Shopping for the right dog crates
How to buy a dog crate
Before buying any dog, the owner should first consider shopping from a variety of dog crates. Many new owners feel that a dog crate means imprisoning the dog for hours at a time, realistically most dogs like the protective feel of a crate. To dogs, a crate is like a den where they can seek shelter and safety. Even in the wild, dogs rarely remain in open areas; most seek shelter in crevices, caves, underneath old cars, boxes, bridges or hide in between gaps in the wall. All dogs retain the primitive instinct of safety in an enclosed space.
Of course, the crate should be pet-friendly otherwise the dog will be hesitant about entering it. Once a dog is introduced in his new home environment, it will naturally seek a place where it feels safe and thus, if you have a crate, the dog will gravitate to the area thinking it is a den. In many cases, the crate also helps break the dog in a new home and at the same time ensuring the safety of the animal.
Is a dog crate necessary?
For people who work, travel or go to college, leaving the dog alone at home can be agonizing. And this is where a dog crate is of most benefit. Having a dog crate permits the owner to have a safe and dedicated space for the dog to sleep or rest while the owner is away. A crate creates a safe environment where a dog feels most comfortable. There are also Dog Kennels not to be confused with crates that are more designed to function as a Dog Carrier, sort of like a hybrid between a carrier and a crate. Other reasons for owning a dog crate include the following
- It disciplines the dog
- It teaches the dog not to chew on furniture or it will be sent to the cage
- It creates a safe environment for any family or friends who come to visit you
- If the dog is ever injured or ill, then the crate provides a peaceful place to recover
Types of Dog Crates
- Plastic or Metal dog crates are recommended for most dogs as they are usually lightweight and easier to clean. Plastic dog crates are generally made of durable plastic material that is gentler on the animal. They are available with a solid or partial wall which allows the dog to see outside. They are usually easy to clean and transport
- Wire dog crates: for owners with small dogs, the wire crates are recommended. These crates provide good ventilation and are portable. Many of these crates can even be folded making them easy to store and move. Because of their portability, they can be washed outside the home with ease. Finally, wired pet crates are adjustable and can even be collapsed while traveling. The downside is that they are generally lighter in weight and are tougher to walk through especially with larger dogs. Wire crates are not recommended for pups with separation anxiety as the cage holes allow the animal to see that you are about to leave the home or that he/she is alone. Finally, because of the holes in the frame, the wire crates are not recommended for the outdoors as rain and sun can penetrate through.
- There are also wooden crates available that are ideal for the outdoors. These crates tend to be quite heavy and not easy to transport if you travel with the dog regularly. Wooden dog crates are ideal for large dogs; they are sturdy safe and provide security.
- Soft dog crates: There are some dogs that are very hyperactive and for these animals, it is important to buy a soft crate to lessen the chance of injury.
- Outdoor and indoor crates: When buying a dog crate, it is important to know whether it will be for the indoors or outdoors. Some crates can be used in both environments. For example, wire crates have holes often let in water and heat. If you want the crate to be outdoors, it should have a top cover and the sides should have complete walls to prevent wind, air or water from entering.
What to consider when buying a dog crate
Buying a dog crate is not easy as there are many variables that one should consider which include the following:
- Material: Dog crates are made of plastic, some type of lightweight metal, wood or wire. All these materials make good dog crates, are durable and relatively safe. All dog crates also come with a door. The walls of the dog crate may either be solid or have spaces so that the dog can see the outside. Also, the holes allow for ventilation and prevent the crate from turning into an oven during the summer. The bottom of the crate is usually solid to prevent leaks from any liquids, dog fur or other debris.
- Durability: Most dog crates are made of durable materials and if well maintained will last a long time.
- Ease of maintenance: Dogs can shed a lot of hair and they also tend to bring in debris and dirt from the outside. This can make the crate dirty very quickly. So you want a crate that can be easily wiped, cleaned or washed. Some wire crates are very difficult to clean because dirt/hair can often become entangled in between the spaces. Plastic and metal crates are the easiest to clean or wipe down with a piece of rag.
