If your dog is chewing up shoes and destroying your furniture, you might want to consider a dog crate.
First and foremost, a dog crate is not a dog cage! They’re personal spaces for your dog—their home within a home. Think of it as a dog kennel with a door if you like. You can also crate train your dog, which can help them with separation anxiety and puppy house-training.
While crate training is key for puppies, it may also be a good choice when your pup isn’t so little anymore. It creates an indoor escape for dogs as dogs are also den animals. They enjoy having a confined space they can retreat to. Aside from the emotional and mental benefits, crates make house-training easier and protect your dog when you’re not there to supervise.
If you’re a new dog parent, it may be difficult to know what to look out for when choosing an appropriate dog crate. To help you out, here’s dog crate guide made easy for you.
A Guide to Choosing the Best Dog Crate for Your Dog
There are different options out there, and the type you choose depends on what you plan on using it for, where it will be placed in your home, and what your dog’s size, behavior, and needs are. Believe it or not, sometimes you’ll want more than one dog crate for your dog.
Once you start shopping for your pet’s containment you’ll come across four common crate types—wire, plastic, soft-sided, and furniture dog crates. Not all dog crates are created equal, so you’ll want to make sure you choose the kind that’s best for your life and your dog’s needs.
Wire dog crate
If you’re setting up and keeping your dog’s crate in one place at home, a wire dog crate is a great option for you.
Pros: Wire dog crates can be modified in a variety of ways with dividers, crate covers, and DIY furniture built around them to camouflage into surrounding home decor. They are collapsible for easy transport and storage. This type of dog crate supplies good airflow for pets with long coats or those who live in warmer climates. With some models, you can also buy a divider to section off the crate so your dog’s area in the crate starts out small and gets bigger as he grows. The removable floor tray is easy to clean.
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Cons: Cheap wire crates are actually the weakest! The door, corners, and sides can bend under the strength of a heavy, excited pet and tend to be noisier as the dog moves around. Some escape-artist dogs find that it’s easier to break out of wire crates. Large wire crates can be heavy and difficult to move. They may not also be good for a puppy with separation anxiety as they can see that they’re alone or that you’re about to leave. Moreover, they are not suitable as outdoor kennels in the rainy months.
Plastic dog crate
Plastic dog crates are ideal for families who travel often and for dogs that need privacy.
Pros: Plastic crates have a cozy vibe and are difficult to escape from. They are portable, lightweight, and easy to clean as they are designed for traveling. The dog will have low visibility, so it’s great for shy or reactive dogs who like cozy spaces and tend to sleep in corners or under tables. Low airflow can help insulate the dog crate, so it’s perfect for those living in colder climates. The top of the plastic crate can also be removed to convert it into dog bed.
Cons: Sadly, plastic crates don’t fold flat for storage, so it will have to take up space in the house. Plastic also absorbs smell over time, so it can be hard to clean. You may have to break out the hose or climb inside the thing to clean it out if your dog had a tragic diarrhea incident in it!
Soft-sided dog crate
A soft-sided crate is super portable for easy travel and temporary crating. If you bring your dog to work, a portable crate can be a wonderful under-the-desk option to give your dog a safe place to hang out and chill.
Pros: Soft-sided dog crates are lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to carry and travel with. Setting them up is quick. They’re especially good for light use with small, non-destructive dogs when traveling in the car, going out camping, or bringing them to the office. Since they’re made of fabric and other soft material, they are very easy to store when folded.
Cons: However, this is really only an option for smaller dogs. They’re also difficult to clean in the event of a major potty accident. It can be easy for curious pups to escape from or destructive animals to chew through. Because of this, soft-sided crates can only house small crate-trained dogs.
Heavy-duty dog crate
Does you dog pull a Houdini and escape from crates? Or are they big chewers? Heavy-duty dog crates are made specifically for these behaviors, often featuring riveted metal and double locks.
Pros: These tough crates can house the most clever and destructive dogs. They are chew-proof, bend-proof, extremely difficult to escape from, and best for crash protection in car travel. Some heavy-duty dog crates are airline travel approved. So if your dog is already accustomed to this crate, heavy-duty dog crates can make travel much easier.
Cons: As you might have guessed, they’re the heaviest on the list and the hardest to move around. They also don’t make for attractive indoor decoration. Lastly, they are the most expensive, but if you think about it, heavy-duty dog crates can be worth the price if you compare the cost of replacing all the less sturdy crates you bought after your dog gets out of them or destroys them.
Fashion/furniture dog crate
Fashion crates are, of course, fashion-forward. Their wood or rattan finish certainly looks the best of all these crate types if displayed in the house.
Pros: Some fashion dog crates can double as a side table, proving that these crates aren’t just a pretty-looking. They’re functional too! They are available in a variety of designs that you can integrate into your home decor for a permanent containment solution.
Cons: The downside to these crates is that they’re not an option for destructive dogs due to their wood-based construction. Dogs can also easily damage them if they have a wooden floor. Some dogs like to chew on wood, so this type of dog crate is preferably only for the crate-trained. They are hard to clean, and a door may not be included in some models.
Dog crate sizes vary from the miniature to the room-sized. When figuring out how large of a dog crate you should get, choose one that has room for your dog to stand up, turn around, stretch out, and lie down. Any more space than that will encourage your pet to sleep on one side of their crate and relieve themselves on the other.
To measure your dog’s size, measure from the top of their shoulders down to their paws. This is their height. Next, measure from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. This is their length. The dog crate needs to be large enough for them to comfortably stand up in and sit down, with a door big enough for them to climb through.
Measure your dog in inches, as most crate dimensions use imperial rather than metric measurements. For figuring out dog crate sizes, you also need to weigh your dog to make sure you buy a crate that’s stronger than they are. If you’re adding a dog bed or pillow, add a few extra inches!
If you’re selecting a dog crate while your dog is still a puppy, think ahead. Instead of choosing a dog crate that suits your puppy’s current size, choose a crate they can grow into. Make sure this type of dog crate comes with movable crate dividers to provide the right amount of space throughout your puppy’s growth stages. You can also limit their crate size by placing a cardboard box on one side until they grow. It may also help to estimate their full-grown height and length based on their breed or breed mix. If you’re not sure, ask your breeder about it.
Once you’ve got a crate for your dog, you’re ready for the first step of crate training!
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