Best dog crates to buy for everyday use and travel

If you are a long time dog owner, chances are that you would have implemented (or at least considered) crate training for your pooch. In most cases, dog crates cater well to the canine’s natural instincts and are particularly useful for housebreaking, home-alone pets and traveling.  A dog crate can help in providing a safe, secluded and comfortable habitat to your pet and help in handling many behavioral issues.

So, which are the best dog crates available in the market?

In this article, we will look at some of the best dog crates available in the market. We will focus on all the different types of dog crates – wire dog crates, heavy-duty metal dog crates, plastic dog crates, soft-sided dog crates and wooden dog crates.

We will discuss the primary situations in which each of these types of crates can be useful and share our top picks for each type of crate. We will also discuss some of the major factors to keep in mind before picking the best dog crate for your pooch and some general advice on crate training.

For more information, you can always check out our detailed articles on the best wire dog crates, the best plastic dog crates, the best soft-sided dog crates and the best wooden dog crates.

Best dog crates list

Some of the best dog crates available in the market for everyday use and travel are listed below:
PictureProductSize 
MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Wire Dog CrateXXS: 18" x 12" x 14"
XS: 22" x 13" x 16"
S: 24" x 18" x 19"
M: 30" x 19" x 21"
L: 36" x 23" x 25"
XL: 42" x 30" x 28"
XXL: 48" x 30" x 33"
Single or Double Door


Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog CageM: 36” X 24” X 25”
L: 41” x 28” x 32”
Single Door


Grain Valley Impact Collapsible Dog CrateM: 30” X 19” X 22”
L: 35” X 25” X 29”
XL: 41” X 25” X 29”
Single Door, Collapsible
Petmate Ultra Vari Dog KennelXS: 21" x 16" x 15"
S: 28" x 20.5" x 21.5"
M: 32" x 22.5" x 24"
L: 36" x 25" x 27"
XL: 40" x 27" x 30"
XXL: 48" x 32" x 35"
Single Door


Petmate Sky KennelXS: 21" x 16" x 15"
S: 28" x 20.5" x 21.5"
M: 32" x 22.5" x 24"
L: 36" x 25" x 27"
XL: 40" x 27" x 30"
XXL: 48" x 32" x 35"
Single Door


Petmate Compass Plastic Pet CrateXS: 19" x 12.7" x 11.5"
S: 24.6" x 16.8" x 15"
M: 28" x 20" x 19.2”
L: 32" x 21" x 22.9"
XL: 36" x 23" x 26.7"
XXL: 40" x 26.1" x 29.7"
Single Door


EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog CrateS: 20" x 14" x 14"
M: 24" x 18" x 21"
L: 30" x 21" x 24"
XL: 36" x 24" x 28"
XXL: 42" x 28" x 32"
Triple Door


AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog CrateS: 21" x 15" x 15"
M: 26" x 18" x 18"
L: 30" x 21" x 21"
XL: 36" x 23" x 24"
XXL: 42" x 31" x 31"
Double Door
Crown Pet Products Wooden Dog Crate and End TableM: 30" x 21" x 24"
L: 40" x 27" x 27"
Single Door
Merry Pet 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate n GateM: 33" x 24" x 23"
L: 40" x 28" x 32"
Single Door
Configurable


** The size mentioned above are based on exterior dimensions. Interior dimensions would be a few inches less. Check the product details for exact interior dimensions.

What are the different types of dog crates?

Dog crates are one of the many canine containment products that include dog crates, dog carriers and outdoor dog kennels. Before we look at the best dog crate options for your Fido, let us briefly discuss the different types of dog crates that are available in the market and the situations in which they can be useful.

Wire dog crates

Dog Crate | MidWest iCrate 24

Wire dog crates are specially designed hard-case dog kennels made of steel (stainless steel or nickel-chromium coated) or any other metallic wires or slats. Wire dog crates are also sometimes referred to as “metal dog crates”, “metal dog cages” or “metal dog kennels” based on their design and purpose.

Wire dog crates can be lightweight with thin metal wires or heavy-duty with solid metal frames and security gates. Lightweight wire dog crates are more portable and can be folded flat and easily transported. They also have removable crate pans and dividers to adjust the crate size. Heavy-duty metal dog crates, on the other hand, are not collapsible and only work well as household cages or kennels. Most of the heavy-duty metal dog cages also have locking caster wheels to maneuver them around the house.

Like other such products, wire and metal dog crates cater well to the natural instincts of canines as their primitive natural habitat was essentially dens. These metal dog crates provide a safe and secure private space to the pet and can be useful for daily confinement, traveling and handling behavioral issues in pets.

Wire dog crates are different from the other dog crates in many ways mainly because of their design characteristics.

