Best Dog Crates 2018: A Safe Hiding Place for Your Canine

What is a Dog Crate and Why Does Your Dog Need it?

Basically, a dog crate is a cage. It can be made of plastic, metal, wood, or fabric but its essence is always the same: it temporarily restricts the freedom of a dog’s movements and hides it from the eyes of surrounding people. There are plenty of situations where it is indispensable.

  • Toilet-training. Dogs, like most animals, never poop in their own lair. If a crate is perceived as a hiding or a lair, a dog will fight the urge to urinate or defecate until walking. Of course, it works until you don’t abuse this method and don’t make your dog wait long.
  • Imagine that you have guests who are not fond of dogs or are afraid of them. Or guests with small children. Or you have a romantic meeting, and your dog is obtrusive and peery. Chances are you can remember other situations when you wanted to isolate your canine for a while.
  • No matter whether you travel by train, by car, or by air, using a collapsible dog crate is the most convenient method of a dog’s transportation. Firstly, it won’t get lost and won’t escape. Secondly, it won’t distract your attention, which is crucial when you are driving a car.

According to some dog crate reviews, this accessory helps to wean a dog of barking, to prevent chewing of furniture and wallpaper while you are away and to provide rest-cure to dogs that survived an operation or other forms of treatment. To provide the maximum comfort to your friend you need to choose the proper size and type of a cage. The choice will depend on many variables: the dog’s size, breed, preferences, behavior, and even climate conditions.

Types of Dog Crates

  1. Wire crates. They are probably the most popular thanks to a number of advantages. Wire cages are sturdy, easy to maintain, and convenient. Also, they provide good ventilation and a good visibility. That said, they are heavy enough, and metal trays can produce a lot of noise, especially if a dog doesn’t sit still.
  2. Wooden crates. They are often called kennels, not cages and used both indoors and outdoors. On the plus side, they are made of a natural material and look very nice even in the apartments. On the minus side, dogs can chew wooden bars. And even if they don’t, wood is less long-lasting than metal.
  3. Plastic crates. They are primarily used for the transportation of smaller dogs. Plastic cages are lightweight, inexpensive and durable. That said, they are poorly ventilated and tend to accumulate odors.
  4. Fabric crates. You may choose a fabric crate if you are looking for an ideal portable dog crate. They are soft, which makes them cozier, more nice-looking and lightweight. However, they are easily chewed and are intended for well-trained dogs primarily.

Top-7 Dog Crates 2018: A Comparative Chart

      Brand

 

 

Material

Intended use

Portable

Collapsible

Durability

Maintenance

Ventilation

Petnation Port-A-Crate

Petnation Port-A-Crate Indoor and Outdoor BUY NOW AMAZON Mesh fabric + a steel frame Transportation, indoor/outdoor crating Yes Yes High Machine washable Medium

EliteField 3-Door Folding

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate BUY NOW AMAZON Strong fabric + a steel frame Transportation, indoor/outdoor crating Yes Yes High

Machine washable

Good

Casual Home 600-44 Pet Crate

BUY NOW AMAZON Wood Indoor crating No No High Requires regular cleaning, can accumulate odors Good

Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel

Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel BUY NOW AMAZON Plastic + metal wire Transportation, including air trips, crating Yes

No

High Easy to clean, tends to accumulate odors Medium

MidWest iCrate Dog Crate

MidWest iCrate Single Door & Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crates BUY NOW AMAZON Metal wire Transportation except for air trips, crating Yes Yes Very high Easy to clean Very good

Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Crate

Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate BUY NOW AMAZON Mesh fabric + steel frame Transportation, indoor/outdoor crating Yes Yes High Machine washable Medium

Petmate Sky Kennel

Petmate Sky Kennel BUY NOW AMAZON Plastic + metal wire Transportation, including air trips, crating Yes No High Easy to clean, tends to accumulate odors Medium

Aspen Pet Porter

Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier BUY NOW AMAZON Plastic + metal wire Transportation, including air trips, crating Yes No High Easy to clean, tends to accumulate odors Good

