Variocage Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What makes the MIM Safe Variocage the safest animal transport cage on the market?
Will the MIM Safe Variocage fit in my vehicle?
The MIM Safe Variocage is suitable for use in Station Wagons, Minivans, and SUV's. The Variocage design, features and adjustable length allow it to fit in most suitable vehicles.
The Variocage is angled to match the slope of the back seat and the slope of the rear cargo door. The roof of the crate is also narrower in width than the floor. These features allow for a proper fit in almost all suitable vehicles.
You may also use the manufacturer's Vehicle Fit Guide: MIM Vehicle Fit Guide. However please be aware that the manufacturer's guide is based on European vehicle models which may differ than American car models. Please Contact Us if you are unsure of the best way to measure.
How can I choose a Variocage that is the correct size for the safe transport of my dog?
There should be enough room for your dog to be able to stand-up in the cage. There should also be just a few inches of clearance from the base of the tail (not the tip of the tail) to end of the cage. These clearances are perfectly normal for the Variocage when used for safe transport of your dog.
Oversized is NOT better, especially when it comes to safety. The Variocage should be just large enough for your dog to walk into the Variocage, turn around, and comfortably lay down facing towards the back cargo door. This is the absolute safest position for your dog in the event of a collision. In fact, the design of the Variocage tends to contribute to the dog relaxing and lying down while in motion. This keeps your dog calmer and contributes to their safety as well.
A properly installed Variocage of the correct size offers the best protection available on the market for safe transport of your dog as well as all human occupants in your vehicle.
To assure a proper fit, please use the link below to see the measuring guide on our website. The detailed instructions will provide you with information on how to properly measure your dog and your vehicle for a Variocage.
When measuring your dog, please remember that the Variocage is a transport cage and it is not a kennel. Transport cages serve a specific application and therefore have specific requirements. A kennel is not designed for the safe transport of your dog.
Professional handlers typically use the correct size cage based on the measuring instructions found here on our website for transporting their dog.
There may be instances when the size of your dog and/or your vehicle may require you to make certain exceptions to the recommendations made above.
Large dogs that exceed the maximum length of the cage may require the use of a Double Variocage versus a Single Variocage, even when traveling alone. The width of a Double Variocage will provide them with the room they require that the length of the cage cannot. Restrictions on the length of the Variocage imposed by your vehicle may also require the use of a Double Variocage to allow enough room for your dog.
Typically, we do not recommend putting a single dog in a larger oversize cage. A larger transport cage is not necessarily as safe for the dog and is not desirable from a safety perspective. However, you can transport several smaller dogs in a larger Variocage as long as they are always traveling together.
How do I calculate the inside dimensions for a Variocage model I am interested in purchasing?
To get the interior dimensions, you deduct from the outside dimensions by:
Height: 0.60 in
Width: 1.96 in
Depth: 2.36 in
What is the correct way to install the MIM Safe Variocage in my vehicle?
MIM Safe Variocage is designed for placement behind the rear seat (or a barrier similar to it) with the sidebars traveling in the direction of the car. This placement allows the cage to work with the car's crumple zones in the event of a crash.
The Variocage is safest mounted level on a flat surface secured to the floor in your vehicle. It is important to use the straps provided with the Variocage to secure it to the tie-down hooks in your vehicle. These straps are integral to the safety design of the Variocage. The straps are engineered to give way in a severe impact allowing the crumple zone protection of the Variocage to work properly.
Proper use of the Variocage relies on the crumple zone protection designed in to your vehicle and the Variocage. For best safety and by design, the Variocage must be facing lengthwise in the vehicle for maximum protection of both your dog and human occupants. Please make sure you measure your vehicle with this placement and positioning of the Variocage in mind.
Why is it recommended that the cage be up against a rear seat-back when installed in a vehicle?
MIM Safe Variocage is designed for installation behind the rear seat for added support in the event of a crash. The back seat and the resistance it provides play a critical role in the crumple zone of the Variocage. There are also tie-down straps that come with the cage to keep it secured to your vehicle's tie-down points. These straps are integral to the safety design of the Variocage. The straps are engineered to give way in a severe impact allowing the crumple zone protection of the Variocage to work properly. If the rear seat is folded down or removed, and only the tie-down straps are used to keep the cage in position, it can present a danger to both your dog and human occupants in the event of a severe impact.
Can the cage be installed anywhere else in a vehicle other than behind the rear seat?
MIM Safe Variocage offers the best protection in the event of an impact or rollover when properly installed and secured to the floor behind the rear seat of your vehicle. There are several reasons for this which are outlined here:
In most vehicles, there is a protective plate that covers most of the width and height of the rear seat. This plate is designed to prevent penetration into the rear seating area by the corners of hard or sharp objects being transported in the cargo area thereby helping to protect occupants from serious harm or injury.
The front seats in most vehicles do not have a protective plate. They only have a frame. The frame is designed to withstand impacts but not penetrations by hard or sharp objects. In fact, putting a plate in a front seat might cause damage to rear seat occupants if they were to contact the plate with a body part or their head. The front seat typically allows for some cushioning for human occupants during impact yet still serves to protect front seat occupants from serious harm or injury.
Placing any cage on top of a folded seat that does not fold completely flat into the floor can be hazardous. Any elevated position above the floor increases the risk of penetrating a seat with the base or lower corner of the cage. This position can also apply more force against the upper portion of the front seat, causing it to break. Also, if it is not secured properly to the floor, the cage is more likely to become a projectile in your vehicle placing all human occupants as well as your dog at risk of serious harm or fatal injury.
If you do place a cage behind your front seat, please bear in mind that you are compromising safety when using this location. If you decide to put a cage in this position, please understand you do so at your own risk. MIM Safe Variocage cannot recommend this installation. The cage must be placed up against the rear seat and secured to the floor for the best possible result in the event of a crash.
