Buying a dog crate may seem like a simple decision, but there are a number of factors that should go into your decision-making process. After you decide on size, the crate material may play a role in your decision, as well as functionality and aesthetics.
Best Plastic Crate
While not always the most attractive crates, plastic crates are ideal for dogs that prefer more privacy. If you're looking for a plastic crate for your dog, consider the Petmate Two-Door, Top-Load Kennel. Canine Journal recommends it as the top plastic dog crate on the market, primarily for its two-door construction and its combination of steel and plastic, which makes it sturdy and safe.
The crate has two doors, which means you can put your pup in the crate through the top if he's hesitant to just walk in. It has a comfort carry handle and the two halves come apart, allowing you to stack it for storage. This crate has nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon, with over three-quarters giving a 5-star rating. People love how sturdy it is, and the second top door is ideal for putting less-than-enthusiastic pets inside, right from the top. The one trade off is it's slightly heavier than other carriers, but as some reviewers note, it's worth the tiny extra weight due to durability and how long it lasts versus thinner, plastic crates.
Sites like Amazon and Petco carry the Petmate crate and it comes in both a 19-inch, starting at $29.99, and a 24-inch option, starting at around $40. Choose from a few different colors (depending on the size you need), including red, white, tan, and blue, which will alter the price slightly.
Best Wire Crate
They love it for its superior quality; it has a sturdy metal fame and the latches snap firmly into place. This crate comes in either a single or double door style. The double door is great if you use the provided separator to put two dogs in. You can also use the separator when your dog is a puppy, allowing him to grow into the crate over time.
In addition to all the recommendations for this crate, Animal Hub has a comprehensive review on what makes the MidWest Life Stages such a great wire crate option. Some of the noted features include:
- Easy to set up and tear down; no special tools needed
- Removable pan for easy cleaning
- One-year warranty
- Slide bolt latches to securely fasten your dog
- Adjustable divider panel so you can buy a larger cage and adjust as your puppy grows
The crate comes in six different sizes, ranging from 22 inches to 48 inches, which is great for breeds over 50 lbs. You can find the MidWest Life Stages Crates on Chewy.com or the manufacturer's website. Prices vary from about $20 for a 22-inch crate to about $85 for a 48-inch crate.
Best Stylish Dog Crate
If you need your dog crate to blend in with your interior design, consider the Casual Home 600-44 Pet Crate End Table. At first glance, it looks like a regular end table, but it's actually a dog crate. It has been recommended by a number of buyers' guides in recent years, including Heavy.com's roundup of top dog crates in 2016.
Although it's designed with style in mind, the Casual Home crate is still functional. It provides ample ventilation for your dog and has a secure latch closure, which is easy to open and close from the outside. The crate is made from sustainable Hevea wood and also comes in either black or white.
The espresso model retails on Amazon for around $84 for the 24-inch and about $103 for the 27-inch one. Overall, reviewers who purchased the Home Crate End Table from stores like Wal-Mart love it, especially the sturdy material and ease of assembly.
The one downside is it does weigh more than a standard wire mesh cage, however, it's not meant to be mobile. Another important element to note about this crate is its lack of a removable tray for accidents. Also, because it's thin, this type of crate should be for a dog that is used to being crated or doesn't go crazy when they can't see you completely.
Best Indoor/Outdoor Dog Crate
If you're looking for a crate that works both indoors and outside, consider the Firstrax Noz2Noz Sof-Krate N2 Series Indoor & Outdoor Pet Home.
95 percent of Chewy.com's users recommend this crate as it has a host of benefits, including:
- Easy setup
- Well-ventilated for spring and summers outdoors
- Lightweight yet durable
- Easy to clean
- Has side, top, and front entry doors
- Designed for easy storage
- Water resistant base
Top Dog Tips has a thorough first person review of the crate, and the only potential con noted may be the "new crate smell," which apparently is a bit strong. She provides tips for those who are bothered by the fabric smell, but recommends this crate, especially for dogs that aren't a fan of traditional crates. She also loves how well-ventilated it is and the easy-access three doors. It's ergonomic and easy to flatten and put back together -- taking less than a minute.
The Firstrax crate is available on Chewy's website in varying sizes. The price ranges from around $75 to $110 depending on what size you get.
Best Hard Travel Crate
When it comes to airline travel, getting the right airline-approved dog crate can be extremely confusing and frustrating. The International Air Travel Association (IATA) has strict rules on what types of dog crates are approved for air travel. K9 of Mine has a great breakdown on all the rules, and highly recommends the Petmate Sky Kennel crate. It meets all the IATA criteria except for the plastic nuts and bolts that come standard. You'll need to buy metal ones to make it fully compliant.
Some of the key benefits of the Petmate Sky Kennel crate are:
- Pre-drilled zip tie holes, which are important since airlines require you zip tie the kennel doors shut
- Single metal door made of one piece of metal, which helps prevent your dog from trying to pull the door inward and collapse it
- Already comes with the live animal stickers as required
- Extended handles and rims meet IATA rim spacing requirements
- Air holes on all four sides of the crate
- Extra safe lock
The Petmate Sky Kennel crate comes in different sizes and can be found on a variety of sites, including 1800PetSupplies, which has the small crate for around $40, all the way up to the giant for $185.
Soft-Sided Small Dog Travel Crate
This soft-sided travel crate boats:
- Strong wire cage, which helps keep it from sagging and offers added stability
- Separate flap that allows your dog to stretch out a little more
- Reviewers of the Frontpet Expandable Carrier love its ease of use and durability for travel.
The one drawback Dogs Recommend notes is it only comes in one size, which is good for dogs around 13 pounds or less. The Frontpet Expandable Carrier is available from a number of online retailers, including Sears Marketplace for under $35.
Narrowing Down Your Options
Before buying a dog crate, it's best to consider important factors like:
- Your immediate needs in searching for a dog crate
- The size of your dog
A great resource if you are still unsure what crate best meets your immediate needs is the Best Dog Crate Guide. Their 2017 guide includes helpful information like:
- How to properly fold a dog crate
- Do anxiety toys and tools actually help
- General size guide to help you choose the right crate
Be sure to compare shipping options if you're buying a crate online as crates can be heavy. Also, look for liberal return policies if you're concerned at all about whether the crate you want is actually the best for your dog.
Choose the Right Crate
After you've considered your needs and your dog's size, choosing the ideal crate should be easy. It's important that your dog feel secure and comfortable in his crate, but it's also important that the crate meet your needs for style and functionality. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from that will have your dog's tail wagging.