Buying Guide: What Are the Best Large Dog Crates?
Read on to find out why crating could help your dog and which large dog crates are worth your money.
For some dogs, crates are a necessity. Whether it’s for transportation purposes, for potty training or simply to give your dog a safe spot to retreat to when he’s anxious, a crate can have many uses. People mistakenly think that crating is inherently cruel, but the truth is far from it. Sure, it can be cruel if you leave your pet unattended for hours on end locked in a crate, but no one is recommending that. Proper crating practices are humane and beneficial for dogs, and as long as you know how to train your pooch and introduce them to a new routine, there should be no problems concerning the crate.
Of course, large dogs are a whole other ball game when it comes to crating in general. It’s easy to keep a Toy Poodle settled in a crate, but just try crating a Great Dane when he doesn’t want to be inside one. Spoiler alert: ain’t gonna happen. In addition to proper training, your big dog will also need a sturdy, tough crate that can hold them securely if they decide to jump or try Houdini their way our. Similarly, safety can be an issue–you don’t want anything they can chew, twist or break while inside.
In a nutshell, before your start crating your dog you need to know what the best practices are- as well as which equipment to get. Read on to find out why crating could help your dog and which large dog crates are worth your money.
Do Dogs Need Crates?
Not all dogs need crates. However, that doesn’t mean that crate training your dog isn’t a smart decision. You can never know if a crate will become a necessity, even if it’s for traveling when your big dog needs to be crated for the airplane ride and not something long-term. You’d want them to feel safe and relaxed in a crate, regardless of the frequency of use, and not anxious and scared when they have to go in what seems like a wire contraption. So even if you are put off by the idea of regular crating (even though there’s no reason for it), crate training should be considered as a part of your dog’s basic training.
For other pets and their owners, though, crating is a part of their routine. Dogs with separation anxiety usually use a crate wherever they are left alone. Having a spot of their own to “burrow” in when they feel overwhelmed or want to chill on their own can be extremely important for their emotional wellbeing. This is due to innate denning instincts that dogs have, but that’s not always the underlying cause. Some puppies take to potty training better when a crate is used, as physical boundaries help them housetrain faster. Others simply love the crate from the start–it’s pimped out with their fave blankie, kibble bowl, their most treasured toys- it’s like a teen does with their bedroom.
To get your pooch accustomed to his crate, only use positive reinforcement methods. Don’t use the crate as a time-out spot or be forceful when trying to get them to stay inside. Make them associate the crate with a reward (treats are a safe bet) and they’ll quickly warm up to the idea of spending time in the crate. Put their favorite items inside the crate and make it cozy and snug so they’ll want to come in. Then start slowly closing the door, bit by bit, until you can fully close them without your pooch freaking out. It does take persistence and patience, but the payoff is worth it. Like it’s the case with any type of dog training!
In case your dog doesn’t feel comfortable in a crate even after the initial adjustment period (it’s normal for dogs to dislike it at first), don’t push them. Extreme stress over the crate or aggressive and destructive behavior are not good signs, so unless you can contact a professional trainer for opinion and help with crate training, it’s best not to force your dog. It can only be counterproductive.
Types of Large Dog Crates
Large dog crates are the same as any other crate-–except for their size and robustness. Big dogs vary from 50 pounds to three times that much, so there are no large dog crates in one-size-fits-all versions. To find a fit that will be perfect for your pet, you’ll have to consider a few factors–like the design of the crate itself. There are a few different types of dog crates to start with, each suited for a different purpose:
Folding wire crates
This is the most common and maybe the most popular type of large dog crates. Heck, it’s the most popular type of crate for any size dog! As the name suggests, these crates are made out of wire and they’re collapsible–making for easy disassembly and compact storage when they are not in use. This means you can also pack them in your trunk and take with you on the go. Another benefit of wire large dog crates is that they give your pet an unrestricted view of their environment, so they might be easier to get used to. Usually, they are used in combination with a large tray to serve as the bottom, and with a large dog bed, mat, or pad to cover the wire and make the crate comfy enough for naps and movement both.