Pet Gear The Other

Pet Gear The Other Door” 4 Door Steel Crate with Plush Bed BUY NOW AMAZON Plastic + metal wire Transportation, crating Yes

Yes

High Easy to clean Good

Guardian Gear ProSelect

Guardian Gear ProSelect Easy Dog Crate BUY NOW AMAZON Metal wire Transportation except for air trips, crating Yes Yes Very high Easy to clean Very good

Things to Consider When Buying a Dog Crate

To make the choice easier you need to understand clearly what type of a dog home you need and why. There are several key characteristic of dog cages that one may rely on. Irrespective of the material and type of a cage, consider these crucial parameters.

Size

The size of the crate should be comfortable for your dog. It means that the pet should be able to stand, sit, lie, or turn around without feeling cramped. That said, a carrier crate must not be large: during transportation, dogs prefer to lie calmly, and compact cages are easier to carry.

Durability

A young restless pup needs a durable metal cage, which he won’t be able to chew or break. Older, calmer, and well-trained dogs feel good in wooden and fabric cages. When it comes to transportation, the box should be sturdy enough to hold your dog’s weight. This information is commonly available in the list of the product’s specifications.

Travel Compliance

Are you going to travel with your canine? Mind that not all the models suit for dog transportation, especially when it comes to air flights. Each air carrier has its own live animal regulations, so the best approach is to get to learn what models are approved by a particular carrier in advance

Collapsible

If you are not going to use a crate on a regular basis or will have to move it from one place to another, consider collapsible models. They are easy to transport and don’t occupy much space when folded.

How We Picked up the Best Dog Crates 2018

With a huge variety of dog crate sizes, forms, materials, and types of the construction, it’s not so simple to make the right choice. Our top-rated dog crate models have been repeatedly tested by dog owners and proved their effectiveness, durability, and a good value for money. When compiling our ranking we didn’t just rely on customer reviews but also compared all the major characteristics of the popular brands. The result of our research is a list of top-10 crates of the year.

Top Dog Crate Models 2018: Our Choice

Within the framework of our best dog crate review, we tried to analyze models of different types. For every brand, we’ve singled out strengths and weaknesses. Using this review as a start point, you’ll be able to choose the best option for your beloved canine.

Petnation Port-A-Crate Indoor and Outdoor

Petnation Port-A-Crate Indoor and Outdoor

Review

As the name suggests, the key feature of this cage is its portability. It is intended for a comfortable transportation of trained dogs, and it can be adapted for both indoor and outdoor crating. It has a sturdy construction – strong fabric on a steel frame – which is, at the same time lightweight and soft. Petnation Port-A-Crate is ideal for dog shows, visiting a vet, trips by car and by train. The cover can be removed when needed and washed separately in a washing machine.

What we think

It is really soft and comfortable, so most dogs love it. Easily fits in a car backseat. Keep in mind though, that if your dog is poorly trained or not crate-trained, it will try to get out, and with Petnation Port-A-Crate, it will make it easily enough.

Pros:

  • a convenient fold design;
  • easy-to-use and lightweight;
  • machine-washable;
  • versatile – can be used for trips, indoor and outdoor crating;
  • dogs love

Cons:

  • poorly ventilated;
  • for well-trained canines only;
  • not intended for trips by air.
EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate, Indoor & Outdoor Pet Home

Review

This is one of the hottest Amazon hits and one of the best dog crate models for transportation. EliteFriend is a little higher and longer than similar models from other brands, which makes it comfortable even for larger dogs. This dog home easily transforms into a compact traveling bag, after which you can carry it over your shoulder. When needed, you may unfold it again without any special equipment.

What we think

We are absolutely charmed with the versatility and convenience of this soft dog’s home. If you often travel by car with your four-legged companion, you won’t find a better option. Again, it is for trained or calm and obedient pups only.

Pros:

  • ideal for transportation;
  • large meshed windows provide better ventilation;
  • easy to fold and unfold;
  • doors from 3 sides;
  • well-made and durable – the inner frame is made of steel;
  • machine washable;
  • a soft pad on the bottom adds comfort during long trips.

