One of the first things you buy when bringing home a new pup is a dog crate. It serves as your dog’s bed and shelter. It’s also a safe place for your pup when you’re not around to supervise him. It is essential in providing boundary and confinement for the safety and security of the dog as well as the prevention of destructive behaviour. It’s also used in house training and dog travel.
There is a wide range of dog crates available in the market. They come in different shapes and sizes to cater to different breeds of dogs. This article will help you narrow down your search and find the best crate for your dog.
What are the types of dog crates?
There are many different types of dog crates that you can choose from. Let’s take a look at how they differ from each other to help you make the best choice.
1. Plastic Dog Crates
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In general, plastic crates are used for small- to mid-sized pooches. Aesthetically, it may not be the best-looking crates you’ll find, but they are functional. A plastic dog cage is portable and sturdy, which can also be used as a dog travel crate.
Since it is mostly walled with plastic, it is an excellent fit for pooches that want a little more privacy during their naptime. Another good thing about a plastic dog crate is it is relatively easier to clean.
The downside of a plastic dog crate is that it’s not well-ventilated. This means that your furry friend should not be kept inside the crate for prolonged periods to prevent the risk of heatstroke.
Even though plastic dog crates are generally durable, dogs who love to chew on objects will most likely cause damage to the walls of the crate. So this is something that needs to be taken into account when buying a dog crate.
2. Soft-Sided Dog Crates
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The walls of soft-sided dog crates are made of the soft mesh such as nylon or canvas. Lightweight and often foldable, this type of crate is easy to store and carry around. Thus, it can be used as a dog car crate too. Just make sure to secure it with a seat belt to keep it from sliding or falling.
Unfortunately, soft-sided dog crates are not the best option for dogs that love to chew or are escape artists. That’s because the soft mesh can be easily mangled by their sharp teeth.
One more drawback of soft-sided dog crates is that they are one of the hardest dog cages to clean. They usually have padded floors made of plastic fabrics, so when your dog gets sick or has a potty incident, cleaning can be difficult. Therefore, it is not recommended for initial crate training.
3. Wire Dog Crates
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In choosing a wire dog crate for your puppy, you have to consider the size. If the dog crate is too small, your puppy will be cramped and restricted, which will make him feel miserable.
On the other hand, if it’s too big, your puppy may think that he could pee and poop on one end and keep the other end clean. This makes potty training challenging.
Wire dog crates have an open-air construction that allows air to flow freely. Dogs with a thick and long coat can benefit from this because it helps keep them cool.
On the other hand, pooches that don’t do well in cold climates may need a crate that limits airflow for extra insulation. You can do this by placing a dog crate cover or just a blanket on the wire dog cage.
If your puppy has separation anxiety, he’s likely to chew on his crate. A wire dog crate can generally stand up to frequent chewing, but it doesn’t mean they are indestructible. Dogs with powerful and strong jaws can do damage on the thin wires.
Washing a wire dog crate is easy since it often comes with a plastic tray at the bottom. It slides in and out, which gives you easy access for cleaning.
Using a wire dog crate gives dogs a view of his surroundings. This makes them feel safer and more secure, even if their owners are not around.
Be careful when choosing a wire dog crate or pet cage. Some have large gaps between the bars underneath. It can cause discomfort for small breeds as it makes it difficult for them to position their paws flat.
To keep your dog safe, it is advised to always have a thick blanket, dog bedding, or cushion on the wire bottom.
4. Heavy-Duty Dog Crates
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Heavy-duty dog crates made of steel metal are suitable for large and giant dog breeds. Unlike the standard wire dog crates with thin wires, heavy-duty crates have bigger and thicker steel bars and solid metal sides. They don’t bend even when dogs try to chew on them.
This type of crate is also well-ventilated and easy to wash. Some crates come with bottom trays which are convenient when cleaning.
Prices of heavy-duty dog crates are on the high side. As a dog owner, you may find these crates more expensive compared to other dog cages due to the materials used to construct them. And because they are huge and heavy, they are not travel-friendly. Although some are foldable for easy storage, they are still bulky and hefty to move around.
5. Furniture Dog Crates
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Furniture dog crates are also known as fashion crates, wooden crates, or decorative crates. This type of crate serves a dual purpose: a dog cage and furniture. Furniture dog crates are commonly made up of rattan and wood finish. They are designed to resemble a credenza or an end table.
Furniture dog crates can be customised to match your style requirements. However, these crates are not portable or easy to clean. Thus, it is not a good option for house training.
Moreover, furniture dog crates are not suitable for destructive dogs. Noticeable scratches and dents from their nails or teeth can quickly take form on the material.
How big should a dog crate be?
You may be asking yourself, ‘What size crate for my dog?’ Should you get a small dog crate or a medium dog cage for your growing puppy? This is an important factor to consider when choosing a kennel for your dog.
Many dog crates come with dividers or panels. The purpose of this divider is to adjust the internal size of the crate. This is extremely helpful as there’s an allowance for space as your pup grows.
Measuring your pet is one of the best ways to get an idea of how big the crate should be. Here is a guide that can help you:
Dog Crate Size Chart
Extra Small Dog Cage
Fit for dogs weighing between 1 lb. and 10 lbs.
- 24L X 18W x 21H
- 24L x 18W x 19H
Small Dog Cage
Fit for dogs weighing between 11 lbs. and 25 lbs.
- 24L x 18W x 21H
- 24Lx 18W x 19H
Medium Dog Crate
Fit for dogs weighing between 26 lbs. and 40 lbs.
- 30L x 21W x 24H
- 30L x 19W x 21H
Large Dog Crate
Fit for dogs weighing between 41 lbs. and 70 lbs.
- 36L x 24W x 27H
- 36L x 23W x 25H
XL Dog Crate
Fit for dogs weighing between 71 lbs. and 90 lbs.
- 42L x 28W x 31H
- 42L x 28W x 30H
XXL Dog Crate
- Fit for dogs weighing between 90 lbs. and up.
- 46L x 30W x 33H
Crate Measuring Guide
Length of Dog Crate
Let your dog stand on all fours. Start measuring from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail. Do not include the tail’s entire length as it can result in getting a crate too large for him. Add two to four inches to the total measurement.
Height of Crate
Command your dog to sit. Measure from the top of his head to the floor. Add two to four inches to the total measurement. This is the minimum height for your dog’s cage.
If you are planning to use the cage like a dog travelling crate, check the weight limit. Make sure that your dog’s weight is within the recommended weight limit.
How to make your puppy like his crate
Ensuring that your dog is comfortable is your number one goal in puppy crate training. Here are a few tips that can help you achieve it:
- Consider placing the puppy crate in a room that you often use such as the living room or bedroom. This helps in making your pooch feel more safe and secure.
- Think about adding attachable water bottle to the crate to keep him properly hydrated even if you are away.
- Put a soft pet crate liner or bed inside so that your pup will not be lying directly on the hard surface. Make sure that it is chew-resistant to avoid damage. If possible, get a waterproof one for easy cleaning.