MIMSafe Blog

Crate Training Your Puppy For Safe Travel

By | MIMSafe Blog

Crate training your puppy is vital to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog whilst travelling. A dog that refuses to get into a vehicle, causes driver distraction or jumps out at will, is a danger to itself and others.

Crate training
Start training early; making positive associations by crate training at home first helps your puppy associate their car crate with feeling safe and secure. With correct training, your dog will look forward to time in their crate. Always perform car crate training where your puppy cannot run out into the road and remove their collar beforehand to prevent it from getting caught.

1. Choose the right car crate

When choosing a car crate, ensure it is the correct fit. Your dog must be able to comfortably stand up, turn around and lie flat inside their crate. Our Variocages come in a wide-ranging variety of shapes and sizes so there should be an option for everyone.

2. Positive reinforcement

Lots of treats and praise is key in training your puppy to regard their crate as a positive and secure space. Feed your dog part of his main meal in the crate, reward him with treats for being in the crate, and fit the crate with a familiar, comfortable blanket to reduce his anxiety whilst training or travelling.

Lure your puppy into the car crate with treats, once the puppy is comfortable with this, try putting a treat in and closing the door for a few seconds before reopening it. Always reward once they are in the crate if they are not crying or whining.

3. Introducing cues into Crate Training

Once your puppy is happily entering the crate to eat his reward, start to use cues for their entrance and exit. Use the entrance cue before tossing in the treat.
After doing this a few times, wait to reward until they are already in the crate.
A release cue is essential so you can open the car crate and your puppy will remain there until you cue it is safe to come out. Say the familiar exit cue and toss a treat outside the crate. Do this until the dog leaves the crate on cue. Now phase out the treats and use only the cues.

4. Short and Sweet Sessions

Gradual training is most effective; your dog’s comfort is paramount. Leaving the boot door open at first and gradually working up to closing it gently, along with turning on the motor when stationary will acclimatise them to the sound and experience. Slowly increase the time spent in the crate.
Never leave your dog unsupervised whilst crate training as this can increase anxiety, sitting with them in the car helps them remain calm.

5. Limit Travel Anxiety

Make your puppy’s first few journeys short and enjoyable. A trip to go for a walk or to a nearby dog park will encourage them to feel excited to get back in the car!

A car crate is the most secure option for travelling with pets – our crash tested crates are completely secure and fitted with multiple safety features that ensure your puppy’s safety and comfort.

Checklist for summer travelling with dogs

By | MIMSafe Blog

With the summer holidays approaching, longer nights and lots of dog-friendly options for travelling over the summer, we’ve created a handy checklist for you to print off and use for any dog travel over the summer!  Click HERE to download and print.

On days out:

  • Plenty of water – at least 2 x 1.5 litre bottles per dog
  • Portable water bowl
  • Leads for each dog – plus a spare
  • Headcollars or harnesses
  • Collar and identity tags with your mobile number on for each dog
  • Poo bags
  • Treats
  • Balls, frisbees, other dog toys
  • Chews/treat dispensing toys if you need the dog to be settled
  • A heavy-duty ground spike tie-out stake (eg. for the beach)
  • The dog’s food (if you are going to be away all day)
  • Any supplements the dog usually has
  • Prescribed medication
  • Dog’s calming mat or lightweight settle mat
  • Headlamp/torch (for late-night walkies)

In the car:

  • Comfy dog bed or cooling mat
  • Water bowl
  • Car window shades
  • A cover for the crate, especially if it is hot or your dog barks at things while travelling
  • Disinfectant
  • Wipes or cloths (for cleaning up accidents)
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Towels
  • Car airing hook (holds the boot slightly open to allow air flow whilst car remains locked. Note: this should never be used as a solution to leave your dog in a car in hot weather.

Keeping them cool:

  • Cooling coat
  • Cooling mat
  • Windbreak, umbrella or something else that could create shade

This pdf is available to download here: keep it in your vehicle in case of emergency.

unrestrained dog in car

Unrestrained dogs may cause death, heartbreak and jail sentences

By | MIMSafe Blog

unrestrained dog in car

Over the last few years, there have been a number of well-publicised cases of death or serious injury of road users due to drivers distracted by unrestrained. Most of these have resulted in jail sentences for the driver.

