The Best Dog Crates for Dog Lovers
Dogs are more than just a pet or “man’s best friend,” they are members of the family. Dogs bring security, safety, love, fun and companionship to their owners. And, in return, we give them the same. One great way to provide safety, comfort and security for your dog is by using a dog crate. These crates can be used in ways that will greatly benefit puppies of all ages and provide you with peace of mind, especially when you are not at home. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of dog crates or how and why to purchase one, then check out our excellent dog crates buying guide for dog lovers like you.
6 Reasons why you should use a dog crate
Crating has become controversial to some pet owners out there. But, like many things in life, when you take the time to fully learn how crating works and what they’re properly used for, then you will see the benefits behind this effective doggy care option. Check out the following wonderful benefits of dog crating and learn why you should consider crating your dog:
- A Dog’s Place: Through effective and loving consistency, you can teach your dog to love the crate as it will eventually become the dog’s own room/space. This provides the dog with an area that he/she feels safe and comfortable with. In fact, before you know it, your dog will prefer sleeping there or come and go in the crate when he/she pleases even when the door is open.
- Potty Training: You might not know this, but most dogs don’t go to the bathroom where he/she sleeps. So, crating has been used by many pet owners as a method of potty training and an excellent way to avoid unwanted accidents.
- Traveling: Crates are not just a great idea for the home. They’re also a great idea for when you and your dog are traveling. Crates can protect your furry friends from being injured during transportation like in a car full of people or on a plane ride.
- Medical Issues: If your four legged friend just had a medical procedure, operation or is injured then a crate can come in handy when trying to prevent your dog from being active or possibly making the injury worse. A crate can be an effective tool in monitoring your dog and making sure that he/she fully heals.
- Temporary Behavioral Issues: Let’s first start by saying that crating is not meant to be a long term solution for behavioral issues. If you have an overly excited dog that likes to jump on people when they come over, then putting the dog in his/her crate when guests arrive is a great temporary solution. The key is to continue training the dog not to jump on people. Don’t become complacent and rely on crating as a long term solution to issues like this.
- Prevent Unsupervised Destruction: Most of us who have raised and trained puppies know that they go through a chewing phase. For some dogs, they never fully grow out of this chewing phase. But, with proper training, most dogs can be broken of this habit. It’s important to only use the crate for when you are not home and unable to watch your dog. When you are home, then you have to be consistent in training him/her not to chew on furniture, shoes and other household or personal items.
Top 10 Dog Crates for Dog Lovers
No two dog crates are the same. Each one has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately for all of you dog lovers out there, we’ve poured through and tested dozens of the top crates, read all of the marketing material, and checked out thousands of customer reviews to bring you the best dog crates on the market today:
MidWest Life Stages Heavy-Duty Editor Rating:The MidWest Life Stages Heavy-Duty is a top-of-the-line, high-quality crate that checks all the boxes – it’s sturdy and durable; it can be set up easily as well as folded and tucked away; it has single and double door variations. If you want the best for your best friend, this is the one to get.
The MidWest Life Stages Heavy-Duty has the following key features:Sturdy build: This is a heavy duty crate which uses great materials and an Electro-coat finish. The fact that it is heavy duty makes it heavier than other cages by default, but if your pup has a habit of chewing things up and is a force to be reckoned with, you can be assured this sturdy build will be able to take it!
Intelligent construction: This crate is also constructed in an intelligent manner, making it easy to fold and put away or travel with. It comes in Single Door and Double Door variations, and has two bolt latches that slide shut on each door for maximum security.
Add-ons: A divider panel is included with the crate, and it also comes with a plastic pan that can be easily removed and cleaned up. These add great value to the crate and are perfect especially for small, untrained dogs.
Warranty: The crate comes with a one year warranty.
- Can be folded
- Heavy duty
- Easy set up
- Divider panel included
- Plastic removable tray
- Warranty for 1 year
- Weighs a bit on the higher side than other cages, but this is what makes it more heavy duty
BestPet Pet Wire Cage Editor Rating:The BestPetPet Wire Cage is the most value for money pet cage in the market. Though it has a low price tag, it comes equipped with many of the features found in the big costly brands. It is easy to set up, easy to clean, and most importantly, it is incredibly roomy, thus making it suitable even for the biggest of dogs.
