Learn what dog crates are used for and how to choose the right one for your dog

Dog crates are designed to be safe, secure areas that dogs can occupy for short periods of time. Although they’re available in different sizes, designs, and materials, they typically consist of a wire frame and a removable tray where a dog bed can be placed.

What are dog crates used for?

  • Some dogs appear to benefit from having an open ‘den’ that they can use as a safe space where they feel secure, but can come and go from as they please.
  • Dog crates are often used to help with puppy training, such as teaching a puppy how to be left alone or to help with toilet training.
  • Where owner supervision is not possible, crates can be used for short-term confinement.
  • In some circumstances a vet may advise the use of a crate, such as to aid recovery after an operation and allow the area to heal.
  • Crates can also help keep dogs secure and comfortable whilst being transported. Dog crates for the car often come in the standard rectangular shape but you can also purchase sloped crates that may fit better in the boot.
    • The aim of the crate

      Your dog’s crate should be a place where they feel safe and secure, but most importantly a place that they are happy to be in. Crates should never be used as a form of punishment or to prevent unwanted behaviours, such as destruction of furniture. If you are concerned about your dog or puppy’s behaviour, you should contact your vet – they will be able to refer you to an accredited animal behaviourist if required.

      Top tips for creating a safe haven

      • Add some comfortable soft bedding for your dog to lie on. Only do this if they are not prone to chewing and swallowing bedding, as this could lead to an unexpected vet’s visit and potentially surgery if the bedding was to cause an obstruction.
      • Place some interesting, safe, chew toys inside.
      • Set your crate up away from direct sunlight and draughts.
      • Placing a cover over part of the crate may help your dog feel more secure.
      • Make sure your dog has access to water by using a clip-on bowl to prevent them from tipping it over.
        • Choosing a crate for your dog

          There are 3 types of dog crate that you can choose from.

          • Standard wire frames: these have a removable tray within the base.
          • Wooden dog crates: these are less advisable if your dog is a chewer.
          • Sloped/angled car crates: these are angled in such a way that they conform to the shape of a car boot more easily than a standard rectangular crate.
            • The right dimensions of the crate will depend on the size of your dog. As a minimum, your dog must be able to sit and stand at full height, turn around, stretch out, and lie down in a natural position. If you are buying a crate for a puppy, think about the size of crate they will need when they are fully grown. If your puppy is a cross breed and you’re unsure what their adult size will be, you may have to replace your crate if your puppy outgrows it. The materials of the crate must be safe for your dog and it should allow for sufficient air to flow through it.

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