Cons:

  • not for crate training;
  • some dogs tend to chew it;
  • zips are of average quality.

Casual Home 600-44 Pet Crate

Review

If you hate the look of a metal wire cage in your home (which is quite understandable), you can try this marvelous wooden dog home, which looks like an authentic piece of furniture and acts as a cage for a dog and an end table for its owner. Not only is it elegant and stylish, but also convenient, durable and long-lasting.

What we think

Design is a strong point of this pet crate, but the build quality could be better. The surface scratches quit easily, so avoid putting hard, abrasive, and scratching objects on it.

Pros:

  • fits in a living room and doesn’t look like a cage;
  • can serve an end table;
  • sturdy and durable;
  • eco-friendly;
  • provides good ventilation.

Cons:

  • non-portable and heavy;
  • many dogs chew wooden crates;

not so easy to clean and to eliminate odors.

Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel

Review

This Petmate dog crate is a universal solution for dog transportation by air. It can be used as home cage to train puppies and crating adult canines. The cage is made of sturdy high-grade plastic, and its door and side windows feature durable metal grids. It is more lightweight than a metal cage and fully complies with the requirements of air carriers.

What we think

Almost no complaints, probably, except for the price. The crate is very lightweight, which is a plus for travelers. On the minus side, active pups can turn it over.

Pros:

  • ideal for traveling by air;
  • ventilated better than most plastic models;
  • made of high-quality and durable materials;
  • for both trips and home crating;
  • nice ergonomic design.

Cons:

  • being a plastic dog crate, it tends to accumulate odors;
  • some dogs can chew it;
  • a bit pricey.
MidWest iCrate Single Door & Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crates

MidWest iCrate Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crates

Review

MidWest is one of the well-established brands that offers one of the best cheap dog crate models. MidWest iCrate has a classic construction, and the metal wire is extremely durable and sturdy. The kennel is perfect for crate training adult dog and puppies. A foldable design and a divider add versatility.

What we think

It’s a great value for money! Very easy to assemble, versatile, and durable. The cage is even roomier than it can seem, so pups feel comfortable in it.

Pros:

  • affordable and durable;
  • for home and trips;
  • perfect for training;
  • a divider included;
  • very easy to clean, no odors accumulated;
  • an excellent ventilation and visibility.

Cons:

  • heavier and noisier than plastic crates;
  • the tray is a bit thin for large and heavy dogs.
Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate

Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate

Review

This is a spacious and comfortable box for dogs weighing up to 90 lbs. It works equally great as a carrier and a cozy kennel for home use. Rounded soft corners prevent dog hurting and furniture damage. The carrier is lightweight and fully collapsible: you don’t need any special equipment to assemble and disassemble it.

What we think

It is a nice soft bed for your beloved pup. But as a crate, it is not so good – any dog will easily tear it with its claws and get away. If you need a hidden place where your dog can sleep or have a rest, it will do. For training, we’d recommend something sturdier.

Pros:

  • portable and lightweight;
  • suits for large dog breeds up to 90 lbs.;
  • machine washable;
  • 3 doors provide better ventilation;
  • durable fabric.

Cons:

  • only for trained dogs;
  • for the hot climate, ventilation can be insufficient.
Petmate Sky Kennel

Petmate Sky Kennel

Review

This is another great product from Petmate. A sturdy case from high-quality non-toxic plastic is made to last. It is intended for all types of trips with animals, including air travels. Plastic boxes fully meet the requirements of air carriers. A door and windows feature reinforced metal wire for the best security. The crate can be used for crating and training indoors and outdoors.

What we think

Though this cage is marketed as an “air carriers approved”, keep in mind that you’ll need to modernize it for international air trip. In particular, you’ll have to replace plastic bolts and nuts with metal ones.

Pros:

  • ideal for flights;
  • lightweight and durable;
  • extra windows provide better ventilation;
  • the “live animals” sticker included;
  • sturdy metal wire used in the construction of a door and windows;
  • more spacious than analogues.

