Having a dog crate for your pup will benefit them through various stages of life. Crate training is useful when training a puppy, and it can provide a quiet and comfortable space while you’re away for the day. High-quality versions are designed to encourage your dog’s natural “den” instinct, which makes them feel safe.
Choosing the right crate doesn’t need to be a long and difficult process, but there are important factors to consider, such as size, safety, and durability, before buying one. Not only should the enclosure provide enough room, but your dog should also be comfortable spending time in it, especially at night or when you’re at work.
As you shop around for the right one, you may also consider factors like ease of use, portability, extra features such as dividers. To help you pick the best dog crate, we’ve compiled a list of top-of-the-line options and categorized them by size: small, medium, and large. We also include some tips and information that will make you feel confident that you’re selecting the right home inside your home for your dog, whether you have a puppy or a senior-aged large breed.
At a Glance: Our Favorite Dog Crates
MidWest Homes Life Stages
MidWest Homes for Pets
Paws & Pals Double-Door Kennel
Note: Clicking the above links take you to Amazon.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Some dog owners need a crate for training a new puppy while others want their older pup with separation anxiety (check out some options here for anxious pups) to feel safe and comfortable. Whatever your reason for buying a crate, there are specific factors to consider and can help you find the ideal pick.
Rather than buying the most affordable choice, take time to consider your dog’s specific needs to ensure that the enclosure provides enough room for them to move around and is comfortable for longer periods of time.
We have categorized our favorite crates by the dog size of each breed, but you need to think about your own dog’s specific size. While we gave you some examples of breeds who fit within the small, medium, and large categories, breed sizes are likely to fluctuate.
Never make a purchase based on your dog’s breed alone, but rather pay attention to the measurements and whether or not you expect your dog to grow. When your dog uses a crate, there should be plenty of room to lie down, stand up, and move around a bit without feeling crowded or experience injury or pain. Even if your dog likes small spaces, they need enough space to move around comfortably, especially for extended periods or during travel.
Small crates are a popular choice for puppies but keep in mind that if your puppy is a medium or large breed, they will outgrow it quickly and you will need a size-appropriate option on hand. We recommend buying one that your puppy can “grow” into that comes with a divider. Not only does this make training easier but will save you money in the long run.
Does your dog need a quiet place to lie down and rest? Does your dog struggle with anxiety and benefits from a secure space? Maybe you have a puppy that needs a little help with house training. The type of crate you choose will likely depend on your main reason for getting one in the first place. If you aren’t concerned about your pup being destructive or getting into trouble, you might be looking for something with decorative features and minimal security.
A dog with behavioral issues like separation anxiety requires an enclosure that can withstand (and prevent) the occasional escape attempt or some chewing or scratching. In these types of situations, it’s best to choose a tough & indestructible dog crate and make it as inviting and calming as possible.
How Many You Need
Many dog crates are easy to set up and use in the car but if you travel with your pup on a regular basis, taking down and setting up a crate can be inconvenient. You may decide that it’s easier to buy two; one for home use and one that you keep in your car.
When determining how many you need, you should also consider how many dogs you have that need crating. If you have two dogs, can you crate them together or do they prefer separate enclosures? If you crate your pups together, make sure that they each have enough space based on their size. In most cases, larger enclosures are the only size that can comfortably hold more than one pup at a time.
Crate Use (Indoor, Outdoor & Travel)
Most dog crates are designed for indoor use, but if you would like one that you can take outside, it’s essential to look for features such as adequate airflow and materials that are resistant to rust or corrosion.
Are you planning to travel with your dog on an airplane? Not only should your kennel withstand the movement of loading and unloading but also keep your dog as comfortable as possible through a turbulent flight.
Before you purchase a heavy-duty crate to use on a plane, you need to make sure that it meets all airline requirements for traveling with an animal. If what you choose doesn’t meet all specifications, you can often purchase kits to modify them, but it’s often easier to purchase one designed specifically for air travel.
Do You Have Time To Train Your Pup?
Some dogs will have no problem getting used to training, while others may take some time to make it their “norm.” If using a crate is important and necessary, it’s essential that you have the time and patience.
Like other training methods, consistency is key when crate training. A crate is one of the best ways to keep your pup safe and happy when you’re not home, but if you don’t have time to train your dog, you must find another safe alternative.
We’ve already highlighted many of the different types crates in our reviews that you’ll see below. Many models can have different uses, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when picking the right one. Car crates will look different than the model you keep in your bedroom.