  • In 2020 driver Louis Bond, 24, drove through a red light and hit an elderly pedestrian after his dog distracted him by jumping onto the car’s front seat. He caused a bleed to her brain, two broken legs, and a broken shoulder. The pensioner spent 3 months in hospital and was left unable to walk without a frame. He was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for 2 years after his release.
  • In 2022, driver Richard Clarke, 37, hit a 77-year-old woman and her 80-year-old husband after his Weimaraner started to move around in the back of his vehicle. The lady died later in hospital and her husband suffered severe injuries. Richard was jailed for 24 weeks with a 64-week driving ban after admitting to causing death by dangerous driving.
  • In 2017, 21-year-old Billy Dunn hit and killed a 95-year-old pedestrian. He stated at the scene that the accident occurred seconds after his dog, who was sitting on the passenger seat, tried to get onto his lap, but later changed his story, claiming it was due to glare from the sun. Due to various other facts related to the case, he was found not guilty.

These are just some of the examples of cases where the driver’s simple decision not to restrain the dog on that day led to deaths and many wrecked lives. Even the best-behaved pets can be unpredictable in certain circumstances, and it is ALWAYS safer to keep them safely restrained.

Our focus has always been to keep people, pets, and other road users safe by raising public awareness of the consequences of not restraining dogs and other animals in vehicles while traveling. As well as the horrific consequences such as those described above, not restraining your dog when you travel could result in:

  • A conviction of dangerous driving if involved in an accident.
  • Your car and pet insurance could be invalidated.
  • A fine of up to £5,000.
  • A requirement to retake your test.
  • A driving ban.
  • 9 penalty points on your driving license.

And don’t forget the safety of your pet. Unrestrained dogs can be thrown through windscreens and end up running about, terrified, in traffic.


Our crash-tested crates are proven to protect people and their pets in accidents and ensure that you won’t be distracted by any of the perfectly natural behaviours that your dog might display while you are driving. We have a range of options from dog guards to tailgate guards and crates, all crash tested. Visit our model selector to find out which crates or guards could fit your vehicle.

crash tested dog guard

Looking for a crash tested dog guard?

By | MIMSafe Blog

If you’re looking for a crash tested dog guard to keep your dogs safely in the boot and protect your passengers and yourself in the event of an accident, you can’t get a safer or better value solution than a VarioBarrier crash tested dog guard. Unlike most other dog guards on the market, our guards are crash tested according to crash standard ECE-R17 / ISO 27955, and once fitted, the legal requirement for load securing is met and you, your family and your pets will be much safer.  They’re also a very reasonable price, starting at only £123.

Our crash tested dog guard is flexible enough to accompany you from car to car, and is fully adjustable in width and height to ensure that it will fit the shape of each vehicle. The dog guard can also be safely fitted without any alterations or damage to the inside of the car.

The dog guard prevents dogs from being flung forward and injuring themselves on the car contents or windscreen: dogs are often thrown through the windscreen on impact if they are not appropriately restrained. The guard simultaneously protects passengers from the full force of animals, luggage, or other items being propelled from the boot space into the vehicle in the event of an accident.

Our uncompromising focus on safety by crash testing from different angles with the safety products in situ in the vehicle means that we know that the guard will work in tandem with your vehicle’s crumple zone, further protecting anyone, dogs or people, from risk of injury.

As well as our own branded dog guards, we are a trusted supplier of dog guards for a wide range of vehicle brands and models, and we work closely alongside vehicle manufacturers to design and manufacture safe, crash tested guards that large organisations trust and depend upon.

We have two different models of VarioBarrier dog guard available. The VarioBarrier Original small, medium or large is suitable for vehicles that contain load anchors and a flat boot floor. The VarioBarrier Headrest (HR) is the best option for smaller vehicles with no load anchors.

