As a dog owner, there are several items you must invest in to help improve your ability to monitor, take care of, and protect your pet. One such object you need to purchase is a dog crate. A dog grate will help make sure that both your pet and your personal possessions are safe while you're not home.

However, you shouldn't just go out and buy any random crate. You need something that better fits your unique dog. This will help them remain comfortable while also allowing them to remain secured within the crate. So, before you go out to the store to pick out a dog crate, make sure you go through the checklist of what to look for and what material might serve your dog best.

What Is a Dog Crate?

A dog crate is a cage for a dog. It is a secured area where you can place your dog so they cannot leave it. The crate is there for when you leave the house. Often, when you first adopt a dog, they will not know their boundaries. Allowing them to wander your home with free range when they do not yet know what is safe and what isn't, or what is a toy and what isn't, is a recipe for disaster.

dog inside a crate

Putting your dog in a crate will help reduce the chance of the dog going to the bathroom inside. If your dog will be left inside the house on their own and they are not yet potty trained, they are more likely to go to the bathroom in another area of the house because it does not affect them. If you fail to catch this spot, they might develop a smell for the area, which makes it that much more difficult to body train them.

When kept in a crate, your dog is less likely to go to the bathroom because dogs dislike relieving themselves where they sleep. So while there might be times where an accident occurs, the chance of these accidents taking place is reduced greatly. The combination of protecting your household items and reducing the chance of going to the bathroom are likely reasons enough for you to invest in a dog crate.

When Is There a Need for a Dog Crate?

brown dog inside the crate

The primary need for a dog crate is if you have a dog. Should you adopt a dog, especially a young dog, you need to buy a crate. Now, if you have had the same dog for years, chances are you can trust them to not get into any trouble. Most dogs as they age are less likely to chew items you do not want them to. Younger dogs are more likely to chew items such as shoes, purses, and wallets because such objects are made from leather and taste like the animals they would hunt (and scavenge) in the wild.

So if you have an older dog, you likely do not need a dog crate. However, in every other circumstance, you will need to invest in a dog crate.

Having a dog crate gives you peace of mind knowing you have the option to put your dog in a crate when you are not around. There might be times where you need to keep your dog away from an area, and you cannot do this when nobody is around the house. The dog crate makes this possible. When first house training your dog, you'll also need a crate. When you go to bed, and when you're away, you'll want to place the dog in the crate. This way your dog is less likely to go to the bathroom in the house.

It also makes cleaning up after the dog easier. Eventually, once you can trust your dog and your dog has picked up on house training, you will move the dog crate. There is no rule saying you need to invest in a crate. However, it is often easier, not just on your carpet and your shoes, but on your mental well being knowing you won't have to deal with as much destructive behavior or spot cleaning as you would without the dog crate.

Tips When Choosing a Dog Crate

Before you purchase a crate, you need to make sure and consider these different tips. By following the checklist, you'll buy a crate that fits your dog and can keep them inside without your dog breaking out and doing what he or she pleases inside the house while you're not home.

Dog Size

big dog with a woman

Know the size of your dog ahead of time. There are breed charts for size recommendations on nearly all dog crates, but the size of your dog might differ slightly from the side of the average breed (especially because your dog is likely a mix of several kinds of dogs). Typically, a guideline for selecting the right size of crate is it needs to be at least six inches longer than the length of your dog's body and at least six inches taller than the shoulder of your dog at its adult size and length.

If your dog is already full grown, you can measure your dog. If you have a puppy, you need to look up the average for the dog, as you don't want to go out and buy a new crate later. It's also best to err on the side of caution and go with something slightly larger than something small.

Crate Strength

This is something that many people overlook. Most of the crates made for dogs are manufactured of thin metals like aluminum. A strong dog at full strength may break free of the crate or chew through the plastic base. These kinds of crates are usually fine if you are house training your puppy. However, if you have an active breed dog, look for something stronger than a "light duty" crate. Otherwise, you risk returning home only to find a crate that's been torn apart by your confined dog.

A medium-strength crate will work for dogs that have a mild to average temperament. The metal wire will be thicker and the spacing closer together. This will prevent your dog from chewing on the crate while you are not around. It is also recommended to have toys and a blanket or bed in the crate so your dog can be comfortable and have something to chew on when locked inside.

The heavy-duty crate is made for adult dogs. It is best to go with a heavy duty crate if you adopt an adult dog that has never been crate trained. This can take getting used to, and at first they might try to break free, especially if they are an aggressive breed. On top of the strength of the crate, consider investing in a lock for the crate. You'd be surprisedas to how sneaky some breeds can be when it comes to unlocking crates and breaking out of them. Having the lock there, even if it is just your old bike lock, should do the trick.

Your Purpose

You need to decide what you intend on using the crate for. If it is to help house train a new puppy, you likely can go with a light duty wire crate. If you want it to be where your dog sleeps, you can usually go with a wire crate and the strength of wire best designed for the activity level of your dog.

If you have a limited amount of space to work with inside your home (such as in an apartment), consider a crate that is a double or triple door model. This way, you can have side or rear doors, which makes it easier to place the crate where it best fits. If you want the crate to fit more into the look of your home, there are wood and more elaborate design crates that look like tables than crates for dogs. Just know these are far more expensive.

Conclusion

small dog inside the crate

Having a dog crate is an investment you need to consider for your home if you have a dog or are considering the adoption of a dog. A crate makes it easier to leave your dog home alone when they are not yet ready to have free range of the house. The dog crate also helps when you house train your dog. It is an added expense you must pay for, but for the peace of mind it will give you, few other purchases can help you out in a way a dog crate can.

Just remember to keep these tips and suggestions in mind when choosing a crate. This will help you find the right crate for your dog, yourself and your budget. Also, consider looking around garage sales and check online postings for crates for sale. You never know when you might find one that works for you at a discounted price. This way, you'll have a great dog crate for a less than normal price tag.