In our guide below, we’ve chosen some of our favorites of each type. You may need more than one depending on how you plan to utilize them. Let’s take a closer look at the basics of each type, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Plastic dog crates are available in a variety of styles, sizes, and prices. They are a popular and convenient choice for car and air travel as well as transporting dogs to and from the vet. The most portable plastic models are great for smaller dogs, but some are available for larger breeds.
Plastic enclosures are easiest to clean and are a good option for pups who chew or scratch. Be aware that not all of them are made of heavy-duty plastic, and even if there are enough holes for ventilation, they can heat up quickly.
Dogs who are reactive to motion or noises may benefit the most from a plastic enclosure as it provides limited visibility, which may help make them calmer. Always make sure that there are no sharp edges on the interior (such as around the air holes) that could scratch or injure your dog.
Wire crates are a popular choice because most models are easy to set up and many are portable. Look for wire models that have secure latches, rounded edges, and heavy-duty wire. A good wire crate should accommodate a dog bed and have a removable plastic pan. Always inspect them to make sure none of the wires have become damaged or rusty.
A soft crate is designed for a dog who is calm and willing to hang out or be confined to any space without panicking, scratching, or chewing. While some dog owners use a soft enclosure on a regular basis, most are ideal for traveling. Consider them with washable covers, foldable frames, breathable fabric and the option to give your dog privacy (for a more secure feeling).
Heavy duty crates look just as they are described. Rather than wire mesh, they have thick steel slats, and some look rather uninviting. If your dog does not try to escape or destroy their crate, a heavy duty one may be a bit overkill (and a waste of money).
These behemoths are an ideal choice for large breeds that are strong and determined to escape. Be aware that some slats have significant space between the slats which may end up hurting a smaller dog. Look for heavy duty crates that are resistant to rust or corrosion and are easy to move around. Never use one of these as a substitute for an outdoor enclosure that’s meant for longer-term housing.
Often known as “Fashion Crates,” these new models are a popular choice among dog owners who think that pet enclosures are an aesthetic eyesore. Depending on the size of your pup and how much money you are willing to spend, these can be available in a variety of styles.
The most common style looks like a cabinet or end table and often serves the purpose as a piece of furniture and a safe space for your pup. Many of them are made of mixed materials, but wood is probably the most common.
Since many wooden furniture crates are prone to scratches, this is not an ideal type for dogs who like to chew or scratch while spending time in a crate. Even if your dog does not chew, it’s important to select a wooden crate that is safe and won’t splinter easily or is treated with chemicals. Like soft crates, a furniture crate is best suited for a dog who’s happy to “go with the flow.”
One of the main reasons that dog owners buy a crate for their dog is to keep them safe. Spending excessive time in them however can can be hazardous to your dog. It’s especially important if you plan to be gone for longer periods of time. While we never recommend being away from your pup for more than a couple hours, sometimes things come up and it can’t be avoided.
If you plan to purchase a crate and keep your dog safe, there are some steps you need to brush up on before you do so you can do it safely. Here are some ways to ensure that your dog stays safe whether you are at home or away.
Use Only When Necessary
Your dog’s crate should be a quiet place that makes them feel comfortable and at ease. As tempting as it may be at times, avoid using it as a place to give your dog a “time out.” Too many negative connections and your dog will end up having complicated feelings anytime it’s used.
Whether you use the crate to confine your dog overnight or while you’re at work for the day, always make sure that your dog has a chance to go to the bathroom before going in and immediately after. Most pups try very hard to prevent an accident, but it’s not fair (or healthy) to make them “hold” their urine or bowel movements all day. Make arrangements for a trusted friend or family member to let your dog out.
Use in a Temperature Controlled Area
Try to place your the crate in an area where your pup won’t be exposed to extreme temperatures or the elements. Keep in mind that normally, when your dog is not in the crate, they have the opportunity to move around and find comfortable spots throughout the house. The comfort in their crate is limited, so be mindful of where you place it and always try to have it in a temperature-controlled area.
Many crates are designed not to snag or catch dog collars, but it can happen, and the results are potentially devastating. You can either put a breakaway collar on your pup or remove the collar while they are inside, keeping the collar nearby.
Regularly Inspect for Damage
A high-quality crate is likely to last for many years, but there’s always the chance that a part may come loose or damaged from everyday use. To reduce your dog’s chances of being injured, get in the habit of not only cleaning the crate regularly but also inspecting for damaged pieces, sharp edges, and anything else that may cause an injury.
