Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review: Crates

*wood crate/bed image from* Some crates are more designed for the owner than the pet itself.

There is probably as many brands of crates out there as there are breeds of dogs. Some collapse for quick storage, some won't budge after they're set up. And then you have the color choices from a standard grey to hot pink with stripes. So which crate is really the best? After all one thing they do not offer are affordable crates. Here's a brief run down on my opinion on the most common crates available in most areas.
Soft Sided Travel Crates.

I have personally gone through 3 of these before I completely gave up on them. They are wonderful, easy to store and transport crates. The tension poles collapse allowing them to fold up into a storage bag, perfect for storage or throwing in the back of your car. They are pretty light as well making them easy to carry to a show while walking your dog. I found them to be pretty easy to use and equally easy to clean with a hose on a sunny day. But my dog also found it easy to tear off the zippers and claw apart the mesh within minutes. Despite my dog's need to eat these I still do recommend them for use in show like situations, but never for actual kenneling of your dog and definitely not for potty training.

Plastic Crates
These are by far my favorite option that is out there. First off they are easy to clean either by hosing them out or by using a pet safe solution and a towel. If your pet has an accident or gets sick the solid bottom walls contain the mess inside the crate, and not all over your floors and walls. The limited view from inside the crates recreates the feel of a natural den for the dog and also provides a sense of security for the dog. They are however not easy to move around once fully set up. I choose to toss the screws and bolts that attach the top to the bottom and use zip ties that I can simply cut to take it back apart (this of course is not airline safe if you need to ship your pet). You can also spend a wee bit more and buy crates that have quick connects instead of screws. I have not had as much trouble with dogs destroying these types of crates but it is possible. I would not recommend these crates for highly destructive pets. My mother's beagle was able to pull off her wire vent bars in a few hours, but my malinois has yet to put one scratch in his.

Wire Crates
Personally I would never spend a dime on these types of crates, all though they do have several advantages to them. They collapse and can easily fit under a couch or in the back of your car. Most of them come with an additional wire panel to size them properly for a growing puppy. The plastic tray bottom slides out without opening the main crate for easy cleaning, and most of them have more than one door which can be very convenient. But if your dog has an accident in one of these it is very likely the mess will quickly decorate any surroundings. Also they pose a high danger for pets. The openings allow for paws to easily get stuck. The plastic tray is easily chewed on (although some brands now carry metal trays for this reason), and I have seen numerous cases of dogs being able to pry the bars apart which can lead to many different injuries. Ask my mother's beagle who pried apart the top rows of bars and got her head stuck!
Now again these are all my personal opinions on the basic crate options that are out there. I was not paid by any crate makers to write this. Also note there are many more varieties out there that I have not listed, and only you can know what is best for your pet.
For more information on choosing and using a crate visit us at .