Archive for Dog Crates

dog crates

If you have a dog, you need a dog crate. Here’s how to choose one.

A crate is a vital piece of dog furniture. Dogs are most comfortable when they have a personal den available, and crate-training is also a great way to house-train your pooch.

A look at what crates are made of

There are three common materials for dog crates:
• Wire, looking like a basic cage
• Plastic or fibreglass, typically sold as a “flight kennel” or “pet carrier”
• Fabric over a wire frame, like a pop-up tent

Flight kennels have the advantage of doubling as a safe and comfortable enclosure for transporting your dog to the vet, on vacation, and so on. These are very easy to clean, and they are less likely to scratch floor surfaces than other crates are.

Wire cages are inexpensive and safe. In our climate, the easy airflow through the walls is a big plus. Wire crates will scratch bare floors. There’s an easy way around this, however: Put a mat under the crate.

The tent-like fabric crates have a devoted fan-base, and they can be decorative, which is nice in the living room. They are the riskiest choice, though, unless the dog will always be under supervision when he’s in the crate. A dog can chew through most fabrics. The only real questions are how long it will take and whether you’ll notice the damage before there’s a significant hole. Fabrics with prints are more likely to hide damage. Also, these crates are the most difficult to clean and disinfect.

Some dogs like to have the cave effect that a covered crate provides. Covering the crate with a blanket will produce a nice, dark cave. Be careful about ventilation and temperature. The inside of a blanketed crate can heat up pretty quickly.

Check any crate for sharp edges and loose pieces when you buy it, and from time to time at home. There’s always a small possibility of damage to a crate in the warehouse or in transit.

Looking at Structures

The shape of the crate isn’t a big problem. Most of them are rectangles, or rounded versions of rectangles. Sometimes, just to be different, the occasional crate will be shaped like a pup-tent or a tube. Pup-tents waste height, because the ridge area is not very usable for the dog, and tubes are awkward to turn around in, so stick with basic rectangles.

Some crates are sold with an internal divider which can be removed. These are very convenient if you are crate-training a puppy. You can buy a crate that will be the right size for your dog as an adult, and use the divider to make a puppy-size den while the dog is still small.

Choosing the right size

You might be wondering, “Why can’t you just use an adult-size crate for a puppy? Isn’t bigger better?” When you’re crate-training a puppy, the crate should be small enough that the puppy doesn’t have the option of sleeping in one end and peeing in the other. It should be big enough for the pup to stand up comfortably, turn around easily, and stretch out when he lies down.

How to furnish your dog’s crate

A well-chosen crate is a comfy den for your pooch. A nice den needs some furnishings.

The biggest piece of “furniture” is bedding. There are low-padded dog beds that can be fit into dog crates. Some dog crates come with bedding, and some dog bedding retailers, such as Hot Dog Collars, make beds especially for crate-use or have a wide range of alternatives. Or use a sturdy blanket with a dog cushion. Just be sure the dog can’t tangle himself in the blanket.

The kinds of sturdy drip-bottle such as are sold for hamsters, rabbits, or rats will be handy. Choose the size according to your dog’s breed and age. You can fill these with cold water, or even ice-water, and attach them to the side of the crate to keep your dog well-watered on warm days, on road-trips, and whenever he needs to be left alone in the crate for any amount of time.

Finally, a good sturdy toy or non-messy treat will be appreciated by your pooch.

The next step

The next step is to figure out how big or small a crate you need. Measure your dog’s height and add a few centimetres to determine the minimum height for the crate. Sneak a measurement in when your dog is sprawled on the floor. There’s your length. For most dogs, if the crate has those two measurements as minimums, the width will take care of itself. If your dog has mobility challenges or is a member of a particularly un-agile breed, err on the side of too wide.

Now, take a look at the pet-store and online on pet-supply sites like Love That Pet, and see what your options are, comfortably within your budget.

With 7 years of small animal practice and after surviving 5 years of veterinarian school, it’s no surprise that Dr. Eloise Bright has a passion for dogs and all animals. With Pomeranian, Duster, in tote she has practiced in Sydney, Australia with Love That Pet and has taken the opportunity to volunteer at local charity clinics while completely her Masters in Small Animal Practice. Chat with her on Google+.


When it is time for your puppy to sleep at night, the crate is a great place to put him and know he will be safe. He might not settle very fast or sleep for a long time at first. But, most puppies can be trained to sleep in their crate until morning, long before they are 16 weeks old.

Here are three things you can do that will help your puppy to sleep through the night, and improve your night’s sleep too…

Where Your Puppy Sleeps is Important

Having your puppy in the same room as you will help to reassure him. He’ll then be more likely to sleep for longer.

However, many owners find having the crate in the same room as them impractical. If this describes you, then have your puppy sleep in the crate just outside your room, or in a room nearby.

Should your dog not settle easily when in a different room, a good tip is to leave a radio on. The noise of talking, or music can help to relax him.

Your Puppy Still Needs to Toilet

Just because it is at night and your puppy is asleep, doesn’t mean you don’t have to take him to the toilet. When his crate is in your  room, you can hear when he starts to wiggle and squirm. This is a shore sign that he needs to go to the toilet. Don’t ignore him when he wakes you up. Your dog must not be allowed to soil his crate, or bad habits might start to form.

