The right size crate for the right size dog.by Ed Blood
Apr 11, 2004
Popular Products in BooksThe Bottom Line Choosing the right crate for your dog is extremely important, get the right crate for the right dog.
My wife gets asked a lot (and so do I), what size crate should I get for my dog? This editorial is in regards to indoor crates, for while youre at work, asleep etc.
The answer is quite simple. You want a crate that is large enough for the dog to walk into it upright, turn around, and lie down. They should be able to stand upright without squatting.
Doesnt sound like much does it?
First, lets take a look back. Dogs are domesticated wolves, and they still have a lot of the wolf instincts in them, one being their den (or home). These dens are usually small, either under a tree or in a small cave / hole in the ground. Its their bedroom, and they like cozy, not luxurious. They dont need a lot of room because theyll sleep most of the time while theyre in there.
People also ask, what about accidents. Well, we dont try to have accidents in out bedrooms, and neither do dogs, just make sure you walk them before you put them in the crate for the day. This is another point where the small size comes in handy. You dont want your dog doing that in the crate, and the dog doesnt want to lie in it. If you give them an oversized crate, theyll have the space to do that, and be able to lie on the other side. To some of them, that would be acceptable, and unless you catch them in the act, it will continue to be acceptable to them.
Thats simple, but its a small part of the question.
What kind of crate should we get? That all depends on your usage and the dog.
If the crate is going to be stationary all the time, then Id suggest one of the hard plastic ones with the metal gate door (such as VariKennel and SkyKennel). These look like large cat carriers without the handle on the top. The advantages are:
- They tend to cost the least.
- Theyre solid and therefore, sturdy. You can even use them as a table if theyre secure and the dog isnt too active inside them). If the dog is very active, these crates will not tear apart like the tent crates.
- Theyre safe. If sometime falls on them, the dog wont get hurt (unless its a huge item, obviously).
- Theyre secure. Theyre dark and feel most like a den to the dog.
- Many also have an option for a cedar lining in the bottom so dog hair, dirt, and other contaminants will fall below it, and not add extra dirtiness to the dog, plus they can smell nice to us humans.
But, these are large, heavy, and bulky. You dont want to move them around too much.
What if youre going to move it around a lot? There is a wide variety of collapsible crates available, but these do cost more. There are primarily two types of collapsible crates, tents and metal cages. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The metal cages:
- Collapse for easy storage and moving
- Are strong for active dogs
- Are strong for protection (fallen objects etc..)
- Are generally less expensive than the tent crates
But, these can also be heavy (as much or more than the plastic crates listed above).
The tent crates:
- Are very lightweight
- Easy to set up and take down for easy storage and mobility.
But, if you have an active dog, they can easily chew though the sides, knock them over, and they offer no protection from fallen objects and tend to be expensive.
Recently, a new crate has arrived at shows, we have one, and we love it (and the puppy gives it four paws up because he loves to sleep on his back in there). Its made by a company called Noz2Noz and its a cross between a tent crate and a metal cage. Its collapsible, the supports are metal (not plastic or PVC piping like in a lot of tent crates), the sires are strong, and its super lightweight. My wife doesnt even ask me to carry it! :)
What about extras? If youre worried about ventilation, there is a wide variety of battery powered clip on fans you can get, or just head to your local department store and buy an inexpensive oscillating fan. Comfort? Your pup is spending all day in there, make it comfortable for them. Many pet stores sell beds for crates, while these are nice, they tend to be pricey. Many dollar stores sell small sections of rugs, and / or towels. You can also go t many fabric stores and buy inexpensive fabric by the yard to make them a nice impromptu bed. Cheap pillows can also work. You want the ultimate in thrifty? Use old bath towels or blankets (according to the puppy, these are usually the best because theyre broken in soft, not rough, and smell like we do, so hes not so lonely). There are endless possibilities for bedding in the crates to fit all budget and dog types. If your dog is a chewer, Id suggest going the less expensive route (plus some Granniks Bitter Apple). I would highly recommend the old towel part, even after we wash it, it still smells like us to them, and they love us, so theyre thinking of us while theyre in doggie dreamland.
When choosing a crate for your dog, try to look at all the choices that are out there, and make the best one for you and your dog. Dont skimp back if the dog may hurt itself in the crate, or chew though it. Spend the extra dollar to make your best friend happy.
What do we use? My wife and I have 7 (oh my god, that many???) crates. We have 3 set up perm. In the house, 2 plastic ones for the Belgians, and a tent crate for the collie (which can also be used for overnight trips).. IN her car is a tent crate for the collie and a metal cage crate for the Belgian (both secured). In my car we also keep another metal cage crate for whoever may need it (overnight trips etc.). We also have a Noz2Noz that we use in the bedroom (for the puppy overnight) and for overnight trips.