Choose the Right Size
Choosing a size-appropriate crate is essential for your dog’s comfort, but as we highlighted above, also for their safety. Something that is too spacious is not necessarily dangerous, but make sure that the slats or spaces aren’t too big for a smaller dog or puppy. Anything that is too small will not only make your dog uncomfortable but can also make them feel nervous and panicked, or they can end up hurting themselves trying to get comfortable.
Crates For Small Dogs
We start our guide by reviewing our favorites that are best-suited for small dogs. If you have an extra small breed dog, such as a Pomeranian or Shih Tzu, we recommend a 22-inch dog crate. Other small breeds, such as Beagles or Terriers, may benefit from a 24-inch crate or larger.
Keep in mind that many small breed pups will vary in size, so you need to select it based your dog’s size (not necessarily the breed standard). You’ll want to make sure that you have something big enough for your dog to be inside without having too much room or too little.
MidWest Homes Life Stages
- Slide-bolt door latch.
- Life Stages double door dog crate measures 22L x 13W x 16H inches.
- Includes a divider panel, durable & leak-proof plastic pan, protective rubber feet, carrying handle.
- Easy to assemble & portable.
- Durable & strong, quality construction creates a secure place for your dog to fulfill their natural instinct to den.
- Proper ventilation.
Finding a dog crate that will “grow” with your dog, hold up to daily use, and even destructive puppy behavior can be challenging but the MidWest Homes Life Stages Dog Crate meets all these needs.
This cage is available in six sizes; we recommend the 22 or 24-inch cage for small dogs. The heavy-duty thick wire mesh model is available with a single or double-door and is easy to fold up for storing or traveling.
The removable divider panel allows you to have more control when training your puppy or is ideal for dogs who feel more comfortable in small spaces. The removable heavy-duty and washable pan stop helps contain any accidents or spills.
No tools are needed to set it up, so it’s a convenient choice if you are planning an overnight or out-of-town visit. Two slide-bolt latches keep the door in place, and the rounded corners prevent injuries that often occur from sharp-pointed corners and edges. To ensure the safety of your dog, you should inspect the wire mesh regularly for damage.
We love that the divider makes this crate ideal for puppies. It’s easy to setup, fold up and clean. The heavy-duty coated metal ensures that it has no sharp edges, which is important in order to protect your pup from injury should they struggle at first.
Carlson Pet Deluxe
- Durable all steel construction.
- Single door design with secure locking system for your pets safety.
- Includes a blue removable and washable pan.
- Fold and go system for portability, storage and car.
- travelFor smaller breeds and puppies, up to 25 pounds.
Affordability and a no-nonsense design are the standout features of this 24-inch crate. Similar to the MidWest Life Stages model, the Carlson Pet Deluxe is easy to set up, fold up, and no tools are needed to assemble it. The space-saving design, when folded up, makes it easy to transport or store if you don’t use it frequently.
The all-steel construction is lightweight and durable. It has one door and comes with a removable and washable pan to catch any spilled treats, water, or if your dog has an accident in the kennel.
It does not come with a divider, which may be inconvenient for someone with a small breed puppy. The single slide-bolt latch is secure enough to keep the crate closed, but may not be enough if your dog is determined to get out of the crate.
We love that it’s easy to clean with a rust-resistant finish. The light blue color is a nice option when compared to others on the market. This crate has a quick setup and takedown, and is very convenient and lightweight for traveling.
Casual Home Wooden Crate
- Chew-resistant construction.
- End-table style.
- Five different color combinations.
- Multiple sizes available.
- Looks better than wire crates.
- Made of real, solid wood.
- Easy assembly.
While the majority of dog kennels we see on the market have wire or plastic construction, you might be looking for something that blends in with your décor. The Casual Home Wooden Pet Crate has a unique multipurpose design that doubles as an end table.
At first glance, the end table design looks like any other piece of furniture that you might have in your living room. The solid wood construction is available in four colors and crafted from sustainably sourced wood.
This one is chew-resistant, but it may not be an ideal option for dogs who are heavy chewers or scratch frequently. This wooden model is easy to assemble, clean, and the mission-style design slats provide adequate airflow and light. The lockable gate keeps your dog secure, but may not be enough for a dog who is determined to get out.
