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puppy in a dog crate bag

Everyone knows that crating a dog has proven advantages. You get peace of mind, your pooch is safe from chewing or eating potentially dangerous objects in your house, and your possessions are safe from destruction.

You know that your pet is at home and probably asleep instead of pacing around the house searching for you. It also makes transporting your dog much easier and provides a great option for having your pet participate in outdoor family activities such as camping.

Your dog also benefits. It is comfortable and the little cave dweller inside it feels safe in an enclosed space. It also allows them to feel safe while they are alone and can serve as an animal’s personal sanctuary.

Our Top 5 Choices – Best Soft Dog Crates

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

Every pet parent wants to do what’s best for their animal, but you may not even be aware of all your crating options or of your alternatives to a wire crate or heavy-duty dog crate. Well, let’s take a look.


Soft-Sided Dog Crate vs Hard-Sided Dog Crate

Choosing the right crate can be a chore, but have you even considered a soft-sided crate for your canine companion? Let’s look at how your dog may benefit from soft sided dog crates, as opposed to the traditional hard-sided crates (read more about them here).

The Good

  • A canvas dog crate is comfy. You can rest assured that your furry friend is relaxed in this usually fully padded crate even if it’s leaning up against the sides.
  • A soft-sided crate has an air-ventilation system, which means that your pet breathes better and is able to see better, than with a hard-sided crate. However, it will feel more secure than it would in a cage.
  • The lightweight design makes this type of crate a breeze to transport and to store. This is especially handy if you travel a lot and like to bring your buddy along.

The Bad

  • These don’t usually come in huge sizes, so if you have a dog over 70 lbs, this may not be a realistic choice for you.
  • If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and tends to chew, these crates are less resilient than a traditional hard-sided crate.

The Ugly

  • Potty Training a puppy? A soft-sided crate is difficult and GROSS to clean!
  • If you’re a frequent traveler, your dog may get hurt. These crates will not protect your dog in a carrier bay on a train or in a plane.

And the Winner Is…

The appropriateness of a soft-sided crate largely depends on your dog. Is it a medium-sized adult, is non-destructive, and is used to (maybe even enjoys) being crated? If so, a soft-sided crate may be great for you! A puppy or a more anxious dog may benefit more from a hard crate with a nice soft bed in it. Also, if you’re a frequent traveler, you may want a hard crate as a backup to keep your pup safer during transit.

Size Matters

Ok, so you might be wondering which size of crate would be most appropriate for your dog. You want him to have as much room as possible, right? WRONG! Whether you decide on a soft-sided pet crate or its traditional alternate, choosing the correctly sized crate is crucial for your dog. In fact, choosing the wrong size can nullify all the benefits of crating your pet!

So what does that mean exactly? Too big, and the dog can relieve itself in a corner, and then place itself at the other end of the crate, happily away from its mess. A crate too large also loses the cozy den feel of a crate to your pet.

Too small can be just as bad. Your dog will be cramped, uncomfortable and feel trapped. The crate will become a source of fear instead of a sanctuary.

To pick the right size, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Can my dog sit and stand up comfortably (no head or back touching the top of the crate)?
  • Can my dog lie down comfortably (no haunches pressed again the sides or tail pressed into the back of the crate)?
  • Can my dog turn around easily (this is a safe space, not a jail cell)?

If your dog can do these things comfortably without too much additional space, then you have picked a good sized crate for your pet.

Now if you’re anything like us, your pet’s happiness and safety are your top priorities. So, you might be wondering if you switch to a soft-sided crate:

…Will My Dog Freak Out?Shocked puppy

Dogs are creatures of habit, and most of us as dog owners, have experienced the anxiety and stress that can occur with any major changes in their lives. If your dog is used to being in a crate, however, a soft-sided crate may actually decrease their anxiety.

First of all, unlike hard-sided crates and cages, there are no noisy, clanking pieces and locking mechanisms with a soft-sided crate. In a traditional crate, these sounds send a signal to your dog that you’re leaving them, and can trigger separation anxiety.

Also, because these crates offer better visibility, dogs feel less vulnerable than they do in a hard-sided crate. Many of the soft crates are equipped with screen windows. These are primarily used for airflow, but they also allow the dog to look around them. This helps them feel safe, as well as reassuring them that you’re still around.

Finally, if your dog is used to being crated, a soft crate will be more comfortable for it. Make sure to include some items to really make your dog feel at home. An old, worn shirt with your smell on it can make a world of difference. Also, a bone or chew toy in the crate can go even further in reducing its anxiety.

A Word to the Wise

As previously mentioned, we DO NOT recommend a soft-sided training crate for a puppy or an older dog that is not used to being crated. Although they are more comfortable, they are a huge hassle to clean if the dog soils its crate and “These types of carriers are not made to withstand that type of ‘abuse’ and your dog will get out”.

