How to Choose the Best Dog Crates in 2016

Choosing the best dog crates really depends on several different variables. In other words, there is not a one size fits all when it comes to dog crates.

The main things you need to consider when searching for a crate is your dog’s size. An ideal sized crate is one where there is enough room to move around but not too much spare room.

There are two groups of dog owners those that embrace using a crate and those that think a crate is cruel. There are a few things that you should know about crates if you are not a fan because it may persuade you that they are in fact a necessity.

sleeping dog

Dogs are den animals naturally. As a den animal they like to be in spaces that are protected on all sides, while you may not be able to provide a den to keep your dog feeling safe you can provide them with their own special place.

Crates are an excellent training tool NOT because they work as a way to punish your dog but because it gives them a place to settle down and relax.

Other benefits of crate training include:

  • Housebreaking
  • Safety
  • Protecting your property
  • Correct unwanted behaviors

puppy

Dogs will rarely urinate or soil where they sleep whichmeans that using the crate as a toilet training tool can be invaluable.

You can use the crate with puppies to help them get the idea that they have to go outside to the bathroom. Puppies and dogs can get into things that they are not supposed to when you are not there to keep an eye on them.

You also will be able to better protect your property. Puppies chew and typically it is on shoes, furniture and other things that you do not want them to chew on.

Crate training allows you to confine your pup when you cannot be present to prevent these types of behaviors. You can also use a crate to help reduce unwanted behaviors that result from separation anxiety.

Tips for Crate Use

No dog should spend more than 4 hours in a crate at a time unless it is overnight with the gate open.  Dogs are truly den animals but they are also social animals that need companionship, exercise and the interaction of people.  Moderate crate use effectively by allowing your dog to come and go as they please.

For a puppy you want to be able to use the crate at night and keep them close by so you can hear them whimper to go out.  With puppies be prepared to get up a few times during the night to allow them to eliminate and quickly return them to the crate so that they get the idea that night time is time to rest not play.

You also want to keep food bowls and water bowls out of the crate so that the idea is translated that the crate is for sleeping and not for hanging out.food bowl

You want to use a “cue word” like “kennel up” or “spot” something that the dog will associate with the crate and become familiar with.

Introducing your dog to the crate should be done in increments. It should also be a happy place that they look forward to being in the crate. You want to make sure that the crate is comfortable. That there is clean bedding and toys that will make the crate more inviting.

sleeping dog

It is all about making things as inviting as possible when it comes to crate training. The more tempting it is to hang out in the less likely it is that your pup will balk at the idea.

Never use the crate for punishment purposes. It should always, always be a fun comfy place for your dog that they look forward to being in. The best place for the dog crate really is determined by your dog’s personality and where you feel comfortable with it.

Most people keep the crate where it is easy access for the dog to get in and out of. A bedroom is a good place since it is usually quieter than the rest of the house.  Avoid areas that are high people traffic.

Let’s Look at the Crates

There are different sized crates for different sized dogs, there are also crates made from different materials.  We hope that we will be able to show you what is the best dog crate for your dog.

You can also find crates that are made for specific breeds because some breeds are a little more challenging than others so we broke down all the crate options based on the different categories. Here are the categories that we looked at:

  • best dog crates for large dogs
  • best dog crates for small dogs
  • best dog crate for car
  • best dog crate brand
  • best wire dog crate
  • best dog crate for separation anxiety
  • best dog crates for pit bulls
  • best dog crates for labs

So let’s get started we have a lot of ground to cover.

Best Dog Crate Brand

There are a lot of different brands on the market and it can be difficult to narrow down which brand is best. Of course you want to be able to purchase from a trusted brand source but each brand brings something to the table and of course there is always room for improvement. We really cannot endorse one brand over the other.

Best Dog Crates for Large Dogs

Large dogs present a special challenge when it comes to finding an ideal crate. large dogSize is of course a consideration and so is weight. Large dogs need sturdier crates that are well built and that can stand up to use.

You should expect to pay a little more for a high quality crate for a large sized dog.  We looked at models that were highly rated by other users and that were built to last.

You should also keep in mind that you may have to start out with a smaller crate when your dog is a puppy and move up the size chain as they outgrow the crate.  A little puppy would be lost in a crate that is too large.

You can look for a crate that comes with a divider to make the crate more suitable to size changes.

AspenPet Pet Porter Kennel

This kennel is made for dogs up to 90 pounds. It is made of sturdy heavy duty composite material with a wire cage door.

Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel

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This cage is good for home use and for travel. It is airline approved for air travel. It works well for dogs that are 28 inches tall. It is a sturdy option for large dogs.

