, making them convenient for you, too.

These crates are typically made from fabrics and more flexible materials, compared to standard crates constructed of plastic or steel. This means they’re softer and less structured than other crates, which is beneficial in some situations. Some also have an internal steel frame, giving you the best of both worlds.

Soft dog crates are generally good for traveling, especially if you bring your pup into the plane cabin where they are stowed under the seat. They also offer a comfortable way to tote small dogs around, and they give them a place to relax when you reach your destination. These crates can be easier to carry than standard crates and oftentimes even have a shoulder strap and/or handle. 

While large dogs might be too heavy to carry in a crate, they can use soft dog crates as a cozy place to sleep at home or in a hotel.

When Not to Use a Soft-Sided Dog Crate

Though soft sided dog crates have many benefits, keep in mind that they may not be the right choice for all pups. In general, soft crates are not ideal for destructive pets. The fabric siding can be torn by dogs, and there is a risk of ingestion and choking and/or blockage. Dogs who have a history of chewing their crate should use a strong steel crate instead, some of which are easily folded for convenient traveling.

Additionally, while a soft crate for dogs can be a comfortable place for your pet to rest on long travel days, if they will be considered “cargo” on a plane, a breathable, hard sided crate is best. And if you’re looking for a crate to use in the car, keep in mind that one with solid sides is safer in case of a crash.

Types of Soft Dog Crates

Within the category of soft dog crates, there are several features to choose from, depending on how you plan to use the crate.  

These are a few different types of soft sided dog crates to consider:

  • Soft crates with steel frame: These have the structure and security of a steel wire crate with the softness and comfort of soft sides.
  • Collapsible soft crate: Many soft crates are designed to be collapsible. Especially good for travel and storing, these crates easily fold down so they can be put away when not in use. (Just remember, if you’ll be traveling with your pet, you’ll want to make sure the crate you choose fits airline policies.)
  • Soft carrier crates: These are crates that are easy to tote around, either by hand or over the shoulder via a strap. They tend to be better suited for smaller dogs due to their weight and size, and may not have an internal frame.

How We Selected Our Top Soft Dog Crate Picks

We took several different factors into consideration when compiling our list of the best soft sided dog crates, including:

Use. We thought about why and how pet parents may want to use a soft dog crate, highlighting options for both home and travel.

Special features. We also took note of any features that would make our picks stand out from other similar options, such as a collapsible design, added handles, etc.

Ratings and reviews. Of course we looked at the ratings of each soft dog crate, noting why other pet parents chose a particular model and how they liked it once they tried it out.

Price. Finally, we considered budgets both high and low, providing options on either end of the price point spectrum, as well as some in the middle.

8 Best Soft Dog Crates of 2024

Best Overall Soft Dog Crate

Our pick: EliteField 3-Door Soft Folding Dog Crate

Available in multiple size and color options, our top soft dog crate provides the comfort of fabric siding with the protection of a steel frame. All four sides have a mesh window, three of which also function as a door (which can be rolled open and secured if needed). And when things get messy, the cover and liner are washable.

While it functions just perfectly as a soft place to sleep at night — especially thanks to the included fleece bed — this soft dog crate is fantastic for travel. It not only has two pockets to store pet accessories, but the handles and strap make it easy to transport. And when not in use, it folds down flat to a height of just 3 inches for simple storage in the included carrying case.

Pros

  • Steel frame for added stability
  • Handles and strap make it easy to carry
  • Fleece bed and carrying case included
  • Folds flat
  • No assembly required
  • Available in a range of sizes and colors

Cons

  • Larger sizes in particular can be expensive

Best Large Soft Dog Crate

Our pick: Amazon Basics Collapsible Soft-Sided Folding Travel Crate

Let’s be honest. Crates for our oversized furry friends can be heavy, cumbersome, and hard to store when they’re not in use. That’s why we absolutely love this Amazon Basics soft sided dog crate. The largest size is designed to fit pups up to 110 pounds (think Great Dane or Bernese), it features a PVC frame that’s both lightweight and sturdy, and it even folds flat for smooth storing. For added airflow, there are mesh windows on all sides, and the top and front unzip for easy in and out.

Pros

  • Available in multiple sizes, with the largest fitting dogs up to 110 pounds
  • Durable polyester material and lightweight PVC frame
  • Front and top mesh doors unzip and can be held up and out of the way when open
  • Folds flat

Cons

  • Higher price point

Best Small Dog Soft Crate

Our pick: Petsfit Portable Dog Crate

We love the dome shape of this soft dog crate, as well as the fact that it comes in a miniature size that’s perfect for petite pups. While it does have a top handle for easy carrying, it feels like more of a traditional crate rather than a carrier, making it a great option for both travel and home use. Memory metal rods at the top and bottom help it keep its shape, and mesh on three sides to give your pup a great view. The lockable zipper offers an added sense of security.

Pros

  • Comes in several different sizes, including one to fit small dogs up to 28 pounds
  • Memory metal rods for stability
  • Locking front zipper
  • Top handle and back storage pocket
  • Cover is washable
  • Fleece mat included

Cons

  • Only one opening on the front

Best Soft Dog Crate with Steel Frame

Our pick: Noz2Noz Sof-Krate N2 Series Indoor/Outdoor Home for Dogs

This one is similar to our top pick, although it lacks a shoulder strap and doesn’t have a carrying case. It’s still worth considering, though, as the streamlined design looks especially great as your pet’s main crate in your home, and it folds up super flat for storage. It’ll keep its shape too, due to the strong internal steel frame.

