How to Choose the Perfect Dog Crate

Table of Contents

Professional dog trainer demonstrating how to choose a dog crate, showcasing various sizes and materials, including options for puppies, small dogs, and large dogs, with safety and travel features.

Introduction to Choosing a Dog Crate

A dog crate is more than just a cage. It’s a safe space for your dog. It can help with training and provide comfort. Dogs are den animals. They like having a place to call their own. A crate can be that place.

  • Factors to consider when choosing a dog crate

Choosing the right crate is important. Here are some factors to think about:

    • Size: The crate should be big enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down.
    • Material: Crates come in different materials like metal, plastic, and fabric. Each has its pros and cons.
    • Purpose: Will you use it for travel, training, or both? Some crates are better for travel, while others are good for home use.
    • Safety: Make sure the crate is safe. Check for sharp edges and secure locks.
    • Comfort: Add a soft bed or blanket to make it cozy for your dog.

Dog Crate Size Guide

Dog Crate for Small Dogs

Small dogs, like Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, need crates that provide enough space for them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. A crate that is too big can make them feel insecure, while one that is too small can be uncomfortable.

Typically, a crate for small dogs should be around 24 inches in length. This size ensures they have enough room without feeling overwhelmed by too much space.

  • Best dog crate options for small dogs

When choosing a crate for your small dog, consider these top options:

  • MidWest iCrate: This crate is durable and comes with a divider panel, making it adjustable as your puppy grows.
  • Petmate Two Door Top Load: Ideal for small breeds, this crate offers easy access and excellent ventilation.
  • AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate: A budget-friendly option that provides a secure and comfortable space for your small dog.

Each of these crates offers unique features that cater to the needs of small dogs, ensuring their comfort and safety.

Dog Crate for Large Dogs

Large dogs need more space to move around and stretch. A crate that is too small can make them uncomfortable and anxious. It’s important to measure your dog from nose to tail and from floor to top of the head. Add a few inches to these measurements to ensure the crate is spacious enough.

According to Wikipedia, the crate should allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. This helps in reducing stress and promoting a sense of security.

  • Best Dog Crate Options for Large Dogs

There are several types of crates suitable for large dogs. Here are some of the best options:

Crate Type Features Best For
Wire Crates Sturdy, good ventilation, foldable Indoor use
Plastic Crates Durable, enclosed, easy to clean Travel and indoor use
Soft-Sided Crates Lightweight, portable, comfortable Short trips and calm dogs
Heavy-Duty Crates Extremely durable, escape-proof Strong and anxious dogs

Choosing the right crate depends on your dog’s behavior and your specific needs. Wire crates are great for home use, while plastic crates are ideal for travel. Heavy-duty crates are best for dogs that tend to escape or chew through other types of crates.

Dog Crate Materials

  • Pros and Cons of Different Dog Crate Materials

    Choosing the right material for your dog’s crate is important. Here are some common materials and their pros and cons:

    Material Pros Cons
    • Good ventilation
    • Easy to clean
    • Collapsible for storage
    • Can be noisy
    • Not very cozy
    • Lightweight
    • Great for travel
    • Offers more privacy
    • Less ventilation
    • Can be harder to clean
    • Very lightweight
    • Portable
    • Comfortable
    • Not as durable
    • Can be difficult to clean
    • Stylish
    • Can double as furniture
    • Sturdy
    • Heavy
    • Expensive
    • Not ideal for travel
  • How to Choose the Best Material for Your Dog’s Crate

    When choosing the best material for your dog’s crate, consider the following factors:

    • Dog’s Size: Larger dogs may require sturdier materials like wire or wood.
    • Purpose: For travel, plastic or fabric crates are more suitable.
    • Durability: If your dog is a chewer, avoid fabric crates.
    • Comfort: Ensure the material provides a comfortable environment for your dog.
    • Cleaning: Choose a material that is easy to clean, especially for puppies.

    By considering these factors, you can select the best crate material for your dog’s needs.

Dog Crate Training Tips

  • Key Steps in Crate Training Your Dog

    Crate training your dog can be a smooth process if you follow these key steps:

    1. Introduce the Crate: Place the crate in a common area. Let your dog explore it on their own.
    2. Make it Comfortable: Add a soft bed and some toys inside the crate to make it inviting.
    3. Use Treats: Encourage your dog to enter the crate by placing treats inside.
    4. Short Sessions: Start with short periods of time and gradually increase the duration.
    5. Positive Reinforcement: Always praise and reward your dog when they stay calm in the crate.
  • Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

    Crate training can come with some challenges. Here are common issues and tips to overcome them:

    Challenge Solution
    Whining or Barking Ignore the noise until your dog calms down. Reward them when they are quiet.
    Reluctance to Enter Use high-value treats and toys to entice your dog into the crate.
    Separation Anxiety Gradually increase the time your dog spends in the crate. Keep the crate in a familiar area.
    Accidents in the Crate Take your dog out for regular bathroom breaks. Ensure the crate is the right size.

