Dog crates: product reviews

Thursday May 10th, 2012

I use crates for my own dogs, but to find out which brands are top notch, I went to the true experts: People who go to dog shows and performance events and spend lots of time carting their dogs around. Opinions were all over the map--they varied with personal preference and what the crates were used for--but I did emerge with a few front runners.

There are three types of crates--wire, soft-sided fabric, and solid plastic--and I feature crates from each category. What's best for you depends on several factors.

Wire mesh crates are good for:

  • Dogs who are happier when they can see what's going on around them
  • Hot and humid climates, since they allow plenty of ventilation
  • Owners who want a collapsible crate (some wire mesh crates are collapsible, some aren't, so double check before you buy)

Solid plastic crates are good for:

  • Dogs who relax better when they can't see what's around them
  • Dogs who are heavy chewers
  • Owners who plan to use the crates for air travel, since most airlines require solid plastic crates

Solid fabric crates are good for:

  • Dogs who relax better when they can't see what's around them
  • Calm dogs who won't jump around and roll the crate over on its side
  • Owners who need a lightweight crate

One last note: Crates can be a terrific tool--for travel, during housetraining, or just to provide a den-like space for your dog to relax and feel safe. But they can also be overused to the point that they harm a dog emotionally and mentally. Be sure that your dog doesn't spend more of his day in a crate than out of it.

Solid plastic crate review:
Petmate Deluxe Vari-Kennel

Fabric crate review:
Pet Gear Home 'N Go

--Phyllis DeGioia