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Vauxhall Meriva (2010 to 2017)

4pets PRO, TÜV-approved dog cage, size 4 Small

RRP: £430.00
Code: BGP4S

These Swiss-made dog cages really are the business – we reckon they’re the smartest, most thoughtfully designed and safest cages available.

The energy-absorbing rear wall is designed to protect not only you and your family in the event of a crash, but also your dog. The burst-proof door is opened with one hand, and automatically 'clicks shut' when closed, leaving your other hand ready to hold your dog if necessary.

All tested and approved by TÜV SÜD, with exemplary build quality.

The 4pets PRO cages replace the 4pets ProLine cages, taking safety an important stage further by including a particularly innovative energy-absorbing rear panel, and a ‘Safelock’ locking system that prevents the door from bursting inwards or outwards.

Crash-tested safety: Safety is right at the core of the whole 4pets PRO concept; you’ll know that you’ve done all you can to minimise the risks of injury to your dog when out in the car and, very importantly, to the driver and passengers. The facts are that at 30 mph your dog has a mass that’s 25 times its body weight, so it will be a potentially very deadly projectile in the event of an emergency stop or crash. A typical black Labrador would have the equivalent force of three quarters of a tonne! The majority of wire cages and dog guards are next to useless in these circumstances – they’re not designed to keep people safe, but are intended only to separate dogs from people without much if any thought about what forces they’ll withstand.

Suitability: The PRO size 4 has been designed with larger breeds in mind, e.g. Bernese Mountain Dog, Hovawart, Rottweiler, Irish Setter. These cages are 81.5cm wide; the PRO 4 Small (this cage) is 73.5cm long (measuring back into the boot space), the PRO 4 Medium is 83.5cm long, and the PRO 4 Large is 93.5cm long. Most customers choose the longest model that will fit in their car boot, as shown in the vehicle configurator.

Special features:

  • The PRO is designed to absorb energy: The patented rear panel will flex outwards under pressure, but at the same time it expands up and down, left and right, so it tightens into the frame. 4pets call this their ‘Impact Protection System’. Absorbing and then releasing the kinetic energy in a controlled way will give the dog every possible chance of surviving a crash, whether the impact is from the front or the back of the vehicle.
  • ‘Safelock’ door: This is designed to be burst-proof, both inwards and outwards. It’s opened with a quarter turn and, when the vehicle is level, will close and click shut on its own. Otherwise just push it shut. It’s also lockable, which is good to know if for example you’re leaving your dog in the car. It’s assembled as standard to hinge on the right hand side, but can easily be changed to hinge from the left.
  • Shape: PRO crates are shaped at front and back to maximise the internal space that's available for your dog, so they'll tuck in tight behind the rear seat, can have the full length of the boot, and still allow the tailgate to be closed.
  • Construction and weight: Anodized aluminium poles, fibreglass-reinforced plastic corners with no sharp edges, and scratch resistant laminated fibreboard sides. The locking system is based around a die-cast aluminium case. Fibreboard is a great material to use – it doesn’t get too cold or too hot, unlike steel, and also absorbs energy (again, unlike steel). The solid side parts will also keep the car clean. Aluminium, fibreglass reinforced plastic, and fibreboard are also likely to be lighter than steel – you need to be able to move these cages safely – and the whole system is rattle free. The acid-resistant plastic floor tray has a removable, washable anti-slip floor mat. Made in Switzerland.
  • Maintenance free: All parts are maintenance free; the hinges are made from a self-lubricating plastic-graphite alloy. They should last for as long as you want them to – years and years. In any event, all parts are replaceable as spares. We have seen cages that have been through rear end or roll over crashes, and we’ve replaced deformed aluminium poles and broken fibreboard sections, which had done their job of absorbing energy in a controlled way.
  • Ease of use: Single handed ‘slam lock’ system. Opening the door with a twist knob, and then just pushing it shut, means that you can concentrate on holding your dog’s collar. Single-handed opening and easy closing is quicker and safer.
  • Good visibility: The vertical bars on both the back and the front of PRO crates allow the driver particularly good visibility – and being vertical not horizontal also means that dogs can’t easily bite on them. It’s also good that the dog has good visibility.
  • Does your car have a loading sill? If so, we have 4pets BoxLifters available as an additional accessory. The 4pets BoxLifters will raise your 4pets PRO cage by 7cm, this should then allow you to open and close the cage door without it catching on your boot. Please ensure that you measure the depth of your vehicle’s loading sill to make sure that 7cm will raise the crate enough.
  • Certification: Crash-tested by TÜV SÜD in Munich; REACH compliant – no harmful materials are used. Dimensions and weight: The PRO size 4 Small is 81.5cm wide x 66.0cm high x 73.5cm long; weight 19.5kg; maximum load 40kg.

Assembly: The crates arrive flat packed, but minimum assembly is required, with typically only 10 bolts to screw in, and they’re satisfactorily easy to put together. Tie-down straps are included.

In summary: As we often say to customers who question the materials used, “A properly designed steel box will contain a pet in a crash, and protect the human passengers. If 4pets had wanted to make a steel box, they would have done!”

The 4pets concept is all about looking after pets as well as looking after humans, so the focus is on energy-absorbing materials. If the cage also looks really smart and is also easy enough to move about, and is also sensibly priced, so much the better!

