Pet crates are one of the best things to get if you have a cat or dog. They are so useful and not enough people use them. Pet crates provide you and your pet with an array of benefits and there are a ton of things you couldn’t do without one. They are often seen as a cruel means to confine the animal and restrict them from freedom. However, they actually can be incredibly helpful for a variety of reasons, especially if you have a pup who is experiencing a new environment.
Pet crates come in a range of sizes and shapes and if you’re new to the pet crate scene it can be difficult to make a decision when it comes to purchasing. This is even more important because pet crates are not cheap objects and if you were to get something wrong, it would be an expensive mistake. That is why we have a range of useful guides and tips (just like this one) to help you make the best decision when it comes to buying a pet crate.
However, if you have not visited our site before, it can be difficult navigating around to find all the useful guides we have. So we decided to make the ultimate guide, so you have everything you need to know all in one convenient article. This guide will go over everything related to pet crates, all the way from their benefits to the different styles you can choose.
So, if you’re interested in getting a pet crate but have absolutely no idea which or what one to get, we heavily suggest you read this guide. It has all the “need-to-know” information and will help save you money from making a critical mistake. So, let’s get started.
Why Do You Need a Pet Crate?
Pet crates are very useful things to have and they can give you a range of benefits that you wouldn’t otherwise have. If you have a new puppy in the home, a pet crate is more than necessary and will help them grow and develop. There is a range of things you can use a pet crate for and some of these are well-known.
For starters, you cannot take a pet on board a plane without having a pet crate. Airlines have a strict code that states you need to have a pet crate if you wish to fly. There is also a range of other benefits to pet crates that will be listed below. One thing is for sure though – they are certainly not cruel.
But I Thought Pet Crates Were Cruel?
There is a common misconception about pet crates and that they’re a cruel way to treat your pet. However, this is completely wrong and it is something that has been sparked by human activities. We have to remember that pets are not the same as us, as they prefer to live in a den. It is this instinct as to why pet crates are harmless. A dog will prefer to sit in a pet crate rather than a couch as it provides them with safety and security. Of course, this is only true when the dog has been properly trained with the crate.
Some of the Benefits of Having a Pet Crate
There are a ton of benefits that a pet crate can provide you with and once you have seen what they can do you’ll want to buy one immediately. They can be purchased for all the different sizes of dog and you shouldn’t be put off if your dog is gigantic. They come in a range of materials and the material you get can also have an influence on their usefulness. However, that is a subject for a later paragraph. For now, let’s go through the generic benefits provided when you have a crate.
Makes Travel a Whole Lot Easier
The first and most obvious benefit to having a pet great is the ability to travel with your pet. When you have a pet crate, traveling with your pet either by car or plane becomes a whole lot easier and, if you don’t have a pet crate, you won’t be able to travel by plane at all! However, we won’t go into the specific of airline travel and pet crates in this section as we have a whole other paragraph below explaining what you need to know. Just understand that airline will not let you on the plane with your pet unless they are in a crate.
Pet crates, in general, are fantastic for traveling pets because they can make them feel safe and secure during transit. If your pet is an anxious traveler, placing them in their crate is one of the best courses of action, relaxing them in the process. In addition, they stop dogs and cats from wandering around the car when you’re driving, which has caused many accidents in the past. Finally, if you like to take your dog for long walks in the park, the last thing you want is for them to track mud all over your seats. A dog crate can make sure the mud is contained and removed quickly.
Excellent for Puppy Training
Another one of the key reasons/benefits to getting a pet crate is for puppies. If you have just bought a puppy or your dog has just given birth to a litter, you’re going to want to make sure they are confined to one area of the house. The last thing you want is for pups to be running around causing mayhem. Crating them is a great solution and with a divider, they can grow along with the crate.
Sometimes, it is a good idea to get a crate big enough for the mother as well, so she can sleep inside with the pups. However, some people like to give their pups room to play, so they get them a play area. These are little spaces for them to run around and play without the fear of them running off. These can be often attached to a crate as well.
Puppies are well-known for biting and eating things they perhaps shouldn’t, like leg chairs and new shoes. Getting a crate helps them through the teething stage without your favorite furniture being ruined. Did I also mention that puppies can be toilet trained with a pet crate? The next paragraph will explain this a lot better.
