Since dogs are a lot like their wolf cousins, they also identify themselves as den animals. This means that your pet pooch would need his own very own “den” that would serve as his place of refuge and safety. Although the closest thing to a dog’s den is a dog crate, you’ll still have to decide between getting Fido a soft crate vs wire crate.
What is a Dog Crate?
In case you’re not aware, a dog crate is a small rectangular box that serves as your furry friend’s home within your home. This enclosure comes with a top and a door, and it can be made of various types of materials. Since they’re designed to accommodate all types of dogs, dog crates come in a variety of sizes as well.
For years, individual pet owners couldn’t see eye to eye with breeders, dog show exhibitors, groomers, and trainers when it comes to using dog crates. While these regular dog handlers view dog crates as an essential element in a dog’s life, countless pet owners think that closing an animal in a crate would be nothing short of inhumane. They think that enforcing close confinement is not only downright cruel, but it can also cause psychological damage to the dog.
Although these nay-sayers’ claims are valid, they fail to realize that properly introducing a canine friend to his dog crate will help to satisfy the animal’s “den instinct.” From a dog’s point of view, a crate provides him with his own personal space that provides him with a sense of security, as well as comfort. From the regular dog handler’s point of view, dog crates provide guaranteed confinement for the purpose of safety, travel, and general control.
Top Reasons Why Dogs Need Their Crates
Aside from providing your pets with their personal space, dog crates can also be used for other purposes as well. It’s perfect for helping you house train your cute little puppy or keep him safe while you’re out of the house or while you take him with you while you travel. Here are the best reasons why you should consider gifting your pup with a dog crate.
It Helps with Toilet Training
In case you’re not aware, all puppies have this natural inclination to avoid soiling their own beds. For this reason, confining your fur baby to his crate will cause him to want to leave it whenever he feels the need to relieve himself. If he has spent a lot of time in his crate, he won’t hesitate to let him go outside to his toilet area.
You’ll only need to remember two things when you are house training your new puppy. First, you’ll need to avoid getting a crate that’s too big for him because he’ll simply pee or poop at one side of the crate and sleep at the other. Second, be sure that you don’t shut him in for too long because a puppy’s bladder control tends to be poor during his first few months of life.
In other words, having a dog crate will help make house training easier for you and your new furry friend.
It Helps You Protect Your Possessions
Whether you like it or not, puppies tend to chew anything from chair legs to your shoes to your kids’ toys. You shouldn’t expect them to ignore any item that they can find lying on the floor. If you’re a new dog dad or mom to a chew-happy puppy, it’s always good to get him a dog crate and a chew toy to make sure that his strong jaws and sharp teeth won’t find their way to your personal possessions.
It Keeps Your Dog Safe
Your dog’s chewing habit could potentially put his safety at risk. For instance, most dogs wouldn’t think twice before they decide to chew electric cables. Confining your pet pooch in a crate will prevent him from choking, being electrocuted or poisoned while you’re out of the house.
Moreover, smaller kids who don’t usually understand that dogs can get exhausted tend to pull around and prod your new puppy all the time. A dog crate can help your dog relax and recharge his batteries without being disturbed. However, just remember not to leave your pet inside the crate for too long.
It’s Great for Traveling
If you’re planning on going on a road trip, you’ll want to make sure that your young dog won’t do considerable damage to your car’s interior. You’ll also want to make sure that he won’t be thrown around the vehicle in case of an accident. Getting a dog crate will protect your dog and your car.
Choosing Between a Soft Crate and a Wire Crate
Now that we’ve established the importance of having a dog crate, you’re probably looking to find the type of crate that best suits your canine friend’s needs. However, you’ll have to understand that not all dog crates that you see are created equal.
The two most popular ones are the soft crates and the wire crates. To help you pick the right choice, check out the difference between both:
Soft Dog Crate
A soft dog crate is the best choice for pet owners who want something that doesn’t look anything like a cage. Aside from the fact that they look less intimidating for your dog, soft crates are also more visually appealing compared to the other dog crate alternatives. In fact, a soft dog crate can come in various styles and colors that would make it a beautiful addition to any home.
Most soft crates are collapsible, and they’re made of the light and soft crate materials such as nylon or cloth. No matter what size you choose, soft dog crates are extremely portable and easy to pack. This makes it a perfect choice for pet owners who love to travel or go camping with their dogs.
