The Comprehensive Guide to Buying the Best Dog Crate

The best dog crate ensures that both you and your pet coexist happily without the irritation of dirty carpets, damaged furniture or personal items.  A good dog crate gives your canine friend’s comfort and lasts long enough so you won’t have to replace it so often. There are many reasons why you might choose a certain dog crate but since every dog and household has different needs, it is wise to make sure that you are buying a suitable dog crate for your faithful friend, and it’s important that you first remind yourself the reasons you want a crate before choosing one.

Why do you need a dog crate?

A dog house within your house:

  • One of the main reasons why pet owners buy crates is to create living space for the pet inside the house without compromising other people’s comfort. It provides your furry friend enough privacy in a cozy place where they feel loved, warm and safe.
  • A crate is the best way to show some love to your pet as opposed to letting it live most of its life lonely in a dark basement or outside in a cramped kennel.
  • Besides comfort, a crate offers temporary confinement when the dog needs to feed, recuperate or stay away from nagging children. It is also the perfect place for dogs to rest when they are tired from playing.
  • Placing your lab in a crate when they are indoors but out of your sight is the best thing as it assures you that they are not busy destroying your staff. It also keeps them from bothering your guests.

Speed up house training:

  • Experts regard crates as a good way to speed up house training using the enclosure to control and condition him/her to a certain routine.  You may want a crate to teach them how to control their bowels and where they should go for bathroom breaks since in their natural outdoor setting, dogs never soil the place where they sleep and eat but instead prefer to go far away.
  • Many home owners buy crates to prevent their pups from running like crazy around the house and terrorizing family members. If you want to prevent that bad behavior, send the overly excited pup to their crate for a 30s to 2mins timeout during which they can calm down and learn never to repeat them. (Note: remember that a dog crate is not a tool for punishment. If your pet views her crate as punishment, they will fear it and become uncomfortable whenever you try to get them in it.)
  • A crate can also reinforce chew toy habits and protect your possessions.  If you place chew toys in the crate together with the dog, they will know what to chew even when you are not looking.

Safe & Hassle-free Travelling:

  • Another reason why you might buy a crate is to facilitate hassle free travelling. It is better to bring the canine’s crate along on a long trip as a security blanket to ensure that your pup feels comfortable in foreign surroundings. It is a convenient way to ensure that your dog accompanies you on fun vacations instead of leaving him bored and lonely in his kennel.
  • A crate can help you travel with your dog without the risk of the driver being dangerously distracted or the dog getting loose and hopelessly lost.  If this is your reason of buying a crate, you need to be sure to secure the crate within the vehicle.  Small crates and soft-sided carriers can be strapped in using the car’s seatbelt while if you are carrying a large dog with large crate, it has to be put in the rear section.
  • Though not as common as travelling by car, a lot of dogs will travel by air, and the only way to fly is to have your dog in a IATA compliant crate with  in the hold.

The reasons highlighted above will influence the crate you buy but there are more factors to consider if you want to get the best dog crate:

  1. Dog’s size

This is important to a dog-owner who wants to ensure absolute comfort for their pet. A crate should be big enough for Bosco to stretch out and sit up without hitting his head. For a growing puppy, to avoid constantly replacing crates to meet this requirement, choose brands that offer crate dividers. This will allow you to increase space as the dog grows. Remember that while a dog should have enough space for comfortable movement it should not be too big as this will hinder its purposes of providing safety, security and promoting bowel control.


Dog Crate with Divider Panel Suitable for Puppies

  1. Your dog’s temperament

Is your dog aggressive, easily angry or does he like his alone time? Make sure you answer these questions about your dog’s temperament in order to pick the most suitable crate for them. Cool, calm pets do not need heavy duty crates that are required to enclose aggressive ones. Different breeds have unique personalities which determine their response to a cage. You can therefore do some research on the best crates for your specific breed to avoid losses.

  1. Where will you put the crate?

There are many spots indoors where you can put the dog crate and you need to consider this before buying one. A crate with proper ventilation ensures comfort in hot weather and prevents your electricity bill from going up due to extra air conditioning. You must also ensure that the spot you choose for your dog is one that he will be comfortable with even at night when everyone has left the room.

  1. Size of your house & style you prefer

If you have limited storage to spare, then you should pay attention to the size of the dog crate after it’s folded.  Fold up crates are great choices for people with limited space as they can be easily stored away when they are not in use, and they are particularly ideal for travel.  However not all fold up crates are made equal – some take more effort and space while others collapse more easily.

You should also consider your personal style so that you can pick a crate that matches it.  Nowadays there so many crates to choose from apart from the most popular wire crates, and they normally come with beautiful design and some even double as a fine piece of furniture.


