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Crate training involves keeping your puppy confined for periods of time to reduce the chances that he has an accident in the house, chews on something inappropriate (such as the leg of your sofa), or otherwise hurts himself getting into puppy mischief.
Along with the obvious benefits for puppy moms and dads, the crate can also benefit the puppy, writes the certified professional dog trainer, Shoshi Parks.
“The magic of the crate is that it taps into a deep genetic desire in your dog to want to ‘den’ or curl up in a cozy, dark, warm space. As long as a pup is introduced to the crate properly and not forced to be inside of it for too long, it often becomes a favorite snuggle space,” she explains.
Successful crate training will take time, but with proper supervision and positive reinforcement, allowing your puppy plenty of opportunities to go outside and rewards for doing his business there, crate training can be very effective.
Another key factor with crate training is choosing the right dog crate for puppies. The best options will keep your puppy calm and comfortable while limiting his access to your home as he learns the rules. Puppy crates also provide a useful method for transporting your puppy in the car and gives him a safe, cozy spot to call his own.
Choosing the right crate for your puppy depends on your particular needs, your puppy’s size and activity level, and your future plans. Read on to learn about the best dog crates for puppies of all kinds!
How to Choose the Right Puppy Crate
One puppy crate might look the same as the next, but all models are not created equal. If you don’t pay attention to details such as materials, sizing, and design you could end up wasting your money on a crate that doesn’t meet your puppy’s needs or your expectations.
Here are some things to look for in a dog crate for puppies:
- Hard or soft sides. Hard-sided crates do a better job of containing puppies for a longer period of time and they are easier to clean. Soft-sided crates may work for travel but are not recommended for overnights.
- High-quality construction. Whether you choose a soft- or hard-sided crate, make sure it is constructed well. This means sturdy walls, a strong door, and quality hardware that won’t break.
- Durable materials. On top of choosing a well-made crate, you need to make sure that the materials are tough enough to withstand sharp puppy teeth and some wear and tear.
- Adjustable sizing. Many crates come with a divider that enables you to adjust the interior size of the crate as your puppy grows.
- Easy to transport. Choosing a crate with a carrying handle will make it easier to transport, though it also doesn’t hurt to choose a crate that folds flat for storage.
- Simple to clean. Many dog crates feature a slide-out tray for easy cleaning. Soft-sided crates are generally a little tougher to clean.
With all this in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the most highly recommended dog crates available online. From plastic-sided dog crates for safe travel to stylish furniture crates for the living room, there’s a crate out there that’s sure to be the perfect fit for you and your pup.
Top Dog Crates for Puppies
Though you have the freedom to choose from different designs and materials, keep in mind the golden rule of sizing a dog crate for puppies. Your puppy should have enough room to comfortably lie down, stand up, and turn around. Too much extra space increases the risk of your puppy having an accident during crate training. Once your puppy is housebroken, however, you can upgrade to a larger crate.
Here are our top picks for the best dog crates for puppies.
1. Best Configurable Puppy Crate: Life Stages Double Door Folding Dog Crate
MidWest makes a variety of high-quality crates for dogs and this model is particularly recommended if you need a sturdy, reliable wire crate that will grow with your puppy. The LifeStages line comes with a divider insert that splits the crate into separate compartments so you can limit your puppy’s space to exactly what he needs. As your puppy grows, the crate grows, too!Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
2. Best Basic Puppy Crate: Amazon Basics Folding Metal Dog Crate
If you like the design of the previous crate but you’re working with a limited budget, this Amazon Basics crate offers many of the same features.
It comes in a single- or double-door design in multiple sizes with a slide-out tray and optional divider panel.
At roughly half the price, this crate is a great option for puppies who need a crate that grows along with them.Buy Now on Amazon
3. Best Hard-Sided Puppy Crate: Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel
The Vari-Kennel is favored by veterinarians and pet care professionals because it’s sturdy, easy to clean, and useful in a variety of settings. You can strap it into the back seat for safe car travel, or set it up in the living room for an at-home den. And it’s ideal for puppies who gnaw on the sides of wire crates and need something a little more secure to keep them cozy but contained.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
4. Best Heavy Duty Puppy Crate: SmithBuilt Heavy Duty Dog Crate
If a hard-sided crate isn’t quite strong enough to keep your puppy contained, this heavy-duty dog crate is sure to do the trick.