Wooden Pet Crate Table For Dog’s Enclosure Cage 36.5″ x 24″ wide x 29.25″

This enclosure is not only a great place for your large dog to relax and it really looks great. It is all wood and looks more like a high quality piece of furniture than simply a dog crate.

Wooden Pet Crate Table Espresso Enclosure Cage Locking Kennel Enclosure

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It would look great with any décor and is 100% solid wood. This crate is large enough to accommodate even the largest dogs.

Best Dog Crates for Small Dogs

On the other end of the spectrum are small dogs. A lot of people mistakenly believe that small dogs do not need a crate but in many cases they need a crate more than a large dog does.

Small dogs can be a little higher stung then larger dogs. They are more anxious and can be under foot a great deal of time which of course leaves them more prone to injuries.

A crate is an important accommodation to have for small dogs.

Carlson Pink Secure and Compact Single Door Metal Dog Crate

This pink crate is adorable for your little girl. This model offers all steel construction and comes with a washable pink tray insert. It is easily collapsible for easy storage options. It is easy to set up and looks simply adorable.

Carlson Pink Secure and Compact Single Door Metal Dog Crate

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InnPlace II Crate in Espresso Small

This is a nice looking crate. It is all wood and would look great in any room of the house. This is not meant to be a portable type crate; it is more of a dog habitat than it is a crate. It is ideal for dogs up to 50 pounds and is truly elegant.

Pet Crate with Metal Spindles

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Best Dog Crate for Car

Traveling with your dog requires a special crate. You want something that is portable and lightweight yet sturdy. There are different sized crates that you can choose from to best suit your dog.

Pet Gear Car Seat & Carrier for cats and dogs up to 20-pounds, Black

This soft sided portable crate is ideal for small dogs up to 20 pounds. It is completely foldable which makes it very convenient to travel with.

Pet Gear Car Seat & Carrier for cats and dogs

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Variocage COMPACT Crash Tested Dog Cage – Large

This is by far the BEST dog crate for the car. Unfortunately, it has a rather high price tag. It is made well, crash tested and the best crate you can buy.

It is perfect for large size dogs but the high price makes it out of range for most people but if you have the money to spend this is the place to spend it.  This the best of the best travel crates for dogs.

Variocage COMPACT Crash Tested Dog Cage

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NOZTONOZ Sof-Krate Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home

This model is a much more reasonably priced option for large dogs (up to 70 pounds). This is a soft sided crate that can be used indoors and outdoors as well as in the car. It is completely portable.

Sof-Krate Indoor and Outdoor Pet Home

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Best Wire Dog Crate

Wire dog crates are practical and they can be portable. They are among the least expensive of the dog crate styles. They are usually foldable and can easily be set up. Watch the video below how to do that.

They also are available in a full range of styles that meet a full range of needs.

When we looked at wire dog crates we considered the construction of the crate, the weight and the ease with which it could be constructed.  Wire crates are typically very inexpensive when you compare them to other options but you do have to be careful with the type of construction.

If the crate is not made well you can risk injury to your dog. Wire crates can bend and bust leaving sharp edges for your dog to be injured.

If you have a very large dog that is also on the rambunctious side, you may want to consider a different type of crate. Wire crates are usually very good for small dogs or dogs that are a little more laid back.

If your fur baby likes to escape and are willing to do what it takes to escape be mindful of that when considering which crate to choose.

Here is what we found:

MidWest Life Stages Folding Metal Dog Crate

We choose this wire crate because it is well made and all steel. It folds easily and comes together easily. It has a sturdy bottom and the wires is covered.

The crate comes with a divider so that the crate can grow with your dog. This model is offered in several different sizes and with either a single or double door option.

MidWest Life Stages Folding Metal Dog Crate

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Folding Metal Pet Crate with Removable Liner by Weebo Pets

This is also an all steel model that has an electro coat finish. It is corrosion resistant. The bottom pan is removable for easy cleaning capabilities. It is foldable, durable and available in different sizes.

Folding Metal Pet Crate with Removable Liner

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AmazonBasics Single-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate

We chose this crate because it is basic but it gets the job done. It is offered in different sizes to accommodate different sized dogs. It is steel with a coating to battle corrosion.  We liked it because it received high ratings from most users AND it is really inexpensive.

Single-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate

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Best Dog Crates for Separation Anxiety

Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety would do well with a crate. Separation anxiety can cause unwanted behaviors. A crate can help to calm your dog and keep the unwanted destructive behaviors at bay.