The crate has mesh windows and entry doors on the top, front, and sides. This allows airflow plus easy access to your pet no matter where the crate is placed. The front mesh door can be held open with included fastening strips, or closed and locked when you need to keep your dog secure.

Pros

  • Top, side, and front doors
  • Door lock clips keep your pet secure
  • Collapsible design
  • Strong steel frame
  • Available in multiple sizes

Cons

  • Only available in one color
  • No carrying case or strap

Best Collapsible Soft Dog Crate

Our pick: MidWest Canine Camper Portable Tent Crate

If you’ll be moving from place to place often and need a crate that can travel with you, a soft dog crate that quickly collapses is ideal. We love this one because it folds up flat and even has a handle for easy portability. There are large mesh windows on the front, back, and sides for visibility and airflow, and the water-resistant, easy-to-clean material stands up to messes. It even comes with a synthetic sheepskin pad for your pet to lounge on. Plus, it’s super lightweight: the largest size weighs just under 20 pounds. 

Pros

  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Largest size weighs 20 pounds and supports dogs up to 90 pounds
  • Lightweight design
  • Slim steel frame and U-shaped wire for structure and stability
  • Includes a synthetic sheepskin pad
  • Folds up flat and includes a carrying handle

Cons

  • Not ideal for destructive dogs
  • Only available in one color

Best Soft Dog Carrier for Air Travel

Our pick: EliteField Soft Sided Pet Carrier

When you need a soft sided dog carrier for flying, it’s crucial to find one that is airline approved. According to the manufacturer, both the medium and large version of this carrier are the correct size for bringing onto most planes — just remember to double check with the specific airline you’ll be using to confirm. And you’ll still need to make sure that your pet fits in the carrier itself: most airlines require that your pup be able to stand and turn around in order to prevent people traveling with dogs in too-small carriers.

Designed to be secured to the top of your luggage if desired, this soft dog carrier also has loops to attach it to a seat belt in cars. Inside, a built-in leash keeps your pet from escaping into a busy airport (or getting loose on the plane). The washable material makes it easy to keep clean, and even better, there are six different colors to choose from.

Pros

  • Airline-approved carrier
  • Multiple handles and ways to keep your pet secure
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Included fleece bed
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Not suited for large dogs
  • Though this is approved for most airlines, you still need to make sure your dog is able to stand and turn around in the carrier

Best Value Soft Dog Crate

Our pick: Go Pet Club Soft Sided Indoor/Outdoor Pet Crate 

Most soft dog crates are pricey, so finding an affordable one that’s worth it isn’t easy. Of course, the price will depend on the size, with smaller crates being less expensive. Even so, this crate falls on the low end of the spectrum, making it more affordable than some others. With the lower price, it is missing some features (for example, the materials may not be as durable and it isn’t available in as large a size as others), but the crate is still packed with positives: it has windows on all sides, comes with a soft mat, and is easily collapsible and perfect for travel. Overall, it offers an affordable way to give your pet a safe, soft-sided space to relax.

Pros

  • Much more affordable than other soft dog crates
  • Folds up flat and is easy to transport
  • Mesh windows can be covered or exposed
  • Soft bed is included

Cons

  • The biggest size is 32 inches high
  • Only available in one color, which is pretty bold and might not match all decor styles
  • Some customers mentioned that their dogs were able to easily rip the material

Best Outdoor Soft Dog Crate

Our pick: Precision Pet Products Soft Sided Crate 

If you plan on packing up your pup for some quality time outdoors, this collapsible soft crate has a bunch of features you’ll appreciate. It’s made of durable water-resistant polyester and features four reinforced doors with heavy-duty zippers, as well as mesh panels for added ventilation. There’s a water bottle holder and storage pocket for doggy essentials, and it even comes with ground stakes for added stability. 

Pros

  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Water-resistant fabric, heavy-duty zippers, and reinforced doors, pockets, and seams make it great for outdoor use
  • Storage pocket and water bottle holder for added convenience
  • Collapsible design
  • Ground stakes included

Cons

  • Higher price point
  • No bed/mat included

Soft Dog Crate Buying Guide

When shopping for a soft dog crate, there are few factors to consider before buying.

Will it travel well? If you’re planning to use the crate for airplane travel, review your airline’s guidelines on sizing. A soft sided pet carrier should only be used if you’ll be bringing your pet with you into the cabin. They should never be used for pets who will be in the cargo area  — most airline policies require standard hard crates in that scenario. Look for those that are collapsible, so they can be stored away or easily carried when you arrive at your destination.

Cleaning process. Look for a soft dog crate with washable materials. Even if your dog isn’t prone to accidents, dirt and fur can still collect in the fabric. Some crates are spot clean only, while others have removable covers or pieces that can be put into the washing machine.

Durability. You may also want a soft sided dog crate that incorporates a steel or plastic frame to make it sturdier. Just keep in mind that soft sided crates tend to be more expensive than their plastic and steel counterparts — especially those that incorporate a sturdier frame. 

Safety Tips for Using Soft Dog Crates   

Soft crates for dogs are safe to use in most situations, but following some basic advice can help prevent any mishaps.

Think about protection. One big difference between standard and soft crates is how protective they are. Soft crates without an internal steel frame lack the full protection that a hard crate has, which leaves more potential for injury during travel (for example, in a car crash).

Consider the temperature. Soft sided crates can also be too hot for some dogs. Especially in hot weather, make sure the crate allows for lots of airflow to prevent your dog from overheating. 

Don’t forget about training. If your dog is unfamiliar with crates, train them properly and create a positive association. This can help prevent anxiety and destructive behaviors. And speaking of destructive behaviors, if your dog begins chewing on the crate, never leave them unattended in it and consider switching to one that they can’t bite or destroy.