With a premium-grade construction made of commercial-quality steel, this crate is guaranteed to hold even the most destructive of puppies. It features a ¾” frame reinforced with ½” diameter welded steel tubes and a convenient two-door design.
It even comes on four rolling casters for easy transfer – a blessing considering that those high-quality materials can get pretty heavy.
This crate may look severe, but you can easily soften it up with a comfy dog bed or crate pad.Buy Now on Amazon
5. Best Soft-Sided Dog Crate for Puppies: PetNation Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home
This soft-sided but sturdy dog crate is ideal for puppies on the go. It’s made of heavy-duty fabric over a steel frame that offers extra strength and support.
The padded handle and mesh windows make it suitable for travel or outdoor time. And the interior is easy to wipe clean in case of accidents or spills.
Note: This fabric crate is best for puppies who are already crate-trained, or unlikely to chew. It’s durable, but not indestructible!Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
6. Best Top-Entry Dog Crate for Puppies: Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel
If you have a smaller puppy who will grow into a small dog, you might like a top-entry kennel. It’s helpful for puppies who are reluctant to walk into an open kennel, but who can be picked up and plopped into one from above. Like other hard-sided plastic kennels, this one is sturdy and durable, with an easy-to-clean interior and well-ventilated sides.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
7. Best Airline-Approved Dog Crate for Puppies: Petmate Sky Kennel
Featuring a heavy-duty construction of durable plastic and extra-strong steel wire, this hard-sided dog crate for puppies is approved by most airlines. It comes in six different sizes, equipped with an interlocking door, 360-degree ventilation, and a strong carrying handle. It also comes with travel necessities including two “live animal” stickers, clip-on bowls, and ID stickers. Plus, it is made from recycled materials and the smallest size is just under $50.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
8. Best Furniture-Grade Crate for Puppies: End Table Dog Crate
One of the most common complaints about dog crates is that they take up space and look unattractive. Of course, safety and utility are the most important factors to consider when choosing a puppy crate. But it’s okay to want something attractive, too!
This end table crate is made of durable, sustainable rubberwood that will look lovely in your living room. One note of caution: wood is durable, but not indestructible.
Supervise your puppy during crate training, and make sure he has something sturdy to chew on so he won’t be tempted to gnaw on the crate.
Or, follow some reviewers’ advice and secure a piece of plexiglass to the inside at puppy-level!Buy Now on Amazon
9. Best Dual-Purpose Dog Crate for Puppies: Merry Pet 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate
At first glance, this puppy crate looks very similar to the previous model but there is an important difference: this crate opens up into a wooden pet gate.
When configured as a crate, it features a removable plastic tray and strong wire panels to keep your puppy contained.
When it comes time for play, the crate opens up into a wooden pet gate you can use to close off doorways or open spaces. With its solid wood veneer, this model looks attractive both as a crate and a gate.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
10. Best Budget Puppy Crate: Aspen Pet Puppy 2-Door Training Retreat Crate
Looking for a budget-friendly puppy crate? This sweet pink crate—also available in blue—is perfect for puppies and small-breed dogs. It comes with a front and side door access, a snap-on handle, a slide-out plastic tray, and a handy divider panel. And best of all, it is extremely affordable!Buy Now on Amazon
Choosing the right dog crate for puppies is only one of the items on any new puppy checklist. You’ll also want to stock up on essentials like a puppy collar, leash, and harness as well as some cute puppy clothes to keep your new friend comfortable. It is also important to choose a healthy and balanced diet that provides the ideal blend of nutrients to support your puppy’s growth and development.
For more detailed guidance on raising a puppy, and other puppy gear and accessories to enhance your time with your new companion, check out this list of surprising puppy facts and some of the other helpful links below.