Finding the Perfect Crate: Sizing and Features for Your Dog

Happy and friendly black and white long-hair chihuahua pet dog in house cage. Close up at face, tongue smiling and looking.

Key Points

  • A comfortable, secure, and well-sized crate is crucial to your dog's life.

  • Balance your dog's time in a crate with plenty of physical exercise, walks, and opportunities to roam and sniff.

  • Rotate safe, long-lasting chews to relieve boredom and provide enrichment while your dog is inside their crate.

  • This guide gives expert advice for finding the perfect dog crate.

As a responsible pet owner, you strive to give your dog the best possible environment and accommodations. A comfortable, secure, and well-sized crate is crucial to your dog's life.

You must balance time spent in a crate with plenty of physical exercise, walks, and opportunities for your dog to use their nose while out of the crate. The thoughtful use of calming items and enrichment objects is necessary while you crate your dog. 

University of Nebraska at Omaha's Neuroscience and Behavior Department researchers Pamela Dare and Rosemary Strasser published in the journal Animals the following: "In this study, we provided calming items to focus a dog's attention or arousing enrichment objects to release energy through stimulation or reduce boredom."

Always rotate safe, long-lasting chew items that your dog loves to relieve boredom and permit enrichment while crated. When shopping for the perfect crate, consider size, material, and features to ensure your beloved companion feels comfortable and safe. In this guide, find expert advice to make an informed decision while purchasing a dog crate that suits your needs.

Measure Your Dog

To choose the perfect crate size for your dog, measure their height from the ground to the top of their head or ears when in a sit position, whichever is taller. Measure their length from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail. A proper crate is at least four inches taller than your dog's height and longer than their length.

If you have a puppy, consider their expected adult size when choosing a crate. Consult your veterinarian or use breed-specific size charts to estimate their growth. This allows you to purchase a crate that accommodates them as adults without buying a larger one later.

Ensure the crate allows your dog enough space to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably. This prevents injuries and improves their overall well-being. Avoid crates that are too large, as this could encourage your dog to use a corner of the crate as a bathroom.

Choose the Best Material

Wire crates offer excellent ventilation with improved air circulation, making them ideal for dogs with thick coats or those in warmer climates. Wire crates also have better visibility, which suits dogs that prefer to see their surroundings. Consider adding a crate cover or blanket if your pet needs extra privacy.

Plastic crates are more private for your dog, reducing stress and anxiety levels, especially in busy households. These types of crates are typically lighter and more portable than wire crates, and airline-approved models make air travel with your pet easier.

Soft-sided crates are perfect for calm, well-behaved dogs that enjoy cozy environments. These crates are lightweight and easily portable. For dogs that chew or are more rambunctious, choose a more durable construction, like wire or plastic crates.

Opt for a Comfortable Pad

Different dog types and sizes require different kinds of padding in their crate. Various options include memory foam pads for orthopedic support, waterproof pads for dogs prone to accidents, and elevated beds for better air circulation. Choose a pad based on your dog's specific needs.

Consider durability, thickness, washability, and material when selecting a crate pad. Waterproof materials or removable covers ease cleaning, while extra-thick orthopedic pads provide more support for aging or arthritic dogs. Look for pads with non-slip bottoms to prevent sliding inside the crate.

Select a crate pad that is easily cleaned, particularly if your dog is prone to shedding or accidents. Machine-washable options save time and energy, ensuring your pet's environment remains clean and sanitary.

Industry Certification

Contemplate a crate with industry-standard certifications, such as the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification. This ensures the crate meets specific safety and quality standards. A certified crate provides you peace of mind that the product underwent rigorous testing.

Certification indicates that the crate's materials, construction, and design are high quality and that you're considering your dog's safety. Some reputable crate manufacturers include MidWest Homes for Pets, Petmate, and Frisco. Research the brand and look for customer reviews to verify their safety claims before purchasing.

Secure Latch

Choose a crate with sturdy and secure latches to prevent your dog from escaping. Latch designs include slide-bolt latches, double-door latches, spring-loaded latches, and door catches. Assess your dog's behavior and strength before deciding on a latch type. Select a latch made of durable material like stainless steel that withstands wear and tear with time. A high-quality latch furnishes security and ensures your dog's safety while you're away.

Happy dog in a travel kennel


Consider collapsible and foldable crate options if you travel frequently or participate in dog sports. These crates are typically lightweight and easy to assemble, making transport a breeze. Some crates have built-in wheels for easier transportation, which is particularly helpful for larger and heavier crates. Adding wheels to an existing crate prevents straining your back and helps move your dog without difficulty.

Planning air travel with your canine companion? Look for crates with International Air Transport Association approval. Travel-approved hard-sided crates often have specific requirements for bolt placement, ventilation, and water dishes based on airline standards.

Popular Features

If you have a growing puppy, consider wire crates with adjustable dividers. Adjust the crate size as your puppy grows, affording them enough space without the temptation to use a corner as a bathroom. Picking a crate with a removable tray makes clean-up after accidents or spills straightforward. Removable trays prevent damage to your floors and keep your dog's crate sanitary.

Crate covers transform your pet's crate into a more soothing and comfortable den. They confer privacy and insulation, making your dog's space feel more secure. Look for washable, durable covers that fit your crate snugly.

The Perfect Crate for Your Perfect Pup

Selecting the perfect crate for your dog is a deliberate and careful process. By considering size, material, features, and portability, you provide your pup with a safe, comfortable space that caters to their needs.

In August 2023, Reader's Digest reported the benefits of crate training. Now that you know what factors to look for, confidently choose the perfect crate for your beloved companion. Happy crating!

Subscribe to Bark Spot for more research-based information for dog owners.

Was this article helpful?

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.