This crate is available in three sizes for small dogs, which include 19.5, 20, or 24-inches. It’s important to keep in mind that the interior dimensions are smaller, so consider this before ordering a specific size for your dog. The interior dimension for a 20” version is 16.5”.
We love that the attractive design sets it apart from others. It’s extremely easy to clean and assemble. It comes in a variety of colors, sizes and designs. It’s also awesome that it doubles up as an end table, making it a fashion statement in your home and not just a dog crate.
Petmate Two Door Pet Kennel
- Easy load options.
- Suitable for small dogs, cats, or small animals up to 15 lbs.
- Multiple ventilation holes on each side allows air to circulate.
- Meets most airline cargo specifications.
- No tools required for assembly.
- Made with recycled materials.
Even if you don’t use a dog crate at home regularly, you may want one for traveling or trips to the vet. The Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog Kennel is affordable and holds up well during road or air travel. It meets most airline cargo specifications (but always check with the airline first).
It has a top-loading and a front-loading door to make loading easier, especially if they are hesitant to enter the crate or need assistance. It’s equipped with heavy-duty plastic construction with plenty of openings on the sides for visibility and airflow and is easy to wipe down after each use.
The steel doors have squeeze latches, which are secure and easy to open if you only have one hand free.
The ergonomic handle is anchored to the top-loading door to ensure secure transport each time that you carry your dog in the kennel. There are two sizes which are ideal for puppies or small dogs: 19 or 24-inch and various color options to choose from.
We love that this crate has dual doors for easy access and entry. The easy open latches are secure when the kennel is closed, and the sturdy plastic is easy to clean. It holds up well to normal wear and tear, and it’s suitable to use at home for smaller dogs. It’s also convenient when traveling short distances.
Crates For Medium Sized Pups
Australian Shepherds, Bulldogs, and Dalmatians are just a few of the dozens of medium-sized breeds. A suitably sized option for a medium dog is significantly larger than a crate for small dogs. Common medium sizes are typically 30 or 36-inches.
Dog breeds like Huskies fall in between, and can fit in some crates in the medium sized range, as well as the larger sized range. You can’t go wrong with a model that’s larger than 36 inches, but don’t purchase one that’s smaller than 30-inches if you have a medium-sized dog.
MidWest Homes for Pets Newly Enhanced Single & Double Door
- Slide-bolt door latches now feature patented Paw Block and locking tips.
- Measures 42L x 28W x 31H inches and is suitable for large dog breeds with an adult weight of 70-90 pounds.
- Updated locking system, floor protecting roller feet and durable leak-proof plastic pan included.
- Easy to assemble & portable.
- Durable & strong, quality construction.
Heavy-duty metal kennels are a popular choice among many dog owners because they are easy to set up, fold up, and transport. The New World Folding Metal Dog Crate is available in 30 or 36-inch sizes (there are larger sizes available if you expect your medium-sized pup to grow).
Some kennels have sharp corners or edges around the metal mesh, but this crate has rounded edges and interlocking hooks to prevent you or your dog getting snagged by sharp metal. The removable plastic pan protects your floors from spills and accidents and is easy to clean with soap and water.
The single slide-latch door is secure enough for most dogs, but if you have a dog who likes to escape, you may need a more secure locking system. The New World crate doesn’t come with a divider, but you can order one separately.
We love that this crate is available as a single or double door, and has a durable + removable pan. It’s easy to fold down and setup as well. Like most metal mesh wire kennels, damaged mesh can lead to rust and breakage. It’s always a good idea to inspect the interior of the enclosure for damage to ensure your dog’s safety and security.
LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Cage
- Heavy duty frame.
- Double door & locking caster design.
- Easy to clean.
- Removable (slide-out) plastic tray.
- Easy to assemble.
Some dogs are determined to break free, and as a dog owner that’s the last thing you need to worry about when you’re away from home for the day. If you have a budding escape artist, you need a crate with a heavy-duty frame, and LUCKUP has a nearly impenetrable frame.
At first glance, it may look similar to a doggie jail cell, but the rust and corrosion-resistant steel frame keeps your pup safe and secure, and it has two locks with safety buckles to ensure it stays closed. You have two doors, a top-loading or front-loading for your convenience. It’s also on wheels, which can be locked to prevent movement, to make it easy to move or use outdoors.
All necessary hardware is included, and it also comes with a removable tray to avoid spills and accidents. Available in two sizes: 38 or 42-inches, the crate provides plenty of space for a medium dog, but the 2-inch side slats and one-inch floor slats may not be suitable for a puppy.
