In the previous article on why every dog should have a crate, I promised another topic on the features to watch when shopping for the best dog crate.
If you haven’t read it yet, kindly read it before reading this article. You will transition into this discussion effortlessly.
Let's get back to the discussion.
In this second article, my #1 goal is to ensure you get full understanding of dog crates before you make any buying decision.
That is, by the end of this article, you'll be able to select the best dog crate that will lead you to have a happy relationship with your pooch.
If that sounds like a good deal, let’s bootstrap it.
How do we select the best dog crate?
With piles of information, ever attention-demanding marketing offers, and the sheer number of crates to choose from, it is almost certain that it's impossible for one person to crystallize such overwhelming information.
It’s even trickier, to squeeze your little available time to do such an arduous activity. After all, all you need is one or two crates to take care of your needs. As such, it becomes almost impossible to get the opportunity to do in-depth due diligence.
Fortunately, that is where we excel.
My team and I, spent countless amount of hours behind our computer monitors, researching, making phone calls, and even visiting manufacturers to evaluate and review products we recommend.
We usually compare one product features with the other.
We also make sure every feature delivers the benefit the manufacturer or supplier promises.
Finally, we validate their promise with the marketing data.
That is, we go where there are real consumers. We analyze, compare, and evaluate their feedback, satisfaction, willingness to buy, and interpret their buying patterns.
It’s through such grueling craft that we are able to cut through the noises and bring you only the best dog crates and products the market offers.
With that clarified, let’s get into the discussion of the top features to consider when shopping for a dog crate.
12 Features To Watch When Shopping For The Best Dog Crate
The size of the crate.
The size of the crate is directly proportional to the size of the dog.
Even though the mathematical statement might scare someone, it's true absolutely correct that the size of the crate in relation to your dog, should be on the top of your checklist when shopping for the best crate.
Let me explain it in a less intimidating language.
With over 340 breeds of dogs recognized by Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and 167 pure breeds recognized by American Kennel Club (AKC), it is evident that dogs come in varying sizes and shapes.
Some dogs are giants, others medium, and on the far end of the spectrum, miniature sizes.
However, when it comes to the word dog, I know the majority will picture the standard sizes. It's because they are the popular sizes known to everyone across the world.
But there are those dogs in the mid ranges, between the standard size and pocket sizes. Most of them include designer dogs like pocket pitbull, morkie, beaglier, Schnoodle, puggle, among others.
On the far end of both the standard and designer sized breeds, we have giant dogs and pocket sizes breeds.
As such, different breeds of dogs will require a different size of dog crates.
Also, it’s through this fact that many manufacturers are manufacturing different crate sizes. In most case, you will get crates with tags such as large, medium, and small.
As you can guess, the bigger the dog, the spacious the crate you will need. Likewise, the smaller the dog, the tinier the crate.
However, there're a few gotchas to keep in mind.
When the crate is too big
If the crate is too big than the dog, the dog will have extra space to be mischievous. As a result, it will do doggy things in the crate that will turn out to be nightmares.
Because of that, I will not recommend you go for an extra big crate, especially for a mature dog.
However, for a puppy you can guess how big it will grow, shopping a spacious crate that it will fit even when adult, will save you big time. More on this later.
When the crate is too small
On the flip of the coin, if the crate it’s too small, the dog will become uncomfortable leading to problems like anxiety separation.
That means, the size of the crate in relative to your dog’s size, is something you must fix your eyes on when deciding on which dog crate to buy.
My general advice, don’t go for either too large or too small crate.
But how do you know that you are buying the right size?
All manufacturers provide their crates' dimensions in terms of length, width, and height, in inches. Even more, others go an extra mile to give out specifications like large, medium, and small sizes.
But for desperate measures, take measurements of your dog’s height and width, and find a crate that is a little bit bigger than its volume.
But for a simplistic approach, you can eyeball it.
Also, if you are buying for the puppy, have a general idea of how big it will grow when it becomes an adult. With that knowledge, you can be able to pre-plan and make necessary adjustments.
With that Said, here is a quick tip for you.
If you can guess how big your puppy will grow, buying a large crate will not harm it. All you have to do is to find something to block the extra space until it is ready to occupy the whole crate.
Planning this earlier will not only save you some few bucks but also, it will save you the headache of storing an item you don’t need in the long run, unless you are a serial puppy adopter.
The type of materials used to build the crate
During my early days, I would not understand why there were so many types of crates.
Even more, why some crates were made out of plastic, others of wire, and some even canvas.
It’s through my experience with my Rex that I’ve come to understand why it’s important to consider the right type of materials when shopping for the best dog crate.
In this section, we will look into five types of crates and how to make a buying decision based on their materials.
Let me guide you.
Types of dog crates and their materials
Plastic portable dog crates.
Though this type of crate may have other parts that are not plastic like metallic grills and bolts, the biggest chunk of it is a hard-plastic material.
As its name suggests, a portable dog crate is great for car and plane travel. In most cases, they came in small and medium sizes. So, if you own a small or designer breed like a mini-dog, you should consider this option.
Soft-Sided dog crates (sometimes dog tents)
Soft-sided dog crates main materials is either canvas or nylon. They also have soft wires or hard plastics as reinforcement around the edges.
Thus, the crate’s material is soft and delicate.
Therefore, they are not great for a dog that exhibits heavy chewing and destructive behaviors.
But, if you love camping and other outdoor activity, you will find having one of this most useful.
Also, besides that, it can become a great home crate for a gentle dog. And more, you can use it to carry small dogs and designer dogs.
Folding wire dog crates
Folding wire dog crates, are made of metallic wire.
They are also the most common type of crates you’ll come across in the market.