MIM Safe Variocage has not tested cages for crash protection when placed sideways in a vehicle and properly secured to a floor. Therefore, MIM Safe Variocage cannot recommend this placement since no test data is available for this type of installation.
Placing a cage on a rear seat is never recommended. The cage cannot be properly secured in this location and it places the cage at an unsafe height in the vehicle. MIM Safe Variocage does not recommend this installation in a vehicle.
What if I have a Minivan or SUV with 2nd row captain's chairs?
MIM Safe Variocage can be installed in a Minivan or SUV with the 3rd row seats folded down or removed. The 2nd row captain's chairs would then act as the rear seat. This should work even if there is a gap between the Two (2) Seats. Please make sure the MIM Safe Variocage is strapped down properly to the anchor points in your vehicle and that you have support from the 2nd row seats for the cage.
Why are the outer poles on the front of the crates shorter than the rest?
The reason for the outer tubes being shorter is to prevent the door from getting caught in the rear entryway opening and to allow the MIM Safe Variocage door to open all the way.
Can I carry two (2) dogs in a double cage and keep them separated from each other?
MIM Safe Variocage includes a removable divider with all Double cages. The divider is adjustable and will partition the cage so you can travel safely with two (2) dogs, one on each side. Also, when traveling with one dog, the other side can be used for luggage, groceries, supplies, and materials storage. In the event of a crash, these objects will be contained and not present a hazard to occupants in the vehicle.
Can I carry more than two (2) dogs in a double cage and is it safe?
MIM Safe Variocage Double Models have only been tested with Two (2) dog dummies. However, if you have several smaller dogs you can transport them if they are all small enough to fit together comfortably in a larger MIM Safe Variocage.
Transporting Two (2) smaller dogs in a larger cage is better than putting One (1) smaller dog in a larger cage. However, if you put a small breed in a Double XXL Cage by itself, and have a crash, the potential for harm is greater. A single dog in a smaller cage is better than a single dog in a larger cage.
Can I use a Double Variocage without the divider to allow more room for a large dog?
Yes. The dog can travel “sideways” in the cage. Owners of larger dogs have purchased Double Cages for big dogs requiring more room. In these cases, they take the divider out. Examples of this would be a large German Shepherd or a Rottweiler.
Are there any breeds you do not recommend putting in the MIM Safe Variocage?
MIM Safe Variocage Single, Double and Compact have not been designed for the very, very small breeds. These dogs are so small that the head of the animal may get stuck between the tubes. This can be a potential cause of injury for the very, very small breeds.
For smaller dogs, as well as cats, we recommend the MIM Safe Variocage MiniMax, which has smaller openings between the bars. The MIM Safe Variocage MiniMax will properly accommodate smaller breeds as well as cats while keeping them safe and secure.
What type of steel is used to make the Variocage?
The type of steel used is ASTM A366. There are a variety of dimensions used throughout the MIM Safe Variocage. The tubes are either 14 or 19 mm in diameter with a thickness of 1.0 mm. The flat steel used for the top and bottom sections have a thickness of 0.7 mm.
Do I need to use the straps that are provided with the Variocage?
Yes! Please make sure the MIM Safe Variocage is strapped down properly to the anchor points in your vehicle behind the 2nd row seats using the supplied straps shipped with your cage. These straps are integral to the safety design of the Variocage. The straps are engineered to give way in a severe impact allowing the crumple zone protection of the Variocage to work properly.
Can the Variocage be used in a Pickup Truck?
Yes, if installed properly, the Variocage can be used in a pickup truck. You must place the Variocage in the bed of the pickup with the back of the cage against the rear of the driver / passenger cabin. The Variocage must be in this position in order to get proper support. This principle is the same as placing the Variocage against a rear seat for support in order to assure the crumple zone of the Variocage will work as designed.
Can the Variocage be used in a RV or Mobile Home?
Normally an RV is a vehicle with all sorts of solutions of the interior design. Ideally we would like to place a Variocage behind something rigid like a wall or rigid seat (driving direction is forward in his case). Unfortunately, most things inside an RV are not rigid in a crash.
So then we have the choice of restraining it for it to not be too loose for normal driving. This would require screwing load hook rings or the use of something else inside to restrain it to the chosen positions. Then maybe reinforce it further with what can be used without limiting something else inside the RV. Straps to and around a top side tube end or similar would improve the restraining.
Direction is not so important, there would never be a “rear end crash” that would need to use the deformability function of the Variocage as there is so much room. Placing it sideways is ok and probably improves the possibility to find a good spot as it can be adjusted in length to optimize the space available.
Basically, because crash testing was not performed with an RV, we cannot guarantee that there is a safest way or place to put the cage in an RV. But our engineers cannot think of any other crate out there that could work better than a Variocage in an RV. A custom built crate with rigid attachments would POSSIBLY be a better choice, but even that is uncertain. It all depends on where it can be placed inside the RV.
>One of the steps in the Variocage assembly manual is putting "soft material" 20mm underneath the kennel before you place it in the cargo area. What would you recommend for this "soft material"?
We only recommend this if there is a threshold that is higher than the floor to take in consideration. Then having something under the cage to allow the doors to open is necessary.
Otherwise there is no safety necessity to place anything underneath the cage.
However, anything placed on the carpeted cargo floor over time may cause some chaffing or wear after a period of time. Something like a rubber WeatherTech Cargo Mat under the Variocage can help protect the carpets. Foam or an Anti-Fatigue Mat would work extremely well for this application.
It is not a safety issue, but more something that helps customers who are particular about their cars, keep the interior nice.