The BestPet Pet Wire Cage has the following key features:Value for money: This crate has some great features that are also found in the more expensive options, but maintains its cheaper price, thus providing value for money to the user.
Construction: The crate is incredibly roomy and spacious which makes it an ideal sleep area even for bigger dogs, and a space for a smaller, high-energy dog to have some mobility. It is not as durable as other cages, however, and its wires may bend easily if the dog is the type that struggles to get out.
Easy to maintain: It comes with a plastic tray which can be removed and cleaned. The crate is designed in such a way that even while the door is closed, the tray can be removed, cleaned, and inserted back into the crate.
- Value for money
- Powder coated finish
- Roomy and spacious
- Removable plastic tray
- Easy to clean
- Low durability
Petmate Compass Editor Rating:Compatible with IATA and USDA requirements, the Petmate Compass serves both as a crate for house training as well as flying your pup over on an airplane. Roomy and secure, this crate comes packed with features that make it ideal for pet owners who might need to travel with their best friend.
The Petmate Compass comes with the following key featuresSturdy Plastic Build: The fact that this is made out of plastic rather than wire makes it uniquely sturdy. It is very easy to assemble and dismantle, with a Slide N Snap building method.
Well ventilated: The crate has ventilation slots from all sides, even the bottom, ensuring that your pet feels happy and cozy.
Secure gate: The gate comes with two turn-dial latches for added security to make sure it does not open accidentally. The gate size is also noticeably larger than that of other such crates, which makes it easier for the pet to go in and out especially when it is left open at home. The gate can be opened from either side.
Ideal travel crate: Thanks to its compatibility with IATA and USDA standards, this crate is great to travel with, whether you are flying out somewhere, or simply want to keep your buddy safe and secure in your car on a road trip.
- Bigger than usual gate
- Easy to set up “Slide ‘N Snap”
- Complies with IATA & USDA requirements
- Ventilated from all sides
- 21 height, 32 length
- Two turn-dial latches on the gate
- It is possible that the top and bottom half might not be very securely fixed together, but this can be easily remedied with a handful of cable ties.
SmithBuilt Heavy Duty Editor Rating:The SmithBuilt Heavy Duty, as the name suggests, is one of the stronger crates in the market, made entirely of steel. It can be placed in outdoor environments without the danger of rusting or staining, and it will still appear brand new after years of heavy use. Despite its weight, it is easy to move over the ground thanks to its caster wheels, making it the ideal heavy duty steel cage for your buddy.
The SmithBuilt Heavy Duty has the following key featuresHighly durable: The construction of this cage is entirely steel-based, making it the type of crate that would last for a long time, and remain sturdy even with difficult dogs. However, the lock on the door may not make it if pitted against an anxious dog.
High-quality finish: The crate has a coating that is resistant to rust as well as stains so it has a really great aesthetic relative to the cheaper brands.
Wheels: There are caster wheels at the bottom of the cage to help the users move around the cage with ease. It is still hard to lift it up though, so it isn’t the most suitable for taking out of the house to another location.
- Made of steel
- Highly resistant to rust and stains
- Can be placed outdoors
- Caster wheels at the bottom
- Not portable
- Lock is not as sturdy as it needs to be
Merry Products Cage Editor Rating:This cage makes it to the list because it doubles up as a fancy side table and actually looks like a piece of furniture rather than a cage. Yet, it manages to retain its functionality, providing a great place for your dog to feel safe in, while at the same time being able to pan view in all directions.
The Merry Products Cage has the following key featuresDoubles up as furniture: The cage has a beautiful Mahogany brown wooden veneer finish tabletop that will not only serve as a stylish looking crate for your dog but also let you have it in any room without bringing down its decor.
Easy to clean: As with other cages in the market, this one also has a plastic tray at the bottom of the cage, which can be taken out and cleaned when needed. The door can remain closed for this procedure, as there is a detachable wooden component that allows the tray to be taken out from the bottom.
Great build: The cage is made out of powder coated steel thus making it fairly durable, adhering to the standards of other cages available in the market. It is a breeze to set up and dismantle in a few minutes
- Beautiful Mahogany brown finish
- Usable wooden tabletop
- Stylish looking
- Can be used in any room
- Plastic tray included
- Practical and pretty
- Easy set up
MidWest Ultimate Pro Editor Rating:The MidWest Ultimate Pro is the type of crate that will last your dog through its entire lifetime. It has a sturdy build and cohesive structure that will ensure even the bigger dogs are unable to affect its structural integrity. The latching system is absolutely dog-proof, and it is easy to fold up within seconds.