End Table Dog Crate

Types of Dog Crates

  1. Wire / Metal Crates

Wire/Metal crates are most suitable for active dogs as they are quite resistant to rough handling. They are favorites among dog owners owing to their versatility. Wire crates are easy to set up, disassemble and store making them most suitable for families that love to travel with their pet in tow. The best metal dog crates are made of heavy duty wire that makes them more durable. Such dog crates are easy to clean with features like a slide out trays.


Indestructible Metal Dog Crate

Owing to their design metal crates offer excellent ventilation and visibility for curious dogs that love to know what is happening in their environment. Dividers are easy to use on metal crates for growing puppies.

The downsides to metal crates are:

  • Some dogs may feel too exposed in them causing stress and endless whining.
  • It offers poor protection from cold
  • Despite some being collapsible, wire crates are often too heavy.
  • Metal crates are not ideal for determined pets that might escape and cause intolerable noise with their aggression.
  1. Plastic Crates

Plastic crates are famed for their lightweight and the fact that most meet federal requirements for travel by air. Due to their portable nature, plastic crates are best for commuting and short trips with the dog. They come in a variety of colors which make it easy to find a crate that complements your style. Another great advantage of plastic crates is that unlike their wire counterparts, they provide more shelter against the elements. They are ideal for whining dogs as they easily shield them from distractions that encourage the bad habit. Plastic dog crates are superior to metal ones in another area – they are more difficult to escape from and can be used as an open dog bed as well.


Popular Plastic Dog Crate

Do not buy a plastic crate if;

  • Your dog loves to see their surroundings.
  • Bosco loves chewing on stuff.
  • You do not like the extra cleaning demands.
  • Have limited space as they do not fold up as well as wire crates.
  1. Soft-sided Crates

They are often made of vinyl, mesh and other soft fabrics. Such dog crates are preferred by owners who love a portable crate to carry about. They are excellent homes for calm dogs who love to chill in comfort without distractions from aggressive children or fellow pets. Most soft-sided doghouses come with a carry bag to make them more portable. They are easily washable and stylish making them ideal for fashionable owners who love to buy their pets’ good looking stuff. They are easy to store but like other types of dog crates the have some disadvantages;

  • They are easily damaged by dogs that enjoy chewing on the soft material used.
  • They are the least durable dog crates and become very difficult to keep clean after some time.
  • Intelligent furry pets will easily learn how to unzip the door on such crates and escape.
  1. Stylish Crates

These are made of attractive materials like rattan and wood to make them more stylish for homes. They are chosen for their beauty and warm appearance that complements the home’s décor. They are also versatile owing to the usable space that they provide. Stylish dog crates are available in several shapes and sizes to suit different needs. The only downside to such crates is that they can be very expensive owing to the finished wood used to make them.

What’s next – Crate Train Your Dog

After buying the best crate for your specific dog remember to exercise patience as the pet learns to use it. It might take days or even weeks for your dog to become trusting of his crate as a safe haven and not a trap. If you coerce him or her too roughly, they will develop an aversion to the crate and it will eventually become impossible to leave them in one. If possible crate train a dog when it is still a puppy as evidence shows that grown dogs are quite difficult to train.

To crate train a dog without putting pressure on him, try an easy process recommended by the Humane Society;

  • Place the crate in a room where the whole family spends time and place a blanket or cotton cloth inside. Make sure that the door is open so that it doesn’t frighten the dog as he explores.
  • Toss treats in the crate until your dog confidently walks all the way inside but do not force him to go further than he wants to.
  • If treats do not encourage him to go inside the crate, use a favorite toy and let the pup extract it when he feels ready.
  • When the dog is comfortable about spending time in the crate, help him grow accustomed to the space by serving his meals therein. To finish training, try to close the door as the dog is eating, leaving it shut until he finishes. Later you can leave the door closed longer to teach the dog that he is home.

If your dog whines when in the crate, he is probably claustrophobic or bored. You might need to give your pet some more time to understand that he is safe inside the crate. Always crate your dog whenever you are outside the house to keep them from damaging your property. Remember to let your pet run free regularly as leaving them inside a crate for too long will make them anxious or aggressive. Dogs are social animals that need close interaction with other pets and children. Keep him busy and provide enough space for exercise to ensure the good health of your beloved pet.

According to vets and dog lovers a dog crate is the best decision that you could ever make for your furry friend. It is the ultimate way that will make your outings, trips to the vet or a random visit to the mall more fun with your pet. With a good dog crate, dog owners know peace of mind both at home and on the road.

Finally, check out this quick video from Laurie Luck of Smart Dog University!  Laurie will walk you through the pros & cons of 3 most popular crating options.


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