Soft-sided dog crates
Fabric dog crates are usually used as a temporary solution, which is why they are often the crate of choice for traveling. If you’re camping or going to a hotel with your dog and want to make sure they’ll have a safe space of their own no matter where you are, a soft-sided crate will be great–it pops open in seconds and pops back just as fast, but it is sturdy enough to give your pet shelter. Needless to say, though, if your pooch is restless in a crate, a chewer or an aggressive scratcher, these fabric crates won’t work for them.
Portable plastic crates
While plastic crates are usually reserved for small and medium dog breeds, there are several sturdy enough options for large breed dogs, too. Plastic crates are usually used for transportation–such as airplane travel, as large pets flying with their owners have to be in the cargo hold, safely locked in an approved crate. Again, though, for strong dogs who like to chew, anything with plastic is a no-go.
As the name hints at, heavy-duty crates are more than equipped to hold a big, strong pooch in. They are usually made from steel and tend to be very heavy and big–so it won’t be easy to move them around. They work only for people who don’t put away their dog’s crate when they are not inside. While not all large breed dogs need a heavy-duty crate, anxious pets with a tendency towards chewing, escape artists, and giant breeds that quickly go through more lightweight crates.
Tips on Choosing a Crate for a Large Dog
So, when you pick out the right type of large dog crates for your big furball, are there any other factors to pay attention to? The most fundamental thing to look for in a crate is its size: a dog should be able to comfortably sit, walk around, stand and lie down inside his crate. Measure your dog’s height in all of these poses to get an idea of the dimensions you’ll need, but a good rule of thumb is that large dog crates go from 42 inches in length to a whopping 54 inches for gentle giants. If you’re buying a crate for a large breed puppy, be sure to get them one that will fit them in their adulthood–they should grow into the crate rather than switch through different ones as they get big.
Large dog crates come in different materials, from nylon to steel, each with its advantages and downsides. Lightweight, portable large dog crates are usually made from plastic or fabric, so they won’t be suitable for rowdy dogs or chewers. While sturdy, steel, wood, or metal crates can be a good match in terms of toughness and durability, they can be difficult to move around or store away when not needed.
Lastly, make sure to take your pet’s quirks into account. If they are the burrowing type, a wire crate with a cover or a plastic crate can be the cozy nest of their dreams–but if they feel cramped in a crate, they’ll do best in foldable wire crate with plenty of viewing space. And so on and so on. It’s up to you to gauge what your dog would like best, but to make sure that any choice you make is a good value for money, we’ve put together a list of best large dog crates the market has to offer. Take a look and make your pick!
BestPet Metal Crate for Large Breeds
Durable, easy to clean and store, and spacious enough for the biggest pooches- this large dog crate ticks all of the boxes. The BestPet folding crate is made from high tensile-strength wire gauge coated with epoxy for protection against rust, corrosion, and general wear and tear. The easy-fold design makes it assembly effortless, so this large dog crate is a good option if you need something portable and fairly compact when stored. For better access and easier use, BestPet crate features two large doors, one on the front and one on the side. And with dual latches and heavy-duty locks, your big escape artist won’t have a chance wiggling his but out of either of the two doors when you’re not around.
MidWest iCrate Starter Kit
If you want to get everything you need for proper and comfy crating with one purchase, this starter kit for large dogs is a perfect option. It comes with a folding iCrate (two-door version), a crate cover, a large dog bed, and two bowls for food and water that can be affixed to the side of the crate. So whether you’re looking to get something for home use or camping and travels, this starter kit has got you covered. For dogs who prefer a cozy burrow-like haven, the slip-on cover can give them the privacy and snugness they want and the bed and the bowls are the finishing touches for a cozy and comfy environment. There are 42 and 49-inch kits available, so no chunky pupper is left out.
Frisco Ultimate Heavy Duty Steel Metal Dog Crate
Is your pooch more of a rambunctious destroyer than a gentle giant? Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety or simply get bored in the crate can be prone to chewing, scratching and destructive behaviors, so a simple large dog crate won’t cut it for them. Heavy-duty large dog crates like the Frisco Ultimate are the solution for super strong or destructive big breeds. It’s well-made and robust, built with 22-gauge, high-grade steel with 1/2-inch diameter steel tubing. The dual lock system is also cleverly designed so your mischievous pupper won’t have a chance at breaking out of Frisco Ultimate. This 42-inch long crate weighs over 100 pounds so it’s not portable for travel–but it can be mover around the house as it has wheels (with foot brakes for when the pooch is inside).