We love that this model one of the sturdiest you can buy. The durable construction is rust and corrosion resistant. It’s easy to move around and the wheels will lock up preventing them from going anywhere. It can be assembled in under 10 minutes, and it’s a great option for dogs that try frequently to escape.
EliteField Three Door Collapsible Soft-Sided
- This easy to assemble crate requires no tools.
- Made with lightweight, durable steel tubing and easy to clean polyester and hex mesh fabric.
- Three mesh doors let in sunlight and air, reducing claustrophobia.
- Front and side doors have locking zippers for added safety and security.
- Includes a free carrying case and fleece bed for travel.
A soft crate is not ideal for every dog, and if your dog is not accustomed to this type of training, you are likely to have frustrating results. The EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate is ideal for medium dogs who have no issues, such as anxiety or scratching.
The portability and lightweight design makes it a desirable pick for traveling, particularly in the car. You can use it at home or when visiting friends and family. The frame has steel tube construction and the cover of 600D fabric and mesh fabric for ventilation. The cover is removable and machine washable, and it also comes with a carrying bag and washable fleece bed to ensure your pet’s comfort and ease of usability.
You can roll up the zippered door to offer your dog the freedom of coming and going as they please or secure them with the zipper lock. Clip-on zippered pouches are convenient for treats and other accessories. To ensure your dog’s safety, security, and happiness, avoid using this crate until your dog is completely trained.
We love that this crate is lightweight and easy to transport. Setting up or folding down takes just a few minutes at most. It also comes with a washable cover and bed, which is a nice touch since you’ll usually be coming out of pocket for a bed.
Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier
- 4 way vault door provides extra security.
- Durable plastic shell, non corrodible wing nuts, extra strong steel wire.
- Ventilation openings surrounding the travel kennel give pets fresh air and visibility from all sides.
- Portable dog kennel includes 2 Live Animal stickers, clip on bowls and ID stickers for easy modification for travel.
- Airline adaptable.
If you frequently travel with your dog, the Petmate Sky Kennel is likely to meet all of your needs. The heavy-duty plastic crate is one of the only models that comes close to meeting airline and IATA requirements.
Metal slats on the side windows provide ventilation and security while the holes in the back also help with adequate air circulation. It’s designed for travel, so it comes with food and water dishes, as well as ID and “Live Animal” stickers. The squeeze-latch doors keep the door securely closed but are easy enough to open from the outside.
The two-piece crate is held together by plastic wingnuts, and it’s easy to take apart for storing or if you’re limited on space. If you plan on using it for airline use, you need to replace wingnuts with metal ones.
Even if you have no air travel plans with your dog, the Petmate Sky Kennel is suitable for home and car use. Since hard plastic edges may be sharp on the interior, particularly near the ventilation holes, always inspect it before use.
We love that this crate is “airline ready” for the most part, as soon as you bring it home. While this isn’t the best choice in your home, it makes traveling with your dog via plane extremely easy. The plastic is heavy-duty yet also easy to clean. It’s also easy to break down and setup.
Crates For Large Dogs
The larger the breed, the more space and durability you need to keep your pup safe and secure. Large breeds like Golden Retrievers will benefit from a larger crate. Even a calm and trained large dog will put more wear and tear on a crate than a small or medium dog, so durability is key.
Depending on the breed and size, the crate you need may range from 42 to 54-inches. Enclosures of that size are typically reserved for the giant breeds. The size you choose will also depend on your pup’s age; if they have a lot of growing to do, keep that in mind.
Paws & Pals Double-Door Kennel
- Versatile design allows for extremely easy set up and take down to fold and store it away.
- Convenient space saving design means it can be stored practically anywhere when not in use.
- Materials are made from heavy duty steel.
- 100% Washable
- Dimensions: 48″ (Length) x 29″ (Width) x 32″ (Height).
Whether you’re trying to train your puppy or have a comfortable and secure place for your large adult dog, the Paws & Pals Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate is designed to meet your needs. It comes with a divider, which is a helpful tool in crate training or for a dog who likes a space that feels more “cozy.”
Rounded edges and interlocking panels prevent your dog from getting injured while getting in and out. Similar to other metal crates, this one folds up and is easy to transport. It also has a removable and washable pan that protects your floors from any spills or accidents.
Some crates only have one slide-latch lock, but this one has double doors with two slide-latches on each door to ensure it stays closed even against the weight of your large dog. While the crate is secure, it may not hold up as well if you have a dog who bites and paws due to anxiety.