When you are choosing a crate for a dog that suffers from separation anxiety keep in mind the level of their anxiety and ask yourself if the dog would be willing to “dig” out of a soft sided crate. If the answer is yes, you will have to keep your eye set on a metal crate.

Carlson Secure and Compact Single Door Metal Dog Crate, Medium

This is a good choice for any dog with separation anxiety. It is sturdy and well made.  It has a secure locking mechanism on its single door so it is a safe place for your dog to be.

The removable tray is easy to clean and the entire cage is foldable for easy transport and storage. It can hold dogs up to 45 pounds.

Carlson Secure and Compact Single Door Metal Dog Crate

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Merry Products Crate with Crate Cover

We liked this option because of the cover. It is a simply steel wire cage that is coated but the wooden cover that slips over it makes it look much more appealing.

It offers plenty of good features for a dog that suffers from separation anxiety like a secure locking gate and the cover blocks out some of the view which can promote calm.

Merry Products Cage with Crate Cover Set

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Best Dog Crates for Pitbull’s

The bully breeds can be challenging and using a crate for training can really ease some of the challenges.

Pitbulls are loving dogs that really relish in human attention but they do have very powerful jaws and if they set their mind to something it can be very hard to persuade them otherwise. Like if they are focused on pulling apart their crate it can be difficult to convince them not too.

Construction of the crate really matters when it comes to Pitbulls. Durable is the word you should be looking for in the description of the crate.

Heavy Duty Pet Crate with Wheels

This 42-inch crate is a heavy duty crate that is easy to move around. It offers steel construction and has a door within a door so you can open the lower door to provide food and water without having to let the dog out. It has heavy duty welds.

The roof of the crate (considered the third door) opens for easy access to the dog. If your dog likes to abuse their crate this may be the best solution.

Heavy Duty Pet Crate With Wheels

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Pro Select Empire Crate

This crate is made especially for powerful or aggressive dogs.

It is made of tubular steel, has strong welds and secure latches. We liked this crate for pits and other large breeds because of its heavy duty construction. We were not alone in this selection over 300 people agreed with us and gave it a very high review rating (almost perfect by most accounts).

It is a good investment for any dog lover that wants to ensure the safety of their dog. Pitbulls and other breeds that can bend and chew through the bars of wire crates would do well with this crate.

ProSelect Empire Dog Cages

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Best Dog Crates for Labs

We round up our reviews with the best dog crates for Labs. Labs are not much of a challenge when it comes to any type of training. They are highly intelligent dogs that want to please their family.

When looking for a crate for your lab you really have quite a bit of leeway. In most cases, unless there are some separation anxiety issues, a lab will easily become accustomed to their crate.  You do want to be sure that the crate is well suited to their size.

A crate that comes with a divider so that you can adjust the size as they grow would be a good option if you do not want to have the start the search for a new crate as they outgrow the old one.

Everil 42″ Large 3 Door Dog Crate Cat Cage Kennel with Divider Lab Retriever Boxer Poodle

We loved this model because it has that divider that we mentioned in the intro. The divider makes easy work of expanding or reducing the size of the crate to best suit your dog.

It is easy to use and durable. It is not the fanciest crate on the market but it is functional and after all that is really what you need.  It is also nicely affordable!

Large 3 Door Dog Crate Cat Cage Kennel With Divider Lab Retriever Boxer Poodle

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Oxgord Foldable/Dividable Crate for Large Dogs

We loved this one for all the same reasons we loved the last one. It is easy to use. Has a divider to make size changes smooth and it is well made.

All of these qualities are exactly what you should be looking for in a crate for a lab. We also liked the price on this model.

OxGord Double-Door Easy Folding Metal Pet Crate for Dogs

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Merax Heavy Duty 36″/42″/48″ Dog Crate Pet Kennel Dog Cage Black/Silver

This is a much more durable crate option than the other two listed here. It may be a necessary choice if your lab does suffer from separation anxiety and needs something a little stronger this is a great crate for that purpose. It is a little costlier but it will provide a worry free environment for your dog.

Merax Heavy Duty 36"/42"/48" Dog Crate Pet Kennel Dog

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There are plenty of crate options out there that can help make life more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Follow the usage tips that we offered and get started early with the crate training and your dog will become easily accustomed to having their own “spot”.  Even if your dog is not a puppy any longer crate training is possible you just have to put in a little extra work. It is well worth the effort.

We looked at many different types of crates to best meet a full range of needs.  Taking the time to do your research and find the best dog crates that is made especially for your type of dog will ensure that your furry family member has a nice safe location to call their own!