Dog Crate for Travel

  • Choosing the Right Dog Crate for Travel

    Picking the correct dog crate for travel is crucial. The crate should be sturdy and well-ventilated. It must be large enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Look for crates labeled as “airline-approved” if you plan to fly with your pet.

    Here are some tips to help you choose:

    • Size: Measure your dog’s height and length. Add a few inches to ensure comfort.
    • Material: Opt for durable materials like plastic or metal. Soft-sided crates are good for car travel but may not be airline-approved.
    • Portability: Look for crates with handles or wheels for easy transport.
  • Travel Safety Tips for Using a Dog Crate

    Ensuring your dog’s safety during travel is important. Here are some tips:

    • Secure the Crate: In a car, place the crate in the back seat and use seat belts to secure it. For air travel, follow the airline’s guidelines.
    • Comfort: Add a soft blanket or cushion inside the crate. This helps your dog feel more at ease.
    • Hydration: Keep a water bottle attached to the crate. This ensures your dog stays hydrated during the journey.
    • Identification: Attach a tag with your contact information to the crate. This is crucial in case you get separated from your pet.

    Remember, a well-prepared crate can make travel safer and more comfortable for your dog.

Dog Crate Safety

  • Ensuring your dog’s safety when using a crate:

Using a dog crate can be very helpful, but safety is key. Make sure the crate is the right size for your dog. Your dog should be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Avoid placing the crate in direct sunlight or in a drafty area.

Check the crate regularly for any damage. Broken parts can hurt your dog. Always remove your dog’s collar before placing them in the crate to prevent choking hazards.

Provide soft bedding to make the crate cozy. However, avoid using too many blankets or pillows, as they can be a choking hazard.

  • Signs of distress to watch out for:

It’s important to monitor your dog for signs of distress while they are in the crate. Look for excessive barking, whining, or scratching at the crate. These can be signs that your dog is uncomfortable or stressed.

If your dog is panting heavily or drooling a lot, they may be too hot or anxious. Check the temperature and ensure the crate is in a comfortable location.

Watch for any changes in your dog’s behavior. If they seem more anxious or aggressive, it might be a sign that the crate is not a safe space for them. In such cases, consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer.

Dog Crate Buying Guide

Where to Buy a Dog Crate

  • Best places to buy a dog crate

Finding the right place to buy a dog crate is important. Here are some of the best options:

    • Pet Stores: Local pet stores often have a variety of crates. You can see and touch them before buying.
    • Online Retailers: Websites like Amazon and Chewy offer many choices and customer reviews.
    • Big Box Stores: Stores like Walmart and Target also sell dog crates, often at competitive prices.
  • Comparing prices and quality

When buying a dog crate, it’s important to compare prices and quality. Here are some tips:

  • Read Reviews: Customer reviews can give you an idea of the crate’s durability and comfort.
  • Check Materials: Look for crates made from strong materials like metal or high-quality plastic.
  • Compare Prices: Use websites like PriceGrabber to compare prices from different stores.

Here is a table to help you compare:

Store Average Price Quality Rating
Amazon $50 – $150 4.5/5
Chewy $45 – $140 4.6/5
Walmart $40 – $130 4.3/5

How to Choose the Best Dog Crate for Puppies

  • Special Considerations for Puppies

    When choosing a crate for your puppy, there are a few special things to keep in mind:

    • Size: Puppies grow fast! Choose a crate that has a divider so it can grow with your puppy.
    • Comfort: Add soft bedding to make the crate cozy. Puppies need a comfortable space to rest.
    • Safety: Ensure the crate has no sharp edges or small parts that your puppy could chew on.
    • Accessibility: Look for crates with multiple doors for easy access.
  • Recommended Dog Crates for Puppies

    Here are some top-rated dog crates that are perfect for puppies:

    Crate Name Features Price Range
    MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate Double door, divider panel, leak-proof pan $40 – $60
    AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate Single door, sturdy metal construction, easy to clean $30 – $50
    Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel Durable plastic shell, secure door latches, ventilation $70 – $100

    These crates are highly recommended by dog owners and experts alike. They offer the right balance of comfort, safety, and durability for your growing puppy.


Choosing the right dog crate involves several steps. First, measure your dog to ensure the crate is the right size. Remember, your dog should be able to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Next, consider the material of the crate.

Wire crates are durable and offer good ventilation, while plastic crates are great for travel. Soft-sided crates are lightweight and easy to move. Finally, think about the purpose of the crate. Is it for training, travel, or just a cozy space for your dog?

  • Final Tips and Advice:

When selecting a dog crate, always prioritize your dog’s comfort and safety. Make sure the crate is well-ventilated and free from sharp edges. Introduce the crate gradually to your dog, using positive reinforcement to create a positive association. Keep the crate clean and place it in a quiet, comfortable area of your home. Lastly, never use the crate as a punishment. It should be a safe and happy space for your dog.