We love that this particular crate is affordable, durable and still easy to clean. It’s simple to set up, take down, and it’s suitable for training your pup as they first start out. It’s also pretty budget friendly, which is good because expenses add up when owning a dog.
ASPEN PET Pet Porter Dog Kennel
- Easy-open latch for opening the dog travel carrier with one hand.
- Suitable for pets up to – 90 lbs
- Meets most airline cargo specifications.
- Easy to wash.
Traveling with your large breed pup can be stressful if you don’t have the right crate. The Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier not only provides a safe and secure space at home but is a great option when traveling by car.
The heavy-duty plastic construction is easy to keep clean, and the top and bottom are connected by metal wingnuts resulting in simple assembly. If you don’t use a crate regularly and are limited on space, you can take it apart and stack the top and bottom together.
Side ventilation holes provide adequate airflow and light, and the door has a secure metal wire mesh to ensure your dog can’t escape. The locking system is a squeeze-latch, and although your dog cannot open it from inside, you can quickly open it with one hand.
We love that the Aspen Pet Porter is made from durable plastic and is easy to use. It’s ideal for both home and travel. The metal wingnut construction is stronger than other plastic nuts that are used on similar yet lesser made models.
Merry Pet 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate and Gate
- Wooden pet crate is convertible into a gate.
- Removable plastic tray.
- Easy to assemble.
- Dimensions: 22. 48″ D x 32. 48″ W x 23. 35″ H.
- Interior dimensions: 19. 09″ D x 29. 53″ W x 22. 83″.
- All life stages.
Some dogs are trained and don’t need to be confined, but sometimes it’s nice to have options when you have company, or you want to keep your large dog contained without worrying about them. The Merry Pet 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate n Gate is a nice option for large dogs who are not eager to escape and are trained.
It can either double as a dog crate, and end table in your living room or you can fold it out to use it as a gate. Since this 2-in-1 design is made of solid wood and metal wires, we only recommend it for non-destructive dogs who won’t chew or scratch.
A removable plastic tray is included to use when in crate “mode” to protect your floor from spills or accidents. When using as a gate, you can remove panels to shorten the gate to fit into doorways or other small spaces more easily.
We love that the unique and attractive design makes this a designer option for crating. It’s easy to assemble and use, and it blends nicely with home décor. This crate and gate setup is better suited for using when you’re at home rather than a method of confinement for a few hours or all day long.
Frequently Asked Questions
People have many misconceptions when it comes to crate training. We get asked questions frequently here on our site about the training process. The truth is that crate training is an effective way to maintain balance with your dog if used properly. It’s a training tool, and anything used as a training tool should be used sparingly and correctly.
We truly believe crate training properly can benefit both dogs and owners, so we’ve compiled a complete list of questions we get around both crates and the training process. While this list is not all-inclusive, these are most of the common questions that are asked by fellow dog owners who frequent our site.
Are they cruel?
Some dog owners are hesitant to start the crating process because they are worried that they will either be criticized for doing so or they feel like they’re bad owners. If you carefully select yours, use it for the right reasons, it’s an extremely effective training tool.
Are they safe?
Most are safe, but many factors determine safety such as high-quality craftsmanship and if it’s size-appropriate for your dog. Doing your research, reading reviews, and finding out what type of crate is best for your dog will keep them safe.
Can you stack them?
Stacking dog crates is controversial, and it can lead to many safety issues and health problems if not done properly. When shopping around, be wary of any crates that are suitable for stacking. Stacking may be desired for smaller spaces, but you are better off buying a larger model with a divider.
How do you crate train?
Depending on the age of your dog, crate training may take some time. There are plenty of online resources from experts that walk you through the steps, and while some of their methods are slightly different, they will all agree that the right enclosure is essential. If you are choosing a big crate for a small dog, use a divider to limit their space until they are completely trained. Too much space may encourage them to use their crate as a bathroom.
Can you connect them?
Much like stacking, connecting dog crates is something that needs to be done carefully and with the right models. It’s not safe to simply “piece together” different types or even brands. A larger one-piece crate is a safer (and most likely more economical) option.
Why use one at night?
Depending on your dog, they may benefit from being crated at night. It can not only help your pup feel more safe and secure at night (and give you a better night’s sleep), but it can also keep your dog from destroying the house or eating things that could cause harm.
Can you cover it?