Helps to Introduce a New Dog into a New Environment
This leads on from the above paragraph. If you have just bought a new dog (puppy or adult) they will be unfamiliar with your home. It will be like a whole new world for them and they will have no idea what is going on. Because of this, it is not uncommon for a new dog to be frightened, anxious and to urinate where they shouldn’t. A pet crate is an excellent way to introduce them into the environment.
If the dog is urinating around the house and is yet to be toilet trained, a crate can be a step in the right direction. In fact, getting a pet crate can drastically speed up the process when it comes to toilet training. The basics behind it are that a pet crate is viewed like a den to a dog. Instinctively, dogs will not urinate where they sleep (in their den). Therefore, they will do everything in their power to hold it in until they are let out. What you need to do is let them stay in there for a considerable amount of time and then when you release them, quickly take them to the garden wait for them to go.
When they start to go, praise them for the activity. You will have to do this a considerable number of times before they get the gist and remember to reward them for going in the garden and not the house. Of course, before all of this, you need to have them crate trained to the point where they feel the crate is their den/home.
Crates are a must-have when you’re introducing a new pet into a home that already has cats/dogs. You have to understand that your home is your pet’s territory and things can get hairy if you suddenly get a new pet and place them in your home. Pet crates are a fantastic way to introduce the new pet into the home without there being a big fuss and fight. The crate will provide a means for the new pet to sniff and introduce themselves, not posing as a threat. This is more important for cats who can be very aggressive towards intruders.
A Must-Have for Breeders and Hunters
Breeders and hunters require a pet crate for a variety of reasons. To start with, let’s talk about hunters and why a pet crate is important. As a hunter, you’re going to be traveling to get to the hunting spot and the last thing you want to three hounds barking and getting excited in the back seat.
There are a number of specialist crates that you can get to house your hunting dogs and they fit snuggly in the back of a truck. In addition, if you have your hunting dogs lose before you get out, there is a chance they will bolt in the other direction. A pet crate allows you to have control over when they’re released for the hunt.
Pet crates are a must if you’re a breeder. You’re going to have a lot of animals and you’re going to need a way to separate them so they don’t fight and hurt each other. Getting some metal dog crates would be the best way to handle this situation and there are a number of suppliers who cater towards this requirement. For example, there is a metal crate that can be stacked with others, helping with storage.
Lightweight and Often Foldable
Although many people believe that pet crates are incredibly big and annoying, they can actually be folded and stored really easily. This will, of course, depend on the crate that you choose, as not all crates can be folded. But, if you have a plastic or wired design (more on that later) you can pop it up when you need it (traveling, etc.) and fold it down if your dog is ok to roam the house.
Even if the crate cannot be folded, more often than not the crate will be made from a lightweight material light aluminum. This is a favorite for completely metal crates and this allows you to move them around without a lot of hassle. If you need to take the crate to the airport, a lot of brands will offer a set of wheels to be attached to the bottom, enabling you to move it with ease.
With some crates, you will be able to pick them up with the handle. However, this will only be the case if you have a small dog. The types of crates that cater towards this are actually called carriers and they are a little bit different, as they’re normally used for temporary use.
Provides Your Pet with Their Own Private Area
The last benefit to a pet crate is that it gives your pet a place of their own. Although a pet might associate the house with their home it doesn’t produce that instinctive den-like feel that many pets crave, especially dogs. Because the house is open the pet can never truly relax and if you have children they can become restless. Getting them a crate is like giving them their own personal spot. It is a spot they can call home and are 100% certain it’s theirs. Getting a pet crate can reduce anxiety and stop the pet from becoming annoyed.
As you can see, getting a pet crate is beneficial for both you and your pet.
The Different Types of Pet Crates
In the pet crate world, there is a lot to choose from. This can cause a lot of frustration when new buyers come in and start looking for a new pet crate. A lot of the time, they won’t know which one is better for them, leading to a misinformed purchase. This can be a huge mistake, especially since pet crates are expensive. You want to make sure that you know everything you can before buying. That is why we have these guides.
