How to Buy a Dog Crate
Before you can decided what dog crate is the best to buy you
will have to first decide how you intend to use the dog
crate. Is the dog crate going to be used just in your home
as a den for your dog? Are you going to use it to transport
your dog? Is it to be used as a home for your dog when you
are away? All of these and more are questions that you
should ask yourself before buying a dog crate.
A dog crate is not a
dog cage like many people think. The
dog crate, used properly, is kindness for a dog, not
cruelty. Dogs are animals whose wild relatives live in dens
(holes they have dug themselves) on purpose. When you crate
your dog you are just providing it with a den, a "safe
The crate gives the dog a place where it can rest away from
people and have some privacy to sleep when it wants it.
Puppies and even adult dogs will often sleep during the day,
and if you have children or other pets may even snap at them
if rudely awakened from sleep. Providing a private place for
the dog to go to when it is tired or stressed and wants to
be alone is best for you, your family and the dog.
The dog crate will also help you to housebreak your puppy
because a dog will naturally not eliminate in its den
(crate). It is an inbuilt instinct in many animals,
including dogs, to not eliminate where they sleep and eat.
If you crate your puppy and then take it outside to go to
the bathroom whenever it has eaten or wakes up from a nap
and bring it back in the house to play it will associate
outside with the proper place to go.
The first place to start in your dog crate buying process is
to measure your dog. If the dog is a puppy look at the
largest the breed can get. The right size crate will allow
your dog to lie down, turn a circle and have three or four
inches above its head when sitting in the crate.
You can buy a small crate for your puppy, but if it is a
medium or large breed of dog, when the puppy grows it can
outgrow the crate and you will have to buy a new one. The
disadvantage of this, besides the added cost, is that your
dog will get used to a particular crate and may become
uncomfortable with the change to a new one.
Buy a crate that will still fit your puppy when it is grown,
by looking for one that has a movable barrier that can go
inside and reduce the size of the available crate space so
that during housebreaking the pup can't get far from its bed
and food. Once it is fully trained to eliminate outside you
can remove the divider and give the dog plenty of room in
If you are getting a dog crate for a full size adult dog the
way to measure your dog for the right fit is to start by
measuring from the floor to its shoulder, then add three
inches. This will give you the minimum height you need. Then
measure from the head of your dog to the base of the tail
and add three inches. This will give you the minimum width
of the crate.
You should buy a crate that allows for room and movement.
Dogs like to circle two or three times before lying down. If
your dog can't comfortably do this then the crate is too
Again, it's best to start out a dog crate that will provide
plenty of room for the dog when it is full grown according
to expected breed size. You can then use a crate divider
that you can move and adjust the size of the crate according
to how big your puppy grows. If your chosen crate didn't
come with a divider, you can make your own crate divider out
of a piece of wood if needed. If you don't want to do that
there are many pet shops that sell crate dividers.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and your puppy
might get considerably bigger than the breed standard. Just
try your best and if you need to switch it later when the
dog is full grown just try to keep the original bedding,
toys and cover so that the new crate will seem more familiar
and your dog will accept the new crate as its den more
If you have the option it is best to inspect the crate
before you buy it. Many pet supplies will display pet crates
for you to look at and compare. If you are buying a crate to
use to transport your dog on an airline then before you buy,
look at the rules of all airlines you will be flying for the
dimensions and materials of acceptable dog crates.
Different airlines have particular standards and if you want
one that will fit the bill in all areas then you should look
at "airline standard" dog crates. Dog crates are usually
made of wire or heavy plastic. There are also soft sided
carriers that will fit under airline seats, and a lot of
airlines will allow your dog in the cabin with you if you
can contain your dog in such a carrier.
Tip: Buy a dog crate that is collapsible for ease of
transport and storage!
Some dog crates come with built-in handles for carrying
small to mid size dogs to different places such as the
groomer, veterinarian or just to travel in the car. Plastic
crates, also called kennels, can also become a safe place
for your dog to retreat to when there is too much activity
in your household.
Crates can reduce canine separation anxiety in your dog, in that it
has a place to go to where it feels safe and can wait for
your return. The den becomes "home" for your dog and it will
feel comfortable in its den. Also keeping your dog in the
crate while you are away protects it from getting into
something in your household that can seriously hurt it or
kill it. Keeping your dog in a crate while you are gone will
also save your furniture from being damaged by a bored or
anxious dog, and will reduce daily stress for your pet. All
in all, a crate is one of the most important supplies you
can purchase for your beloved dog.
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