For most dog owners, ensuring the comfort and safety of our four-legged friends is always a top priority. Whether you’re looking to embark on a crate training journey or provide your pet with a cozy space of their own, choosing the right crate can make all the difference.
With countless options flooding the market, finding the best dog crates can feel like navigating a maze. But fret not! We’ve sifted through the plethora, checked the corners, tested the locks, and come up with a definitive list.
So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into our top picks!
- Best Overall: MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Dog Crate
- Best Budget: Lesure Collapsible Dog Crate
- Best Luxury: Diggs Revol Dog Crate
- Best for Crate Training and Multipurpose: Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel
- Best for Large-Breed Puppies: SmithBuilt Heavy Duty Dog Crate
- Best Decorative: Casual Home Pet Crate End Table
- Best for Travel and Flights: Petmate Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel
Why Dog Crates Are Essential
Dog crates, a bit of a controversial topic for some, but oh-so-essential for many! While a few folks might raise an eyebrow, envisioning a prison-like setting, many of us realize the numerous benefits these humble abodes offer our furry friends. Here’s a deeper dive:
Safety and Security
Let’s put it this way: would you leave a toddler alone in your house without any supervision? Probably not. Pups, especially the mischievous little ones, have an uncanny ability to find trouble.
Whether it’s nibbling on a tempting shoe or worse, chomping on electrical cords, there’s a plethora of mischief they can get into. Crates serve as a canine’s personal safety zone, ensuring they remain out of harm’s way when our eyes can’t be on them 24/7.
For those who’ve brought a new pup home, the joys of housetraining are all too familiar. And by joys, I mean the numerous little “surprises” you might find around the house. A crate is like Housetraining 101: dogs generally dislike making a mess in their own space. It gives them a clear indication of where to do their business—and where not to.
Preventing Destructive Behavior
We’ve all had that heart-sinking moment: returning home to a living room that looks like a tornado’s path. From favorite shoes turned into chew toys to sofas magically transformed into fluff clouds—dogs can be destructive when bored or anxious.
A crate provides a personal haven, ensuring both their safety and the safety of your home decor.
Best Dog Crates Ranked
Best Overall: MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Dog Crate
In the vast sea of dog crates, the iCrate from MidWest Homes shines like a beacon. This crate is the full package, blending durability, convenience, and a touch of luxury. Think of it as the five-star hotel of dog crates, ensuring your pet’s comfort without drilling a hole in your wallet.
Pros and Cons
- Swift, hassle-free assembly: No engineering degree required!
- Sturdy wire construction ensures longevity and resilience.
- Thoughtful inclusion of a divider—perfect for those rapidly growing puppies.
- Slide-out tray makes cleaning a breeze.
- While robust, a Houdini-like escape artist or a particularly vigorous chewer might test its limits.
- Some users wish for more latch points for added security.
Best Budget: Lesure Collapsible Dog Crate
Discover an unexpected gem from Leisure: a crate that harmoniously blends convenience and budget-friendliness. Designed for the dog owner always on the go, this collapsible crate promises comfort for your furry friend without putting a strain on your wallet. It stands out as the go-to choice for mobility without compromising on coziness.
Pros and Cons
- Featherlight structure: perfect for those spontaneous trips and travels.
- Breathable mesh panels ensure that your pup remains comfy and cool.
- Unfolding and setting it up is a breeze, while packing it away is equally effortless.
- Strengthened corners guarantee added longevity.
- Being soft-sided, persistent pups might find ways to push its limits.
- While the base is designed to repel water, it might not be the best solution for unexpected spills or messes.
Best Luxury: Diggs Revol Dog Crate
Ah, the crème de la crème of dog crates. The Diggs Revol isn’t just a crate; it’s a statement. Tailored for the pooch who enjoys the finer things in life, this crate combines innovation, luxury, and safety into a sleek package. The aesthetic is so refined, it might just give some of your furniture a run for its money.
Pros and Cons
- Cutting-edge, collapsible design makes for smooth storage and travel.
- Ergonomic details like rounded edges prevent injuries to curious noses and paws.
- Comes with a puppy divider, extending the crate’s usability as your dog grows.
