How to Measure Your Dog for an XXL Dog Crate
Your dog isn't just an animal. It's your furry family member and it's up to you to give your dog the quality of life he or she deserves.
Part of their health and safety comes from ensuring they have the right sized crate for sleeping and traveling. Some dogs will need an extra large dog crate to live comfortably and safely, but larger crates aren't always the best option for every dog. In fact, using a crate too big for your dog can make it more difficult to train or house break them.
Even if you have a larger dog, these dog crates might be more than they need. Here's what you need to know to measure your dog and determine which sized crate makes the best solution:
How Big is This Dog Crate?
Dog crates come in a variety of sizes, which can complicate the process of choosing one that best suits your pet. Dog crates sizes are typically listed in terms of length, so a dog crate of 54" means that the crate is 54 inches long.
The next standard dog crate size is 48", which could be a sizeable difference for some breeds.
As a general rule, the dog crate should be about six inches longer than their body length and six inches higher than their shoulder height. Your dog needs enough space to turn around comfortably, and that's all.
How do I measure my dog to find their ideal crate size?
There are two easy ways to measure your dog to see if they need an extra large dog crate or if a smaller size will suffice.
Get Specific Measurements
First, arm yourself with a flexible tape measure, a pencil, paper, and a few treats to measure the length and height of your dog. (Insider tip: Some pet owners find it easier to use a piece of string in lieu of a tape measure, then measure the string.)
First, measure the length of your dog from the tip of the nose to the base of their tail. Do not include the length of their tail. Mark this as Measurement A.
Then, measure from your dog's elbow joint to the ground. Mark this as Measurement B.
Next, measure your dog from shoulder to shoulder. Mark this one Measurement C.
Finally, have your dog sit, then measure from the ground to the top of his or her head. If his or her ears are erect, extend your measurement to the top of their ears. This will be Measurement D.
(And make sure you reward your dog for their cooperation!)
Once you have all four measurements, you can calculate your ideal kennel length, width, and height with the following formulas:
Kennel Length = Measurement A + 1/2 Measurement B
Kennel Width = Measurement C * 2
Kennel Height = Measurement D
Use these measurements when comparing various crates to determine your best options. Keep in mind that different brands may use different dimensions, so make sure you look at specific measurements before you choose.
Estimate Your Dog's Size
The other option is to use a dog breed chart to estimate your dog's size. The numbers might not be an exact match, but they should give you an idea of how large or small your dog's crate needs to be. If you have a mixed breed, you should take your own measurements to give you a more accurate idea of your dog's size.
What Dog Breeds are Best Suited?
If you have one of the following dog breeds, an XXL dog crate might be the best option:
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
- Irish Wolfhound
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Scottish Deerhound
- Great Pyrenees
- Alaskan Malamute
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Giant Schnauzer
- Old English Sheepdog
Should You Buy one for a Puppy?
Puppies grow at an alarming rate, especially those that are destined to become larger-than-average dogs. On the plus side, buying one extra large dog crate that will last through each growth cycle can prove financially responsible. However, placing a small puppy in too large of a dog crate can lead to difficulties in crate training, housebreaking, and other issues.
You could opt for a crate with a divider that can "grow" as your puppy grows. This lets you adjust the size of the crate for each growth stage, which means you won't have to buy a new crate each time your puppy has a growth spurt.
What Should You Look For in a Dog Crate?
Not all dog crates are created equally, especially when it comes to buying one for a large breed. Before you purchase your dog crate, consider the following 4 factors:
- Material: Big dogs are usually strong, which means you'll need a heavy-duty material that will be able to contain them. Plastic pet carriers are often better for travel, but it doesn't allow much visibility for your dog. For the most robust crate opt for a sturdy metal wire crate with an electro-coat finish, from brands such as Midwest, that will stand up to your dog's strength. Be sure your Midwest dog crate comes with both a divider panel as well as an ABS plastic pan, to reduce mess and make maintenance much easier. It also has a drop pin construction that allows for easy set up and storage.
- Doors: Be it a single door, or a double door dog crate, there are options that will need to work with where you place it. The double door option allows more versatility in creating a side door for easy access, but some models may reduce the integrity of the crate itself. It all depends on the brands. Higher quality brands such as Midwest Homes for Pets. Both the single door and double door options have secure slide bolt latches.
- Visual appeal: Aside from classic metal cages and plastic pet carriers, you could opt for an alternative material, such as a soft-sided nylon crate. Some companies offer stylish, upscale dog crates that look more like a piece of furniture, which might blend better with your home decor.
- Portability: If your dog will be traveling with you, consider finding a crate that folds flat or one that can be easy to assemble and to take apart. If you travel via air, check with your airline's pet carrier requirements.
- Accessories: You can buy additional accessories for crates of all sizes, including covers, dividers, and plastic pans. If these are things you need, check to see if the dog crate you choose offer ones that are specifically made for that crate.
One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is buying a larger pet crate than their dog needs. Granted, you want the best for your dog, but giving them more space in their crate can create problems with training and housebreaking.
Choosing the right size the first time can not only save you money but also help you avoid these problems altogether.