Life Stages Double-Door Opening Dog Crate
Sometimes you just need options in life, and this double-door opening dog crate by Lifestages provides just that. It comes in a variety of sizes for small to extra large dog breeds, so it’s perfect for your larger pup. It sets up in just seconds without tools required so it is great for travel when you get to your destination or for when you want the option to quickly put it away. It folds down small so it’s easy to store.
The Life Stages Double-Door Dog Crate has a durable design that creates a safe space for your pup. There are two heavy-duty slide bolt latches on each door that securely latch. The cozy space helps foster your pet’s instinctual “den” characteristics and provides them a comfortable place to lay, rest, and wait for your return. There is also a divider panel if you have more than one pet, a dog tray, a carrying handle, and roller feet to protect your floors. Add a cozy dog bed to this double-door crate to give your pet a home they will love.
Pet Gear The Other Door Steel Crate & Plush Pad
Whether you’re creating a safe haven for your big doggo or need a reliable crate for when you and your gentle giant are on the go, Pet Gear The Other Door doesn’t disappoint. This luxurious dog crate combines the best of two worlds: heavy-duty plastic with steel inserts and metal wire. The unique combo of the two ensures stability and durability and yet makes this large crate very portable and a fantastic choice for traveling or competitions. It is not airline approved, though, so it’s only a good travel option if you are driving with your pet in tow. With multiple points of entry, great visibility, and optimal airflow, the crate will feel more like a safe place to your pet than a cage. This versatile crate has 4 doors, including one that opens like on garages- all the way out. You have unparalleled access to your pooch, but it also means that there’s more room for an escape artist to plot their getaway. If you have a crate-trained dog, though, you’ll love this portable folding crate. Pet Gear The Other Door comes with a free bolster bed for your pooch and it’s available in 27”, 36”, and 42” which is best suited for big breeds.
MidWest Homes for Pets XL Dog Crate
If you don’t need multiple points of entry, this single door large dog crate will be a great match. Made out of heavier gauge steel and with a tighter wire mesh, this XL dog crate is a bit more robust than your average metal folding crate. As it comes with its own divider, this is a food choice for a large breed puppy: they’ll grow into it, but you can arrange the space to be more appropriate for them as they go through all the stages of puppyhood.
Merry Products 2-in-1 Configurable Dog Crate
Want your crate to look less like a cage and more like an upscale piece of furniture? Look no more. Not only that this wood and steel large dog crate features tabletop space so it serves as a piece of furniture, too, but it also doubles as a dog gate. Simply assembly it without the tabletop wood panel and use pins to arrange the wire panels into a fence shape. Easy peasy–and you get good value for money as well. Sadly, though, the length of the crate is 40 inches, so those extra-large pooches won’t feel comfy in one of these.
GoPetClub Soft-Sided Dog Crate
For crate trained large dogs, the sky’s the limit: they can be safe and comfy in any crate, be it metal or made of fabric. If you need a temporary house crate or a safe space for your pooch while you travel, this soft-sided large dog crate is fantastic. Made out of water-resistant heavy-duty polyester with PVC backing it is suited for big pooches. It has a mesh door and sides for ventilation and access and comes with a lambs-wool floor pad and sheepskin mat for comfort. Available in size of 43 inches.
Midwest Foldable Metal Exercise Pen
If you don’t need a crate for the purpose of keeping your pooch safely confined while you’re not at home or to serve as a safe little den, consider a playpen that doubles as a crate. This tall, spacious pen gives your pooch a lot of space to play or hang out in, whether you’re outside camping or inside with guests that your pooch dislikes. To convert it to a covered crate, simply buy the optional top and you get a versatile play and exercise area.
Petmate Sky Kennel for Large Breed Dogs
Unless your gentle giant is an aggressive chewer, you can’t beat Sky Kennel for airline travel. When flying with a large breed dog, you have to place them in the plane’s cargo, and the design of this airline-friendly large dog crate ensures your pet is safe and comfy during the trip. Robust and durable, this travel crate has good ventilation and 4-way vault that ensures your pet can’t get out while in the cargo. Also, Sky Kennel comes with free ID and travel stickers, as well as clip-on bowls. All you need for peace of mind when traveling with your pooch!
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A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
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