Before we get into how to choose a dog crate, we want to give a brief overview. Dog crates (also called kennels) can be an excellent solution for any dog breed and have many benefits for both you and your dog when used correctly. Canines are den animals by nature, and often look for spaces in the home that mimic a den, explaining why dogs love to be under a chair, table, or in other tight areas. Dog kennels provide this den environment and give them a place to relax undisturbed.
Dogs that are left alone, bored, or anxious often may exhibit unwanted behaviors, such as chewing on household items, digging through the trash, or wetting inside. A kennel can provide a safe and secure place when you are away, preventing negative behavior and keeping the dog from harm.
Crates can also be used for crate training puppies. It helps pups to learn good behaviors and habits. It also often speeds up house training while minimizing accidents throughout the home. There are many uses of dog crates and it is important to know how to choose a dog crate that is appropriate for you and your dog’s needs.
How to Choose a Dog Crate
Knowing how to choose a dog crate can be a daunting task. You want the best for your dog and your home, but don’t know where to start. Here are some guidelines on how to choose a dog crate to keep in mind before you make your purchase.
Understanding the Different Types of Dog Crates
Before knowing how to choose a dog crate, you need to know what is available. There are several basic crate types to choose from: plastic crates, soft and cloth crates, wire crates, and designer wood crates. When choosing the best crate for you and your pet, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type, as well as your intended use.
Plastic Dog Crates
Pros: Plastic crates are great for traveling with dogs. Many of these crates are airline approved, particularly for large dogs that need to travel in the cargo area. They can also easily be strapped into vehicles to provide a safe ride when traveling by car. They are durable and more difficult for dogs to break out of. The plastic crate is best for dogs that prefer dark, cozy places.
Cons: There is not as much air circulation as a wire crate, which can cause your dog to get hot. Your dog can not see what’s going on around them. The top half of the crate comes off to be stacked inside the bottom half for storage, but it is still quite bulky.
Soft and Cloth Dog Crates
Pros: Canvas, mesh and other soft dog crates are usually collapsible and portable, making them an excellent option for pet owners that want a crate for light use. They are easy to set up, lightweight, easy to move, and sturdy. They are great for keeping in the car to use when traveling for the day. They fold flat to store. They are available in stylish, designer patterns and colors.
Cons: Soft crates can be difficult to clean. They are not recommended for big chewers, destructive breeds, or dogs that are not used to being in a kennel, as the dog may chew and destroy the crate.
Pros: Wire crates are very open, which allows for maximum air flow and visibility for your dog. They are particularly good for hot climates or dogs that get hot easily. There are heavy duty metal crates that are suitable for destructive dog breeds and chewers. Many models come with a divider to section off the crate, which allows the crate to grow with puppies. They fold flat for carrying and easy storage. The removable floor tray is easy to clean. They can be covered with a crate cover to provide a more den-like feel.
Cons: They can be unattractive to have around the house. Large sizes can be heavy. Some dogs can break out of the cheaper wire crates.
Designer Wooden Dog Crates
Pros: Designer wooden dog crates provide both style and functionality to a home. They double as end tables or other furniture, so there is no need for extra space for a crate. They are a great choice to enhance your home décor in the living room, bedroom or any other area in the house. Great for those that prefer not to have a standard dog crate out in the open.
Cons: They are not to be used for destructive dogs, as they will chew on the wood and ruin the crate. Some models have wood floors, which can be damaged if there is an accident in the crate.
Choosing the Right Size Crate for a Dog
As we’ve mentioned, it is critical to know how to choose a dog crate. It also is very important to choose the best size crate for your dog. You may be wondering, can a crate be too big for a dog? The answer is yes. A dog needs to be comfortable. However, choosing a crate that is too large will leave enough space for both a bedroom and a bathroom. This leaves unwanted messes and can actually slow down house training a puppy.
A dog’s crate should be just large enough for them to stand up, sit, and turn around in easily. As a rule of thumb, the crate should be about 4 inches taller and longer than your dog. For more details, take a look at our How to Choose the Right Crate Size Guide. The guide includes size dimensions and extra small to extra large dog breed specific guidelines.
We hope this guide has helped in your understanding of how to choose a dog crate.