As a dog owner, nothing may break your heart more than seeing the sad look on your dog’s face when you leave your home for the day. But, what if this look of sadness is something more? One of the most common struggles for dogs is separation anxiety.
According to PetMD, “separation anxiety happens when a dog that’s hyper-attached to his owner gets super-stressed when left alone…it’s a serious condition and one of the main reasons owners get frustrated with their dogs and give them up.”
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do if your dog suffers from such anxiety while you’re away. One such thing that you can do is purchase a crate designed explicitly to help your dog cope. Below, you’ll find a buyer’s guide and a complete list of the best crates for separation anxiety. Some of these have crossover appeal as they are some of our favorites for any dog or any situation.
At A Glance: Best Dog Crates For Separation Anxiety
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If you are shopping for the best crates for separation anxiety, there are a few features that you’re going to want to consider. We’ve broken down these features in the section below.
One of the first things that you’ll notice when shopping for the best crates for this issue is that they are all mostly durable metal. That’s because dogs tend to chew or dig when they are anxious. A metal crate can withstand a dog’s chewing and scratching. Manufacturers often make these crates of wire metal, providing your dog with ventilation and visibility.
Another popular material that you’re likely to come across is plastic. It could be a bit easier for dogs to chew through plastic than it is metal. However, plastic can also provide your pet with a much more comforting feeling, so that they don’t feel as though they’re confined to a cage. Plastic crates are not nearly as heavy as metal crates and may be easier to move as well.
Other choices you’ll come across are soft-sided dog crates and wicker crates. These are not good options for dogs who get sad when left alone, as they can chew and gnaw through the material easily. You should only use these crates once you’re confident that your dog can handle you being away. Heavy-duty crates can also make a great choice.
Another essential factor to consider when comparing dog crates is how portable it is. Some crates are collapsible, allowing you to fold them up and take them with you. However, your dog won’t be able to travel in the crate when it’s folded.
You could also look into a dog crate that comes with casters. This would allow you to push the crate while your dog was inside. If you expect to have to move your crate frequently and don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting it up and taking it down, then you’ll want to look for a crate that comes with casters.
In addition to portability, you’ll also want to consider assembly. You can assemble the best crates in about ten to 15 minutes. If you plan on setting up and deconstructing your dog’s crate often, you’ll want something that allows you to do so with ease.
It’s worth noting that none of the options in our guide are travel carriers, because those are temporary and are likely to have less issues with your pet since travel is shorter-term and requires a different solution. If you plan to travel by car, then here are some better choices.
The Proper Size
Many first-time dog owners believe that they can purchase the biggest dog crate available and that doing so gives their beloved pooch more room. However, this is not always the case. Much like you don’t want to stuff your dog into a crate that’s too small, you also don’t want to put them into one that’s too big.
Crates that are too big won’t provide your dog with a sense of security. If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, they’ll feel extremely nervous in a crate that’s too large.
When shopping for a crate, you should measure the length and height of your dog. Add a couple of inches to these measurements to determine the proper crate size. Your dog should have room to lie down, stand up, and turn in circles, but they shouldn’t have room to do much else in the crate.
Dogs with anxiety are prone trying to escape their crate or even a harness. For this reason, you should look for crates that have durable latches. Your dog should not be able to undo the lock. Look for durable options that keep your dog safe.
Another safety factor to consider is whether there are any sharp surfaces on the crate. Unfortunately, too many manufacturers leave edges that are sharp or don’t cover screws and bolts. These could be potentially hazardous to dogs. Make sure that the crate you choose does not have any areas where your dog could scratch or injure itself.
While some dogs like to chew when anxious, others tend to go to the bathroom. If this is the case with your dog, you’ll want to have a way to clean up the mess quickly. Some dog crates come with absorbable mats. While convenient, you can’t necessarily take these mats out of the crate. It becomes challenging to wash them and keep the crate clean.
