When you're picking the best dog crate for your pet, there are several things you'll want to consider.
These include exactly how you plan to use it, the age of your pup/dog, breed type and personality.
Then there are practical issues such as how easy it is to clean, whether or not it's easily portable and if it needs to blend in with your decor and so on.
These days, crates for puppies and dogs come in a huge variety of different styles, designs, materials.. and of course, sizes.
Some of them are very basic, others quite elaborate, some of them can be very expensive.
There's no 'one-size-fits-all' best dog crate, because which one you choose depends on a lot of variables and the one that suits your friend's older Pug, may not be the right choice for your Lab puppy!
All of them will do what you want a crate to do - ie contain your puppy and help encourage good potty training habits - but not every type of dog crate is the best choice for every dog, home or situation.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you part with your hard-earned dollars....
There are other considerations, but these are the biggest and most important ones.
The best dog crate for your pet has to fit both his needs and yours.
Puppies have very different needs to that of an older dog. Small dogs have different needs to large, or giant dogs.
And what you intend to use the crate for is also important - travel, housebreaking, convalescence etc., they all might require a different style of dog crate, so don't just rush out and buy the first model you see!
Crates are NOT cheap, especially the fancier models or X-Large sizes, so it makes sense to think about which choice is the right one before you commit.
This type is made up of two pieces of molded heavy-duty plastic (or sometimes fiberglass), and the top half and bottom half are joined with either metal screws or plastic 'fasteners' and a metal-wire door.
On some of the smaller crates, the doors may be plastic, but I wouldn't recommend this for a puppy. Dogs love to chew and even a puppy could demolish a plastic door and get out.
If he's traveling, or home alone, this could be dangerous (not to mention the hazards of eating plastic!).
Most plastic models have a 'moat' which runs around the outside edge of the molded plastic floor, this moat is designed to channel and catch his urine and helps to keep him drier.
They're also easy to take apart and to clean.
The main drawbacks are that they limit your pup's view of what's going on around him, and they can get hot inside on a warm day.
In my opinion this is the best dog crate for a puppy, for two reasons:
Plastic crates are strong and durable and are the type usually recommended (and approved) to be used for dogs who travel by air.
These are made up of wire panels and have a plastic pan that fits inside as a floor. Some models fold down for storage.
This style provides good ventilation and allows your pup to see what's happening in the outside world.
They are also generally very sturdy and if you have a pup who loves to chew, these stand up better to that kind of treatment!
If your puppy craves more seclusion but you have a wire crate, you can buy a special dog crate cover, or just throw an old blanket or table-cloth over it.
Don't use your best stuff though (even if it looks better) because that little chewing machine will probably nibble on (or even devour) whatever piece of blanket he can grab.
Drawbacks include the fact that they're heavy, can be awkward to move around, aren't really safe for use in cars/planes and can be tricky to clean properly.
Not necessarily the best dog crate for housebreaking purposes, but these would be my second choice.... and if you have a pup who likes to be 'at the center of things' or can destroy a plastic crate, they're a good choice.
Soft-sided designs are now available in a wide variety of sizes, styles and materials.
The biggest benefit to buying this type of crate is that they're extremely portable.
But they have disadvantages too - they're difficult to clean properly, fairly easy to damage by chewing or scratching and not safe as travel crates for car/air travel.
They can be a good choice for certain dogs and in certain situations, but in my experience they're far from the best choice for puppies, unless they're being used as puppy-carriers and you also have a wire or plastic model for at home and housebreaking.
BUT, they are a practical and attractive option for older dogs, especially the small or tiny breeds.
The styles and materials used by manufacturers is increasingly varied, and many have now gone 'the extra mile' and are producing some great-looking models that are functional as well as beautiful.
The term 'crate furniture' describes them perfectly.
This type of crate is usually made from wood, or sometimes rattan or wicker, or even a combination of all three materials.
Their main drawbacks are the cost, and their limited practicality.
But if you want a 'den' for your dog that looks good in your living room or bedroom, then one of these is more than likely to be the best choice for you.
Choosing the right size of crate is important too - especially if you're going to be using it as a potty training tool.
Bigger is not necessarily better.
For house training you want a crate to be as small as is comfortable for your pup, allowing room for the inevitable growth spurts can seriously hinder your potty training efforts.
Adult dogs are a bit easier, but you don't need to buy one that is too big and you don't want to buy one that is too small.
Just click on the banner link below to find out how to make sure that you pick the right size for what you need...