These are the official TÜV SÜD crash-testing videos. The first one (the one on the left) simulates a cage mounted behind a rear seat back - you'll see that the bottom of the cage is resting against two pieces of angle-iron, bolted to the base of the test sled. The second one (the one on the right) emulates a "pickup test", with the cage strapped onto the sled at all four corners. The pickup test is not part of the official TÜV test, but shows that a PRO cage is safe for use in a pickup, or a vehicle with the rear seat back laid flat, so long as the cage is well strapped down - obviously.

The official test uses the widest cage, the PRO 4, with a 50kg dog dummy in it. At 50km/h it's exerting a force of over 1.25 tonnes on the energy-absorbing Impact Protection System - the red panel. As the rear panel is pushed forward it tightens into the cage frame - top and bottom, left and right.

You'll see that in this very severe test the dog dummy has moved back across the cage and into the door - which is burst-proof from the inside as well as the outside, and has also flexed to absorb residual energy.

You'll also see that one of the aluminium frame poles has bent as result of this crash; this can easily be replaced but, frankly, in an accident of this size the car will almost certainly be a complete write-off...

4pets PRO dog cages - TÜV official crash test 4Pets PRO TÜV pickup crash test

FAQ 1: “Why don’t 4pets PRO cages have a rear escape hatch?”

Answer 1:

  • A rear escape hatch would be wholly incompatible with the 4pets Impact Protection System, the patented rear panel which is designed to absorb the energy created when a dog is thrown forward in the event of an accident, or under heavy braking. Wherever the dog was located in the cage at the moment of impact, it will very soon be hitting the rear panel, which is really the most important part of any safety cage.
  • There is evidence that, if an accident is severe enough to require the use of the type of escape hatch fitted to several brands of steel cage, it is not always possible to lower the rear seat to get to the escape hatch, because of the pressure being exerted on the rear seat release catches.
  • If the rear seat can be lowered, then the cage can usually be swung around far enough to open the door.
  • In any event, and especially if using one of the widest PRO 22 cages which would be hard to turn, the rear panel can be removed by undoing 4 Allen bolts; an Allen key can be taped to the back of the cage for emergency use.

FAQ 2: “Why is fibreboard used in the construction of 4pets PRO cages?”

Answer 2: 4pets PRO cages use a specially formulated laminated fibreboard in their roof and side panels; note that there are no toxic ingredients in either the fibreboard or the laminating material – in fact all components of a PRO cage are REACH compliant. In line with the whole 4pets PRO design brief, the main reason that this material has been chosen is because it absorbs kinetic energy in the event of a crash; the aim is to do the best for the dog as well as for the humans.

Fibreboard is also much lighter than steel and stays at a relatively even temperature, regardless of the seasons and weather – steel cages will get very hot in a hot car, and very cold in a cold car.

FAQ 3: “What happens to a PRO cage in the event of a rear-end collision?”

Answer 3: 4pets PRO cages are designed to retain their basic shape in the event of a crash, which we think is a good thing. Evidence from both testing and crashes (including at speeds greater than 50 km/h) shows that aluminium poles have distorted, in a controlled way, and fibreboard panels have cracked – which shows that they have absorbed considerable force, and done their job. All parts of PRO cages are available as DIY replacements but, if necessary, any repairs could be done in our workshop.

Our understanding of vehicle crumple zones is that most of the energy is absorbed at the front of the vehicle; in a rear-end crash it’s the front of the car that hits yours that should absorb the majority of the energy – if it’s modern, and it’s a car or a light commercial vehicle.

FAQ 4: “Why are the PRO cages only 66cm high?”

Answer 4: This is to do with value for money - it means that they will fit in a much larger range of cars. The shape of car tailgates is changing, and even a few millimetres difference in height is significant. In fact the PRO cages are 2cm lower than the ProLine cages they have replaced, allowing the most popular cage sizes to fit in some of the most popular SUVs and estate cars for the first time.

Taller dogs will not be able to stand up, or even sit up staight, in PRO cages - but there is a good argument that this is a positive thing. You want your dog to settle down and doze, not wander about. In any event they can look through the front of the cage and check that you're there, even if they are not fully standing to do this. A dog should only be in a cage for a short time anyway - when you stop every 2 or 3 hours for a leg stretch, that's also the time for your dog to have a short walk.

Looking around the market for dog cages, we see very few where a larger breed would be able to stand fully upright, and all these are bespoke cages, made to measure for a specific car.

FAQ 5: “Where should the cage tie-down straps be placed?”

Answer 5: This is not really an FAQ, but a note to remind you to tie the straps around the top horizontal side poles, as shown in the instructions, and definitely not around the rear vertical poles that form the door frame, in other words the supports for the door hinges and the door lock.

The reason for this is that, if you tie the straps around the door frame then it’s possible in theory, depending of course on the angle of the straps, the strength of the tie-down points in the vehicle, and the speed of the collision, that the door frame could be flexed enough for the door to open inwards – which is as good as impossible in normal use.

If you have any questions about anything to do with 4pets PRO cages, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can phone us, or e-mail [email protected]

Add to Your Order Untick if not required:
Item: Description: Our price (each): RRP:
4pets PRO dog cage: £384.95 (rrp. £430.00)
4pets accessory: £69.95 (rrp. £79.00)
4pets ProLine BoxLifter £40.00 (rrp. £50.00)
4pets Scratch-Guard: £44.95 (rrp. £53.00)
4pets Easy-Steps: £174.95 (rrp. £200.00)

All our prices include VAT at 20% Total: £384.95
 TÜV test videos