The MidWest Ultimate Pro has the following key features:Structural integrity: This is by far one of the sturdiest cages out there, built with more cross beams, and thus resulting in a grid structure that is closer knit. This ensures that it holds up over time as the individual wires are less prone to bending due to the additional support. The sheer number of wires that constitute the cage make it an overall heavier cage than its competitors, but this is necessary.
Dog-proof latch: The latching system requires opposable thumbs to operate, and will ensure that even the smartest of pups are not able to open it.
Foldable: : Folding the crate is very easy, and can be done within seconds. Thanks to its durability, there is less risk of it bending as it is folded, so even if you need to fold the cage often, it will hold up over time.
- Top notch structural integrity
- Dog-proof latch
- Divider included
- Plastic tray included
- Heavier than other crates, but this is arguably a feature, not a bug.
Petmate Ultra Vari Editor Rating:Here is another plastic crate which gives its competitors a run for their money as it can be used both as a kennel, as well as for travel. Whether it's airline travel or land travel, this cage will provide a secure place for the pet, ensuring it has no chance of chewing it up or getting out. It comes with some great features.
The Petmate Ultra Vari has the following key features:Safe and secure: Safety is the first priority of any pet parent, and this cage is built with great materials that even the most anxious of pets will not be able to chew up. The latch is opened by squeezing and hence requires opposable thumbs. Further, the upper and lower sections of the crate have additional holes in them so users can slip in some cable ties for added security.
Easy set up and clean up:The crate can be set up and cleaned up easily without any hassles; a plastic tray is included at the bottom of the cage that allows for easy clean up. There is a handle at the top of the crate for the convenience of the users.
Eco friendly: 95% of the Petmate Ultra Vari is made out of recycled plastic and is made in the USA.
- US- made
- Uses 95% recycled plastic
- Moat at the bottom
- Can be used for traveling
- Latch disabled by squeezing
- Not enough ventilation
Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate End Table Editor Rating:The Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate End Table is another dog crate that doubles up as an end table. However, unlike the Merry Products cage, this one is made entirely out of wood - a mortise and tenon rubberwood construction, to ensure durability while still looking classy. It is clear that this crate was designed by a pet lover who understands the needs of the pet as well as the pet parents.
The Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate End Table has the following key features:High-quality finish: This piece of furniture is made out of Rubberwood, a highly durable type of wood that is comparative to teak. It is finished with a beautiful stained and lacquered finish an available in two different finish options to suit the user’s home decor. The feet of the crate are also designed such that the crate can be glided easily over the floor without leaving behind any marks.
Gate: The beautiful barred gate swings open inside as well as outside for the convenience of the pet, and can be secured using a stainless steel latch that can be fastened with one swipe. The bars go all the way from the top to the bottom, but the bars on the other 3 sides are only in the top half. The bottom half is covered. Each pet parent might have their own preference as to what is more desirable.
Easy to clean: The floor of the crate is covered with melamine and is waterproof, which means that any accidents inside the crate can easily be cleaned up and will not leave behind traces and odors that would be highly undesirable indoors.
- Made using Rubberwood for added durability
- Stained and lacquered finish
- Mortise and tenon crate
- Gate opens inside and out
- Waterproof floor
- Glide feet to move around the cage without harming furniture
- 2 finish options
- Easy to clean
- Ventilation might be an issue as the side and back walls are covered halfway
Internet’s Best Wire Dog Kennel Editor Rating:Give your dog a little surprise as you let him into his crate from the front, and out from the side! The Internet's Best Wire Dog Kennel has a dual-door cage which opens from the front as well as from the side. The steel wire frame will hold up against dogs who may scratch and bite. It comes with a few novel features and is an all-round great crate for you and your best friend.
Internet’s Best Wire Dog Kennel has the following key features:Scratch and bite-resistant: The cage is made out of a steel wire frame that is resistant to scratching and biting dogs. However, it is not durable enough to support bigger and more aggressive dogs.
Practical inclusions: One of the coolest features of this cage is that it has both front and side doors that can help change up the configuration of the cage depending on where you set it up. There is a plastic tray included which can not only be removed for easy cleaning, but it can also be secured to the frame of the cage so it does not shift around if there is movement.