One of the main things you need to take note of is the material. Pet crate materials vary drastically and will have an effect on how you use them. If you ’re looking for a crate that making flying easier, going for something plastic is a good idea. If you’re looking for a crate when hunting, metal is the best way to go.
Below, we have listed the various materials that pet crates are made from and how they can benefit. Some materials will be better at some things and worse at others, so you need to get your priorities straight before buying. Here are the most common crate materials and their various uses.
Metal is a common material to get in a pet crate. When we talk about metal we are talking about solid, reinforced metal similar to a box. These are commonly used with larger, more aggressive dogs and can be seen in hunting trucks and breeding homes. They are incredibly strong and are often made of aluminum. This gives them the ability to take a beating but also allows them to be moved fairly easily. Some metal crates are made from steel, including MIM crates. However, these have been specially built to withstand car crashed, hence why they’re so tough.
Metal crates are normally reinforced at the door and have special locking mechanisms. They can be used for outside use and are not the prettiest objects. They can be used for traveling purposes such as flying but you may want to have a set of wheels to help push them through the airport.
Some of the best brands for metal crates include MIM (car crash crates), Owens and Zinger (our personal favorite). They are known for producing high-quality metal crates that can be used for escape artists and larger aggressive breeds.
Wired crates are a nice compromise between metal crates and plastic crates. Although they are also made from aluminum, they are incredibly light because they’re not made of solid metal. These are the type of crates you’d likely see in the home or in the back of a car. They are very common and can be used for all dog breeds and types. What is particularly useful about wired crates is their ability to fold for storage. If you only use crates for temporary uses (traveling) you might want to store them away until you need them. Wired crates can be folded and transported with ease.
Wired crates are also excellent for XL dog breeds and there are a number of premium providers. Midwest and Precision do an excellent range of wired dog crates that we urge you to check out. A number of their crates have made it into our top 10 lists for 2017.
Plastic is one of my personal favorites when it comes to dog crates material. Plastic is one of the more versatile materials that can be used for just about any situation. Whether you have a larger dog or a little dog, plastic crates will come in handy. They are incredibly light and can be often moved around with the dog inside. They are normally built specifically for flying and there are a number of specialty crates that are airline approved. They are also very tough and can withstand a knock or two. Many designs have reinforced cages and their ventilation is second to none.
The only real issue with plastic crates is they can sometimes trap odors. If you have a smelly dog or cat who likes to play outside, plastic crates have a tendency to trap the smells making them difficult to remove. However, there are a few designs that have tackled this issue. As for the brands, Petmate has to be one of the best and they offer a number of popular crates that are used worldwide. We suggest you check them out.
Wooden pet crates are for the decorative owner. These are not as practical as the other design as they tend to be heavy and cumbersome. They are normally used the make a room seem natural and they aim to remove the ugly image that pet crates have. Many of the designs are integrated with tables and desks to help the crate blend. Despite having the decorative nature, they are still very practical when it comes to crating and often will have anti-absorbent woods. Don’t let this put you off the luxury though, as these crates are normally made from oak and maple.
Wooden crates are more expensive because of their luxury feel but don’t have the practical uses other materials have. However, with the right add-ons, you can make wooden crates airline friendly – it will just be more difficult. There is a range of brands that deal in wooden crates, including Amish and Crown. They make a number of interesting design that will blend in with your homely environment.
Soft-sided crates are not normally used if you’re looking for something permanent. Soft-sides crates used more so for transport than for general housing because they are easily escapable and are suited towards smaller breeds. Soft-sided crates are normally used for small trips in the car or if you need to take your pet to the vet. They do come in larger sizes which can be used for general use but make sure that the material is strong, otherwise, your dog could just rip right through.
The good thing about soft-sided crates, however, is that they allow your pet to be taken on the plane with you as carry-on luggage. This, of course, will depend on the size of the dog but if you make the requirements you can spend the journey with your pet, making them feel more comfortable. There is a range of brands that sell soft-sided crates with our favorite being Precision and Elite Field. Check them out in our store.