If you would like to turn your entire boot space into a protected, secure area for your dog to travel, then our VarioGate tailgate guard works extremely well alongside the VarioBarrier. The VarioGate is the ONLY crash tested tailgate guard currently available and gives you the entire boot space to use for dogs, large items or luggage. If you need to segregate the boot space into two separate compartments, for different dogs or for dogs and luggage, then the VarioDivider fits the bill nicely. This system is extremely popular with our dog sports customers, who compete in dog sports such as agility, obedience, hoopers, heelwork to music and flyball.

For further information or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Puppy in car

Five Tips for Bringing Your Puppy Home in the Car

By | MIMSafe Blog

Bringing your puppy home for the first time can be exciting there are a lot of things to think about to make your pup’s first journey as pleasant as possible! Here are our five tips for ensuring your puppy arrives home as safely and happily as they can.

Puppy in car
1: Safety First

Although it can be tempting to cuddle your puppy all the way home or pop them on the front seat, this isn’t the safest option for you or your puppy, particularly if you’re driving. Not only can your puppy distract you, but in the case of an emergency stop or accident, velocity means they become a projectile weapon. They could be thrown forward, injuring themselves or you. While it’s not necessarily illegal to have an unrestrained dog in the car, in most countries, it’s at least strongly advised against, and may result in a distracted or dangerous driving charge. It may also invalidate your insurance.
So, it’s always best to buy a suitable dog crate before collecting your puppy, preferably one that will accommodate him as he grows up. A crate can provide some protection for your puppy in the case of an emergency stop or crash, and it helps to eliminate dangerous distractions. You wouldn’t bring a baby home without a car seat, so care for your puppy in the same way!
If you don’t have a crate, take someone else along to hold the puppy. They should sit in the back seat, minimising distraction for the driver and ensuring your puppy is in no danger from a deployed airbag.

2: Cuddles and Smells are Important

Give your puppy lots of cuddles before getting in the car. This will help them feel more relaxed and they’ll start getting used to your smell, which is important to start the bonding process.  Sniffing interesting smells will keep them calm and give them something else to think about.
A snuggly blanket in their crate will make them feel more comfy, preferably one that has been left near their mum to pick up her smell.

Adaptil Calm Transport Spray can help to make your puppy more relaxed and less scared.

3: Take Puppy Refreshments

If it’s a long journey home, your puppy will need a drink. Take along some water and a bowl (many dog crates come with a bowl accessory that attaches securely to the side of the crate). Very small, tasty puppy treats might help to distract and soothe your puppy, but don’t overfeed anything new – it’s the easiest way to upset their tummy.

4: Be Prepared for Smelly Messes

Most crates have a waterproof bottom or inner and will contain any puppy wees, but your puppy may also be travel sick. Take a cloth along with you so that on longer journeys, you can stop off, check your puppy and spend time cleaning them up. Give plenty of reassurance and fusses. If this is a problem that persists when you get your puppy home, take a look at our tips on preventing puppy travel sickness. Open a window a little to let in fresh air and keep the car at a comfortable temperature. Remember that your puppy is unlikely to have had his protective inoculations so don’t allow him to walk about outside.

5. Be aware that this is a very scary time

Your puppy has just left his mother, the most important being in his life, and his littermates.  He is going to find the next few weeks very scary but also very exciting.  Remember what he has lost and be kind!  If your journey was a long one and his breeder didn’t take time getting the litter used to car travel, he has every reason to build up a negative association with travelling in the car.  So for the first few weeks when you are home, make the car a nice place to be.  Feed him in his crate (to prevent your car from being messed up), take him for very short rides with nice destinations (but remember that he can’t walk where other dogs have been until he has completed his vaccinations).  Give him chews in the car without the engine running and make it fun to be in there.  This should ensure that he associates his crate and the car with fun and want to be in it.