Easy to fold and carry: : Within seconds the cage can be picked up and folded down for easy storage and transportation. That said, there are no rubber feet at the bottom, so the cage may move around as the dog pushes up against the walls, and may leave marks on the floor if dragged across without lifting.
- Front and side doors
- Removable and securable plastic tray
- Easily foldable
- Scratch and bite-resistant
- Unsuitable for large and untrained dogs
- No rubber feet
AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate Editor Rating:The AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate is designed with the pet's utmost safety in mind. Its tiny dividers ensure that the tiny paws of our big and little dogs are not caught between the wires. The front and side doors allow for the dog to feel safer and at home when inside, and there are two latches on each door. It is one of the cheaper cages on the market but it is great value for money.
The AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate has the following key features:Safe and secure: With two latches on each door and dividers that are 1.4 cm (< 1 inch), your dog will be safe whether latched in or trying to paw its way out of the cage. Your dog will also be able to see everywhere and have great ventilation when inside.
Value for money: despite its low price, it is a sturdy build and two-door design that make it very high value for money.
Store and clean: The cage can be cleaned easily thanks to the plastic pan which is included with the cage, and the entire frame can be folded and tucked away under the bed or above the closet to save space when not in use.
- Two doors for front and side entry
- Small dividers
- Easy to set up and stow away
- Two latches on each door
- Adjustable divider panel
How to choose the best dog crate for your dog
Now that you are 100% sure about crating your dog, and you’ve looked over our list of dog crate reviews, it’s time to decide which one works best for you, your family and your dog. In addition to budget, there are a few major factors that you should consider when purchasing a dog crate. The following is some of these major factors, not including your budget:
Size: The size of the crate is one of the most challenging factors when determining the right dog crate for you and your dog. Ideally, you want a crate that is big enough for your dog to lay down comfortably in, stand up in, and enough space for him/her to turn around. However, you don’t want to get a crate that is too big because then you run the risk of the dog thinking there’s an area for him/her to go to the bathroom at.
Until your dog is house trained, it’s best to get a crate that doesn’t have too much extra space, but is big enough for him/her to move around comfortably in. If you do get one that has too much space, then use a divider to block off the extra space. Many crates come with dividers or you can create your own divider by using a cardboard box.
Material: Most crates come in one of the following three materials:
Wire: wire crates are ideal for at-home crating and when traveling. They’re made out of a durable wire material that’s great for dogs of all sizes. You can also get a thicker wire if you have a dog that tends to chew on things, dividers for growing dogs, or add a blanket over the top of the crate for better insulation. Wire crates also have the advantage of allowing the dog to see out into his/her surroundingsand better ventilation. Typically, most wire crates can fold for storage or travel, which makes them ideal for those of you who like to put the crate away or take it with you when traveling. However, they are heavier to move and can be noisy when the dog moves around in them
Plastic: plastic crates are also very sturdy, depending on how thick the plastic is. They tend to have less open space for the dog to lookout, which might be ideal for your dog who enjoys more of a “private” or “cave” feel. Plastic crates can also be used with dogs of all sizes, are lightweight and easy to move. Additionally, depending on the room temperature, plastic crates are better insulated than wire crates.
Fabric: these crates are made out of a fabric/cloth material, which means they are less sturdy. They are ideal for well trained dogs, short term crating, and traveling. Additionally, fabric crates are more visually appealing, more comfortable, and can fold down when you don’t use it.
Travel Friendly: If you travel a lot and want to bring your dog with you, then you might want to consider a crate that’s travel friendly. Typically, travel crates, or portable home crates, are easy to fold, lightweight and sturdy enough to handle the rigors of travel.
Easy to Move: You need to decide if this crate is going to remain fixed in one location or if you plan on moving it around. For example, do you want to leave it as a space for your dog 24/7 or do you want to just use it on an at-need basis? Another example would be if you want to bring the crate into the room with you on some nights like if you have a younger dog or maybe the room where the crate is at gets too cold at nighttime.
Easy to Clean: Depending on the age of your dog, like puppies for example, you might have to clean the crate on a regular basis due to accidents. Additionally, depending on the room temperature and how often you bathe your dog, you might have to wipe down and disinfect the crate due to various pet odors. In both cases, you would want to choose a crate made of wire or plastic since they’re easier to clean.
