How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows

Written by kimberly kilmer
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How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows
Modify your van for dog shows (Family van image by Avesun from

The most efficient way to customise a van for dog show use is to remove the rear seats of the van and build a platform that will sit above the flat rear floor of the van. The platform can be designed to sit at a height necessary to accommodate dog crates on top and all other dog show equipment underneath. The size and shape of the platform will be determined by the type of van and usable space in the back of the van.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Marking pencil
  • 1/2 inch plywood sheet
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • 2 by 4 inch board
  • Screw driver
  • 12 wood screws, 2.5 inch
  • 6 medium duty stainless steel L brackets
  • 1/2 inch wood screws
  • Industrial grade carpet
  • Staple gun

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    Building the Platform

  1. 1

    Measure the interior open space in the back of the van. Determine the length and the width of the platform desired. Mark the plywood using the marking pencil to show appropriate length and width of final platform.

    How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows
    Measure open space in the rear of the van (tape measure image by Alison Bowden from
  2. 2

    Cut the plywood to the appropriate length and width using the circular saw. Sit the plywood in the van where you want the platform. If necessary use the marking pencil to mark placement of internal wheel wells. Using the jigsaw, cut on those marks to cut plywood to fit around wheel wells. Sit the platform in the van to check for final fit.

    How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows
    Cut the plywood using circular and jigsaws (carpers prepare for sawing plywood 2 image by Graf_es from
  3. 3

    Cut six legs of equal length using the circular saw and the two by four inch board. Place one leg under each corner and the remaining two legs under the outermost centre of each long side of the plywood. Using the screw driver screw two screws through the plywood and into the top short side of each leg.

    How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows
    A circular saw makes the task easier. (sawing wood image by Aussiebloke from
  4. 4

    Attach the L brackets under and on the inside of each leg and then to the underside of the platform. Each L bracket will have holes for a specific number of screws. Screw one 1/2-inch wood screw into each hole.

    How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows
    Use screws to secure the legs and L brackets (screwdriver image by bluefern from
  5. 5

    Lay a piece of carpet slightly larger than your final platform on top of the plywood. Pull the carpet tight and staple it securely to the sides of the platform. Place all crates on top of the platform to test for fit and stability prior to inserting the completed platform into the van.

    How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows
    Staple the carpet to the platform (stapler and staples image by Federico Romano from
  6. 6

    Arrange dog crates on the carpeted top of the platform. Leave crate doors easily accessible to van doors. Place crates so that they sit at least one inch apart.

    How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows
    Arrange crates on top of the platform (dog in a cage image by igor kisselev from
  7. 7

    Stack the heaviest equipment under the platform near the largest van door. Load other necessary items in the remaining space, packing so that items do not shift during travel.

    How to Customize Your Own Van for Dog Shows
    Pack vehicle so items do not shift during travel (utility vehicle car speed isolated on road image by alma_sacra from

Tips and warnings

  • The completed platform will look like a large, carpet covered coffee table with storage space underneath.
  • Make sure no screw tips are protruding through the top of the platform.
  • Allow for room over the top of the crates to ensure proper rear view mirror visibility.
  • Wider legs and thicker plywood can be used in the project to support giant breeds.
  • If platform legs need to be taller than 10 inches add more legs for increased stability.
  • Make sure all crates are secure and cannot shift if brakes are applied while travelling.

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