Traveling with a Pet Crate
So, now you know about the various materials offered when you’re buying a pet crate, you should know how they can and should be used if you plan on traveling. After all, one of the main reasons people buy pet crates is to make pet traveling a whole lot easier. Some of you will be wanting to take your pet via car and others by plane. It is important to know the differences between the two and the regulations you have to follow. In general, there are more regulations for air travel (obviously) but it is important to still take caution when driving as well.
What You Need to Travel via Air
If you are planning on traveling by air, you need to read the regulations supplied by your airline. They are usually very strict and you need to make sure you’re following exactly as stated. In most cases, the airlines will also issue the same general rules which are laid out by the IATA. These are general guidelines as to what you need to get airline approval.
For starters, you will need live animal stickers, food, and water bowls, you need a leak-proof floor and the crate has to be made form a strong, structured materials (like plastic). Handling bars need to be present and there must be appropriate ventilation. There are a lot more requirements that this and we recommend you have a look at the rules yourself, especially since different airlines have their own specifications.
What You Need to Travel via Car
To be completely honest, there is not a lot of rules and regulations when it comes to pets and car travel. However, there are a few things you need to consider when it comes to crating in the car. Firstly, you should make sure that the crate you’re using is able to be strapped down so it doesn’t slide and move. This could scare the pet and make them feel anxious.
Some pet crates are also strong enough to withstand a crash. This is also something you have to consider. A flimsy, soft-sided crate might not do the job if you want to collide with another car. MIM do an excellent range of crash-safe crates for reasonable prices.
It is very important that you crate your pet when driving, as they could happily climb over the seats and cause a crash. Believe when I say that this has happened in the past and some people have been killed as a result of their pets climbing over the dashboard. Make sure the crate can contain them to stop any distractions when you’re driving.
Sizing Your Pet for the Crate
For one of the last sections in this ultimate guide, I want to talk about the different sizes and recommendations when it comes to getting a crate. Sizing is so important and is often missed as a factor when new buyers make a purchase. In our opinion, it is one of the most important because, without a properly sized crate, your pet will have a horrible time.
Below is a basic guide when it comes to sizing your pet. There is a more complete and useful guide on our site that provides all the sizes for the appropriate breed. If you have any questions or queries, that will be the place to check out. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
If you have an x-small breed, you will have to find a specialty crate as many brands don’t make crates this small. X-small dog crates are 18”-22” and suit dogs that are weighed approximately 25 pounds. To put it into perspective, these crates are suited towards breeds like Chihuahuas.
Smaller dog crates are sized at around 24” and are suited towards breeds that weigh up to 25 pounds. To put it into perspective, breeds such as pugs are going to be suited towards a small sized dog crate.
Medium dog crates are sized at 30” and are suited towards the dog who weigh a maximum of 40 pounds. Breeds like the French bulldog are the type of dogs that will be suited towards crats such as this.
Immediate dog crates are sized for 40” and are suited to dogs that weigh around 41-70 pounds. The type of breed that would suit these crates would be something like a Beagle.
Large dog crates are sized at 42” and are suited to dogs that are weighed around 71-90 pounds. Dog breeds that would fit into this category include breeds like Boxers.
X-large dog crates are for the largest of breeds. These crates are sized as 46” and are best suited to dogs who weigh 90-110 pounds. You may already know what dog breeds I’m talking about here but to put things in perspective, Great Danes would be suited to this crate size.
What Happens If I Don’t Size My Pet Correctly?
If the crate is too big, they won’t adapt well to the den-like environment and there is a chance they will use the crate for urination, making toilet training impossible. If the crate is too small, they will become anxious and will associate fear with their new home. Getting this part right is crucial and will make sure your pet has a comfortable place to sleep. It will also make your life a lot easier.
Pet crates are a fantastic thing to get for your pet, whether it be a dog or a cat. They provide a number of impressive benefits that will make your life a whole lot easier. Many people tend to think that pet crates are cruel and restrict the pet but they fail to understand that pets crave security and safety. With this in mind, pets like cats and dogs prefer to have that den-like feel – place to call their own. Pet crates also provide a means to travel and make journeys safer for everyone in the car.
To put it simply, if you don’t have a pet crate you need to invest today. Go and have a look at the store and there will be something you’ll love. We have a wide selection and with this guide, you should know exactly what to look for.