One of the first things you need to consider when getting a puppy is how you are going to create a place for your puppy to feel secure, get some downtime, sleep and house train. Crate training has a proven record in these regards and can be an essential buy when starting out with a new puppy.
Dog owners will also require a way to transport their dog safely in the car, again this needs to make the dog feel safe - a home from home if you like. And of course keep the dog and you safe in the event of an accident.
There are a wide range of crates and cages which cover a range of uses and of course dog size, breed and temperament. I have researched and tested the best dog crates to suit all budgets, preferences and uses.
What features to look for when purchasing a dog crate?
Different crates suit different purposes, below we look at the essential things to look for:
- Soft / Fabric crates win hands down on portability as they can be squashed, they are lightweight and flexible. They are by far the easiest to move around in the car, or shift into another room. However, they are difficult to clean and of course very prone to chew damage if your dog or puppy is a chewer.
- Metal crates are probably the most common and the preferred choice of a lot of dog owners. They are very easy to clean, can be used indoors and outdoors. Most of them are fairly portable and can often fold for transport or when not in use. Divider panels can often be fitted to reduce the space available to a smaller puppy, this can then be increased as the puppy grows. A lot of metal crates can be fairly noisy in cars, or even with a dog turning around - this can often be solved by placing a sheet of cardboard below the crate.
- Plastic crates are usually light and the solid sides provide privacy, which may be useful if your dog is likely to be disturbed or distracted by passing pedestrians or traffic. They offer resistance to chewing and are easily cleaned. The solid sides give a reduction of airflow, so you will need to monitor this during the warmer months.
- Wooden crates are something I have only just found, a well made crate can look much better in the home environment, and much more like a piece of furniture. They are very heavy, so not really suitable for traveling, but could be good for a permanent crate at home or the office.
Crates should be a pleasant place for your dog to be, this means it needs to be kept clean and hygienic at all times. Any house training accidents should be cleaned immediately, disinfected and sprayed with a cleaner which will mask the smell of the accident.
Sizing a crate for your dog is important, it must be big enough for you dog to be comfortable, this means your dog must be able to stand up, lie down, turn around and sleep without a problem. However, when house-training it is often advised to not get a crate that is too much bigger than your dog needs (the principal being that a puppy will not want to sleep where it has soiled - this is NOT an excuse for not giving your puppy frequent, regular toilet breaks). Check out crates that have movable dividers, so you can increase the space available as the dog grows.
What is the best dog crate?
A very strong create, keeping even the strongest and most destructive dogs secure and safe. The metal construction makes it easy to clean as well as providing an environment for relaxation, behaviour training or puppy to potty train. The cage is fitted with a door on both the wide side and the narrow end making it easy to access whichever direction is orientated in. Both doors secured with two heavy duty latches..
This crate is very easy to clean, the metal base tray can be removed and/or the entire cage can be hosed down if required. The whole crate can collapse and fold down flat for transportation and an (included) plastic carry handle can be positioned wherever suits you best. Wire spacing is good at 36mm, and strong 4mm wire has been used.
A machine washable faux sheepskin fleece is included.and exact sized beds are also available as optional extras.
Available in either 1 or 2 door design facilitating easy front and side entry, two latches are provided on each door for safety and security. Construction is metal and is fairly sturdy, a optional divider panel and removable plastic pan/tray is included. The plastic pan is a nice idea as it retains warmth much better than metal, and is still pretty easy to clean.
Cleaning is straight forward, as the entire crate can be wiped or hosed down.
The cage is collapsible for easy transport and out of the way storage, a metal hoop keeps the cage in place and a carry handle is provided to easy transportation when collapsed.
A similar metal wire construction to the AmazonBasics and Ellie-Bo Deluxe, this slanted dog crate from Ellie-Bo is a good solution when you need to fit the crate into your car.
Focusing on the shape, the cage is slanted on both the front and the rear to fit most hatchbacks (do measure before purchasing). The single door on the front features a heavy duty latch to keep your pup secure. The wire is a thick 4mm.
As with the similar crates, it requires no self assembly and comes folded flat with a carry handle. All surfaces are wipe clean and can easily be hosed down.
Folding, transporting and storing is made easy and can be done in seconds. A plastic handle can be positioned as required to aid with lifting.
Constructed from aluminium and designed primarily for use in car or van, this crate will be strong enough to hold your dogs, easy to clean and very durable. The angled/trapezium shape means it will fit hatchbacks and estates.
Some self assembly is required, but this just involves attaching the floor and roof to the walls, while this doesn't collapse as easily as the previous crates, it can be taken down for transport and storage.
The doors come with pre-fitted locks and any potentially sharp corners on the aluminium are shielded from you dog with rugged plastic corners.
While being strong, the lightweight aluminium construction makes the cage easy to transport and remove from your car boot.
This fabric/nylon constructed crate offers many configurations, from open sides and open top as bed in the summer, mesh sides and top to keep your dog secure, but with good airflow, to solid sides and top when it is time to hunker down and sleep or during the winter.
Transportation is made easy by the ability to fold flat, the lightweight materials make it easy to move and the integrated clips keep everything in place.
This portable and lightweight is perfect for when you need to take your dog out and about. The crate is surprisingly stable and the oxford cloth design with Berber fleece mat makes this quite the fashion accessory for your dog.
Construction is of high-density Oxford fabric with a 19,, metal frame, the corners are well protected from knocks and away from your pup with reinforcement.
A nice touch are the two pouches, these could be used to store toys or even treats if you think it is safe enough to keep these so close to your furry friend.
Perfect for well behaved (read non-chewing) dogs, for use in the house, car or perhaps even when camping. Smaller dogs could happily be transported on public transport in this.
Boasting airline approval, this folding crate is perfect for transporting smaller dogs on both planes and public transport. The stylish looks and high quality construction make a carrier your dog will be proud to be seen in, whilst keeping them safe and comfortable.
The base is lined with fleece, and the sides are edged with mesh. Plenty of pockets are provided for storing doggy treats and toys to keep them occupied, or as a headphone port is provided, you could keep your phone or mp3 player with your pooch.
The padded shoulder strap is removable, and all materials can be wiped clean for hygiene.
This crate will look right at home in most living rooms, in fact, it looks more like an item of furniture than a dog crate and blends right in. The outer timber and solid top, gives this crate it's furniture look. The sliding door gives you and your dog good access and the wooden surface can easily be wiped clean.
So what do I have? I have three, I have theat home, the in my car and the comes with me on my travels when I'm out and about.