Rather than looking for crates with mats, you should look for those with trays. These trays are typically either plastic or metal. You can slide them out and hose them down easily. Your dog’s accident puddles on the tray instead of soaking into the material. If your dog tends to lose control of its bladder when you leave, make sure you secure a dog crate with a removable tray.
Leaving toys in the crate with your dog isn’t always an option, as your dog likely chews these to pieces shortly after you leave. Similarly, you also can’t leave a bed in the crate for the very same reason. You need to make sure that the kennel provides your pup with enough ventilation and visibility that they don’t feel secluded.
However, you may also find that storing the crate in a cool place with shade can help calm your dog. You may need to try a couple of different methods to find a solution that helps treat your dog’s fears.
Our Favorite Crates For Separation Anxiety
Curious about which crate you should buy for your dog? While we’ve put together a number of different crates that match specific breeds in other articles (like these for GSD’s, or these for Golden Retrievers) – it’s important to look at crates that can handle a very anxious pup.
Below you’ll find our favorite picks along with the reasons why we like them.
- 20-Gauge steel with reinforced 0.5-inch diameter steel tubes and 20-gauge.
- Grated floor with tray.
- Attach casters to the bottom of the cage to allow for easily rolling the cage to other locations or leave the casters off for added stability.
- Stands up to the toughest abuse from the largest dogs with strong latches and thick steel construction.
This cage is a bit pricier than some of the others on our list, but it consistently ranked as one of the best crates for separation anxiety. If your dog tends to chew while you’re away, this is the crate for you. Pro Select made this cage of 20-gauge steel and reinforced steel tubes that are a ½” in diameter.
There is a floor grate with a tray. This feature makes cleaning up incredibly easy. If your dog has an accident while you’re gone, you can remove the tray and wipe it down easily. Lastly, this dog crate comes with casters, which makes for easy transportation is need-be.
Customers can purchase this crate in two sizes Medium and Large. The medium crate measures 35.75” x 23.5” x 24.5” and costs roughly $390. The large crate measures 40-3/4” x 28-1/8” x 31-3/4” and costs about $580.
We love that this crate is incredibly durable and designed to withstand some serious abuse. The removable floor grate makes for easy cleanup, and the wheels make it easy to move. The two-door latches make it challenging for even the most Houdini-like dogs to escape. It’s also large enough for bedding.
New Age Pet EcoFlex Crate & End Table
- Wood-plastic polymer construction.
- Fits dogs up to 100 pounds.
- Made with stainless steel tubing.
- Easy, no-tool assembly.
- Four different sizes and color combinations.
- Great way to disguise your dog crate.
This dog crate is one of the best for separation because it does not have a “cagey” feel. Instead, this crate doubles as an inconspicuous end table. Customers can purchase this crate in various colors, increasing the chances that it fits into the existing color scheme of your living room.
New Age made this crate of durable hardwood construction, and it looks very similar to teak. Customers can purchase this product in four sizes. It is made from an eco-friendly and recycled plastic-wood polymer composite that is both sleek and durable. It won’t warp, crack, or split. The spindles and latches are made of stainless steel. It comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
We love the versatility of this crate, and that it has a swing-through door with clearance for your pup. It has a 360-degree view thanks to multiple vents. It also doubles up as an end table.
North America Variocage
- Proven safety track record.
- Widely used in Europe.
- Locking doors with hydraulic springs.
- Emergency escape hatch.
- Mimic’s vehicle crumple zones.
- Protects against rear-end collisions.
- Meets European crash test standards.
If you’re looking for a durable, portable option that can withstand the most rigorous of road trips, you’ll want to check out this crate. It’s a bit pricey, but it could be an investment well worth making.
This tough, durable cage has been tested for the front, rear, and roll-over crashes. There is no need to worry about your four-legged friend riding along with its proven performance.
This crate comes in four sizes ranging from small to the max, but it is also adjustable to 14 different sizes to fit not only your pup but your vehicle.