Wire dog crates are open from all sides and offer provide better ventilation but less privacy to the pet than the plastic or wooden dog crates and cages. This means that such crates do not trap odors and need less frequent cleaning and maintenance. However, they are less escape-proof, and a Houdini dog can learn to get out of them.

Moreover, most airlines no longer allow using metal dog crates for air travel. Only the Grain Valley Impact Collapsible Dog Crate is allowed by some airlines to transport pets in the cargo hold.

Plastic dog crates

Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier,Dark Gray/Black,50-70 LBS

Plastic dog crates are hard-case dog kennels made of heavy-duty, scratch-proof plastic. Plastic dog crates are also sometimes referred to as “plastic dog kennels” or “travel dog crates” because of their design and purpose.

Plastic dog crates consist of a hard-case two-piece (or more) plastic body with a polymer or metal door. These crates have small openings/windows around the body for air circulation. Some plastic crates also have a handle, allowing them to be used as pet carriers for small pets.

Like other such products, plastic dog crates and kennels provide a safe and secure private space to the pet and can be useful in housebreaking, traveling and handling behavioral issues in pets.

Plastic dog crates are different from other types of crates, especially wire dog crates mainly because of their design. Plastic dog kennels are generally less open and offer more privacy to the pet and provide better insulation than the wire cages. This feature helps in handling separation anxiety and other disciplinary issues in pets. However, limited ventilation means that such crates can trap odors and need more frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Furthermore, because of their lighter weight and unique design features, plastic dog crates and kennels can often be used as hard-case pet carriers for airline (as both carry-on and cargo-hold – Collapsible metal wire crates are NOT allowed on airlines) or car travel or even as a pet carrier for a quick trip around the town. In addition, some crates can be put to daily use by converting them into open dog beds by removing the top portion.

Soft-sided dog crates

Petnation Port-A-Crate Indoor and Outdoor Home for Pets

Soft dog crates are portable dog cages and kennels which have a soft fabric exterior generally mounted on a metal frame.  Such crates are extremely lightweight and portable – they collapse to about 4-6” high carrying size. Because of this, such crates are perfect for travel and also as a vacation home for pets.

Wire dog crates are also sometimes referred to as “soft-sided dog crates”, “fabric dog carriers” or “fabric dog crates” based on their construction material, design and purpose.

These soft-sided dog kennels provide a safe and secure private space to the pet even during outdoor trips and travel. Some of them can also double up as pet carriers for use during car or air travel (cabin carry-on only) and work with other pets such as cats, hamsters, and guinea pigs as well.

Soft-sided dog crates are different from other types of dog crates in many ways.  They are lighter, more portable, and generally cheaper than plastic and wooden dog crates (most of them are almost the same price range or in some cases, costlier than wire dog crates). They are also available in a variety of fabric colors and sizes, giving you a lot of options to choose from.

However, because of their fabric construction with meshed windows, soft dog crates are easy for a pet to get out of and are not chew-proof. Because of this, soft crates can only be used for mild-mannered dogs weighing less than 100 lbs. Furthermore, soft dog crates require more care, and frequent cleaning, although most of them have machine washable covers and crate pads.

Wooden dog crates

Richell Wooden End Table Crate, Large, Dark Brown

Wooden dog crates are specially-designed hard-case dog cages made of wood or any other wood-based products. These types of dog crates are also sometimes referred to as “dog crate furniture”.

Wooden dog crates are primarily meant for indoor use. They are generally made of solid wood like Rubberwood, Cedar, Maple, Mahogany or Cherrywood or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF plywood). Solid wood dog crate furniture is more durable, heavier and eclectic. MDF plywood dog crates tend to be lighter but are considerably cheaper. Almost all wooden dog crates have a Microban coating and special moisture-resistant paint or polish to provide weather protection. They have one or more wire-frame doors with a latch lock.

Wooden dog crates are the most fashionable types of dog crates. They can be used as living room furniture or end table and add to the home décor. And because of their more-enclosed design, they offer more privacy to the pet and hence help in controlling separation anxiety.

And just like the soft-sided dog crates, wooden dog crates require more care and can only be used with mild-mannered dogs weighing less than 100-110 lbs. Moreover, they tend to be costlier than most wire and plastic dog crates (with exception of heavy-duty metal dog cages).

In the next sections, we will look at some of the best dog crates of each type available in the market. We would also cover the main factors to consider before picking the best dog crate for your pet. Read on!

Which are the best dog crates for everyday use and travel?

MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Metal Dog Crate – Best wire dog crateDog Crate | MidWest iCrate 24

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Material: Stainless-steel wire frame with a rust-resistant, satin-black electro-coat finish.
Design: Single or Double Door – on the front and a side. Single heavy-duty slide-bolt latches per door. Foldable, Suitcase-style.
Size:

  • XXS: 18″ x 12″ x 14″.
  • XS: 22″ x 13″ x 16″.
  • S: 24″ x 18″ x 19″.
  • M: 30″ x 19″ x 21″.
  • L: 36″ x 23″ x 25″.
  • XL: 42″ x 30″ x 28″.
  • XXL: 48″ x 30″ x 33″.
  • Single or Double Door

Price: $ to $$ depending upon the size.
Features:

  • Best-selling wire dog crate with Stainless-steel wire frame having a durable satin-black electro-coat finish. Made in China under MidWest Pets quality control restrictions.
  • Available in single or double door design, with doors on the front and a side. The doors are hinged at four to six places for stability and are easily removable if desired.
  • Equipped with a single heavy-duty slide-bolt latch per door. The latch minimizes escape but is not escape proof as it is accessible from inside the crate.
  • Features an approximately 1.4-inch of space between wire bars with rounded corner clips that greatly reduce possible sharp-points.
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble without tools and comes semi-assembled. Collapsible to a 2-inch high suit-case style carrying size. The frame comes with easy-to-attach plastic handles for convenient transportation.
  • Comes with a divider panel, durable plastic dog tray, carrying handle, roller feet to protect floors and an instruction manual. The dog tray is removable for cleaning and is replaceable if damaged.
  • Available in seven sizes, three colors and backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty. The manufacturer also offers an award-winning customer support service.
  • Also available in pink Midwest iCrate color combination.

For a detailed review of the product, you can check the article here or check the video below:

 

Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog Cage – Best heavy-duty metal dog cageProSelect Empire Cages - Medium

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Material: Heavy-duty metal dog cage with a 20-gauge steel frame and 0.5” steel slats with multi-layer, rust-resistant hammer-tone coating. Stainless-steel door latch and rivets.
Design: Single door with two latch locks. Rotating, lockable TPR and electro-plated caster wheels. Does not fold without disassembly. Virtually escape Proof.
Size:

  • M: 36” X 24” X 25”.
  • L: 41” x 28” x 32”.

Price: $$$.
Features:

  • Best-selling metal dog cage made of 20-gauge super-strong epoxy-finished steel with 0.5” hollow steel tubes. The crate is coated with multiple layers of hammer-tone coating for rust-protection.
  • Virtually escape-proof with two latch locks in the door. The latch locks are inaccessible from the inside and have double-latch locking.
  • Equipped with four TPR and electro-plated caster wheels for easy movement around the house. All the four wheels are lockable to prevent accidental movement.
  • There is approximately 1.75-inches of space between slats (0.8-inch on the bottom) with rounded corners and surfaces to prevent any injury.
  • Comes with a removable 25-gauge steel crate pan that can be attached below the bottom grate. Easy to remove and clean.
  • Available in two sizes and backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

For a detailed review of the product, you can check the article here.

Impact Collapsible Aluminum Dog CrateImpact Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate (Large (35

Material: Powder-coated .063 aluminum body with stainless-steel latches and rivets. Rust-resistant paint and coating.
Design: Single door, collapsible to an 8-inch high case. Totally Escape-proof.
Size:

  • M: 30” X 19” X 22”.
  • L: 35” X 25” X 29”.
  • XL: 41” X 25” X 29”.

Price: $$$$$.
Features:

  • High-end, uniquely-designed metal dog crate with a rust-resistant aluminum frame and marine-grade Stainless-steel latches and rivets. Made in the US and 100% dog-friendly manufacturing.
  • The all-aluminum crate is designed to conveniently collapse to less than 8-inch high carrying size. Equipped with spring-loaded handles for easy transportation.
  • Best-in-class full-length piano hinges and security latch that is totally escape-proof. The lock is not exposed to the pet from inside the crate. No door lock is necessary.
  • Designed like a plastic dog crate with 360-degree ventilation but limited exposure to help reduce separation anxiety. Suitable for pets weighing from 25 lbs. to 100 lbs.
  • Available in a tan color and backed by a limited lifetime warranty. More colors and door options are available directly from the manufacturer.
  • Costly at over 600 dollars but designed like a Rolls Royce of dog crates. Design updated to be IATA compliant, but check before flying.

Petmate Ultra Vari Plastic Dog KennelPetmate Ultra Vari Dog Kennel, Heavy-Duty, No Tool Assembly, 4 Sizes, Taupe/Black

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Material: BPA-free, ABS Polypropylene plastic shell with a chrome-plated steel door and metal wing nuts.
Design: Semi-covered design suitable for everyday household usage and airline or car travel.
Size:

  • XS: 21″ x 16″ x 15″.
  • S: 28″ x 20.5″ x 21.5″.
  • M: 32″ x 22.5″ x 24″.
  • L: 36″ x 25″ x 27″.
  • XL: 40″ x 27″ x 30″.
  • XXL: 48″ x 32″ x 35″.

