How to line your dog crates in your van

multicolored towels hanging on an outdoor washing line

Back when I first started out my car (Vauxhall Tigra – the worlds least suitable dog walking car) was lined with the neighbours donations of old towels. Then when I got a bigger car (Vauxhall Astra – a massive upgrade in space) I installed dog crates and kept on using the towels until I discovered non slip vet bedding.

As a professional dog walker, my priorities when choosing what to line dog crates with would now be comfort, safety, and hygiene (easy to clean!).

Comfort: Dogs shouldn’t be spending too much time in crates during transportation but it’s still important to ensure they have a comfortable surface to lie on. The lining material should be soft, cushioned, and warm to provide a cozy space for dogs to rest. This goes for dogs on seatbelts as well as in crates.

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 both the dogs and the dog walker. 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.

Let’s take a look at the top 4 popular options and look at the pros and cons of each so that you can decide for yourself. So we’ll cover vet bedding, crate mats, old towels and alternatively, having nothing in the crates.

Pros and Cons of Vet Bedding to line your dog crates

Vet Bedding is a popular option for lining a dog crate when in the car. It is made of a soft, synthetic material that is designed to be both comfortable and warm.


Vet Bedding is designed to be hygienic, so it is easy to clean and can be washed in a machine.

Get the one with a non-slip backing so it will stay in place during transport and won’t bunch up or shift around.

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

Vet bedding is deigned to allow fluid through the bedding, so that it doesn’t pool on the top and helps keep it dry. Perfect for after wet walks as the water will just drip through to the plastic tray underneath the bedding and especially important for elderly dogs.

You can save money by buying a roll and cutting off the exact sizes you need.


Vet Bedding can be expensive compared to other options like towels.

Some dogs may find the synthetic material uncomfortable, especially if they prefer natural fibers like cotton or wool.

Vet bedding is designed to be warm, so it may not be suitable all year round in warmer climates (or for that one week in August we Brits get)

Check out the latest prices here; Non slip rubber backed vet bedding at Amazon

Or they’ve started to do crate size pieces at Zooplus here; Vet bedding at Zooplus

Pros and Cons of a Waterproof Mat to line your dog crates

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


Crate mats are usually affordable and widely available at pet stores or online.

They’re usually waterproof which means your crate pad won’t soak up any muddy water after wet walks

Crate mats come in a variety of colours and designs, so you can choose one that matches your dogs. (Just kidding, we all know they have to match the colour of the car…)


They’re usually waterproof which means your crate pad won’t soak up any muddy water after wet walks, which means it’ll still be on the dog (making them cold) or dripping over the side of the pads into your vehicle.

Non waterproof mats made of foam or other soft materials may absorb moisture and become soggy or uncomfortable for dogs.

If not cleaned regularly, crate mats can become dirty and harbor bacteria or odor.

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.

Without a liner, the crate may be more difficult to clean in the long run, as odors and bacteria can become embedded in the plastic or metal over time.

Pros and Cons of Old Towels to line your dog crates

Using old towels to line a dog crate is a budget-friendly option and what we all usually start out with


Old towels are usually readily available and don’t require any additional purchases.

They are absorbent and can soak up moisture from wet or muddy paws, keeping the crate cleaner and drier.

Towels are machine washable and easy to clean.


Wet, soggy towels are heavy to lug from the vehicle 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.

Towels may not be as durable as other options like vet bedding or crate mats, and may need to be replaced more frequently. Especially if you have a chewer!

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. I’m still using mine I bought from 7 years ago (I know it was 7 years as that’s how old my puppy is this year).

Vet bedding for the win!


The dog walking coach website is supported by our visitors. Some of the product links on this website are through affiliate schemes such as Amazon. This means that I earn a small commission if you choose to purchase something at no extra cost to yourself.

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