Things to Consider When Buying A Dog Crate

Simply buying any random dog crate is not good enough.  There are several factors that you should consider prior to purchasing so that you select the right type of crate for your dog and your situation.  Dog crates come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, sizes, and materials, and if you do not choose wisely then you run the risk of getting something that is not suitable.  Your choice should depend on how you intend on using the crate, and on your dog’s behavior, needs, and size.  If you are still unsure as to whether you should crate your dog, then I suggest you read our article on Benefits of Crate Training your Dog.

Choosing the right Dog Crate: To help you narrow down and select the right crate, consider the below listed factors.  Just remember that, fundamentally you are after a dog crate that is safe and comfortable for your dog while being functional.

1. Crate Size

Getting the right size crate for your dog is vital.  Too small and your dog will feel uncomfortable, cramped, and have restricted movement (not a place he will want to go).  A crate that is too large might create unwanted behaviours such as pooping in the crate.  The size should be just right, with adequate space in the crate so that the dog can lie down, turn around, sleep, and stand up without any discomfort.  Sizes of crates range from approx. 18 inches in length to 54 inches.

Please see our Dog Crate Size Guide for information on how to measure your dog properly in order to get the perfect fit, and our Crate size by dog breed table.

Puppy Crate Size: If you are buying a crate for a puppy, you could buy a few different sized crates to accommodate him as he grows, or you may want to buy a full-size cage which comes with partitioning.  This partitioning allows you to adjust the size of the crate as the puppy grows.  Caution must be taken as you are still putting a small puppy in a full-size crate which was designed for a full-size dog (there may be gaps between the door and the crate that are large enough for him to squeeze through or get stuck in).  As with any young pet you should always have them in a place that you can keep your eye on them.

2. Your Dog’s Behavior & Temperament

Your dog’s behavior and temperament can also be a big factor in deciding which crate is right for you.  A quiet and relaxed dog that his happy to be in his crate does not need the structural strength of a 20-gauge steel welded crate.  They have been crate trained well and are happy and content until their owner unlocks the door.  However, if your dog is likely to uses his muscles and weight to bend weak spots in the wire frame, or is more than happy to chew on the metal connectors that keep the sides together, or smart enough to work out how he can unlock the latch mechanism to open the door, then you might need a more secure Heavy-Duty style crate.

3. Portability

MidWest Fold Down CrateHow portable do you need the crate to be? Do you intend on moving the crate around the house to different rooms, or fold it up for easy storage during the daytime? Some crates are light weight and easy to move, some are foldable, while others are heavier and designed to be left in one location.  Or you could be after a travel friendly option to be used in the car.

4. Durability

How robust do you need your crate to be? If your is dog extremely strong and heavy or has behaviour issues, then you might need a heavy-duty crate to ensure that they are secured when in their crate. Does your dog have any chewing habits which could make a ‘wooden table’ crate obsolete.  My Rottweiler has lunged at her wire crate door numerous times to the point that the door now bows outwards and the latches have become useless.  As she is generally well behaved, I have opted to use carabiner clips to lock the door shut and in time I will assess if I need to move her to something more heavy duty.

5. Price

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  Steel welded thick metal crates or furniture style crates tend to be more expensive than the versatile cheaper wire crates. Set a budget before sorting through all the models.  With a huge variety of types of dog cages and materials used you will find something that meets your budget.

6. Location

Merry Pet Crate with DogGive some thought as to where you will be locating the crate.  If you are thinking of placing it in the garage, then you will most likely have plenty of room.  If you are thinking of locating it in the family area then you might intend only using it at night and require it to be folded away during the day, or possibly you like the idea of a crate that is also part furniture that fits in with your room decor.

7. Hygiene

Cleaning and wiping down the crate are important to maintaining a healthy environment for your dog.  Particularly if they have had a little accident.  Some crates have features that can make your life a lot easier, such as having multiple doors so that you can reach all areas of the crate, others have removable trays which can be taken outside and hosed off.

8. Comfort

Apart from getting the right size crate to make your dog feel comfortable, you might like to factor in the cost of a dog bed or matting that will fit snuggly into the crate.  This will provide a little bit of padding for your dog to rest comfortably on.

9. Safety

Make sure that whichever type of dog crate you buy, it is safe and can securely contain your dog inside.  It should have proper locks so that your pet does not escape.  If it is a metal cage, then you must check that there aren’t any sharp edges that could harm him when inside.

10. Dog Crate Types

Types of Dog Crates imageThere are a number of dog cages available in the market, varying in shapes, design, and materials used.  There are heavy-duty metal cages, soft-sided crates, plastic crates, wire crates, and stylish wooden crates that look like a piece of furniture.  Your choice of which crate type to choose comes down to some common sense and your preference of look and material used while balancing its functionality with your dog (ie the functionality of a heavy-duty crate is a little over the top if you were thinking of getting one for your Chihuahua). Please see our Types of Dog Crates Guide for more information.

Don’t forget to check out our Dog Crate Ratings and Reviews page.

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Dog Crate Reviews

Find the best dog crate for your pet with our detailed and updated crate reviews.  Learn the Pros & Cons of each crate to help you buy the best dog crate for your dog.  Or check out our Crate Ratings Overview to compare topline how each crate rated.

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