Dog Crating Tips
Buying the right dog crate for you and your dog is only one part of this process. The next part is to make sure you create an ideal, comfortable, and consistent environment for your dog. The following is a list of expert crating tips to help you and your dog with this process:
Bedding: Provided that your dog doesn’t chew up the bedding, a cozy blanket, doggy bed, or soft mat would be a great way to improve the comfort within the crate. If your dog already has a blanket or bed that he/sheenjoys then that would be the perfect bedding/cushioning to use within the crate.
Food and Water: If you plan on crating your dog for more than a few hours, like if you are at work, then make sure you have a crate big enough to also provide space for food and water.
Comfortable Temperature: Even with a blanket or bedding, try to keep the room that has the crate at a comfortable temperature. This means, don’t allow it to get too cold or too hot. If too hot, your dog won’t be able to move to a spot where it’s cooler for him/her. If too cold, then your dog will have a tough time finding warmth especially if you have a wire crate.
Chew Toy: Give your dog something to do while he/she is in the crate. For example, give him/her a bone or chew toy to play with. This will also help to alleviate the dog’s urge to chew on the crate, which could damage the crate and/or aid in the dog breaking free while you are not at home.
Location: As mentioned, not only do you want the room temperature to be comfortable for your dog, you also need to consider where to place the crate. Location is crucial, especially when first training the dog. Some younger dogs might feel frightened when left alone inside the crate in another room. One good option is to place the crate next to your bed at night so that your furry friend can see you and not feel alone.
Possibly Use a Sheet: Some dogs prefer a “cave” like environment when in their crate. One way to create this “cave” like feel is to put a sheet over the majority of the crate. If you have a wire crate, then it will cover the majority. If you have a plastic crate, then it will cover mostly the sides that have openings. Remember, this isn’t for all dogs. Another reason to use a sheet is that the material is thick enough to block most air flow, but not too thick to where it makes the crate an uncomfortable temperature within. This is a great option for users who have wire crates.
Some puppies and adult dogs might scared if they can’t see out of the crate. So, this Tip is a case-by-case basis and typically, trial by error.
Use Consistent Cues: When you are first training your dog, using cues is a must. For example, say words like “crate” when putting the dog into the crate. You can also use cues like “bed,” “go inside,” “go to your room,” and other variations of these words or sayings. It’s important to maintain consistency when using these cues. So, not only will you use these cues when you are putting the dog into the crate, but you will also use these cues when your dog goes into the crate on his/her own.
In addition to using cues for when your dog goes into the crate, it’s also a good idea to train your dog with cues on exiting the crate. For example, say things like “time to come out” or “come on out” so that you dog knows when it’s time to exit the crate. When using these cues, feel free to add some dog treats or dog biscuits to this process. Reward your dog with a treat as he/she goes in and comes out of the crate on command.
Gradually Increase Duration: Start off by only putting your dog in the crate for 30 seconds up to a minute. Slowly increase this time as your dog becomes more comfortable with his/her crate. Also, practice crating when you are with him/her in the room and when you are out of the room. This way, your dog is getting used to both scenarios in addition to growing comfortable with the crate. Eventually, you can work up to an hour or two. Slowly work your way up to an 8 hour work shift if you have an adult or well-trained dog.
Don’t Give In: Some dogs will whine, whimper or bark when during the initial crating phase. If this happens to you, it’s important to not give into this behavior unless there’s something physically wrong with the dog or he/she has to go to the bathroom. If you give in and let your dog out every time they bark or whimper, then he/she will learn this behavior and it will sabotage your crating efforts.
Crating your dog is a unique opportunity based on each individual’s preference and your dog’s ability to be trained in this manner. Crating is not a universal tool for all dog owners and dogs. However, when done properly, crating can be an amazing opportunity to train your dog and provide him/her with a comfortable, secure space.
When buying a dog crate, it really comes down to each individual dog. You need to take into consideration the size of your dog and the purpose of the crate. For example, will the crate be a long term or short term solution, will you move it around a lot, does it need to be portable for traveling, and how sturdy do you need it? All of these factors are based on how you want to train and care for you beloved furry family member.
Remember, take your time when first crating your dog especially if he/she is a puppy. This is a process that needs love and consistency.
Dog Crate for your Dog
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