We love that this is certified to meet or exceed various front, rear, and roll-over crash test safety standards. There are various size options and it has a durable construction, including a secure, easy-open door and lock. There’s no chance your dog will escape this crate.
Amazon Basics Foldable Metal Wire
- Dog crate with double front and side door entry.
- Made of durable metal wire.
- Divider, sturdy base tray, and top handle included.
- Reliable manual locking mechanisms for safe and secure containment.
- Folds flat for easy portability and compact storage.
- Removable plastic base tray for easy cleaning.
If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable dog crate, look no further than this option from AmazonBasics. Customers can choose from a variety of sizes to ensure their dog’s comfort. There are six size options available, ranging from 22” to 48”.
You can choose either a single-door or double-door design. The double-door design allows convenient entry from both the front and the side. All doors on the crate feature dual slide-bolt latches, ensuring security.
We also liked this crate because of how portable it was. If you’re not using the crate, you can fold it flat. Not only does that make it easy to carry, but it also makes it easy to store as well. The crate also comes with a removable composite plastic pan that simplifies clean-ups.
We love that this crate is budget-friendly, and is easy to fold up and unfold. The metal wire construction is durable and it provides optimal ventilation and visibility. This crate is perfect for a growing pup due to the divider it comes equipped with, making it perfect to adjust the size and soothe your anxious pup.
Midwest iCrate Double Door Crate
- Drop-pin construction for stability and security.
- Protective E-coat finish for durability.
- Removable plastic tray.
- Metal crate design with three-bolt latches.
- Double-door folding crate.
- Rounded edges for safety.
- Doors are double-latched.
This dog crate from MidWest Homes for Pets is very comparable to the previously-mentioned version from AmazonBasics. Dog parents can fold it flat for storage and travel. Like the AmazonBasics model, this crate comes with either a single or double door. The sizes are also the same, although the MidWest Homes model is also available in 18”.
While the AmazonBasics model is only available in black, the single-door MidWest Homes crates are also available in blue and pink. We also like that the MidWest Homes model comes with roller feet on the bottom of the crate. We found that these roller feet made transportation a breeze and also protected surfaces like hardwood floors.
We love that the carrying handle makes transportation a little easier, and it comes with a one-year warranty. It has different sizes available, and the pan stop feature helps keep the plastic pan in place for accidents while you are away.
Homey Pet Open Top Heavy Duty
- Lockable casters make it convenient to move the cage.
- Ultra Strong pull-out tray provides more convenience for cleaning.
- Plastic floor grid for better protection of pet’s feet, and provides a more comfortable space for pet.
- Nontoxic finished surface.
- All metal heavy-duty design a the safety chain lock.
If you have multiple pets in your home who struggle with separation pain, you’ll want to consider this product from Homey Pet. These crates are stackable, allowing you to put pets in their crate without having to worry about them driving each other up the wall.
One of the things that stands out about this dog grate is that it opens from the top. The other crates on our list have one or two doors on the front and sides of the crate. However, the open top on this kennel makes it easier to put your dog in and out.
We love that this crate features a heavy-duty metal design and has a safety auto lock design. Its Nontoxic finished surface works well for dogs, and it has a pull-out tray that’s easy for cleaning. You can stack up to three of these crates at a time as well.
Walnest Heavy Duty
- Made of rust and corrosion-resistant steel.
- Nontoxic finished surface keep your dog healthy and render excellent anti-rust ability.
- 4 wheels for convenient portability and easy storage and 2 lockable wheels to keep your dog crate securely in place.
- Removable (slide-out) plastic tray.
- All hardware included, just need to fit it with four wheels and screw bolts, locks were pre-assembled.
- Double door design.
The size options on this crate are a bit limited compared to some of the others on our list, but during testing, we found that this was one of the most durable products available. Unfortunately, it’s only available in three different sizes: 37”, 42”, and 48”. However, customers can choose from numerous colors, ranging from brown to silver. The crate ranges in cost from about $135 to $200.