Good luck with your new puppy!

safe car crate

Five Years After The Accident…

By | MIMSafe Blog

Five years after a terrifying accident, Nadja Andersson describes how a MIMSafe Variocage dog car crate saved her dogs’ lives

In the seconds that she saw the car hurtling towards her on the wrong side of the road Nadja Andersson was convinced that both her own and her dogs’ lives were over.  Nadja says “No, I thought, “it’s over now.”  All memories just flew through my mind, my child, my partner, my family – everything.”

It’s been five years since that terrible day in March 2018.  Nadja did not think for a second that she would survive and it’s this scene that she carries in her mind to this day.  “I hear the dogs howling in the car during and after the crash in my head almost every day.  It is pure torture that unfortunately I don’t think I will ever get rid of.”

“I hear the dogs howling in the car during and after the crash in my head almost every day.”

Nadja still suffers pain and severe migraines since the accident and last time we heard from her she was still absent from work and was doubtful that she would ever work again.

She said: “I’m unable to work with all the pain I have today. It’s the passion for the dogs that has made me strong enough to keep going, despite all the pain and memories that remain. Without the dogs I probably would have buried myself away. Animals help you to heal, they are there and they need you no matter what.”

safe dog car crate
safe car crate

Despite the severity of the impact, Nadja’s German Shepherd Dog Troja and puppy Tara not only survived the impact but did not suffer any injuries.  

“I can only say that my decision to purchase a dog cage from MIMSafe saved my dogs’ lives”.  

“I think it’s terrifying that so many dog owners do not understand the importance of using a crash tested, safe dog crate.  MIMSafe’s crash tests are based on how a crash happens in real life and they are the only ones I trust.”

Most of Nadja’s dog owning friends and family are now fully aware of the dangers of not using a safe car crate and many have chosen to purchase their crates from MIMSafe, to be certain that their dogs will be safe if the worst happens.  They think much more about the safety of their dogs and passengers than they did before.

The Variocage that saved the lives of Nadja’s dogs can be seen here, relatively undamaged, despite the severity of the impact.

Today, Nadja uses a MIMSafe VarioCage in her new car and vows that she will never use anything else while transporting her dogs.

safe dog car crate

Why a strong box design isn’t good enough

By | MIMSafe Blog

Dog car crate safety video image

Our dog crates are THE safest you can buy, but what makes them the safest?
All of our competitors use solid, strong boxes as the basis of their dog crate design. Sounds safe?

That’s what car designers thought in the 1940s, prior to the findings of Béla Barényi, a Daimler Benz engineer, who completely revolutionized car safety design. For decades prior to his work, vehicle engineers had worked on the basis that the stronger and more rigid a vehicle body could be, the better the protection of the driver and passengers in the event of an accident.

Barényi’s studies in the 1940s showed, however, that by designing such solid structures in vehicle body construction, the forces generated in the event of an impact were transferred to the occupants with hardly any prior absorption. This meant that passengers were thrown around in the vehicle, causing injuries, often fatal. The same applies to dog crates, leading to severe injuries or fatalities in the event of a collision.

In order to protect passengers better, Barényi started to design vehicles with crumple zones, areas of a car’s frame that are intentionally designed to deform and crumple in a crash. The crumple zone absorbs the impact of the collision and reduces the amount of force that is transferred to the passenger compartment. Crumple zones are now a key safety feature in all modern vehicles at the front and back of the vehicle, the areas of a vehicle that are most often damaged in a collision, protecting us in the event of an accident.

The principle behind crumple zones is relatively simple. When a car is involved in a collision, the kinetic energy of the moving vehicle is converted into deformation energy as the car crumples. By increasing the time it takes for the collision to occur, the amount of force that is transferred to the passenger compartment is reduced, resulting in less severe injuries to the occupants.

MIMsafe engineers use this information to design dog crates with their own built-in mechanism that absorbs the impact of a collision, protecting dogs from being thrown around inside our crates. We are the ONLY dog crate manufacturer to include this built-in protective feature. But our superior dog crate designs don’t end there – we also ensure that our dog crates work with, rather than against, your vehicle’s crumple zone.