Price: $ to $$$ depending upon the size.
Features:

  • Heavy-duty dog crate with the shell made of high-quality, eco-friendly ABS plastic, chrome-plated steel wire door, wire windows, and covered doorposts. Made in the US.
  • Environment-friendly construction with 25% recycled material.
  • The new design provides 360-degree ventilation and visibility with wire windows on the sides and plastic vents on the back.
  • Features a raised interior with a leakproof moat at the bottom that keeps the pets dry in case of an “accident”.
  • XS and S size dog crates offer a foldable carrying handle. All plastic kennels include tie-down holes for securing the crate.
  • All crates meet the IATA air travel requirements for cargo-hold carriers.
  • Extremely easy, no-tool assembly with bolts and wing nut fasteners.
  • Available in six sizes and one standard color combination. Suitable for almost all dog and cat breeds. Backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty.

For a detailed review of the product, you can check the article here.

Petmate Compass Plastic Pet CratePetmate Compass Fashion Kennel Cat and Dog Kennel

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Material: BPA-free, ABS plastic with a chrome-plated two-way door.
Design: Lightweight with rounded plastic vents on the sides and back.  Not suitable for air travel.
Size:

  • XS: 19″ x 12.7″ x 11.5″.
  • S: 24.6″ x 16.8″ x 15″.
  • M: 28″ x 20″ x 19.2”.
  • L: 32″ x 21″ x 22.9″.
  • XL: 36″ x 23″ x 26.7″.
  • XXL: 40″ x 26.1″ x 29.7”.

Price: $ to $$ depending upon the size
Features:

  • Innovative, newly-designed plastic dog crate with increased ventilation, bigger door, and easy assembly.
  • Made eco-friendly, sturdy yet lightweight ABS plastic body with chrome-plated door and built-in plastic vents.
  • Extra-large, two-way door provides easy access to the crate. The door has secure spring latches with extra snap-fitting attachments at top and bottom for reinforcement.
  • Better ventilation and visibility with openings/vents on all sides. Features extra bottom side ventilation holes for airflow during travel.
  • Extremely easy to assemble and disassemble. No tools required. Features slide assembly with four wingnut bolts for extra security. Sliding top and bottom makes cleaning easy.
  • Fulfills most air travel requirements for domestic flights, but not as sturdy as other airline-approved crates, so not suitable for use as a cargo-hold carrier.
  • Available in six sizes for 10-90 lbs. pets and 3-4 color combinations. Backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty.

For a detailed review of the product, you can check the article here.

Petmate Sky KennelPetmate Sky Kennel Portable Dog Crate Travel Items Included 6 Sizes

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Material: Sturdy, BPA-free ABS plastic shell, metal wing nuts and strong, steel-wire Interlocking door.
Design: Semi-covered design with 4-way vault type interlocking door for secure latching. Approved for air travel.
Size:

  • XS: 21″ x 16″ x 15″.
  • S: 28″ x 20.5″ x 21.5″.
  • M: 32″ x 22.5″ x 24″.
  • L: 36″ x 25″ x 27″.
  • XL: 40″ x 27″ x 30″.
  • XXL: 48″ x 32″ x 35″.

Price: $ to $$$ depending upon the size.
Features:

  • Hard-shell plastic dog crate with heavy-duty steel doors and non-corrosive metal wing nuts. Made of high-quality BPA-free, recycled ABS plastic. Made in the US.
  • 4-way vault type interlocking door is designed specifically to keep the crate securely locked during travel.
  • Built-in vents on the sides and back provide a 360-degree ventilation and visibility.
  • XS and S size dog crates offer a foldable carrying handle. Large plastic kennels include tie-down holes for securing the crate.
  • All crates meet the IATA air travel requirements for cargo-hold carriers.
  • Comes with a pet travel kit with 2 “Live Animal” stickers, clip-on bowls and ID stickers.
  • Available in six sizes and one standard color combination. Suitable for almost all dog and cat breeds. Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog CrateEliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate, Indoor & Outdoor Pet Home, Multiple Sizes and Colors Available (42

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Material: 600D Oxford Canvas fabric mounted on a tubular steel frame. Fleece crate pad. Nylon mesh windows.
Design: Three zippered doors – on the top, one side and in the front. Full-sized, hexagonal nylon mesh with curtains on all doors and windows. Collapsible to 3” carrying height.
Size:

  • S: 20″ x 14″ x 14″.
  • M: 24″ x 18″ x 21″.
  • L: 30″ x 21″ x 24″.
  • XL: 36″ x 24″ x 28″.
  • XXL: 42″ x 28″ x 32″.

