Dec 27, 2023

Pull-out dog crate

#Ausbautipps #Campingausbau

written by Nadine 

Five years ago, when I converted my first Caddy, I had to ask myself where to keep my dogs while driving. In my old Caddy, the dogs sat on the bed in the trunk and were secured to the vehicle interior with a luggage net. The solution was okay but never really satisfied me. In the event of an accident, it's important that the dogs don't fly through the car, but also that they can't be thrown out of the car. In my opinion, this can only be achieved with a sturdy dog crate. But then I was faced with the real problem again: how do I integrate a dog crate into a minicamper conversion? At first it seemed impossible to me, but then I saw a wooden dog box on @ich_wilma_weg that you can pull up while driving and the idea was born to build something similar.

The Vision

Basically, I didn't think the idea of using wood was so bad, but I wanted a box that wouldn't break or splinter even in a serious accident, so I wanted to build an aluminum box. I quickly had an idea for the sliding mechanism because many van conversions use telescopic pull-outs with a locking mechanism and that's exactly what I needed to lock the dog box in place when it is pulled upwards. It was also important to me that the dog box has a door so that I can leave the side door open at tournaments (I also do dog sports) or when camping and the dogs can still lie safely in the dog box. 

The reason why I wanted to push the box together is that I don't always have the option of opening the pop-up roof. If I want to be incognito in the city or can't open the roof when it's raining, I still want to have a place to sleep in the camper. On my first camping trip, the pop-top roof worked really well and I would always prefer to sleep upstairs, but on my penultimate night it was so stormy that I would have really liked to have a place to sleep downstairs. Also at the pitches it was not welcome to open the pop-up roof during the day, because it looked too much like camping to the police. I would also have liked to have been able to lie down at lunchtime and not just have to sit in a camping chair.

The pushed-together dog box and a bed that can be pulled out to the side in the back of the Caddy become a 90x200cm sleeping area.

So I went in search of someone with experience in building dog boxes.

My inspiration @ich_wilma_weg (Instagram)

Contact the professional

I contacted many dog box builders but everyone but one told me that it wasn't possible to build something like this. As I myself have an understanding of craftsmanship, I was aware that it is definitely possible to build such a box. 

Luckily, I came across Karl from Hundeboxen Ostalb on Instagram and told him about my ideas.

He was immediately hooked and was sure that something like this could be built - "you just have to tinker a bit" he said during our first phone call. We then stayed in close contact and exchanged various ideas, but it soon became clear that I would have to come over to work out the box together.
That didn't work out before my trip, so I went to Karl's workshop in beautiful Ellwangen in October.

I was quite impressed by the quality of the dog boxes and to see what is actually possible. From the normal standard boxes to custom-made boxes that utilize the entire space, everything is possible. Each box is lockable and available in almost any color. 

So we locked ourselves in Karl's workshop for two days and worked on a dog box for my Caddy.


The result

What can I say :) it turned out exactly as I imagined it. 

The box is 90x80cm in size and can be pulled out or pushed together.

At the front we have installed a door to close and to let the dog in and out you can tilt the grille above so that the dogs have more space to get in.


Lying area

When folded, the box offers a lying surface of 90x80 cm. If you pull the rear seat towards the kitchen, you have a lying surface of 90x205 cm. This is definitely sufficient for one person. It's basically just a makeshift solution, as I'm really very happy with the sleeping comfort in the pop-up roof. I have attached plate springs to the support plate at the top to ensure a good night's sleep at the bottom too.

Emergency exit & sleeping facilities for the dogs

There is an emergency exit on the opposite side, so if the door is damaged in an accident, the dogs can get out of the car via the other side door or into the vehicle interior to leave the car via the tailgate.

As Styx always voluntarily slept in the footwell in my old Caddy and she just likes to sleep in cave-like places, I wanted to give her the opportunity to sleep in the box when she is crashed. We have therefore installed a removable element to make this possible. It remains to be seen whether she will accept it :)

Locking mechanism

One of the biggest challenges during planning was locking the pull-outs when extended. I then became aware of lockable pull-outs and Karl found a solution to operate all four levers simultaneously.

As the levers protrude upwards, we drilled four holes in the top plate to operate the levers by pushing the plate backwards. I admit I was skeptical at first, but it works perfectly. Connections in the plate ensure that the plate is firmly attached to the pull-outs and cannot fall off the box in the event of an accident.


To ensure that the dogs are safe in the box, it is of course important to securely fasten the dog box. They are attached to the seat holder and to the lashing points in the floor with three lashing straps. This ensures that it stands securely and cannot slip.


I am currently still in the test phase, but after three months I have not yet been able to identify any weak points. Of course, we also want to offer the dog crate for sale. 
In its current dimensions with the features mentioned above, the box would cost around 970 euros including VAT.

If you are interested in the dog crate or another dog crates individually adapted to your vehicle, please contact Karl by phone (0172-8907628) or by e-mail ( 

And if you have any other questions about the dog box, you can always ask me by email or via Instagram.