- The ceiling hatch allows for versatile access.
- Priced on the higher side – it’s a luxury investment.
- Not suitable for heavy chewers.
Best for Crate Training and Multipurpose: Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel
Say hello to the Swiss Army knife of dog crates. The Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel’s design is a nod to versatility, making it the go-to choice for crate training and beyond. Whether it’s a road trip or a vet visit, this kennel has got your pup’s back.
Pros and Cons
- Heavy-duty, plastic construction provides durability.
- Ventilated design ensures a constant supply of fresh air.
- Easy-to-open latch, ensuring hassle-free access.
- Designed to meet most airline cargo specifications.
- Not suitable for escape artists.
- The plastic feel might not appeal to all pups.
Best for Large-Breed Puppies: SmithBuilt Heavy Duty Dog Crate
Handling a large-breed pup can feel like taming a little bear. That’s where the SmithBuilt Heavy Duty crate steps in. Engineered to house the gentle giants, this crate guarantees durability while providing ample space for those big paws and wagging tails.
Pros and Cons
- Sturdy metal construction can withstand the antics of bigger dogs.
- Features wheels for easy maneuvering, which are lockable for stability.
- Equipped with a removable tray to catch any messes.
- Top and front door options for flexible access.
- It’s heavy, so frequent shifting can be cumbersome.
- Some users might find it challenging to assemble.
Best Decorative: Casual Home Pet Crate End Table
Why choose between furniture and a pet crate when you can have both? The Casual Home Pet Crate is where functionality meets style. Doubling as an end table, this crate integrates seamlessly with your living room, ensuring your pet remains close without compromising on aesthetics.
Pros and Cons
- Crafted from sustainably sourced solid wood.
- Versatile design doubles up as furniture.
- Ventilated sides ensure your dog remains comfortable.
- Secure latch to keep your pup safe.
- Not suitable for aggressive chewers.
- Might require additional cushioning for optimum comfort.
Best for Travel and Flights: Petmate Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel
For the wanderlust-filled dog owner, the Petmate Two-Door Kennel is a godsend. Designed with travel in mind, this kennel prioritizes convenience and safety. Whether you’re hitting the road or the skies, this crate ensures your pup travels in style and comfort.
Pros and Cons
- Top and side doors provide versatile access, making vet visits stress-free.
- Constructed with durable plastic and steel, ensuring longevity.
- Meets most airline requirements, taking the guesswork out of flying with pets.
- Ergonomic handle for easy portability.
- It might feel a bit cramped for larger dogs.
- Some users have noted the need for additional padding for long journeys.
Embarking on the journey of choosing the right dog crate can seem daunting, especially if you’re new to the concept of crate training or pet ownership. A crate isn’t just a cage but a space that will serve as your dog’s den, their haven. Therefore, the selection must be made with a blend of knowledge, care, and intuition.
What to Look for in Dog Crates
The anatomy of an excellent dog crate rests on three pivotal pillars: safety, size, and design.
The sanctuary you provide for your dog must be a secure one. The construction of the crate should scream durability, able to stand up against the occasional chew or pawing. Latches play a pivotal role.
While they need to be simple for you to operate, they should be a mystery for our canine companions to ensure they remain safely inside. Finally, think of ventilation. A crate that doesn’t allow for proper airflow isn’t just uncomfortable; it can be harmful.
In the world of dog crates, size plays a more nuanced role than merely large or small. The crate should allow your dog to stand, turn, and sprawl out comfortably. However, it shouldn’t be so spacious that your dog feels exposed or lost.
For those with puppies, it’s imperative to project into the future. Puppies grow, often faster than we anticipate. Ensuring that the crate can accommodate their adult size, or choosing adjustable models, can be a prudent decision.
While the function is paramount, form should not be overlooked. If your crate is to be a mainstay in your living room, aesthetic appeal matters. Many modern crates are designed with home decor in mind, blending seamlessly with other furniture.
Moreover, consider the convenience of assembly and disassembly. For those always on the go, a crate that’s easy to set up or pack away is a boon.
