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Best Dog Crates

The Importance of Crate Training

For both pets and dog owners crate training can literally be a lifesaver. Inevitably, dogs will need to be left alone at home at some point in their lives. Dog Crates can be a great tool in these situations.

Dogs and puppies can suffer from separation anxiety. So, what does that mean exactly? Separation anxiety can make your dog destructive, chewing or scratching at objects in your home.

Recommended Dog Crates Comparison

Last update on 2017-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Not only can this be upsetting if your dog damages objects that are important to you, but it can also get extremely expensive if a dog is chewing walls, the legs of your bed or scratching through your couch.

More worryingly, it can also prove deadly. Dogs have the potential to chew through electric cords and could accidentally electrocute themselves. They can also relieve themselves on power bars or extension cords, also causing electrocution.

In some instances, dogs may mistakenly eat poison or swallow sharp objects that they are unable to pass later. This can kill your precious pet or cost you thousands of dollars in vet bills.

A crate offers a great containment solution and one that, if properly introduced to your dog will grow to love. A crate can also allow your dog to travel with you by rail or airplane. Most trains and airplanes do not allow a dog (other than a service animal) to travel in the passenger area.

Crate training also makes road travel safer. As much as we love to travel with our dogs, they can be distracting and may constantly try to climb into the front with you. This can cause serious accidents. Additionally, you do not want a 65 lb dog flying into the back of your head in the case of a collision.

Some crates (especially the ones approved for air travel) can also offer an extra layer of protection to your pooch in the unfortunate event of a collision. They can protect him front being crushed or ejected from the vehicle.

Crate training can also be a very useful tool in potty training your pup. Dogs are naturally very clean animals and will not relieve themselves where they have to sleep unless they are forced to.

OK, so now you might be wondering how to get your pet to accept being crated. Well, let’s take a look.


A Crate Is Like a Den

All dogs are descendants of the wolf. Wolves and many other wild dogs are den animals. This means that the mother wolf and baby wolves live and sleep in their den while the pups are still too young to travel with the pack.

A den in the wild offers many benefits. Since they are born blind and deaf, wolf pups are sitting ducks for predators. A den is a great place to conceal them while they are young and defenseless. It also offers great protection from the elements. They will not be rained on and they can huddle together in cold conditions.

A den has one entrance and exit. This means that no intruder can get in unnoticed. The bottom line? Dens in the wild are the difference between survival and death.

A crate is very similar to a den. With the right training, your dog can learn to not only accept but to consider his crate a safe haven. So, what does that mean exactly?

Crate Training Basics

Like any training, it is easiest to crate train a puppy. However, with a little patience, an older dog can be crate trained too!

The first thing to do is to ensure you have the right size of crate. Although this may seem insignificant, it is essential to your dog’s training and with an incorrectly sized crate, you are setting the poor pup up to fail. Your dog should be able to sit, lie down and stand without any part of his body touching the crate, but not much else.

If the crate is too small, your dog will feel uncomfortable and imprisoned. He will never see it as a sanctuary. If it is too large, he might relieve himself at one end and be able to get away from his mess at the other. This will render your crate a useless potty training tool.

On the subject of dogs relieving themselves, if your dog is ever forced to soil his crate, then you are leaving him in there for too long. Even an adult dog should never be crated for more than 4-5 hours at a time, except if they sleep in their crate overnight.

To transform your dog’s crate into the perfect refuge, you should include some homely items for him. Many people like to put a ticking clock in the crate with their puppy, as it will remind the puppy of his mother’s heartbeat.

A nice soft bed will ensure he is comfortable. A few worn pieces of clothing will remind him of your presence. A bone or chew toy will distract him and chewing has been shown to relieve anxiety. Your dog should also only be crated after he has been well exercised. The best crates for dogs keep them safe and entertained while allowing them to feel at home.

You should start by putting the crate in a high-traffic area in your home. This way, the dog can get used to it while still being around his pack (that’s you!). Leave the door open and encourage your dog to check it out. One trick that we’ve used for dogs is to banish a favorite toy or treat to the crate, so he has to be in there to enjoy it.