Price: $$ to $$$ depending on the size.
Features:

  • Premium folding soft-sided dog crate made of 600D water-resistant canvas fabric mounted on a tubular steel frame. Designed in the US and made in China.
  • Double reinforced stitching on top and bottom and additional reinforcement on corners to provide more durability. The cover is removable and machine washable.
  • Features three zippered doors with full-sized nylon mesh windows for 360-degree ventilation.
  • Collapsible to a small 3-inch high carrying size. Tool-free assembly/disassembly. Equipped with hand carrying straps and a padded shoulder strap for easy transportation and securing the crate while traveling.
  • Comes with a crate pad, two accessory pockets and a decent-quality carrying case.
  • Available in five sizes and over 10 color combinations, suitable for dogs weighing up to 100 lbs. Backed by a two-year EliteField warranty and 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment.

For a detailed review of the product, you can check the article here or check the video below

 

AmazonBasics Premium Soft Dog Crate – Value Pick for the best soft dog crateAmazonBasics Premium Folding Portable Soft Pet Crate - 30

Material: Water-resistant polyester fabric cover mounted on a PVC frame. Nylon mesh windows. Synthetic fleece crate bed.
Design: Two-door design – front and top with zippers. Small mesh windows on the three sides. Collapsible to a flat-size with a handle for easy transportation.
Size:

  • S: 21″ x 15″ x 15″.
  • M: 26″ x 18″ x 18″.
  • L: 30″ x 21″ x 21″.
  • XL: 36″ x 23″ x 24″.
  • XXL: 42″ x 31″ x 31″.

Price: $.
Features:

  • Lightweight, folding dog crate featuring a PVC-pipe frame with a mounted polyester fabric cover. Made in China under AmazonBasics quality control measures.
  • Rounded corners with additional fabric reinforcement stitching for maximum durability. The crate cover is removable and machine washable.
  • Features two doors – front and top with secure zipper closures. Small mesh windows on three sides provide ample ventilation while providing requisite privacy.
  • Collapsible design with tool-free assembly/disassembly. Comes with a securing latch and handles for easy transportation.
  • The latest models also include a synthetic fleece crate pad. Also includes accessory pockets on the top and sides for storing treats, toys, and more.
  • Available in five color combinations and five sizes suitable for dogs weighing up to 80 lbs. Backed by a one-year AmazonBasics warranty.
  • Competitively priced at under 70 dollars for the biggest model but does not include the crate bed or pad.

For a detailed review of the product, you can check the article here.

Crown Pet Products Wooden Dog Crate and End TableCrown Pet Products Pet Crate Wood Dog Crate Furniture End Table, Medium Size with Mahogany Finish

Material:  Kiln-dried tropical Rubberwood frame finished with multi-layered wood protector paint.
Design: Single swing-through door that can rotate outwards or inward. Wooden door and window slats. Waterproof melamine-covered MDF floor panel.
Size:

  • M: 30″ x 21″ x 24″.
  • L: 40″ x 27″ x 27″.

Price: $$ to $$$ depending upon the size.
Features:

  • Best-selling solid wood dog crate featuring a solid Rubberwood construction with waterproof melamine-covered MDF crate floor. Beautiful stained and lacquered finish. Made in China.
  • Multiple window-sized vents on all sides provide a well-ventilated environment to the pet. The crate has about 1.5-inches of space between wooden slats with rounded corners that greatly reduce possible sharp-points.
  • Versatile swing-through door rotates inwards or outwards, so as to be out of the way. Equipped with a standard stainless-steel door latch.
  • Waterproof melamine-covered MDF floor is easy to clean and eliminates absorption of liquids and odors.
  • Available in two sizes and two elegant furniture finishes – Mahogany and Espresso. Suitable for dogs up to 80-90 lbs. in size.
  • Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

For a detailed review of the product, you can check the article here.

Merry Pet 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate n Gate – Value Pick for the best wooden dog crateMerry Pet 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate and Gate, Medium

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Material: Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) body with solid wood veneer and stain-resistant brown protector paint. Metal rod tubes on windows and doors.
Design: Single door that can hinge or slide into the side.  Standard steel latch lock.
Size:

  • M: 33″ x 24″ x 23″.
  • L: 40″ x 28″ x 32″.

Price: $.
Features:

  • 2-In-1 configurable wooden pet crate and gate featuring an MDF body with stain-resistant brown finishing color. Has a solid wood veneer and metal slats. Made in China or Vietnam.
  • Lightweight and durable, with solid wood top and bottom panels with 200+ lbs. tabletop capacity.
  • Easy tool-free assembly and conversion to a wooden gate that can be used to close off doorways and/or open spaces.
  • Full-sized windows on all sides provide a 360-degree view and a well-ventilated environment to the pet. The crate has about 1.4-inches of space between the metal slats. The door has a standard latch lock.
  • Comes with a leak-proof sliding plastic crate tray. The dog tray is removable for cleaning and is replaceable if damaged.
  • Available in two sizes and a single standard brown furniture look and backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.

