A dog crate should be one of the first items you purchase before taking on the responsibility of a dog. Owners should not feel discouraged to buy a dog crate because it resembles a cage; it is a natural environment that mimics the feel of a den. To put it simply, dogs still retain some qualities and characteristics of their ancestors.
Before the time of domesticated animals, wild dogs would make shelter of small dens. These dens were basically shallow holes or narrow passages, just big enough for the dog to turn around and lie down comfortably, that could offer protection from predators. So, the crate is acting as a modernized version of a den, giving your pet private space. The crate can also be helpful because its speeds the housebreaking process, discourages destructive chewing and aids in travel.
There are a number of variables that you should take into account when choosing a dog crate. Some aspects to consider before purchasing a crate are materials, size and safety.
- Plastic dog crates are generally made of a durable poly-blend with a chrome-plated steel bar door. Features include ventilated side panels and a leak-proof bottom. They offer privacy and are approved for airline travel.
- Travel dog crates provide superior strength and durability. They feature heavy-duty construction, excellent ventilation, and great visibility. Travel crates are perfect for flying or driving with your dog, plus they are also commonly used for training.
- Wire dog crates provide maximum ventilation, security and portability. Some fold down to a convenient size for easy storage. These crates are also easy to clean because of the maximized open space.
Each type offers some universal services that you expect from a standard crate, while others are better for specific situations.
Dog crates also come in different sizes, and it’s important to know the right size crate for your dog. A dog crate size chart can come in handy. Typically, the height and length of your dog will determine the correct size; the ideal size should allow your dog to stand up, without ducking his head below his shoulders, and to lie down and stretch to his full body length without being cramped.
A divider panel adds versatility to your dog kennel and saves you money by allowing you to adjust the size as your puppy grows. It is important to keep the size somewhat restrictive because dogs will naturally prefer to be clean; if the crate is too big, the dog might relieve himself in one corner, and then go to another corner to sleep.
A crate not only keeps your furniture safe from a curious or destructive pup while you’re away, it also keeps your pup safe from potentially dangerous situations when you can’t be there to supervise. Just like a child’s car seat, the dog’s crate needs to be properly secured before taking any trips. When you put your pet in a crate, remove his so it doesn't get hooked or stuck, trapping or choking your dog.