Which dog crate is best?

When it comes to training, a dog crate can be an indispensable tool. Dogs are den animals that require safe spaces to retreat, and a crate provides this for them. The best dog crates are comfortable and secure for your pet at every stage of their training journey.

For crate training at home, the MidWest Homes for Pets Life Stages Dog Crate is a great choice. It’s sturdy but comfortable, moves on rollers to protect your floors and comes apart easily for cleaning.

What to know before you buy a dog crate

Material

Dog crates are available in three basic materials: wire, plastic and fabric.

  • Wire: Wire crates are widely available and offer good ventilation — important for hot climates. Some offer two-door access as well as dividers that help you customize the size of the crate as your dog grows. This type of crate also comes with a plastic tray in the bottom that can be removed for easy cleaning. On the downside, some dogs do not like the exposed nature of this crate, and wire crates are heavier than other materials.  The noise of these crates (and the potential damage to your floors) is another challenge.
  • Plastic: These crates are used frequently as cat carriers, but they do come in dog sizes as well. They are lightweight and often the best choice for travel in cars and on planes. Some dogs feel more secure in a plastic crate with solid sides, but they still appreciate the wire door to be able to see outside. These crates can be difficult to keep clean, and they have less ventilation. If you live in a hot climate, this could result in dangerous temperatures for your dog. 
  • Fabric: Fabric dog crates are somewhere in the middle of wire and plastic options. They are soft and comfortable for your dog, and inexperienced crate trainers might prefer their more humane appearance. They are easy to pack and are lightweight for travel. However, one destructive dog can ruin a fabric crate quickly. These are also challenging to keep clean and some dogs can figure out how to open the zippers. 

Space

The amount of space you have for the crate will determine the type of crate you purchase. A fully assembled wire crate for a large dog has a big footprint. If space is limited and you only crate your dog occasionally, you might select a fabric crate instead.

Do note that fabric crates for dogs over 30 pounds are rare. 

Period of crating

If you are planning to keep your dog in a crate while you are at work, you’ll need something sturdy and dog-proof. However, if your crate is generally only used to transport your dog to vet visits or for travel, a less rigid crate (i.e. a fabric crate) is a good option. 

What to look for in a quality dog crate

Foldable

While fabric crates can be easily folded, you will want to make sure that wire crates can be disassembled and packed flat. This is important if your crate is large and you want to be able to store it easily between uses. 

Removable tray

The removable tray that comes with most wire crates slides out easily and can be hosed off and disinfected. Some dog owners only use crates when their dog is not feeling well, and this feature helps you keep your dog’s sick bay clean. 

Easy to clean

Along with the removable tray, other parts of your dog’s crate should be easy to clean. Some fabric crates can be popped in the washing machine, and plastic crates can usually be hosed off.

How much you can expect to spend on a dog crate

The size and material of the dog crate you choose will dramatically affect its price.  Expect to spend $20-$150. 

Dog crate FAQ

Why should you use a crate for your dog?

A. Some dog owners are nervous about using crates for their dogs. Although it may seem cruel to lock your dog into a small space, dogs are den animals that prefer a dark and protected area. It helps many anxious dogs to be calm and quiet when their owner is not around.

Additionally, because dogs will not soil what they see as their living space, a crate helps with potty training. They can also prevent nervous dogs from chewing and damaging furniture and other areas of the house while you are not home. 

How can you make a dog more comfortable in its crate?

A. The best way to make sure your dog is comfortable in its crate is to purchase the correct size. 

  • For the length: Add 2-4 inches to the measurement of your dog from nose to tail base. 
  • For the width: Add 2-4 inches to the measurement of your dog from the floor to the top of its head when seated.

Your dog should be able to comfortably turn around.

You can also place a soft dog bed in the bottom of the crate and add a few toys for them to play with. If you will be gone for a long time, a small dish of water may be appropriate, but keep in mind that an active or anxious dog may spill the water. 

What are the best dog crates to buy?

Top dog crate

MidWest Homes for Pets Life Stages Dog Crate

MidWest Homes for Pets Life Stages Dog Crate

What you need to know: It’s comfortable and collapses easily for storage.

What you’ll love: It’s durable and easy to set up. It has an electro-coat finish that resists rust and a secure latch that even the trickiest dogs can’t open. It comes in six sizes and is available with either a single or double door.

What you should consider: It’s heavy, so it doesn’t work well as a portable crate.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dog crate for the money

Petmate Two Door Pet Kennel

Petmate Two Door Pet Kennel

What you need to know: Loading from the top is easier for some pet owners.

What you’ll love: It’s made of sturdy plastic with one door on the side and one at the top. The frame is made of wire, which adds to its durability, and it’s available in two sizes (for dogs up to 20 pounds). It’s easy to close and travels well.

What you should consider: Assembly can be challenging, and some users thought the measurements were off.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Worth checking out

EliteField Three-door Folding Soft Dog Crate

EliteField Three-door Folding Soft Dog Crate

What you need to know: This is best for traveling canines or those who prefer a softer crate.

What you’ll love: Mesh doors allow your pet to have a full view and fresh air. It’s easy to travel with and has its own carrying case. The doors have zipper locks. It’s available in 16 colors and five sizes.

What you should consider: It’s difficult to keep clean.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

 

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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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