Beyond the foundational aspects, there are features that, while not essential for every dog owner, can enhance the crate experience significantly:
A crate divider is more than just a partition; it’s a tool for adaptability. For growing puppies, it adjusts the crate’s space, ensuring a snug fit that can expand as they develop. In households with more than one small dog, dividers can turn a single crate into a shared, yet individualized space.
Cleanliness is next to dogliness. With a removable tray, maintaining hygiene becomes a less cumbersome task. Especially useful for puppies or older dogs, these trays catch accidents, making cleanup a breeze. Opt for non-porous materials to prevent odor absorption.
Mobility can be a game-changer, particularly with larger crates. Casters allow for easy movement across rooms. However, they should come equipped with locking mechanisms to keep the crate anchored when needed.
Crate training, when approached with patience and understanding, can be a rewarding experience for both you and your pet.
Introducing Your Dog to the Crate
For many dogs, a crate is a novel concept. Making its introduction a positive experience is crucial. Using positive reinforcement methods like treats or praises can help. Equally essential is the crate’s interior. Soft bedding, a couple of toys, and maybe a familiar scent can make the crate feel inviting.
Gradual Increase in Crate Time
As with any new endeavor, start slow. Short, positive sessions in the crate can gradually be lengthened as your dog becomes more accustomed.
Addressing Whining or Barking in the Crate
It’s natural for some dogs to vocalize their displeasure initially. While your instinct might be to comfort them immediately, sometimes it’s best to wait a moment, ensuring they don’t associate the behavior with attention.
Alternatively, distraction tactics like toys or treats can redirect their focus, helping them settle.
Diving into the most burning questions every dog owner finds themselves asking. Let’s tackle these:
What is a dog crate used for?
Think of a dog crate like your pet’s personal studio apartment. It’s their space, their zone. For pups, it’s their own little sanctuary, a place to retreat when things get overwhelming. It’s not just a space saver for you; it’s also a lifesaver in training sessions, especially when you’re trying to establish a routine.
And if you’re traveling? It becomes an immediate sense of home for your dog in unfamiliar terrains.
What size crate should I get for my dog?
Ah, the age-old question of size. It’s essential, isn’t it? You’d want to ensure your furry pal has enough room to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. However, if you’re training a puppy, you don’t want the crate too large; otherwise, they might just decide one corner is their personal bathroom.
So, measure your dog from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail for length and from the ground to the tallest point of their head for height, and add a few inches to both measurements. That should give you a good starting point.
Is it cruel to crate a dog during the day?
It’s all about perspective and usage. If the crate is used as a punishment or if the dog is confined for extended periods without breaks, it’s not ideal. But, when used correctly, it can provide them with a sense of security.
Remember, dogs are den animals by nature. They like having a space of their own. It’s essential, though, to ensure they get ample time outside the crate for exercise and interaction.
How long should a dog be in a crate for?
The “crating duration” can vary depending on the dog’s age. Puppies have tiny bladders, so two hours is about the maximum they should be crated before a potty break.
Adult dogs, on the other hand, can handle up to eight hours, but it’s always a good idea to break that up if possible. No one likes being cooped up all day, not even our four-legged pals!
Do dogs like crates?
Surprisingly, many do! Once they associate it with safety, comfort, and calmness, they might just trot into it voluntarily. The trick is in the introduction – ensure it’s a positive experience from the get-go, and soon it’ll be their favorite chill spot.
Is a wire crate or plastic crate better?
Both have their merits. Wire crates offer better ventilation and visibility for your dog, making it ideal for warmer climates and dogs that like to see their surroundings. Plastic crates can provide more of a den-like feel, which some dogs may find comforting, especially in cooler environments.
It’s all about your dog’s preference and your living conditions. Listen to your pup; they’ll let you know!
Choosing the right crate for your dog isn’t just about convenience; it’s about providing a safe, comforting space for them. The “best dog crates” aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but with the options we’ve explored today, you’re sure to find one that aligns with your pet’s needs and your lifestyle.
Remember, it’s not just about the crate; it’s about the loving environment you create within it. Whether you’re crate training a new puppy or seeking a cozy nook for an older dog, investing in the right crate can pave the way for many joyful moments together. Happy crate hunting!