At the rear of the car, where dog crates are typically placed, crumple zones are designed to absorb the force of a rear-end collision. This is typically achieved through the use of reinforced structural elements and energy-absorbing materials such as foam or plastic. By deforming in a controlled way, the crumple zone helps to reduce the severity of the impact and protect the passengers from injury.

However, adding a solid, rigid dog crate into the boot of your vehicle impairs the crumple zone in the event of an accident. A rear impact with something so solid can break or damage the rear seat causing severe or fatal injury to passengers, as the crate is pushed through into the body of the vehicle.

This video demonstrates how this could happen:

This is why it’s so important to choose a crate that:

1. Absorbs energy in the event of an accident to protect your dog
2. Works with your vehicle’s crumple zone to protect passengers

MIMsafe VarioCages are built to ensure that both of these conditions are met, making VarioCages the safest crates worldwide.

dog crates

Dog boot crates – MIMsafe crates are the best option

By | MIMSafe Blog

Dog crates

Dog boot crates, also known as car boot crates or car kennels, are a popular way to transport dogs in vehicles. These crates are designed to fit in the trunk or boot of a car and provide a safe and comfortable space for dogs during car rides.

Dog boot crates, or dog car crates, dog car cages, dog transit boxes or dog carriers, are designed to fit in your car boot and are known to be the safest way to transport dogs. It’s part of the highway code that dogs MUST be restrained while you are traveling and not doing so can lead to a hefty fine, invalidation or your car insurance, and, even worse, cause an accident. But why are dog boot crates the best option for restraining your dog?

1. Safety.

Dogs that roam free in cars can be a distraction to the driver. Dogs can demand attention, bark at other road users or passers-by, be destructive and chew the vehicle, or be otherwise distracting. Knowing that your dog is safe and contained makes it easier to concentrate on the road and other road users.
MIMsafe crates, sold worldwide, are THE safest dog boot crates. They work with your vehicle’s crumple zone, to ensure that everyone in your vehicle stays safe in the event of an accident. You can read more about how we keep our customers safe on our Safety Design page.

2. Comfort

Some people believe that dogs don’t like to be restrained while traveling. In most cases, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dogs like to feel safe and secure in a vehicle and most dislike having a harness put on and being restrained by straps. They enjoy having their own space, even more so when provided with lots of comfy bedding and water to drink while traveling.

3. Calming

If your dog barks at other vehicles or dogs while traveling, having their own crate with a cover over it, so that they can’t see the trigger that makes them anxious, means that they can relax while traveling instead of becoming stressed and over-aroused, meaning that they are over threshold before they arrive at their destination.

4. Convenience

Dog boot crates are very convenient. Our crates are depth adjustable so they can be adjusted to fit any vehicle and can be removed when not in use. Just being able to pop your dog in the boot of the car, without worrying about putting them in a harness and getting them strapped in, is so much easier. Even if they are muddy and dirty after a walk, they have their own space so will not wreck the back seat or inside of your car.

If you’d like to know more about our dog boot crates, please get in touch.

Summer months

Keeping you, your passengers and your dogs safe when driving in summer

By | MIMSafe Blog

Summer monthsAs dog owners, the summer months can be the best, with longer nights for dog walking after work, more dogs shows and activities, beach days out and dog-friendly holidays. However, driving during the summer months can be dangerous for a number of reasons:

1. An increase in traffic.

More people travel for holidays, days out and other summer activities, meaning more road users, more congestion and more hazards on our roads. This can lead to a higher number of accidents simply because there are more people on the roads.

2. The weather

Even though summer is typically associated with sunshine and clear days, it can also bring thunderstorms, heavy rain, and hail which can make driving hazardous.

3. Rain on roads after a dry spell

Sediment, oil, and grease build up on roads when there are no frequent showers to wash these away. Over time, this builds up to form a greasy layer. When it rains, this greasy layer rises to the top because it’s less dense than rainwater, which then creates a slippery layer that can cause drivers to lose control.

