A dog crate provides comfort, safety, and privacy. Choosing the right dog crate is important, and the decision will be easier if you’re prepared.
When choosing a dog crate, the first thing to consider is your dog’s size. If you need a crate for your puppy, think about how large your dog will be when full grown. You can either choose an expandable dog crate or block off a portion of a regular dog crate until your puppy grows. When crated, your dog should have enough room to stand up, turn around, and lie down. If the dog crate can accommodate these actions, it is large enough. If it’s much larger, your dog might use a portion of it as a bathroom, and you definitely don’t want to encourage that!
Next, think about where you’ll be using the dog crate. Depending on your particular needs, you may want to have more than one type.
If the dog crate is to be used mainly at home, consider getting one of the wire varieties. Wire dog crates have excellent ventilation. This makes them preferable in hot, humid climates, especially for dogs that have a lot of hair or tend to overheat. Drop-pin dog crates are generally used at home. They consist of six wire panels that are held together by a pin in each of the four corners. Collapsible dog crates fold up so that you can easily take them with you. Some wire dog crates have a raised floor; a solid pan underneath will catch any food, water, or waste that would otherwise end up at your dog’s feet. Check to see how close together the wires are; you don’t want your dog’s paws to go through the grid.
If your dog will be traveling in an airplane’s luggage compartment, a plastic dog crate is a necessity. It is also a good choice for trips to the vet. Made of hard plastic, it comes in two sections (top and bottom) that fit together with four pins. A handle on top makes this dog crate easy to carry. It has one hinged door in the front. There are ventilation holes on each side, but the back is solid plastic. Make sure that the crate is sturdy enough to prevent an agitated or excited dog from tipping it over.
Whichever dog crate you choose, be sure it has a positive association for your dog. Remember: it’s a sanctuary, not a prison!