Always start by leaving the door open. As he becomes accustomed to it, you can start closing the door, but only for very short periods, like 15 seconds to start with. The key here is to let him out before he starts barking and then reward him.

When crate training a puppy in particular—but with many older dogs as well—you never want to reinforce barking or whining by letting them out of the crate. This will teach the dog that every time he barks, he gets out! If your dog does start barking, wait until he has quietened down and then let him out.

Start working up to progressively longer times. At first, you will want to do small jumps, maybe from 15 seconds to a minute. Then, as time goes by, you can start increasing the time span with longer gaps, something like 20 minutes to half an hour.

The number one thing you must not do when crate training is to use the crate as a form of punishment. Never, ever throw him in there when you’re angry or when he has misbehaved. Otherwise, he will start to associate negatively with the crate.

dog in a crate

Types of Crates

So, you have decided that crate training your pet will be both beneficial to you and your furry friend. There are a variety of different crate styles and options available to you. Their appropriateness will largely depend on your specific dog.

The best dog kennel for your pup will depend on his breed, size, behavior, and habits.

Wire Dog Crates

This type of crate can be used for any size dog. They will stand up to moderate—but not extreme—abuse and will contain a well-behaved dog. Wire crates offer good ventilation and 360 views for your pet, but if you find that this is distressing for him, just throw a blanket over the top of the crate.

These crates are usually foldable and fairly easy to store. A standard wire crate will not be approved for airplane travel but can be used in the car, if it fits.

Although not particularly attractive, these crates usually have a tray in the bottom that makes them easy to clean.

Plastic Dog Crates

Plastic crates can be used with any size of dog, but their best use is probably with a small dog or puppy as they can double as a carrying case and approved crates can even be taken on an airplane.

They are easy to clean, but not as durable as a wire crate. Therefore, if you have a destructive or anxious dog, be careful with this style—you don’t want to come home to a destroyed crate and wonder whether your pup has eaten large chunks of plastic.

Plastic crates are usually affordable and light. As far as different styles go, they offer the worst ventilation, as the door is the only air source. When compares with wire crates, they are also more difficult to fold down and store.

Soft-Sided Dog Crates

Soft-sided dog crates are best suited for dogs with a calm demeanor that is used to being crated. They are a great option for allowing your dog to participate in family activities such as camping and some even come with ground stakes!

As soft-sided dog crates are made of fabric, they offer amazing ventilation but are a poor choice for a puppy being crate trained or a dog with destructive tendencies.

Although difficult to clean, soft-sided dog crates are extremely light and simply fold down for easy storage. Soft-sided dog kennels can be used as a carrying case for smaller breeds. Many also come with pockets so that you can carry bowls, toys, and food around in them.

Heavy-Duty Dog Crates

If you have a Houdini on your hands or you need to contain a strong, powerful breed of dog, heavy-duty indestructible dog crates are your best option.

Most of these crates are approved for rail and airplane travel. They offer better and safer crating option than even a wire crate if you have a pup hell-bent on escape.

These crates are usually made of reinforced metal like steel or aluminum, which makes them heavy, but impossible to bend or chew through. Many also have features like double locks on the outside of the door.

The major downside of heavy-duty crates is that they can be really expensive. They are a large upfront investment but can save you money in the long run by preventing vet bills and the cost of multiple replacement crates.

Fashion Dog Crate

Fashion dog crates are designed to contain a fairly well-behaved dog while being attractive and blending into your home’s design.

Fashion Dog CrateThese crates can be expensive, but if you want a crate you can have in your living space and will not be rushing to fold up and put away when you are expecting guests, then this is likely to be your best option.

These crates are not designed for highly destructive dogs as they are often made of wood or other nice-looking materials that can be easily chewed through.

The Best Dog Crate Reviews

Now that you are aware of all your crating options, and you know how to size a crate, as well as the crate training basics, we will share with you our top-rated dog crates. We have taken into account key factors such as price, quality, ease of cleaning, and dog comfort to offer an honest guide to the best dog kennels.

1. MidWest Life Stages Folding Metal Dog Crate, by Midwest Homes for Pets

MidWest Life Stages Folding Metal Dog Crate
  • Double door metal dog crate, 36L x 24W x 27H inches
  • Includes free divider panel, leak-proof plastic pan, carrying handle, rubber feet to protect floors and a 1 year Manufacturer's Warrranty. We manufacture the...