Cons:

  • some dogs can chew plastic;
  • seems a bit cumbersome because of the increased height and length.

 

Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier

Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier

Review

Aspen Pet Porter is made of durable plastic, except for the door, which is made of metal wire. This is one of the models that comply with the requirements of most air carriers, including international flights. It features metal bolts and nuts, as most international carriers require. It comes in several sizes and can be used for the transportation of dogs with a body weight up to 125 lbs.

What we think

The crate is impressively large and tough. We love its improved 360-degree ventilation and metal bolts and nuts included. All in all, it is as comfortable as a plastic cage can be for both pets and their owners.

Pros:

  • tough and heavy-duty;
  • perfect for air flights;
  • a sturdy metal door;
  • 360-degree ventilation;
  • a convenient handle;
  • XL sized available.

Cons:

  • tends to accumulate odors;
  • active dogs can turn is over accidently.
Pet Gear The Other Door” 4 Door Steel Crate with Plush Bed

Pet Gear the Other Door” 4 Door Steel Crate

Review

This cage has a unique 4-door construction with one large-size garage-style door and 3 additional entrances. The doors are made of metal wire, which ads durability. The top and the bottom of the crate are plastic, which makes it more lightweight and portable. The kennel if fully collapsible and easy to fold/unfold with no special equipment needed. For easier transportation, it is equipped with wheels and a built-in handle.

What we think

It is a sort of a controversial product. On the one hand, it has much to be loved for: wheels and a handle, sturdy doors and a lightweight base, 4 doors and a fully collapsible construction. On the other hand, it is a sort of pricey. It will pay its way if only you travel with pets frequently.

Pros:

  • high-quality materials;
  • a fully collapsible construction;
  • wheels and a handle;
  • transportation bag included;
  • four doors.

Cons:

  • it is expensive;
  • not foe air trips.
Guardian Gear ProSelect Easy Dog Crate

Guardian Gear ProSelect Easy Dog Crate

Review

This is a classic heavy-duty all-metal cage for indoor crating or travelling. Dual metal latches on the door provide a reliable fixation. The cage has a foldable construction for easy transportation and a removable metal tray that is easy to clean and doesn’t keep unpleasant odors. A divider included adds more flexibility.

What we think

It is an excellent solution for everyday use. The dual latches work smoothly and precisely, and a dog won’t open the door from inside. Nothing to complain about!

Pros:

  • durable and reliable;
  • easy to clean;
  • has a collapsible construction;
  • can be divided into two; a divider included;
  • perfectly ventilated.

Cons:

  • not ideal for traveling;
  • rather heavy.

Five Important Facts about Dog Crates and Crate Training

Wood dog crate end table dog

  1. About 10% of dogs don’t tolerate crating at all. If your dog has a pronounced fear or a phobia, don’t force it to sit in a cage and consult a specialist.
  2. Some brands offer exclusive dog crates furniture made of premium wood species or steel. These luxury items can serve tables, and their cost can reach $1000.
  3. Statistic says that 45% of Americans let their dogs sleep in their beds. According to expert opinion, this is not right: from the point of view of dog psychology, a canine feels better when it has its own lair.
  4. Most airlines don’t allow dogs without crates, except for guide-dogs.
  5. Crates and cages are NOT for a permanent dog confining and not a method of punishing. Don’t keep your dog caged all day long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Size Crate Suits for my Dog?

A: A basic rule says that a crate must be spacious enough for a dog to turn around, to sit without bumping its head into the top, and to stretch its legs comfortably. If it is very large, a dog won’t perceive it as a liar and can start pooping in it.

Q: How to Measure a Dog for a Crate?

A: Measure the height of a standing dog (from the floor to the highest point of its body, for example, ears) and its length from the base of a tail to the nose. Then add 3-5 inches to the length and 2-4 inches to the height to get the dimensions of a suitable crate.

Q: How Long Can a Dog Stay in a Crate?