When your dog sleeps in another room, knowing when he needs to toilet is much harder. You are not going to hear him when he needs to go. You’ll therefore need to wake up every couple of hours and take him out to toilet. Crate training your dog at night is a lot easier if you share this task with another family member.

Luckily, as your puppy grows his bladder will get larger. He will then be able to control it better. You can then gradually increase the time you leave him between toilet breaks. As a general rule, you should increase the time between toilet breaks by no more than 15 minutes at a time. But, only when your puppy can go three nights without an accident.

Preparation is Everything

A good evening routine is essential if you are to succeed in crate training your dog at night. It will also help you to get a good night sleep yourself.

Left to do what they want, puppies will spend large parts of their time snoozing. That’s fine during the day, but not in the evening. Evenings are fun times.

Get your dog exercising. Encourage him to run around the yard chasing after a tennis ball. Invite some friends to your home that will pay your dog attention. Take your puppy to visit other dogs. Do anything that will distract him and keep him from sleeping.

In addition, make sure your puppy gets his last meal of the day at least 3 hours before bedtime.  He should also get no water for at least 2 hours before bedtime. When it’s time for bed, take your puppy out for one last toilet trip, then settle him down in the crate.

When you have a new puppy, broken nights are inevitable. However, you don’t have to suffer for long. If you adopt the right training practices from the start, you will soon have your puppy sleeping right through the night.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned 

Adrian Key is the owner of Key Searches, publishers of the Dog Training That Works series of books written by Patricia James. For expert advice on how to crate train your dog at night, visit the official Patricia James website.

Pet carriers for dogs run the gamut from fun to functional and everything in between. If you have a large dog you are more or less restricted to using a traditional crate of some kind when you travel; but owners with small and Toy dogs have many more options when it come to choosing a dog carrier. Here’s a look at some of the types and styles you and your dog can choose from.

Deluxe Rolling Pet Carrier Deluxe Rolling Pet Carrier

Deluxe Rolling Pet Carrier

For the serious pet traveler

If you and your small dog are flying then you have a couple of choices. Dogs on planes have to fly in an airline-approved carrier. However, if your dog or puppy is small enough and you make arrangements in advance, dogs in their carriers can fly in the cabin as long as the soft-sided carrier will fit under the seat in front of you. Each airline has slightly different requirements about the size of the carrier but as long as it is soft-sided and you can slide it under the seat with your dog inside it, it should be all right. It’s best if the carrier has mesh sides or openings to allow good airflow for your dog. Pockets on the side are also a plus so you can keep important papers and your leash in them. Be sure to call ahead and speak to the airline before you travel to make sure your carrier is approved and they have room for your dog in the cabin. Airlines limit the number of dogs that they allow to fly in the cabin on each flight.

Carriers for this kind of travel can be shoulder bags, carry-on style travel bags, or duffle-style bags. They can even match your luggage.

Your dog can also fly in a small airline-approved kennel as baggage when you travel together. These kennels are made of hard plastic and have a wire door. They will keep a dog secure during the flight. Pets fly in a pressurized, heated compartment of the plane with other pets. Many pets fly this way each year and it is normally safe. However, if you have a brachycelphalic (short-nosed) breed, most airlines will not accept your breed for flights during summer months because of the higher risks to them.

Fun carriers

There are all kinds of fun carriers for small dogs when you just want to zip around town.


Handbag-style carriers. One popular type of pet carriers is made like a handbag or shoulder bag for women. Small dogs can easily fit inside these bags with room to spare. You often see their heads poking out when they are having a look around.

Shoulder bags and slings make good carriers for dogs. Some of these bags are sherpa-lined for extra comfort for your dog. These bags can be as deluxe as you like. They can have side pockets, handles, and shoulder straps. Bags can be made of leather, canvas, faux croc, and other designer styles.

Baskets are another popular kind of carrier, especially if you like to ride your bike with your dog. Baskets can fit between your bike handle bars. Or you can use a basket that you carry with your dog inside. Baskets come in many attractive styles.

Backpacks also make popular pet carriers. You can walk, hike, jog, go shopping, or do anything you normally do with  your small dog secure in  your backpack carrier.

There are all kinds of styles of carriers for dogs. If you haven’t seen the kind of carrier you like yet, you can probably improvise one. As long as it keeps your dog safe and secure, then it will probably make a good carrier.

Wooden Dog Crate

wooden dog crate

Wooden Dog Crate

This wooden end table dog crate will blend in with your furniture.  This dog crate will double as an end table and fits nicely into your decor.   This is a beautiful alternative to one of those ugly wire crates.

You can set this beside your bed as a bedside table and have your dog sleep near you.  It will accommodate standard sized crate pads and blankets.The End Table Pet Crates are constructed of either durable poplar hardwood or OAK , with a swing-through door.

You may also wish to put this in your family room next to the sofa or in a corner of the room so your pet can be with your family and still have his own special place where he can feel safe and secure.