- Travel: if you are constantly traveling with your dog, then it is important to invest in a travel dog crate. These crates have good ventilation, are solidly constructed and also provide good visibility inside the crate. The travel dog crate can be ideal when traveling by car or flying.
- Size: Dog crates come in many sizes and one should never buy a crate without first knowing the size and weight of the dog. Always measure the height and length of your dog to determine the size of the dog crate you will need. The ideal dog crate should allow the animal to stand up without having to duck his head or squat every time he/she tries to enter or leave the cage.
- Dogs who continue to grow: It is important to remember that dogs do grow and this should be taken into account when buying a dog crate. The latest dog crates also come with a divider panel to help you adjust the length of the crate as the dog grows. One golden rule of thumb of dog crates is to never buy a crate that is too big; the reason is that some dogs may relieve themselves in one corner and then go to sleep in another corner. The crate should be just the right size so that the dog can sleep without being cramped. Finally weigh the dog to ensure that the crate can carry the weight of the animal.
- Most dog crates come with a fixed frame, similar to a human bed frame. To make the dog more comfortable, it is important to add in a thick rug, foam pads or pillows. Sleeping on plastic or metal is not very pleasant for the animal. So when you by a dog crate, consider a crate of a slightly larger size so that you can add in the accessories, without cramping the crate.
- Safety: It is important to buy a safe crate. Puppies are curious creatures and because of the gaps in the wire cages, the animal's paws, head or tail can be trapped and lead to injury. So you may have to pad the side walls foam or a rug to prevent injury. In addition, when a dog is placed in a crate, it is vital to remove the dog leash so that it will not get entangled in the framework of the cage and lead to serious injury.
- If the dog is a chewer, then a metal crate is recommended.
Mistakes owners make when buying a dog crate
- Owners need to understand that a dog crate is not meant to be a prison for the animal or place where the animal is locked up as punishment. A dog crate should be regarded as a home where the dog can rest, feel safe and sleep. While most dogs adapt quickly to a crate, some dogs will be anxious and apprehensive about entering the dog crate. In such cases, the owner has to be patient and crate train the dog to help overcome the anxiety. Anxious dogs will repeatedly peep through the cage walls, so it is important to use a plastic cage with solid walls when dealing with anxious dogs.
- Consider the growth of the dog: When buying a dog crate it is important to consider the fact that some dogs will grow not only in height but also increase their weight. Buying a new crate every 6 months can be an expensive undertaking. Hence, some owners try and determine what the full-sized dog will weigh and then buy the largest crate. Another option to buy a crate with a divider.
- Attention to the frame: Besides the size and weight of the dog crate, the owner should also look at the door and the size of the gap in the walls. The doors should be secure and not easily unhinged. The gaps in the wall should not be large enough to trap the pas or the tail. If your dog is a chewer then you should consider durable plastic or metal.
- Buying a crate that is too small. Some dog owners feel that small dog crates are better as they are easy to carry and clean. Unfortunately, all dog crates can seriously hamper the growth of an animal and make life miserable. Dogs need space to stretch out
Where does one buy a crate?
Today there are charts that allow you to determine the size of your dog crate. These charts are available online for free. Dog crates are readily available in most retail and online pet stores. There are ample images of dog crates on Google that can give you an idea of the types of dog crate available.
What is the cost of a crate?
The cost of dog crates ranges from $40 to $200- it all depends on the size of your dog and your crate and the specific needs you’re purchasing it for. If you’re looking for something sturdy than it’s probably best to go with a Soft Folding Pet Crate, if you want something lighter and more agile than wired crates are your best bet. Last, if you want something that’ll last longer or something more stationary than we would suggest looking into something that is metal or plastic.
- Pet Life Admin