4. Roadworks and construction projects

Many local authorities choose summer months to carry out road maintenance and construction, leading to road closures, detours and other disruptions. These can increase congestion and cause frustration and a lack of concentration in drivers as they navigate unfamiliar routes.

5. Fatigue

Longer days and shorter nights mean many drivers are up later at night and wake earlier in the mornings, meaning they have less sleep. Drivers may also enjoy long but tiring days out for outdoor activities or social events, causing tiredness on the drive home. Fatigue can impair a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and ability to focus on the road, leading to an increased risk of accidents.

6. Younger, inexperienced drivers

Over the summer holidays, when schools, colleges, and universities are shut, the number of young and inexperienced drivers on the road increases as they drive to summer jobs or enjoy leisure activities. Their inexperience and lack of skill can mean that they are involved in more accidents.

Following these tips can help you to stay safe while driving during the summer months:

  • Plan your journey in advance and allow extra time for roadworks
  • Reduce speed during heavy rain or hailstorms
  • Reduce speed and be aware that roads may be slippery when it rains after a dry spell
  • Leave more space between you and the car in front during adverse weather
  • Be aware of fatigue and do not drive when tired. Take regular breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings

By taking these precautions, drivers can enjoy the summer months while staying safe on the roads.

dog car cages

Dog Car Cages or Harnesses?

By | MIMSafe Blog

Dog car cages and car harnesses are both popular options for pet owners who want to keep their dog safe and secure while travelling. At MIMsafe, we supply both. However, there are some significant advantages to using dog car cages over car harnesses, which we will explore in this blog post.

Firstly, well-built dog car cages, such as our VarioCage, offer more protection and safety for your pet than car harnesses. Car cages are designed to provide a secure and comfortable space for your dog during travel. In the event of an accident, the cage will protect your dog from being thrown around in the car and will prevent them from being ejected from the vehicle and running into traffic in terror. An additional advantage with the VarioCage is that the crate is designed to absorb the impact and protect your dog further. In contrast, car harnesses only restrain your dog to a limited degree and do not offer any significant protection in the event of an accident.

Secondly, dog car cages help prevent driver distractions while driving. Drivers can be easily distracted by dogs misbehaving or seeking attention while traveling in a car, which can cause accidents. By using a dog car cage, you can keep your pet in a secure and comfortable space, preventing them from jumping around or barking at passing cars. This can help you stay focused on the road and reduce the risk of accidents caused by driver distractions.

Thirdly, we have a wide range of VarioCages that are designed for different types of car.  Our Compact model, for example, is designed for hatchbacks. To find out which MIMsafe crates you can use in your vehicle, visit our model selector. Always ensure that any dog cage you buy for your vehicle is crash tested and ask for details about HOW it has been crash tested. This article about crash testing can tell you more. Additionally, you can choose from different sizes to fit your pet comfortably, from small cages for toy breeds to larger cages for larger breeds. As a guide, ensure that your cage is 5cm taller than your dog’s shoulder height.

Fourthly, dog car cages provide a comfortable space for your pet to rest during long car trips. Dogs can become tired and restless during long journeys, but a comfortable cage can provide them with a safe and secure space to relax in. Many dogs are much more able to relax and feel safer in their own space, and if they get distracted by people, other dogs, or vehicles while traveling, you can cover the cage to help them to stay calm.

Lastly, dog car cages are easier to clean and maintain than cleaning the seats that may become soiled or stained when using a car harness. You can easily clean VarioCages with a damp cloth, and cut bedding, such as vet bed, to shape. It is then super-easy to remove dirty bedding and replace with clean bedding, while the dirty bedding is washed ready for next time. Car harnesses, on the other hand, can be difficult to clean and maintain, as they are often made of fabric and can trap dirt and bacteria.

In conclusion, dog car cages are a better option than car harnesses for pet owners who want to keep their dogs safe and secure during car trips. They offer more protection and safety, prevent driver distractions, provide a comfortable space for your pet to rest, and are easier to clean and maintain. With a dog car cage, you can enjoy a worry-free journey with your pet, knowing that they are safe, secure, and comfortable.