Much as we all hate leaving our dogs home alone, it has to be done occasionally. For dogs who can’t be trusted to roam the house alone or for dogs who just need their own space, crates are the best option. They provide a den-like space that your pup can relax in and give you a place to house your dog if you won’t be home for a few hours. Here’s a list of some of the best dog crates in 2021 we’ve found on the market.
There are a number of factors you will need to consider when purchasing a dog crate for your pet. In fact, before you begin shopping for a dog crate, check out these important tips for choosing an ideal crate.
Consider Your Dog’s Size
Of course, the first thing you’ll need to consider is the size of your pet. Whether you have a Great Dane or a Yorkie, obtaining its accurate measurement will be helpful when selecting a perfectly sized crate. If your dog is still in the puppy stages, you’ll have to think about how big it will get within the next couple of years. It can be expensive to keep purchasing a crate every time your furry friend grows. Keep in mind that the crate you select should have enough room for your dog to stand up in, stretch out and lay down in.
How Will You Be Using the Dog Crate?
When selecting a crate, it’s essential to first determine how you plan on using the crate. Will you use the crate to train your dog? Will you make it your pet’s permanent bed inside your home? If this is the case, investing in a crate that is going to provide the ultimate comfort for your pet and is aesthetically pleasing is a good idea. On the other hand, if you’re only going to be using the crate occasionally, then it may be in your best interest to purchase one that is inexpensive, yet serves the need of your dog.
Investing in a crate is not only a wise decision because it keeps your furniture safe from curious puppies or destructive dogs but it also keeps them safe from dangerous situations. A dog crate that can effectively secure your pet when you can’t be there to supervise them should be at the top of the list. If your dog is an escape artist, look for a crate that has strong latches and that is made of heavy material. It’s also important to always take your dog’s collar off when putting them in their crate to avoid choking.
The Different Types of Dog Crates
As you’ve probably noticed, there are a variety of dog crates on the market. It’s important to note that all dog crates aren’t created equally and they are designed with different features depending on the type of dog and what you intend to use it for. When selecting a dog crate, you’ll have to choose one that is suitable for your dog and also meets your needs. Check out these main types of crates to learn more about them and how they might help.
Collapsible crates are flexible and versatile. They can be folded or broken down when not in use. In addition, they are often equipped with adjustable dividers with front and side access. They are also manufactured in different sizes, colors, and materials. You can purchase a collapsible crate that is specifically designed for travel or for use inside the home.
Collapsible crates are ideal for dog owners who plan on only using a crate to secure their pet occasionally or to use when they are not at home. If you are shopping for a collapsible crate, you might also want to look for one that doubles as a portable crate that allows you to be able to travel with your pet. Since most collapsible crates are made from lightweight materials that enable them to be easily folded, be sure to select one that is durable. This is essential because you’ll want to get your money’s worth.
Opt for a crate material that can be easily cleaned. As a dog owner, cleaning up your pet’s mess comes with the territory. Therefore, there’s nothing worse than owning a dog crate that’s difficult to clean. Also, a crate made of soft material should be water resistant and able to withstand the elements. When searching for a crate that will primarily be outdoors, look for crates that are labeled as being produced with PVC because this type of material is what will enable it to be resistant in all kinds of weather.
A collapsible dog crate should not be too complex to break down and store for future use. Invest in a crate with a wire framing that can simply be folded or closed down by exerting pressure and without any special tools.
Since comfort is always key when shopping for a dog crate, you’ll want to make sure that whatever type of collapsible crate you select has padding, or room to add it, at the bottom. Soft padding on the bottom gives your pet a soft place to lay while they are inside their crate. It also provides support to their joints and limbs. When you invest in a collapsible crate with such features you can expect it to last for many years to come.
Travel crates often offer less room than standard crates because they are used when transporting a pet to different locations. Travel crates are usually produced in a soft-sided canvas type of material, but they also come in plastic or even metal materials for heavier dogs. Travel crates are generally less ventilated but very lightweight, which is ideal if you are often on the go with your pet.
