Latest project: DIY PVC dog cage for our Avalanche

We had a little incident last year with our dogs, baby gates and a 1 year old all crammed in the back seat of our Avalanche.  Our Husky, Nanook, jumped over my left shoulder and into my lap while we driving.  I also had some incidents with both dogs when I would take them to the vet or the groomer.  Luckily nothing major ever happened but the dogs couldn’t go with us until we came up with a solution.

We couldnt simply put them in the back of the truck.  Our Shepard, Kona, already jumped out of the window of a moving car.

Complete spaz dogs.  Sure we could have just got different dogs but I come from a background of dogs not being a possession but a member of the family.

After a whole bunch of online searching I came across a couple guys in Hawaii, worried about their dogs jumping out of their trucks. Both decided to use PVC to create an enclosure in their trucks.

…Of course this got me thinking!!

With only mental plans we headed to Home Depot and picked up some supplies.


  • 8 90s
  • 45 Ts
  • 15 Xs
  • About 50 feet of 1 inch PVC
DSC_2692The first mock up was just a simple “does it fit”

I wanted it to fit in tight and not need too much for attaching it in the bed of the truck.  I figured if worse came to worse I could attach to the tie downs.


The back end of it fits in very tight.  The front fits in pretty snug up under the plastic by the back window.  I would honestly feel comfortable not tying it down, but I do use a couple of longer thicker zip ties to tie it down in the back.

We used Kona to check the initial setup.  If any dog is going to get out of something it will be her.  Sure enough, she could stick her head and pretty much her body through the top and bottom tubes.

Since I bought a whole bunch of extra pieces, just in case, it was easy to do some cuts, add a couple Ts and Xs, throw in some pipes to make the back and sides a little more “escape proof”.

DSC_3859The back corners are wide enough for the dogs to stick their noses out.

Without having any sort of written plan the bars on top were a measurement-figuring-out nightmare!  I had to play around with several different idea before I actually made any cuts.


Eventually I figured everything out, made the cuts and put it together.




Test Run #1

As suspected Nanook either paced or found a corner to sit in and enjoy the ride. Kona, on the other hand, found every way possible to get her head up and out of the cage.  About a mile away from home she figure out how to get her entire body out, stand on her hind legs and look over the truck.  You should have seen the looks on the faces of oncoming traffic.

After some more brainstorming I decided I had two options.  One, add more crossbars or Two, add some netting.  I had purchased some pet friendly patio door screen but decided that would be a royal pain to cut and fit into the contraption.  Headed back to Home Depot and swapped the screen for some PVC netting and a couple of bags of zip ties.

DSC_3938Rachelle jumped in to help attach the netting and clip the 100+ zip ties.

Test Run #2

DSC_3957The netting actually provides a little bit of shading.

This time things went much better……. sort of.  The netting kept both of the dogs in until we were once again close to home.  I hadn’t put any netting on the front, near the back window.  Figured neither of them would try to get out.  Boy was I wrong!  Kona once again snaked her body out, stood on her hind legs and looked over the top of the truck.

Luckily I had a bunch of the netting left over and tied some on to the front.

Test Run #3


Complete success.  Kona has not found any way to get out of the enclosure.

It is light enough where either Rachelle or myself can put it in the back of the truck. The dogs have gone to the dog park without incident a couple times since building the enclosure.

Now I just have to figure out some sort of step so the dogs can easily get into the back of the truck.  They have no issues jumping off the tailgate but we have to pick them up since the tailgate is just a bit too high for them to jump.