A: It depends. Well-trained dogs can stay in a crate for several hours when you are away from home or all night long sleeping. Puppies commonly need a higher activity level, so they can’t stay closed for long. In any case, never leave your dog caged all day long. Dogs need walking a least once in several hours (except for weak and ill animals).

Q: How to Crate Train a Dog with Separation Anxiety?

A: If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and destroys everything on its way when you are away, crating is often the only solution. Try to be gentle and persuasive, training the pup. Let it realize that a cage is not a prison but a home, a small hidden place where nobody will disturb it. Start training when you are a home. Don’t close the door – let your dog to get used to the new liar. Gradually increase the duration of crating, and, finally, try to leave the home for a while when the pet is closed in the cage. If you do everything correctly, it will take no more than a week or two to train a pup.

Q: Where is the Best Place to Put a Dog Crate?

A: Dogs hate feeling isolated, so the best approach is to put a crate in the living-room or in any other room where you spend most of the time. When it comes to crating small puppies, specialists recommend placing the crate in the bedroom at night, at least in the beginning. It will help the babies not to feel so lonely.

Rules of Dog Crate Use and Maintenance

Dog crates fall into the category of accessories that can serve long years if they are used correctly. To make the kennel a comfortable and safe place for your canine, follow expert recommendations regarding the crate choosing and maintenance, as well as dog training. Here are basic recommendations.

Choose the Right Size

Among other things, dog owners often wonder – how big should a dog crate be? There is a simple rule: it should be spacious enough to let your dog stay, sit, lay, and turn around with comfort. That said, it must not be very spacious because a dog wants to have a cozy, secure shelter, which would remind it of a natural den. If you are buying a crate for a puppy that will grow up soon, there’s no point in buying a small dog crate.

Clean up Regularly

Another important aspect is hygiene. Though dogs are cleanly pets, you need to replace pads in the crate and wash it inside and outside in order to eliminate odor and prevent accumulation of dirt, fur and other types of debris. Disinfection is required every time your dog poops inside the cage, or once in a month or two if it doesn’t do so. The procedures needed depend on the type of the box.

Most soft-walled crates have machine-washable protectors, so the best way to keep them tidy is to wash it with a neutral laundry detergent. In order to get rid of odors, add a spoonful of baking soda. Wipe the metal base with the same detergent or any other cleanser (including chlorine-containing ones); then rinse it and let it dry in a natural way.

Plastic and metal cages are easy to maintain. If the crate has a removable tray, wash it in soapy water. At your wish, you may add baking soda to eliminate odor, or chlorine to disinfect the tray. If you use soft or ant fabric pads, wash them regularly with detergent. It is important to make disinfection if you found urine or feces in the crate.

Wooden crates are probably, the most demanding in terms of cleaning: wood can be damaged during wet cleaning, and it tends to absorb odors. If possible, use an additional tray for your wooden tray. From time to time, wipe it using a wet cloth and then put in a well-ventilated room for several hours.

Use but Don’t Overuse

A lot has been said and written about how to crate train a dog. In the framework of this article, we won’t review this question in details. All we want is to remind you some basic principles of training:

  1. Start gradually. Don’t leave your puppy locked in the cage for several hours – it will result in fear and hatred.
  2. Don’t use a cage as punishment. It is used to prevent undesired behavior (chewing, pooping, barking), not to imprison a dog after misbehavior.
  3. On the other hand, don’t let your dog manipulate you. For example, in case of the dog barking in crate, don’t unlock it immediately. Just don’t pay much attention to it, and it will calm down naturally.

Verdict and Recommendations

There are a lot of dog crate models to choose from, and the final choice will depend on several factors. For the initial training, you’d better choose a wire metal crate, such as MidWest iCrate (for very big and heavy breeds, you may try the premium Top Paw dog crate). For air trips, Petmate plastic models are best. For regular family trips and crating of well-trained canines, choose one of the lightweight portable fabric models. And the wooden Casual Home crate will serve a gorgeous decoration of your living-room.

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