For a detailed review of the product, you can check the article here.

How to pick the best dog crates for everyday use and travel?

With so many different types, designs and models of dog crates available in the market with different types, shapes and designs, picking the best dog crate for your needs can often be a challenging task. After all, you would like to have a dog crate that is easy to maintain and comfortable for your canine to use.

Once you have decided upon the approximate budget, you need to keep the following major factors in mind before picking the best dog crate for your pet or pets:

  • Primary purpose and type of crate
  • Construction material
  • Crate design features
  • Crate size
  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Additional factors and considerations

Primary purpose and type of crate

Before picking the best dog crate for your needs, you would have to think about the primary purpose for which you are looking for such a pet containment solution. It would govern the type of dog crate you should opt for.

If you are looking for a dog crate specifically for everyday use, then wire or heavy-duty metal dog crates are the best option. And if you have a docile dog that has already been crate-trained, then a wooden dog crate is also an option.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a dog crate for travel, then plastic or soft-sided dog crates are the best options to look for. Plastic dog crates are also suitable for air travel, where approved models can be used to restrain the pet in the cargo hold.

Similarly, if you have a pet who exhibits separation anxiety then a plastic or solid wood dog crate would be more suitable than a wire dog crate, because of a more secluded design.

In short, depending upon your primary purpose, you can decide upon the type of dog crate you should look at.

Construction material

You should also look at the manufacturing material of the dog crate to ascertain its build quality and durability. After all, you must be looking for a dog crate that is durable, reliable and portable.

The wire dog crates are generally made of hollow steel tubes with additional welding at stress points and metal frames. The steel tubes or slats are coated with a rust-resistant paint. The best wire dog crates have multiple layers of rust-resistant electro-pain coating, making them more durable and weather-proof. The rivets, door-hinges and latch locks are generally made of stainless steel, while the crate pan is made of leak-proof poly-plastic.

When it comes to heavy-duty metal dog cages, they generally have a 15-20-gauge steel frame with 0.5-0.75-inch hollow steel slats and stainless steel rivets, latches and hinges. The crate floor is grated to provide additional ventilation if required. Some crates come with metal or plastic pans to attach to the bottom of the crate to collect any crate waste. The only exception to this is the high-end Grain Valley Impact Collapsible Dog Crate, which features a collapsible aluminum body.

While the shell or container of the plastic dog crates is made of (obviously) plastic, the grade varies considerably. There is a trade-off between the thickness of the plastic shell and the overall weight of the crate. Domestic use plastic dog crates can have lighter, thinner plastic shells while airline-approved crates need to be made of high-grade ABS plastic that can withstand some abuse. Most of the options that we have listed are made of high-quality, BPA-free plastic only and offer a nice balance between weight and durability.

The wooden dog crates are generally made of kiln-dried solid wood or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) plywood and coated with stain-resistant furniture paint for water protection and elegant looks. MDF crates are the cheapest and lightest, though they are not the most durable and can chip around the edges. To improve their durability a solid wood veneer is often attached on the top and bottom panels.

The cheapest solid wood dog crates use a tropical wood like the Rubberwood. Rubberwood is considered the most sustainable type of wood and is reasonably durable and easy to maintain. Better quality wooden dog crates use Cherry wood, Maple, Cedar or Mahogany. These are high-density wood types and such dog crate furniture are heavier and more durable. Moreover, solid wood has natural noise-reduction properties, thereby making the crate more secluded and disturbance-free. They may, however, require more care and re-painting in three or more years.

The soft dog crates are generally made of water-resistant Oxford canvas or polyester cover mounted on a powder-coated steel or PVC plastic frame. PVC-pipe plastic frames tend to be lighter, but steel frames are generally more durable and such crates can survive some abuse from the dog. Irrespective of the frame type, the soft dog crates are collapsible and extremely easy to assemble and disassemble.

Check the construction material of the crate, doors and other additional parts before picking the best dog crate for your pet.

Crate design features

Besides a sturdy build and proper size, there are quite a few design features that you need to look at before pulling the plug on a specific dog crate model. While the exact design features to look for would depend upon the type of crate you want to opt for, there are some common design features to factor in.

One of the first design features to consider is whether to go with an open or closed design. A closed design may be suitable for a pet with separation anxiety, while some canines like to see what is going around them and prefer a more open crate. Plastic, wooden and soft-sided dog crates offer both closed and open designs, while metal dog crates are generally open (with the exception of the Impact dog crate).

