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Choosing The Best Dog Crate

When picking the best dog crate for your pet, there are several things  to consider because they'll affect the type and size of crate you buy. 

These include:

  • How you plan to use the crate
  • The age of your puppy or dog
  • Breed type
  • Personality.
  • How easy it is to clean
  • How portable it is
  • How robust it is
  • Whether it's suitable for travel

... and so on.

Crates for puppies and dogs come in a huge variety of different styles, designs, materials and sizes and there's no 'one-size-fits-all' dog crate because of all the variables I just mentioned.

Pup sitting outside his crate

Some questions you should ask yourself before you spend your hard-earned dollars on a crate....

  • Do I want an enclosed crate or one with 360° view?
  • Does it need to be moved from room to room or will it stay in one place?
  • Will I use the crate for car travel? Air travel? Out and about?
  • Is my puppy still at the 'chew everything' stage or is he beyond that, or an adult dog?
  • How easy will it be to clean this crate thoroughly?
  • Is it important that it looks good and blends with my home decor?

The best dog crate (aka dog kennel) for your pet has to fit both his needs and yours.

Lastly, dog crates are not cheap, especially the fancier models, wooden crates or X-Large sizes, so it makes sense to think about which choice is the right one before you commit.

Plastic Dog Crates

This type of crate/kennel is made from 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.

Husky pup in plastic crate

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.

Plastic crates are easy to take apart and to clean. They're also strong and durable, and are usually recommended (and approved) for dog airline travel.

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.

Plastic dog crates are a great choice for a puppy because:

*When your puppy is growing this is important as you're going to be buying more than one.

Click on this link to see a selection of the best plastic dog crates

Wire Dog Crates

These are made up of wire panels and have a plastic pan that fits inside as a floor. Some models fold down for storage.

Beagle sitting inside wire dog crate

This style provides good ventilation and allows your pup to see what's happening in the outside world. If you have a pup who loves to chew, wire crates can take it (generally) but the plastic pan/tray in the bottom is another story.

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 to wire dog crates 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 the best choice for housetraining purposes (in my opinion), 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.

Click on this link to see a selection of the best wire dog crates

Soft-Sided Dog Crates & Carriers

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.

Shih Tzu puppy in soft sided dog crate

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.

Click on this link to see a selection of the best soft dog crates

'Decorative' Dog Crates

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 model pictured immediately below wouldn't look out of place in a nice living area. 

This type of crate is usually made from wood, either solid wood or some type of manufactured wood or wood-polymer blend. Bars can be wood, or (preferably) metal.

Their main drawbacks to this type of dog crate are the cost, and their limited practicality because they can be tricky to clean and easily damaged by teeth and claws. Not really suitable for housebreaking or for young puppies.

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.

Click on this link to see a selection of the best wooden dog crates

Best Dog Crate Choices - Sizing

Choosing the right size of crate is important too - especially if you're going to be using it as a potty training tool.

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...

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