Your dog is fully capable of chewing or scratching its way through the sides if it is determined enough. A pup hell-bent on escaping can destroy these crates!

Crème de la Crème

Decided a soft-sided crate is right for your dog? Here are our top five picks!

  1. 2PET Foldable Dog Crate by 2PET
Sale
2PET Foldable Dog Crate - Soft, Easy to Fold & Carry Dog Crate for Indoor & Outdoor Use - Comfy Dog Home & Dog Travel Crate - Strong Steel Frame, Washable Fabric Cover, Frontal Zipper Medium Beige
  • ALL-IN-ONE FOLDABLE DOG CRATE - If you're looking to buy a foldable dog crate that combines all the functionality with a touch of class & innovation, 2PET...
  • STRONG STEEL TUBE DESIGN - Unlike many other flimsy & makeshift dog crates out there, Fold-A-Crate uses a strong yet lightweight steel tube design that can be...

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

The 2PET Foldable Dog Crate is our top choice for a soft-sided dog crate. It gets 5 stars from us, based on quality, durability, being easy to set up, and easy to clean.

This crate comes in different sizes and the largest accommodates dogs up to 70 lbs. When choosing a crate for your dog, remember that your dog should have enough room to lie, stand and turn around comfortably, but not have too much excess space.

The tubing on this model is made out of lightweight steel, so it is sturdy and resilient. The crate is easily folded up or down and there is a handle on top so that you can carry your pet with you.

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The crate is made out of fabric similar to nylon so it is strong and water-resistant, so the crate can be used outdoors. The cover is removable and you can throw it in your washing machine. The mattress is also washable and the floor mat is waterproof which helps eliminate some of the hassle should your dog should soil its crate.

The crate has two windows on the side which means your pup is getting fresh air and can look around. There is also a flap over the zipper that prevents your dog from chewing and destroying it.

Purchasing this crate will also appeal to the animal lover in you as a portion of the sales is donated to shelters and rescue organizations. What’s more, this crate is well priced and comes with a 1-year warranty.

Finally, it has high satisfaction ratings. Users report that it is good quality and that their dogs love spending time in this crate, often choosing to sleep in it instead of their beds – or their owner’s beds. They also state that it’s easy to set up and to carry smaller breeds (or cats).

ProsCons
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to fold down
  • Easy to transport
  • Easy to carry
  • Washable fabric
  • Proper ventilation
  • Anxious dogs can chew through nylon
  1. Soft-Side Pet Crate, Navy/Tan by Precision Pet
Precision Pet Soft Side Pet Crate 4000
  • Water-resistant indoor/outdoor pet crate is ready to go when you are
  • 4 reinforced doors with heavy-duty zippers offer easy access

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

This soft-sided pet crate has four doors to make it easier to put your pet in the crate, as well as take it out. Users said that this feature made them feel more secure transporting their pets in their vehicles, as they felt more confident that they would be able to free their pets in case of an accident. The opening on the top is perfect for car rides as your pooch can pop its head out and look out of the window.

The opening on the top is perfect for car rides as your pooch can pop its head out and look out of the window.

It can accommodate pets up to 70 lbs and comes in 5 sizes but is slightly more expensive than the 2PET crate.

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The carrier has a plastic bottom to repel stains and odors but also comes with a fleece bed for the dog to lie on. It is foldable for easy storage and extremely simple set up and tear down.

This Precision Pet crate is water resistant and includes ground stakes, which is an awesome feature as it means you don’t need to worry about the unit blowing away outside. This crate makes a great little tent for your pet if you enjoy camping with them.

This crate option includes a carrying case, has reinforced zippers and has pockets, so that you can store its food, bowls, leash, and toys, all in one place.

One apparent downside with this particular crate is that the netting and fabric are not reinforced so this is a crate only for a dog that you can trust 100%.

ProsCons
  • Four doors
  • Variety of sizes available
  • Easy setup/tear down
  • Weatherproof
  • Ground stakes
  • Netting is not reinforced
  • Pricey
  • Not machine washable
  1. Portable Soft Pet Carrier or Crate or Kennel for Dog, Cat, or Other Small Pets by topPets
topPets Portable Soft Pet Carrier - Small: 20"x14"x14" - Maroon Red
  • Portable soft-sided carrier for dogs, cats, or other pets.
  • Great for indoor or outdoor use as a pet carrier or pet kennel crate.

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

This soft-sided crate has a steel enforced tube, which makes the frame nice and sturdy. However, this crate is recommended as a kennel only as the handles and the flooring are seemingly too flimsy for use as a carrier.

It is water resistant and comes with a machine-washable mat for the bottom of the crate. The beds that are included in some of the other crates profiled here are probably more comfortable but would be a huge pain to clean on the off chance that your dog had an accident in its crate.