For over 90% of all your crating needs, this is probably the only type of crate you will ever need. They fit well in your household, and they are open and easily portable.
Heavy-duty dog crates
Heavy duty dog crates are mainly built using metal grills.
They are big, which makes them excellent for extra-large breeds of dogs.
Unfortunately, there is no immediate need for them unless, your dog suffers from anxiety separation, is a super chewer, and is an escape artist.
Fortunately, these bad behaviors can be fixed by taking your dog through corrective behavioral training or fixing them before they happen.
One thing to note though, they are durable and medium size might be all you need for your dog if you must go for this option.
Furniture dog crates (also, fashion crates or woods)
Furniture dog crates main material is wood.
They are built to blend with your furniture.
If you love elegance, and you want your dog’s crate to blend perfectly with your décor, then this is the type of crate to go for.
Also, they are great for a well-behaved dog and a dog that already have good experiences with crates.
Now you know how the material of a crate influences your dog crate shopping decision.
However, there is more to learn about different types of dog crates.
Don’t miss the discussion in our next article on this series of understanding dog crates.
When you are investing your money into something, you want it to be worth your dime.
You also want the crate to be a gift that your close ally will cherish.
So, it should be the safest thing on earth.
As such, here are a few things to consider when it comes to security features.
The Case Of Folding Wire Crate, Heavy-Duty Dog Crates, And Metallic Built Crates
If you intend to buy a crate made of wire, metallic grills or any piece of metal, the way the welding is done should be your major concern.
That is to say, all corners and stress points should be rounded in such a way that they will not cause injuries or even break easily.
Also, the coating should be professional done. With that assurance, it will not come out easily or get rusty sooner it comes into contact with a few drops of water.
Features to look for When You Frequently Travel by air
The crate should be the International Air Transport Association (IATA) compliant. Meaning, the dog is safe and protected from harm while on transit.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- The crate should have ample ventilation to avoid suffocation,
- It should have a spill-proof hook to avoid food and water spill
Features To Look For When You Frequently Travel by road
If you travel by car frequently, it’s important to consider crash tested crates. They have areas where you can strap them to prevent any abrupt fall or anything unexpected from happening.
Here is the trick to be positive about crash tested crates.
Simply think about them like crates with safety belt.
Size of crate
It is often true the way crates critics purport that a crate can induce unexpected withdrawal or aggression.
But like we said in the earlier article, the reason you are buying a crate it’s not to confine your dog. It’s to get it a den. A place it can connect with its ancestral environs at a visceral level.
Therefore, be careful and steer away from situations that will harm the mental state of your dog.
Be deliberate on the size of a crate so that you can usher more joy and cultivate a reliable animal than even before you bought the crate.
Doors and latches
In most cases, you would not need a bank-safe kind of a crate or a locking system or door just to lock your dog.
All you need is a working latch for most dogs.
Note, this depends on the good behaviors of your dog.
If your dog has proper behaviors, you’ll not have challenges with any types of latches or doors.
But if your dog’s other name is Mayhem Hercules, you definitely need a crate with solid features like double latches and reinforced doors.
Fortunately, you will not shop for any crate, but a crate with a similar enthusiasm of the inescapable dog crate.
Bonus Section: Availability of Additional Features
There are a few extra housekeeping items you might want to consider when shopping for a crate.
So, let’s capture those extra details in this section.
Note, these features do not define the best crate. But still, you may want to go through them to see if you certainly need them.
8 More Features to Watch For When Shopping For The Best Dog Crate.
Sometimes two doors can be better than a single door. For sheer pleasure, it can be exciting. Probably, a front door and a side door. One for entry and exit. It’s like you can play hide and seek with your dog or it’s a way to freedom.
For more security, or for the sake of feeling like your dog is safely locked in a way it can’t force its way out. Going for a crate with double latches will eliminate chances that your dog will knock the door on a single blow or get clever with it.
Weight and portability of the crate
When it comes to the ability to move the crate from one location to another, then the weight will have the loudest voice here. Up to now, I guess you already know good candidates of these type of crates. Also, additions like ergonomic handles for portable crates and wheels for big and heavy-duty crates is a fair deal.
Floor grate with tray
Imagine of food droppings or any other type of litter as a result of your dog being in the crate. Will it not be easy to pull something and empty the litter to the litter box? Sometimes it might be space below the crate that you can slide in a plastic tray or even a built-in grate with its tray. In either case, a floor grate will improve the way you clean your dog’s crate. As such, it makes you a better pet parent and still end-up with a habitable crate.
A Top door
Why on earth will you need one? Okay, think of it this way, it’s like having a small door on a big door. The smaller one for sliding in food, and the bigger one for normal uses. Similarly, you can use the top door for the same purpose. Or, you can use it to interact and play with your buddy without letting him out.
professional paint job
For the metallic crates, whether it’s painting or coating, you simply don’t want a poorly done job. For the same reason, you don’t want your dog’s crate to start rusting or peeling off before your pooch even enjoys it.
Blending with decor
It may sound flimsy. But I would not go for a crate that won’t sit comfortably in my living space. Whether it’s furniture or the wire type of a crate, the crate must offer excellent aesthetic features that blend with your décor naturally. I don’t know about you, but this makes sense to me.
Like always, we love assurances. They make us feel protected in case of damages or anything manufacturer-related defects. Therefore, a crate with a longer guarantee means fewer risks and better terms.
We’ve come to the end of this article.
And, it has been an insightful process in unboxing all the 12 features to watch for when shopping for the best dog crate.
With these secrets, I believe you are unstoppable.
So, go shopping.
Buy the best dog crate for your dog.
Until the next article on this series of understanding dog crates, happy petting.
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