Another design feature is the number of doors – single or double doors. Dog crates with multiple doors are more versatile and easier to maintain, though they do give dogs an additional escape route. Despite this, we recommend that you opt for a crate with two doors with secure latches as the benefits outweigh the limitations.

You also need to ensure that the door and window slats and tubes are designed in a that the dog cannot hurt its snout by scratching it against the openings. This can be achieved by rounding off the tubes and minimizing the distance between them. Any crate with a distance of 2-inches or more between slats is generally not suitable.

Finally, if you have a Houdini dog then it is important that you opt for a relatively escape-proof crate – the ones with secure door latches that are not easy to access from inside the crates.

Check all these design features and the crate type-specific designs and decide on the most suitable option for your needs. If you are ever in doubt, you can pick simply pick one from our list. You would not regret it!

Crate size

Once you have zeroed in on a specific model, it is important that you pick the dog crate of the right size. Most of the options that we listed are available in multiple sizes, so you can pick one as per your dog’s breed, measured size, and weight.

In order to pick the right size of crate, you would need to measure the length and height of your pet. Based on your pet’s length and height, you would need to add 4-6 inches of additional space to give enough wriggle room to the pet.

Most manufacturers provide their own sizing charts like the one below, to help you pick the best wire dog crate size. It is important to remember that the interior dimensions of the crate would be at least a couple of inches less than the advertised exterior dimensions.

Typical Plastic Dog Crate Sizing Chart
Typical Plastic Dog Crate Sizing Chart (Source: Amazon.com)

Always measure up your pet and pick the crate of the most appropriate size. When in doubt, pick a crate that is one size up.

Cleaning and maintenance

To prevent any soiling or odor build-up due to an “accident”, you would need to clean the dog crate from time to time. While you can spray clean any dog crate and clean the removable plastic crate pan, for thorough cleaning you would need to disassemble the crate. Therefore, it is important to pick an option that is easy to disassemble, clean and put together, especially if you are going to have the dog crate for everyday use.

While almost all the options we listed are easy to assemble and disassemble with a little skill, some models do offer a more convenient tool-free assembly.

Among wire dog crates, the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Metal Dog Crate is the probably the easiest one to take-down and re-assemble. Assembling or disassembling a metal dog crates may be slightly more difficult; Still, the Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog Cage is pretty easy to assemble again after a cleanup.

Among plastic dog crates, all the Petmate crates are extremely easy to clean. Most soft dog crates allow tool-free assembly and disassembly, though some of them may require more skills to set them back up. You can remove the cover and machine wash it.

When it comes to wooden dog crates, the Crown Pet Products Wooden Dog Crate and End Table is our favorite because it comes with a waterproof melamine-covered MDF floor that is extremely easy to clean.

Based on your preferences, select a dog crate that is easy to assemble/disassemble, clean and maintain and has a removable plastic tray or cover.

Additional factors and considerations

In addition to the major factors discussed above, there are some other miscellaneous considerations that can make a particular dog crate a better choice over other products.

One such consideration is the accessories, if any, that come with the crate. Many options that we list come with accessories such as dividers, crate pans, pet travel kits and carrying cases (for soft dog crates) which make them specifically attractive. While it should not be a deal-breaker, check out the additional accessories included with the crate before picking the best dog crate for your pooch.

Another additional factor is the color combination in which the crate is available. Bright, vibrant colors are stylish and make the dog crate stand out and fashionable, especially if you are going to use it as a pet carrier for a trip to the park or vet. Many of the options that we listed are available in multiple color combinations, so you can pick one as per your preference.

Finally, one of the most important additional consideration is the warranty and post-purchase customer service support offered on the crate by the manufacturer.  While there is nothing like an indestructible dog crate, the longer the warranty period, the more durable the dog crate would be. Most dog crates that we listed are backed by excellent post-purchase support and warranties, so you can use such products for a long time without worrying about their durability. Just make sure you make your purchase only from authorized re-sellers and register your product after purchasing if required.

You can look at all these additional factors before finalizing the best dog crate for your needs.

Accessories for dog crates

Slumber Pet Sherpa Crate Beds  - Comfortable Bumper-Style Beds for Dogs and Cats, X-Small, Natural Beige

Crate trays, crate covers (if using wire dog crates) are some of the first accessories to look for. Most manufacturers offer their own dog crate trays and replacement parts, so you are better off picking those instead of picking other options from the open market.

In addition to the crate covers and trays, crate beds and water and food bowls are generally the most common accessories you would need with dog crates.

If you are looking for budget dog crate beds, you can consider the following best-selling options:

For crate food and water bowls, you can consider the following options. These bowls have smart attachments that can allow the bowl to be securely attached to the crate door.

