Dog crates are important for any dog owner. In this guide, you will find some general information about dog crates and some of the criteria you should consider when buying one. The guide will also list the top five best dog crates available and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about dog crates. By the end of this guide, you will have much more information to make a good crate decision.

What You Will Learn from This Guide:

Do I Need a Dog Crate?

If you are a dog owner, there will be a time that you need a dog crate. Some people may get an impression that locking a dog up in a crate is cruel, but it isn't. Crates help to train your dog. Crates also provide comfort and security for your dog, that is, if you teach them to not be afraid of the crate.

Types of Dog Crates

  1. Wire dog crates are the most economical and can come with a removable interior panel that you can adjust as your dog gets bigger. They are collapsible, easy to move around, and easy to clean. The downside is that they are heavy, can't be taken on airplanes, and rough dogs can destroy them.
  2. Plastic dog crates are more durable than wire crates and can be taken on airplanes most of the time. They are lightweight and dogs can't easily escape from them. On the downside, they are harder to keep clean. They also tend to be a little more expensive.
  3. Nylon dog crates are soft-sided. They are extremely lightweight, foldable, and looks more comfortable for your dog. There are quite a few downsides to a nylon dog crate. They are hard to keep clean, dogs can chew or tear right through them, they aren't very durable, and they can't be used to travel on an airplane.
  4. Heavy-duty dog crates are thicker than wire crates and are designed to hold rough, destructive dogs or escape artists. These crates are extremely durable and well worth the investment. Keep in mind that these crates are heavy! Some of these crates are approved for airplane travel.
  5. Specialty dog crates can include designer dog crates or dog crates that are multi-purpose. In general, specialty crates are more for the owner than the dog. They aren't good for an active or rough dog, but if your dog is gentle and you don't like crates that look like jail cells, then you may be interested in specialty crates.

What to Look for When Buying a Dog Crate

One of the first things that people tend to look at when they shop for a dog crate is price, but you should be looking for other qualities first. First, you have to consider what you want to use the crate for. Do you want it for home use or travel? Do you want a separate travel crate? Will you take it on airlines? Does your dog like privacy? There are a number of questions you should consider before deciding on one. In the next section, I will give you five suggestions for great dog crates.

Top 5 Dog Crates on the Market

MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate - Best Metal Dog Crate

Metal Dog Crate: photo

Wire crates are great for indoor or outdoor use. The MidWest crate is a great, high-quality wire crate and has a lot more size options than the rest of the crates on the list, especially since it has the adjustable panel for the middle. This allows you to customize the perfect crate for your dog.

They have seven sizes to choose from and you can also choose to have a single door or a double door.

EliteField 3-Door Folding Crate - Best Soft Dog Crate

3-Door Soft Dog Crate: photo

The EliteField crate is a great nylon crate that can be used indoors or outdoors.

It has a collapsible steel frame and the nylon is 600D grade which is the fabric grade used in outdoor hiking backpacks. Translation-it's very durable and its waterproof.

This doesn't mean that it will stand up to rough dogs however--a dog's claws are sharp and will rip the crate.

As a bonus, it comes with a pet bed included.

Petmate Sky Kennel - Best Plastic Dog Crate

Plastic Dog Crate: photo

This Petmate Kennel meets the requirements for airline travel (check with each individual airline in case they have other rules).

It comes with two "live animal" stickers, a detachable food/water bowl, and an ID sticker.

They have six sizes. The smaller sizes have carrying handles. It would be nice if the larger sizes were on wheels for easy transport but they are not.

Besides this one minor detail, this is a great choice if you plan to travel.

Petnation Port-A-Crate Indoor and Outdoor Home

Petnation Home for Pets: photo

If you are looking for something simple, portable, and inexpensive then you should consider the Petnation nylon crate.

While it isn't as durable as the Elitefield, it has a price advantage that may be attractive to some people.

The material is water resistant (not waterproof) and safe for machine washing.

Merry Pet 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate n Crate

Merry Pet 2 in 1 Configurable Pet Crate n Crate: photo

This is a beautiful specialty crate that is advertised as 2-in-1, but actually has three functions.

Not only will the crate provide a space for your dog, but the topper allows you to use the crate as a table. The crate also expands out to serve as a fence/barrier to keep your dog contained.

The versatility of this crate is amazing, but it is extremely heavy and can't be used for airline travel.


Can a dog open a crate?

Some dogs learn how to open wire crates and nylon crates.

Can a dog sleep in a crate?

Yes they can. You can even put pet beds in crates.

Can you crate a dog for 8 hours?

It depends on the dog's age. Younger dogs will need to come out more often than older dogs.

Will a dog crate help with separation anxiety?

Yes. It will keep your dog from being destructive. It can also be used to train them to be alone so they won't suffer from separation anxiety.

What should you cover a dog crate with?

There are covers that you can buy to cover a wire crate or a heavy duty crate.

What is a dog crate tray?

A tray or pan goes on the floor of the crate to protect it from odors and stains due to "accidents" that your dog may have.

What dog crate size do I need?

Your dog have just enough room to stand and turn comfortably. When your dog lays down, he should be able to stretch his paws and tail without them being outside of the cage.

What dog crates are airline approved?

Plastic crates are generally used for airline travel.

Pros and Cons of Using Dog Crates


  • Dog crates make it easier to train your dog. You can keep your dog away from harmful substances and out of rooms that they shouldn't be in until they are used to your house rules. It is also really good for potty training.
  • Crates help your dog get over separation anxiety. With a little effort and patience, you can gradually teach your dog to be calm when you aren't around.
  • Another benefit, probably the most obvious one, is that crates are good for traveling with your pet, especially on airplanes where they are required.


  • A lot of dogs have trouble adjusting to crates. It can cause a lot of emotional stress on the dog if they don't like the crate or are afraid of it. They can also have physical stress if the crate is too small or uncomfortable.
  • The dog could injure itself or lick itself a lot and cause stress sores.
  • Other dangers are that the crate could collapse if it isn't put together well enough or the crate may not have enough ventilation for the dog.

Comparison Chart of Dog Crates

Product Type Sizes Colors Price
 MidWest Homes for Pets
Metal Dog Crate min: photo
Wire 7 sizes Black
3-Door Soft Dog Crate min: photo
Nylon 5 sizes 10 colors
Plastic Dog Crate min: photo
Plastic 6 sizes Grey
Petnation Home for Pets min: photo
Nylon 5 sizes Tan
Merry Pet
Merry Pet 2 in 1 Configurable Pet Crate min: photo
Specialty 2 sizes Brown


Dog crates are a necessity for most dog owners, especially if you want to travel with your dog. The crate suggestions that we gave you are all great dog crates, but they only sample the features that you can get from dog crates. If your budget allows it, you can get dog crates with advanced features such as crash-tested crates or collapsible aluminum, scratch-resistant crates. Overall, the information in this guide should help you get the perfect crate for your dog.