Congratulations! You've finally brought your newest member of the family home.
She's soft, has four legs, and is a big fan of her new rope toy.
You've shopped for her favorite food and comforts, and want to make sure that she has a space of her own where she can go to rest and feel safe while you're home or out running errands. How do you make sure you've put together the best environment for your new best friend?
For most owners, dog crates have become a positive training tool and secure space for a dog to relax away from stressful activity in the room. They can keep your home intact during the more demanding months of training, and provide most owners peace of mind once it's time for bed or when they need to leave the house.
For more information on finding the right dog crate for your new companion, read on.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying
Before buying, take a look at your space and the breed you're shopping for. Crates come in multi-purpose options, so not all models are one-size-fits-all. Important considerations include:
- Are you buying this crate for a puppy?
- Will a puppy change drastically in size once it grows?
- Are you going to need to travel with this crate?
- Are you going to use the crate both indoors and outdoors?
- Will you be able to provide crate training?
- Will the crate need to fit amongst your home decor and furniture?
Once you have consulted on these questions with your vet, breeder, trusted web resources, or local animal rescue agency, you can explore crate options with increased confidence.
Important Features of an Effective Dog Crate
Dogs are now a beloved part of the family. Their crates are no longer considered a punishment. With that in mind, you'll want to choose the most comfortable crate available so that your dog embraces the environment.
Dog Crate Size
The age-old trick is still true-- if your dog cannot stand up and turn around in its crate, the crate is too small. Even large breeds will need to have enough space in their crate, so finding ample storage in your home will be crucial.
If you have just brought home a puppy, you'll need to consider how big they're eventually going to become. You are welcome to buy a crate that will eventually fit the adult version of your pet-- though you might need to place dividers up or make the space seem smaller in the meantime. This is to encourage potty training while also making your puppy feel secure in a safe, cozy space.
For a more specific measurement, measure your dog from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Once you have calculated this amount, add two inches to the total. Search for a crate size that allows for this measurement.
Additionally, most crates will have a weight limit. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the weight or anticipated weight of your dog.
Dog Crate Material
Dog crates most often come in three materials: plastic, metal, and fabric. Though metal crates are increasing in popularity, plastic crates are a common travel option and are usually budget-friendly.
- Plastic - good for smaller dogs, easy to clean
- Metal and Metal Wire- fairly indestructible, can usually collapse for easy storage
- Fabric - the most portable, collapsable option for those with serious travel or camping needs
No matter the material type, you'll need to implement proper crate training techniques to ensure that your investment isn't destroyed or damaged by a Houdini hound. An escape attempt can result in unwanted accidents, damaged furniture and an injured pup.
Popular Dog Crate Options
Looking for a specific recommendation? These are just a few of the most popular dog crates on the market.
Midwest Dog Crates
Midwest offers dog crates with a very durable, traditional look. They are very popular with large breeds as well as puppy training, as customized dividers can be inserted/removed to customize the size during the growth stages. Their double door options make it easy for your dog to get in and out, and for you to configure your large crate indoors.
Zinger Aluminum Dog Crates
Zinger creates nearly indestructible aluminum dog crates. Have a "Houdini dog" that needs an extra layer of security? Browser Zinger options and feel good knowing that they are some of the safest and most secure dog crates on the market.
Petmate Airline Approved Dog Crates
Need to fly? Petmate creates a variety of plastic options that are airline recommended and approved.
Need something low-maintenance? Petmate crates are easily assembled and easy to clean. They come in six different sizes so you can ensure you are making the right choice for your specific breed.
Soft Dog Crates
Soft dog crates may be useful if you are on the go and need a portable option. Popular soft dog crates include:
- Nature's Miracle Port-A-Crate
- Elite Field Soft Dog Crate
- Midwest Canine Camper Sportable Soft Dog Crate
Your dog should never be left in a portable dog crate for too long-- especially if it has destructive tendencies.
Find the Right Fit
Dogs don't come in just one size-- so why treat your dog's crate like one-size-fits-all? The crate should be your dog's home within a home.
Before you bring your new dog home, explore reviews and find the right dog crate for the breed, temperament, and intended purpose. You're a dog owner now-- it's what your best friend deserves.