Dog crates: product reviews

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.

Wire crate reviews:

MidWest wire crates

Central Metal wire crates

Kennel-Aire Black Professional

Solid plastic crate review:

Petmate Deluxe Vari-Kennel

Fabric crate review:

Pet Gear Home ‘N Go

–Phyllis DeGioia

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