Last update on 2017-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This wire dog crate comes in six different sizes and dog owners can opt whether they prefer a double-door or a single-door design. This dog crate offers maximum visibility and ventilation for your dog.

It has a removable pan in the bottom for quick and easy cleaning. This crate also has rubber feet, designed to protect your floor from scratching if the crate moves around.

This crate folds down flat so is easy to store and transport. It is also easy to set up and fold down, and doesn’t require any tools. It also has a handle for easy carrying while the crate is in the folded position. This dog crate features a two-sided locking mechanism to secure the door closed while you’re away.

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This dog crate also comes with a divider, so that you can accommodate a growing puppy without having to purchase several different sized crates.

However, this crate is not really designed to contain an extremely anxious or destructive dog. If he is determined enough he may be able to bend the bars. In addition, if your dog is an escape artist type, he will easily be able to open the latches on this door.

ProsCons
  • Good visibility and ventilation
  • Divider to accommodate growing puppies
  • Easy to store
  • Easy to clean
  • Latches are easy to open

2. Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel, by Petmate

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Ultra Vari Kennel 28" 25-30LB
  • Durable plastic shell comes with heavy-duty easy to assemble hardware.
  • Convenient tie-down strap holes allow you to zip-tie the kennel together for added security during travel.

Last update on 2017-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This plastic dog crate comes in four different sizes and is reasonably priced. Although plastic crates typically offer the worst ventilation and visibility, this one has a grated door, a ventilation window on each side and features rear vents, which partially remedy that problem.

You can feel good about purchasing this dog kennel as it is made from ¼-recycled materials. This crate is approved for air travel; however, always check with individual airlines before traveling. The PetMate Ultra Vari Kennel has a moated design on its interior, shaped this way so that your dog will not be sitting in his own mess in the case of an accident.

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This plastic dog crate is easy to put together and assemble. It requires no tools. However, once it is set up you likely will not want to take it down and fold it away after each use.

This crate features a handle on top for easy double use as a carrier. However, several users have reported that the handle fell off when they tried to use it. It is fairly resilient and will contain smaller dog breeds with anxiety issues. Conversely, if you have a large or powerful dog breed, the crate and latch on the door will not properly contain your pup.

ProsCons
  • Strong, durable plastic
  • Easy to assemble
  • More ventilation than plastic crates typically provide
  • Approved for air travel
  • Flimsy handle
  • Door latch is easy to open

3. Mr. Peanut’s Deluxe Soft Sided Dog House Style Portable Pet Crate

Soft Sided Pet Carrier with Steel Frame, 24X16X16" Dog House Style Portable Pet Crate for Cats & Dogs, Designed for Pet Comfort & Safety, Padded Fleece Bedding, Washable Fabric Cover, Locking Zipper
  • Do you like being locked in a closet? We didn't think so and neither does your pet. We designed this portable crate to take away the claustrophobic feeling your...
  • Designed for Maximum Pet Comfort with lightweight aluminum tubular framing * NOT for Airline Travel * Makes a Great Portable Dog House. Please check your size...

Last update on 2017-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This soft-sided pet crate is intended to be used by fairly well-behaved pets that are accustomed to being crated. A soft-sided dog crate should never be used to crate a puppy or overly anxious dog. Although made with more durable materials, any dog will be able to scratch or bite his way through a soft-sided crate.

This soft-sided pet crate comes complete with handles so can be used as a carrier for a smaller animal. It also boasts a sturdy yet lightweight aluminum frame, which allows for quick and easy fold up and tear down and does not require tools. It is also incredibly light, making it easy to travel with or store.

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This dog crate will not keep your dog safe in a car crash and is not approved for travel on trains or airplanes. It does, however, come with a strap on the bottom, which allows the crate to be secured with a seatbelt.

This dog crate has a front and side door, which makes it easy to lift a smaller dog out of the top while using as a carrier. It also has darkened mesh windows on all sides for proper ventilation and better visibility for your pup.

