A Dog Sitter's Review Of The Ultra Vari Kennel From Petmate

We don't own any dogs, but my older teen does in-home kenneling on a regular basis. They're generally pretty good about organizing their calendar so that dog watching is their job and not ours, but things happen. Sometimes they have a sudden school project they have to work on. Sometimes they just need to run to the store when we're not around.

For that reason, we try to have a solid kennel around. We're honest with the clients about occasionally placing the dog in a portable kennel for short periods of time, so it's not like we're trying to get out of doing the job.

However, because of that fact, it's important that we have a good, solid kennel. When I find a good one I toss up a review. Today it's the Ultra Vari kennel from Petmate. Let's go through the things that fit my personal situation, and then I'll talk about the more general uses people might need and how this kennel matches up.


Any kennel that we use has to be as close to "one size fits all" as possible. My kid only cares for dogs up to a certain size since our home can't accommodate the larger large breed dogs. That gives us an upper limit, but it still has to be large enough to fit the larger mid-sized dogs comfortably while being small enough to fit inside of our home.

This particular kennel comes with 4 size options - 25 to 30lbs, 30 to 50lbs, 50 to 70lbs, and 70 to 90lbs. We bought the 30 to 50 model. Like most portable kennels the weight limit informs how durable and thick the plastic is, not the actual dimensions. If you've been shopping for kennels at any point, then you know kennels sold by height and width will have those marked!

It's a great mid-size dog kennel, but it's not great for smaller dogs. It's designed to fit dogs 23 inches tall. There are models that are larger or smaller, but it's not one of the fancy kennels that offer extra walls to make it smaller.

4 out of 5 Stars.

Solid, some say spectacular.

Durability And Difficulty To Clean

It's hard to know the temperament of a dog until they're in your home. Even if their owners are telling the truth about their personalities they can act differently in an unfamiliar home. They could be perfectly calm, or they could get frantic.

The Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel offers a solid kennel, both in terms of construction and material used. The plastic is strong, the metal door and latch mechanism don't bend easily, and the nuts and bolts stayed tight even after a German Shepherd slammed itself into the sides for two hours due to separation anxiety.

The plastic and the floor mat are nice, too. Clean up is much easier when we can just spray the hose.

4.5 out of 5 Stars.

The construction is fairly standard, but for a standard construction kennel, it's solid and well built.


Since we don't own dogs, this factor isn't particularly important to us. Since my child cares for dogs as a job, they enjoy knowing what a "good kennel" needs for any common use.

The Ultra Vari is lightweight, especially given it's designed for mid-sized dogs. It's about 11 pounds, which I'm told is a good travel weight. Since I know for a fact that it's impressively durable, I'm confident in saying it's a solid travel kennel.

4.7 out of 5 Stars.

I'm measuring conservatively since we don't use kennels for travelling. I'd rather someone be pleasantly surprised than disappointed.


This is where the Ultra Vari is only average. The interior moat makes it easy to clean, but the floor is hard plastic. If you're going to use it for housebreaking then you'll need to leave your dog sleeping on hard plastic or accept that you're going to have to wash blankets every other day.

4.5 out of 5 Stars. I'm told this is industry standard for travel kennels.


4.5 out of 5 Stars.

It has some flaws, but those flaws are present in all but the ultra-high dollar kennels. In terms of what it does right, the Petmate Ultra Vari kennel goes above and beyond.