If you’re concerned about airflow and ventilation, soft crates come with mesh windows that you can roll up if you want to. Cleaning won’t be an issue as well because most of the materials are machine-washable with extra mats and beddings that you can use to ensure cleanliness. To top it all off, you can also fund soft dog crate materials that come with added features such as water-resistance, compartments for treats or toys, and odor busting properties that will help keep your dog feeling fresh.
Soft dog crates aren’t recommended for dogs that are fond of chewing or scratching because they’re not designed to withstand abuse. If your pet isn’t crate-trained, you shouldn’t go for this type of dog crate because it’s harder to clean compared to other options. Plus, if you’ve got a clever dog, he might be able to figure out how to unzip the door panel.
Wire Dog Crate
A wire dog crate is known to be strong and durable because it’s mainly made of metal. Unlike other crate options, wire crates feature high airflow, as well as open visibility for you and your pet. This means that it would be easier for you to take the cue whenever he needs to go potty.
However, if your canine pal prefers to have more privacy, you can choose to purchase a crate cover. Just in case you need to accommodate other puppies, wire dog crates can also come with compatible divider panels that will allow you to expand the living area.
What’s more, you won’t have a hard time cleaning wire crates up because more of them can come with a slide-out tray that you can simply hose off as needed. They’re also easy to store because you’ll only need to fold them flat.
If you’re concerned about aesthetics, you may have to think twice before purchasing a wire dog crate. Since it looks more like a cage, it doesn’t exactly look attractive to have around the house. Furthermore, it won’t keep your dog warm and comfortable if you live in an area where the weather is mostly cold.
You may think that it’s high-visibility feature is great, but if your dog is highly-reactive to his surroundings, it can be difficult to calm him down when everything around him is constantly buzzing with energy. Having an energetic and excited dog is awesome, but if you place him in a wire crate, you may have to deal with his constant whining or noise each time he moves around the crate. Furthermore, if you have an escape artist of a dog, wire crates are easier to break out of compared to other types of dog crates.
Although you can easily fold down a wire crate for storage or travel, it can be difficult for you to carry it around or to fit it into your car because of its weight and size. For this reason, it’s best to determine your dog crate’s ideal measurements and weight before you purchase one. Hosing wire crates off is the easy part, but getting the dog hair and dirt out of the cross points of the crate’s wires can almost be impossible to do.
Factors You Need to Consider Before Buying a Dog Crate
Once you’ve decided to buy the dog crate that suits your pet’s needs, you need to consider a few factors before you make a purchase. For instance, you need to get your dog’s measurements in order to get the correct crate size. You also need to figure out where you want to place your pet’s crate in your home.
Get the correct crate size.
The last thing your dog needs is a crate that’s too big or too small for him. Check out these must-have tips for helping you get the correct crate size.
Length of the dog crate
To get the ideal length of your dog’s crate, measure the length from the tip of your pet’s nose up to the base of his tail while he’s standing on all fours. Once you have the measurement, add at least 2 inches to it to get the best length for the dog crate.
Height of the dog crate
Measure from the floor to the top of your dog’s head while he’s in a sit position. Add at least 2 inches to the measurement to get the minimum height for the crate.
Weight limit of the dog crate
You need to check if your dog crate of choice can handle your dog’s weight. Measure your dog’s weight and check if it falls within the dog crate manufacturer’s recommended weight limit.
Create space that grows with your pup
If you want to get your puppy a crate that could “grow” with him, you can find one that has a divider panel. This is a great option if you don’t want to buy crates in multiple sizes as your pooch gets bigger.
Know Where You Want to Put Your Dog’s Crate
A set of criteria needs to be met when you’re trying to figure out the best spot for your dog’s crate in your house. Check these out:
Low Traffic Areas
It’s best to place your dog’s crate in low-traffic areas, including the family room, home office, laundry room, or bedroom.
You’d want your dog’s crate to be placed in areas that aren’t exposed to direct sunlight, by a fireplace, or close to your cooling or heating vents. Conversely, dog crates shouldn’t also be placed in drafty areas that are near uninsulated windows or doors that lead outside.
Avoid Household Hazards
It’s best to place your dog crate in areas that are away from electric cables, power cords, and outlets. If you have toxic houseplants, be sure to keep your dog’s crate away from them.
Soft crate vs. wire crate? Don’t let your uncertainty stop you from getting a dog crate for your precious pup. Keep in mind that having just about any crate is way better than nothing.