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This crate only comes in three sizes but is a lot cheaper than some of the other crate options profiled in this article. Although it doesn’t come with instructions, set up is ultra simple – all you need to do is connect two bars together. The crate can be assembled in about a minute.

The zipper on this option is less durable than on some of the other crates. It seems that even small dogs are sometimes able to escape the crate by pushing their noses through the zipper track.

This option seems to be a well-priced and decent kennel for smaller dogs. Great in the car and many users also praised it for cat use.

However, if you have a larger animal and plan to transport it on foot in the crate, one of our other options may be a better match! Also, be sure to check that all the parts are included, especially the floor mat and the handles.

ProsCons
  • Well-priced
  • Machine washable floor mat
  • Weatherproof
  • Easy assembly
  • Insubstantial floor
  • Fragile zipper
  • Thin floor mat
  1. Go Pet Club Soft Pet Crate by Go Pet
Sale
Go Pet Club Soft Crate for Pets, 24-Inch, Green
  • Size: 24"L x 19"W x 20.5"H Color: Green Sheepskin mat and carrying case is included

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

This product comes in sizes XXS to XL so you will have no problem finding the right size for your pet. It is also reasonably priced, which every pet owner knows to be a rarity in buying pet supplies in general! The crate also is true-to-size, so if you are trying to house a huge dog, this carrier might be your answer.

This carrier is easy to assemble and take apart and is great for storage as it collapses to 1-2 inches thick when taken down. It is water resistant and weatherproof.

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The three sides have mesh windows, which means your dogs will stay nicely aerated. A feature we really like here is that each window has a little “blind” you can close, so that if you’re around, but would like your dog to go to sleep without being distracted by your presence, you can close its curtains and problem solved!

The crate also comes with a lamb’s wool floor mat. Take into consideration that Lamb’s wool is difficult/shouldn’t be washed in a washing machine, and also a matt provides less comfort than a bed as with some of the other options.

This crate is again, super light, easy to transport and very storable, but poses a bit of a stability problem as a heavy dog may tip it over if leaning against the sides (or in a strong wind!). It does not have the steel enforced tubing that some of the other crates boast and does not come with ground stakes.

This seems like a good option if you own a very large pet that is already crate trained. However, you will probably have to invest in a thicker mat or bed if you want your dog to be comfortable on hard floors or outside.

ProsCons
  • Good variety of sizes available
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Weatherproof
  • Floor mat cannot be washed
  • Light but no tubing or stakes to keep it grounded
  1. Dog Soft Crate Kennel for Pet Indoor Home & Outdoor Use – Soft-Sided 3 Door Folding Travel Carrier with Straps by Arf Pets
Dog Soft Crate 36 Inch Kennel for Pet Indoor Home & Outdoor Use – Soft Sided 3 Door Folding Travel Carrier with Straps – Arf Pets
  • Soft Mesh Crate is Portable Indoor/Outdoor Home for Pets Weighing Up to 70 Lbs.
  • Collapsible Bars with Retractable Springs Make Setup Simple and Storage Efficient

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

This canvas pet crate with mesh doors can house a dog weighing up to 70 lbs. The crate has a steel reinforced frame to keep it sturdy and stable while still very simple to set up. Although it doesn’t come with ground clips, the framing should be robust enough to protect the crate in a strong wind situation.

It is weatherproof and has a water-resistant base to prevent permanent damage to the crate from dog accidents. The cover is also machine washable which lessens the burden on you as pet parent in case of a mess.

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This crate has only 2 size options and, by the standards of this list, is one of the pricier crates. It has 3 doors, providing lots of fresh air for your pup. It is also made of a unique mix of fabrics that are chew resistant and strong enough to carry the crate without it ripping.

The crate comes with two straps to assist in carrying the crate and the stitching doesn’t tear with the weight of a dog inside. The zippers are well made and durable. The crate does not have side pockets or come with a mat, so a bed of some sort should be purchased for outside use or use on hardwood floors.

This crate has got excellent reviews, is attractive and would be a great choice for your pet, as long as the size is right and you don’t mind having to buy a bed for it!

ProsCons
  • Tough steel frame
  • Easy setup
  • Machine Washable
  • Chew resistant fabric
  • Durable zippers
  • Limited size options
  • Expensive
  • No bed or mat included

The bottom line?

A soft-sided pet crate can be an excellent addition to your collection of pet accessories. If your dog is an adult, potty trained and comfortable in a crate, it can ride in ultimate luxury in any of the above models while you enjoy the peace of mind of knowing it is safe.

Make sure you pick the right size and monitor your dog the first few times the crate is used to make sure it isn’t stressed. Otherwise, kick your feet up, admire your hairless car seats and nose smudge-free windows and enjoy the leisure of owning a lightweight, fold up/fold down sanctuary for your little rascal!