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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 while he’s up to his puppy mischief.
Along with the obvious benefits for pup parents, the crate can also benefit the puppy—writes 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 cosy, 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 favourite snuggle space.”
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 type of crate for your puppy. The best options will keep your puppy calm and comfortable, while limiting her access to your home as she learns the rules. A puppy crate will also provide a useful method for transporting your puppy in the car and give her a safe, cosy spot to call her 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 discover our shortlist of the best options!
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.
Though you have the freedom to choose from different designs and materials, keep in mind the golden rule of sizing. 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. The 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 she needs. As your puppy grows, the crate grows, too!Shop on Amazon
2. The Best Basic Budget Puppy Crate: Ellie-Bo Folding Metal Dog Crate
If you like the design of the previous crate but you’re working with a limited budget, this Ellie-Bo crate is a cheaper option.
It comes in a single or double-door design in multiple sizes and a slide-out tray for easy cleaning.
At roughly half the price, this crate is a great option for puppies who need a crate that grows along with them.Shop on Amazon
3. The Best Hard-Sided Crate: Petmate Vari Kennel II
The Vari-Kennel is favoured 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 cosy but contained.Shop on Amazon
4. The Best Heavy Duty Puppy Crate: Bingopaw Heavy Duty Dog Crate
If a hard-sided crate isn’t quite strong enough to keep your energetic puppy contained, this heavy-duty dog crate is sure to do the trick.
Made of sturdy corrosion-resistant steel with a safe non-toxic finish, this crate is guaranteed to hold even the most destructive of puppies. It even comes on four lockable wheels for easy transfer—a blessing considering that those high-quality materials can get pretty heavy.
And while this crate might look a bit severe, you can easily soften it up with a comfy dog bed and some of your pup’s favourite chew toys.Shop on Amazon
5. The Best Soft-Sided Crate: PetNation Port-A-Crate
On the other hand, 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. There are also four sizes, so it’s suitable for a whole range of puppy breeds.
Note: This fabric crate is best for puppies who are already crate-trained or unlikely to chew. It’s durable, but not indestructible!Shop on Amazon
6. The Best Top-Entry Dog Crate: Amazon Basics 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. At under £25, this carry crate is also a complete steal!Shop on Amazon
7. The Best Airline-Approved Crate for Puppies: Beeztees 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.Shop on Amazon
8. The Most Stylish House Crate: UniPaws End Table
If your pup is much more Lady than the Tramp or you don’t want to upset the Feng Shui of your home with a large wire cage, why not consider this stylish end-table puppy crate?
Of course, the most important thing is that your pup has a crate that is comfortable and sturdy—but that doesn’t mean you can’t have something that looks nice too! Made of durable wood, this crate can withstand 56kg of lamps, books or whatever you want to put on top. There’s also a nice matching cushion that comes included, so your pup will be extra comfortable in his fancy new den.
One note of caution: wood is durable, but not indestructible. So it’s essential to supervise your puppy during crate training—and make sure he has something else sturdy to chew on—so he won’t be tempted to gnaw on the crate itself.Shop on Amazon
Choosing the right puppy crate is only one of the items on any to-do list for a new arrival. You’ll also want to stock up on essentials like a puppy collar, lead 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.