The fabric on this dog kennel is machine washable. This crate also comes with a mat to help keep him comfortable. The mat is easy to clean. The Mr. Peanuts pet crate is designed to decrease anxiety and feelings of claustrophobia in your dog.

The design of this soft-sided pet crate includes rounded corners to prevent scratches or damage to your walls or the inside of your car.

ProsCons
  • Sturdy
  • Roomy
  • Easy to clean
  • Appropriate ventilation and visibility
  • Light and easy to store
  • Bulky
  • Not appropriate for airline travel
  • Not appropriate for an anxious dog or puppy

4. ProSelect Empire Dog Cage, by Proselect

Sale
ProSelect Empire Cages - Medium
  • 20-Gauge Steel Cage - This ProSelect Empire dog cage is extremely strong with reinforced 0.5-inch diameter steel tubes and 20-gauge steel
  • Medium-Sized Cage - This cage features interior dimensions of 35.75 inches x 23.5 inches with 24.5 inches of height; a large sized cage is available too

Last update on 2017-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are the owner of a Houdini dog or a strong, powerful canine in need of containment, this dog crate will truly be your best friend. The manufacturers of this heavy-duty dog kennel claim that this may be the world’s strongest dog crate.

The design of this dog kennel features a heavy-duty steel frame and bars that is reinforced at stress points. There are two locks on the outside of the door, well out of reach of your pooch.

This crate also has a grated floor and a removable tray, which makes for really easy cleaning, as long as the floor is not covered by a bed or matt.

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This dog crate is rust proof, so you can use it outside if need be. However, be wary of using any metal crate outside on a hot summer’s day as the metal can heat up and scald your dog.

This crate is heavy, which makes it tip proof and it also has four wheels (two of which are lockable to keep the crate from skidding and scratching), so it is still possible to move the crate.

This crate is expensive but will end up saving you the cost of multiple replacements. It is also easy to put together. However, you probably don’t want to be taking it apart after each use.

ProsCons
  • Appropriate for containing large, powerful breeds
  • Reinforced steel construction
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to set up
  • Heavy/bulky
  • Expensive

5. Crown Pet Crate Table, by Crown Pet Products

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Crown Pet Products Pet Crate Wood Dog Crate Furniture End Table, Medium Size with Espresso Finish
  • Dog crate furniture featuring durable hardwood construction that looks similar to teak
  • Beautiful stained and lacquered finish just like fine furniture with high quality mortise and tenon construction

Last update on 2017-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This luxury fashion dog crate comes in two sizes and you can choose between three different finishes.

If you are looking for a crate for your fairly well behaved pet that won’t destroy your home’s aesthetic appeal, then this is it. Keep in mind that wood—while durable—can be chewed and damaged by a stressed out or anxious dog. You also don’t want your dog to knock over objects resting on the top of this piece of crate furniture.

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The door on this fashion pet crate opens inwardly which makes it easy to keep out of the way and is unobtrusive. However, the crate needs to be emptied in order to open the crate completely. It is also well ventilated and offers great visibility for your pet.

The floor is waterproof, easy to clean and repels odors. The crate also features furniture feet to prevent scratching and damage to your floors. Although expensive, the crate is also easy to assemble and as a piece of furniture, it looks rather attractive, so you won’t want to take it down!

ProsCons
  • Very attractive
  • Sturdy
  • Door opens inwardly
  • Good ventilation and visibility
  • Waterproof floors
  • Prevents damage to your home
  • Expensive
  • Not appropriate for travel of any kind
  • Crate needs to be empty to fully open the door inwardly


The best crate for your pet depends largely on your dog’s behavior and how it will be used.

If you have a well-behaved, non-destructive dog, you can use any of these crates, but probably don’t need to be spending the extra money on the heavy-duty dog crate.

If you have an escape artist or highly destructive dog on your hands, then we recommend only the ProSelect crate. If you often travel with your dog, the plastic crate may be your best option.

If you love your dog but want to keep your home looking nice, the crate furniture table is a beautiful option. The soft-sided crate makes it easy to travel with by car and it is incredibly light, whereas the wire crate is a very affordable option for dogs with fairly normal behavior.

As a dog owner, it is important to assess your needs and your budget while making the decision about which dog crate is best for your home. We hope that these reviews have made this decision easier for you!