Unlike some other crates, which feature a plastic tray on the bottom for spills, this crate has a steel tray. Silverylake designed this tray so that you can pull it out quickly, making it one of the most accessible trays to clean. This crate also has a double-door design, with one in the front of the cage and one on top.
This kennel also comes with four casters so that you can relocate it quickly if necessary. Two of the casters lock, which prevents accidental movement. The crate is very sturdy, with a weight capacity of 330 pounds.
We love that the all-steel square bar is resistant to deformation, and the tray is easy to slide out. Silverylake also has great customer service, and this crate is extremely easy to clean and set up making it a great choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if my dog has separation anxiety?
There are a few tell-tale signs that could indicate whether your dog has deals with this disorder. Typically, if your dog tends to get into mischief while you’re gone, this is a strong indicator. This can include everything from chewing up a shoe to ripping everything out of the garbage. Dogs with separation anxiety may not be able to control their bowels either.
This can be the case even if you’re only gone for ten minutes. Other signs can include excessive pacing, which is a sign of nervousness. If your dog tends to panic before you leave and barks loudly or otherwise prevent you from going, is another signal.
If you suspect that your dog may suffer from separation anxiety, the best thing that you can do is head to your trusted vet. Your vet will listen to the symptoms and come up with a proper diagnosis. The vet can also give you medicine and other tools to help your dog cope with its anxiety.
Does separation anxiety come out of nowhere?
Yes, it’s entirely possible for some dogs to inherently have anxiety traits and be more nervous when their owner leaves. For instance, people-pleasing dog breeds like retrievers are often prone to be left alone.
However, it is also something that can arise over time. For instance, if the dog experiences a traumatic event, it could lead to the development of separation anxiety. Other significant life changes, such as a move or switching to a new family, could also increase your dog’s likelihood of suffering.
What are some ways to combat separation anxiety?
If your dog happens to suffer from separation pain, there are a few things that you can do to help ease their pain. For instance, you can try getting your dog more exercise. Not only does this wear your dog out so that there’s not as much nervous energy, but it also raises your dog’s endorphin levels.
Another thing that you can do to alleviate separation is not to make a big deal of your coming and going. If coming and going is seen as routine, then it won’t be of any significance to your pet. However, if you turn it into a big event, you’re drawing attention to the fact that the dog is going to be alone. And, if you comfort your dog before you go, you’re feeding into its nervous energy and rewarding this behavior.
How does a crate help?
Crate training is vital for any new dog, as it can help with things like housebreaking and discipline. Your dog should be well-acclimated with its crate. You should not just put your dog into one of the crates on our list and leave for the day, especially if your dog is used to roaming around the house freely.
Take time to teach your dog to accept the crate and recognize that crate time could be a positive. Crate training your dog shows it that it’s ok to be alone. If you’re looking to get your dog used to a crate, you can start by feeding its meals there or by giving the dog its favorite toys or treats during this time.
Are all dogs the same when it comes to separation anxiety?
In short, no, not at all. There are varying degrees of anxiety from which dogs can suffer. For instance, some dogs suffer from severe depression. In these cases, dogs can bend or chew through metal or plastic bars. Other dogs may suffer from generalized anxiety, which is a state of constant stress. In these cases, your dog may exhibit some of the symptoms of separation anxiety, such as pulling apart a crate, even when you are home.
Your vet could also classify your dog as a “destructive chewer.” Numerous dogs suffer from this, and it can stem from many different root causes. Similarly, you should remember that your dog’s size and strength have a lot to do with it as well. Consider it like this – it’s far more impressive for a chihuahua to chew through a metal crate than it is for a German Shephard to do so.
The most important thing is that you consider what your pet needs most. Does your pet tend to chew when anxious? Perhaps consider an ultra-durable crate. Does your pet go to the bathroom when you’re gone? Look for a crate that provides easy clean-up. We hope that you found our buyer’s guide and FAQs section informative and that you feel comfortable choosing a crate for your dog.