Whether you select a plush soft sided crate or a plastic travel crate, you’ll want to make sure that it isn’t too tiny for your dog, since these crates are already manufactured to be small. After all, comfort is key when you travel with your pet, especially if you are traveling long distance. If you plan on flying with your pet, you’ll want to invest in a crate that meets airline regulations. Lightweight materials are also desirable because it makes it easy for you to carry around your dog once you arrive at your destination. If your dog will not be able to leave the crate once you get to where you’re going (for example, you have to get them through the airport), it’s best to get a crate constructed from heavy duty plastic. This type of crate should be equipped with enough vents so your dog will be able to breathe through the thick plastic. Since it has a hard bottom, you can also add a plush blanket or a pillow to the bottom of the crate so your dog has something soft to lay on.
Features like sturdy handles and storage pockets are important when investing in a travel crate that you want to last for some time. Soft-sided or canvas dog crates should have both handles and a strap that you can carry on your shoulder for convenience. Extra pockets or storage cubbies can be useful for storing some of your pet items or paperwork that you will need while traveling. If you have a big dog, a traveling crate with retractable wheels can be helpful when walking through the airport or even while going to an appointment with your veterinary.
Pet Play Pens
Surprisingly, a pet pen can be very useful. Much like a crate, play pens are meant to contain your dog. They slightly vary from a traditional dog crate in that they are much bigger and can provide a lot of room for your pet to move around and play. The large size of a play pen is what makes them an attractive option for your dog.
Whether you are interested in investing in a playpen to train your puppy or to simply contain your dog to a certain area of your home, there are some factors that should guide your buying decision. Your dog’s behavior, size, and activity level, and the location it will be used in should determine what type of playpen that you purchase. If you have a large-sized dog with a high activity level it’s a good idea to invest in two playpens that can be combined together to provide lots of room for them to freely move around.
Dog play pens are an ideal option when a crate just doesn’t cut it. Opt for a play pen that’s constructed from durable, plastic or metal material that can be used both indoors and outside. A quality play pen will be able to withstand constant use and all kinds of weather conditions. When searching for a quality dog play pen, you’ll want to select one that’s flexible and versatile. Typically, playpens are large and can take up a lot of space inside your home or the backyard. Therefore, you’ll want to choose one that can be easily folded down without having to use tools and stored away. Many pet play pens on the market can also double as gates or dividers that can be used to section your pet off from restricted areas of the home. In addition, a convertible floor mat can be placed on the roof of the pen which can also be used as a dog house outdoors and can provide padded support when utilized on the bottom. Since a standard play pen is devised of multiple panels that have to be interlocked together, you’ll want to make sure the play pen you purchase is equipped with sturdy locks. After all, you don’t want your dog to be able to get out.
Dog Crates for Separation Anxiety
Does your pet suffer from separation anxiety? Selecting a dog crate that will help make your dog comfortable and soothe their anxiousness can make a huge difference in how they respond to your absence. If your dog accompanies you everywhere due to their separation anxiety, a soft-sided, lightweight crate that is typically used for travel might be a good idea.
Of course, you might not be able to take your anxious pup everywhere with you, so in most cases, a two-door, top-load kennel is the best choice for dogs with separation anxiety. This type of crate provides enough ventilation that your dog will feel safe while inside. It has two door openings and bottom halves that can be screwed together for extra security. When shopping for crates for anxious dogs, your first instinct may be to purchase a large crate that gives them lots of room to breathe and move around. However, experts recommend purchasing a cave-like crate that provides adequate ventilation for dogs that suffer from anxiety. Anxious dogs are calmer in darker and more secluded environments. Small quarters are soothing because your pet will feel less exposed and nervous.
Dogs with separation anxiety can sometimes display destructive behavior due to their anxiety. Some dogs chew through different types of materials when they are anxious. Therefore, opt for a super durable crate made of strong materials like steel. These types of crates are especially durable and sturdy. Crates with a sealed bottom are also a good option for a dog with separation anxiety. This type of crate can be the perfect hiding nook for when your pet feels the need to hide. Such crates are heavy and are typically for home use.
By Amber Dover
Amber grew up having golden retrievers and will always have a special place in her heart for the breed. Her love for all things "dog" helped her become a general manager at a small kennel in Ohio for several years. Acquainting dogs and understanding both their needs and limitations have given her deep insights into the boarding process many dogs face in their lives. From consistent details to play time to food and bed time, Amber will always remember the small influences she was able to present to every pooch she cared for.