You don’t need to cover a crate, but it may help your pup feel more comfortable. Some do come with covers, or you can cover it with a blanket. Keep a blanket away from heat sources and don’t use a blanket with puppies who are going through a chewing stage.
Will it help with separation anxiety?
Some dog owners are afraid to use a crate if your pup deals with separation anxiety. If you train your dog properly, it may help alleviate or eliminate the symptoms and other behavioral issues.
Can I put food and water in them?
Yes, most crates are designed to fit a clip-on water or food dish and the removable pan can come in handy for water or food spills. Don’t forget to add a blanket or a dog bed to give your dog some comfortable options throughout the day.
Can you buy one from Goodwill or another secondhand store?
Even if a dog crate at your local Goodwill or secondhand shop looks to be practically new, it’s impossible to know how safe it is for your dog. While the crate may have been donated by a dog owner who no longer needs it, they may have decided to get rid of it for other reasons. Buying new is always the safest option.
Can you rent them?
Maybe you’re traveling or have a visitor with a dog coming for an overnight stay. If you don’t want to haul your crate with you or don’t have an extra to share, you may be able to rent one from various pet groups or organizations in your area. Always inspect the crate before using it and make sure it looks and smells clean.
Are they bad?
They aren’t bad. What gives them a bad reputation are the people who misuse them, dog owners who don’t have the right model for their dogs, and poor-quality crates. They are also perceived as bad by people who don’t understand the benefits.
Where can I buy them?
Your biggest selection of dog crates is online. You are likely to get more feedback on a particular brand from online reviewers, and Amazon.com is a perfect place for crates of any size dog.
How long should a dog stay in a crate?
The amount of time that your dog can comfortably stay in a crate varies on their age and needs. Most dogs do fine for a few hours, while some can handle shorter or longer periods. No dog should spend their whole day locked up. If your schedule is too busy to let your dog out, you need to make arrangements for someone to help out.
Can a crate be too big?
If you have a puppy or a small dog in a crate that is designed for a large dog, it’s possible that it will be too large. Too much space can encourage a dog to go to the bathroom in the crate. Some slats or wire can be too big for smaller dogs and increase their risk of injury.
How long do they last?
The lifespan of a crate is dependent on how often you use it and how “rough” your dog is when using it. A high-quality crate should last you at least five years or more, but some may last even longer. Look for crates with warranties and take care of the crate to extend its lifespan.
What are the right types for cars?
Just like crates for home use, what you use in your car depends a lot on your dog. If you have a smaller dog, who is not destructive and doesn’t move around much, a soft crate may be sufficient. A larger dog or one who has anxiety in the car may benefit from a heavy-duty crate that was designed to be used in an automobile.
We provided you with a lot of information that should help you confidently decide which one is best for your pup. If you are still undecided or are trying to choose between a few options, take a look at picks of the best dog crates for each size group.
Our overall winner for all sizes is the MidWest Homes Life Stages Dog Crate. Although we reviewed this model in our small dog category, it’s available for dogs of all sizes. It’s our top pick because it’s easy to use, assemble, and fold up. The double slide-latches are more secure, and it has overwhelmingly positive user feedback.
We chose the Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog Kennel as our top pick in the small dog category because of the two-door options. Small dogs and puppies may not be eager to enter from the front, but if you can put take them in and out from the top or interact with them.
The hard plastic is ideal for puppies who may want to chew, and there are no wire mesh parts for small feet to get pinched or injured. The squeeze-latch lock will help keep the most determined dog from getting out.
We understand that a soft crate may not be ideal for your dog, but the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Kennel is our top pick for medium dogs. When your medium-breed dog is a puppy, you may want a plastic model, but when your dog grows up, it may be comfortable with something like a soft model.
We like that it’s lightweight, washable, easy to use, and is a great option for car travel or home use. We also like the variety of color options and the zip-down panels to provide your pup with privacy.
The Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier is our top pick for a large dog model because of its durability. The heavy-duty plastic withstands daily wear and tear, and if your large dog is an anxious chewer, you don’t have to worry about your dog damaging it.
Although this particular model is not approved for airline use, it’s perfect for traveling in your car or for home use. We also love that the crate is secured with metal wingnuts rather than plastic hardware.
Making Your Choice
As mentioned, what type of crate you pick is going to be impacted by use, type of crate, and what you feel is the right pick for your pup. Any of the picks in this list should be a safe bet, provided you use it as intended.