Finally, if you are planning to use your dog crate for air travel, you would need a specific set of supplies that include identification stickers, zip ties, secure bolt attachments, travel bowls and pads etc. Remember that airlines would only allow plastic dog crates in the cargo hold. And only pets weighing less than 20 lbs. would be allowed in the cabin with soft-sided dog crates.

Instead of getting each item separately, you can consider getting one of the following pet air travel kits:

  • DryFur Deluxe Pet Airline Travel Kit: Best-selling pet airline kit with all the required accessories, food bowls and dog training pad. Guaranteed to be airline approved for domestic travel (International rules may vary). Available in multiple sizes – Small, Medium, Large and Giant. Assembled in the US.
  • Petmate Kennel Travel Kit for Pets: A high-quality pet travel kit made by the worldwide best-seller of plastic pet kennels, crates and carriers. The kit includes food and water cups, kennel pad, nuts and bolts, stickers and zip ties – everything needed for securing the pet in cargo-hold during travel.
  • You & Me Airline Travel Kit for Pets: Another air travel kit with all the necessary essentials for flying with the pet.

You would also need to consider getting a few dog potty pads, especially if you have a long trip. Check out our article on the best puppy and dog training pads for some of the best options available in the market.

Improving chances of crate training success

As discussed above, dog crates are a useful pet containment product that can be useful in housebreaking a puppy or re-homing an adopted dog, traveling with the pet – car or airlines, even handling behavioral issues such as aggression towards other pets and separation anxiety. However, improving your chances of success with dog crates is something that would require some tact and effort.

While covering all the information and advice on crate training and traveling with crates is beyond the scope of this article, there are a few tips you can follow. For some more detailed information and tips and tricks, you can check out some additional resources in our article on the best dog training guides. You would find Dog training Revolution by Zak George and Dina Roth Port especially useful.

  • Do consider crate training your pet, especially if you have a multi-pet household. Most dog trainers, vets and behaviorists recommend that every pet owner must at least consider crate training for their pets. The earlier you start the better and easier it would be.
  • Irrespective of the type of crate you opt for, the size of the crate is extremely important. Always measure your dog and pick a crate that gives ample space for the dog to move around the crate. When in doubt size up. Most wire dog crates come with dividers, so it is easier to adjust the crate size available to the pet. Some of them also have two-door options available. Other dog crates do not provide this customization, so picking the crate of the right size is even more important.
  • While dog crates are excellent containment options, you should not leave your dog in it unattended for long hours. Dogs are active animals who need regular exercise and interaction. The general rule of thumb is to keep a dog no more than 6-8 hours at one time during the day. Keeping the dog any longer in the crate can make it depressed or inactive. For night time, leaving the dog in the crate is ok if your pet is comfortable with it.
  • Before putting your dog in the crate, make sure it has done “its business” and does not hold or urinate/defecate in the crate. Most dogs would give you enough indications before getting into the crates. You can also consider using a dog training pad if required.
  • Wire dog crates are easier for pets to escape from when compared to plastic dog crates. So, if you have a “Houdini pet”, consider getting a metal dog crate which provides a provision for additional latch locks.
  • Before using a metal or wire dog crate as a pet container during travel, ensure that your pet is comfortable with the environment. Start 2-3 weeks before the trip and familiarize your canine with the crate, even if your dog is already crate trained.
  • Modern regulations do not allow carrying metal dog crates on airlines. You should consider an IATA-approved plastic dog crate to use as airline carries. The general IATA pet container requirements are listed here.
  • If you are using your dog crate as containment gear during car or vehicle travel, make sure you secure it with straps and tie-downs to avoid the movement during the drive. You would not want the dog to be uncomfortable in the crate and act as a distraction during driving.
  • Clean the crate regularly with running water to avoid odor build-up– at least once every 2 weeks for plastic dog crates and 3 weeks or so for wire dog crates. Soft dog crates must be cleaned before storing after a trip.
  • If the canine shows aggression or is continuously whining in the crate despite being crate trained, consult your vet. It may be a sign of a health or behavioral problem with the pet.

Also check out the following video for some additional information on how to crate train a puppy.

 

Final thoughts on the best dog crates for everyday use and travel

Crate training is an excellent way to provide a secure and secluded personal space to the canine and also handle certain behavioral issues in pets such as unwarranted aggression and separation anxiety. The market is inundated with different types and models of dog crates, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. So picking the right dog crate for your pet can sometimes be a challenge.

In this article, we looked at simplifying this by listing some of the best dog crates for everyday use and travel. We listed options for metal dog crates, plastic dog crates, soft dog crates and even wooden dog crates. We discussed the key advantages and disadvantages of each type of dog crate and shared our top picks.

We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the best dog crate for travel and everyday use. Please provide your feedback by commenting below or contacting us separately. Until next time, happy crate training your pet!

Image credits:Amazon.com

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