Some people don’t like the idea of dog crates, but they serve many uses. You’ve probably heard that, in the wild, wolves and dogs dig dens and a crate mimics this environment. The crate provides a safe, secure place for the dog to withdraw and be by himself. Many dogs prefer to sleep in them. But there are other reasons why you may want to get a crate for your dog, too. Unless you have a Toy breed that can fit under an airline seat, a crate will be necessary for your dog if you ever want him to fly with you. Crates can also be very helpful in housetraining a puppy.
Since crates can have so many different purposes, how do you choose one for your dog? Which one should you get? How do you know what size to get? And, should you get a wire crate or a plastic one?
These are all good questions and some of the answers will depend on how you’ll be using the crate.
One very important way that many people use a crate is for traveling with their dog. If you plan to fly with your dog then, most likely, you will need to get an airline-approved crate. If your dog is small enough to fit in a piece of carry-on luggage that can be stowed beneath the seat in front of you, then you won’t need a crate, but otherwise dogs that fly, even if their owner is flying with them, will need a crate.
Airline-approved crates are the hard plastic crates with air openings in them and a metal grate for a door. When you look at crates in a store or online the information about the crate should state somewhere that the crate is airline-approved. Most hard plastic crates are acceptable to airlines but it’s good to be safe. These crates come in various sizes, depending on your dog’s breed or height. The airline will charge you by your dog’s weight, but when you deliver your dog to the counter to be put on the plane, the employees will be most concerned about whether or not your dog can stand up comfortably in the crate. This means that you may have to buy a crate that is slightly larger than your dog actually needs, or that is recommended by the manufacturer. But don’t buy a crate that is too large. You will be charged according to the size of the crate and flying with dogs and shipping them is expensive. In addition, if your crate is size 500 or over, smaller planes may not be able to accommodate the crate on their baggage handling facilities and you won’t be able to fly your dog into certain airports. (No one said that flying with a dog was fun or easy.)
You can use the same kind of hard plastic crate for traveling with your dog in your vehicle. Driving with a loose dog in the car can be dangerous so it’s a good idea to have your dog crated when he’s in the car. A hard plastic crate provides him with some protection if you are in an accident. It can keep him from being tossed around the car or from being set loose on the road. It takes a considerable impact to put a dent in one of these hard plastic crates or to make the door spring open.
You can use the same crate at home. Many dogs like the privacy of the hard plastic crates since they are enclosed. They do have a den-like feel to them. Or, you may prefer a wire or metal crate. These crates are made of lightweight metal and there are styles that collapse and fold down like a suitcase. They can be put away when they’re not needed. If you like to move the crate around a lot, from room to room, then this crate can be a good option. These crates weigh less than the hard plastic crates and are easier to manage.
People who go to dog shows and other events with their dogs often have a hard plastic crate in their vehicle for traveling and take a collapsible metal crate with them for the event. You may need to crate your dog at the show while you go to the restroom or while you’re grooming another dog, for instance. A crate gives your dog a place to relax while you are doing things you have to do. Sometimes it’s impossible to stand next to your dog on a leash all day and your dog will appreciate being able to take a nap while you’re nearby.
You can use either kind of crate for housetraining a puppy . Some people like to get a puppy a small crate that will fit him while he’s a puppy and then buy an adult-sized crate when he’s grown, but this isn’t strictly necessary. It’s fine if you want to go ahead and purchase a crate that will fit your puppy when he’s an adult. If your puppy is having accidents in the crate you can simply buy a partition to make the crate a little smaller. This will help encourage your puppy not to soil his sleeping area. But remember that a puppy can’t go very long without going outside to potty. You can’t put a puppy in a crate and leave him there for long periods of time. The crate can encourage your puppy to stick to a good housetraining schedule, but it should never be misused.
Some people like to use canvas crates for their dogs but these are not recommended for most dogs. They are made of lightweight canvas material and many dogs will tear through them. If your dog is very well-trained and you can trust him to stay in a crate, then you may want to consider using a canvas crate. But, for the majority of dogs, and especially for puppies, canvas crates are not recommended.
When choosing a crate you can usually depend on the manufacturer’s suggestions for your breed. If you have a mixed breed then find a breed that is similar in size and follow those suggestions. Your dog should be able to stand and lie down comfortably in the crate but it should not be excessively big. Remember that the goal is to provide a place that gives your dog a feeling of safety. You’re not buying a crate that will allow your dog to completely stretch out. He should be able to sleep comfortably. He should be able to stand without his head touching the top of the crate.
You can check pet supply stores for crates as well as home supply stores. They often have crates, sometimes on sale. Online dog supply web sites usually carry crates, too. Do compare prices because there can be a wide range for the same product at different places and on different web sites.
Crates are very useful and serve many purposes. Decide what kind of crate you need for your dog and then check around. The good thing about crates is that they tend to last for years so, once you buy one, you probably won’t need to buy another one for a very long time.