One of the staples in a dog household is a crate. There are many different, and valid reasons why an owner would choose to use a crate over allowing their dog to roam free around the house! Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and will become destructive and possibly harm themselves if left to their own devices. Others will use a crate to get through puppyhood and may retire it once their dog can be trusted in the home by themselves. It may also help rescue dogs acclimate to a new environment because the crate creates a safe space they can call their own space. Traditional crates are wire and open, but there are many other options on the market now! Just like there is no universal dog, there is no universal crate that will be great for every dog, and every lifestyle. It’s important to take your time when making this decision as some of these crates can be quite the investment! Whether you are just using the crate to get through puppyhood, or you need one to keep in your daily driver, there is the perfect crate out there for you.
Wire crates are most popular because of their low price point andaccessibilty! Most pet stores, farm supply stores, and even home improvement stores carry them. You can usually find them used on Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace as well. Depending on the size of your dog, new crates will run you anywhere from $15-100. Alternatively, you can find them used for anywhere from 50-75% off! So if you don’t mind getting hand-me-downs, then that is the way to go! Besides being affordable and easy to find, they get the job done most of the time. If your dog was raised with crate training (or is being raised with crate training) this will likely do you fine. They make these in many different sizes and it is rare to not find one that will work for your dog. These crates usually fold up and are easy to store, making them great to keep around for emergencies if your pup no longer needs it. If you put your dog in their crate to sleep at night, you may want to look into getting a crate cover for them! They even make insulated covers for them, if you decide to take them camping or hunting! If you have a high anxiety dog or a working dog, you may want to look at a more durable crate.
Whether you travel, camp, or compete with your dogs, soft crates can come in handy. They are lightweight and take up less space when packing, which makes them more practical if you have multiple dogs as well. They will run you right around $50-100 depending on the size of your dog. They have a good variety of sizes in these, but they are definitely not as inclusive for giant breed dogs like Great Danes. Important to keep in mind, soft crates should not be used for high anxiety dogs or dogs that are not crate trained. Most dogs could easily escape from these kennels within minutes due to their lightweight nature.
A kennel is usually plastic and a bit more covered than a traditional wire crate. This can help if your pup has anxiety, but shouldn’t be used as their primary crate. While the darkness can help your dog feel secure, the plastic will not hold a high anxiety dog back from escaping. These crates are commonly used with airline travel because traditional wire crates are not airline approved! Small dog bowls that attach to kennel bars can be purchased at most pet stores to give your dog access to food and water for long flights, or if you like to feed your dog in a confined space at home. The biggest downside to kennels are the size restrictions. It is extremely difficult to find a kennel large enough for a dog above 75 pounds. Additionally, they don’t store as well as their wire counterparts, and can be quite bulky.
Not every confinement for your dog has to be an eyesore!You can often find ones that act as side tables, or custom made ones with barn doors on your local Facebook Marketplace. As I mentioned before, you can get covers for the traditional wire crates to make them more appealing to the eye. These are much more aesthetically pleasing, but the extra cost will come with that. Custom made wooden crates can range anywhere from $300-1,000 depending on the size of your dog and how many doors you’d like. While these are a great option for many, the cost and durability are downfalls. Wood can easily be chewed through, so if your pup is anxious, this may not be for you either. Additionally, these also aren't easily portable because they can't be collapsed. So if your dog needs his crate to feel comfortable, it would be a bad option if you need to travel with your crate. Another stylish option to be considered, are Clearly Loved Pets. These are lucidium pens that are clear to aesthetically please the eye. They don’t make them very large, and don’t seem durable so keep this in mind while looking. With these types of crates, you really have to weigh the pros and cons. Functionality versus aesthetic. Chewing through wood, getting out, getting into something possibly worse can cost you thousands of dollars in vet bills, or your dog's life.
Crash Tested Crates
If you travel with your dog frequently, then a crate that stays in your vehicle may be something you are looking into. There are tons of brands that are crash tested to make sure your dog will stay safe in the off chance that you are in an accident. These too are sometimes difficult to find for large dogs, but it is worth it in the end to keep them safe. If you would like to learn more about specific brands of crash tested crates, check out this article.
High Anxiety Crates
Last, but certainly not least, we have high anxiety crates. These crates are expensive, but for good reason! If you have a dog that chews through wire crates and plastic kennels, then you may have already spent roughly $300 on crates that are now impossible to use! Some of the crash tested brands, like Gunner Kennels, can be used for high anxiety, and they even have attachments for the door specifically for that. However, the king of high anxiety kennels has got to be Impact Crates. Here’s why - they are hand crafted out of space grade aluminum and they back their high anxiety crate 100%. If your dog is able to damage the crate in any way, they will replace it! This warranty lasts for 10 years, and is only available on their high anxiety crate. This specific crate is pretty dark but has holes allowing for airflow and light. It has a paddle slam latch, and 3 additional butterfly clips for extra security at the door way. It should be noted that this crate is also airline approved and even stackable. They have added plastic corner pieces that interlock with each other, so if you have more than one dog you can easily stack them with peace of mind that they will not fall. You can also get all types of attachments for this crate, including fans, a key lock latch, a door guard, carts with wheels and even grooming arms! With all of these great features comes a significantly higher price than other crates on the market. A 30”, a high anxiety crate will cost you $900 plus shipping, and their largest (48’) will cost you $1,400 plus shipping. They do offer other crates as well, including collapsible, stationary (which is a hybrid between the high anxiety and a traditional crate), and their hybrid crate, which is their take on a traditional crate. The prices vary, but no matter which crate you choose, you will end up with quite a high price tag. With all that considered, they do offer financing which most traditional kennels do not do. So if you do have a high anxiety dog, but can’t shell out a large amount of money at once, you may still be able to work it out. These may also be good for aggressive dogs, as K9 units will use them for travel, and board and train facilities use them for safety reasons as well. It should be noted that since they are custom built, it does take 4-8 weeks from the ordered date to receive.
All of these crates are great options for different people and different lifestyles. There is not one crate that is universally “perfect” for everyone. You really need to answer questions like “will I need this crate for the entirety of my dog’s life?” and “Does my dog have crate anxiety?” or “Will I need to use this for airline travel?” before making any decision. By answering those questions, you should be able to find the perfect crate for your dog, and your lifestyle! Crate training will be a great tool for you to have in your belt with your pup. It combats anxiety, and gives dogs their own territory!