HomePet Supplies & AccessoriesHow to Select the Right Size Crate for Your Dog

How to Select the Right Size Crate for Your Dog

As a dog owner, you want to provide your furry friend with the best care possible. One essential tool that can greatly benefit both you and your dog is a crate. Crates have been used for many years as a safe space for dogs to relax, housebreak them, alleviate separation anxiety, prevent destructive behavior, and even aid in training. However, with so many crate options available, choosing the right size and utilizing it effectively can seem like a daunting task. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the crucial aspects of dog crate size, proper crate training, and essential tips for choosing the best crate for your canine companion.

Importance of Selecting the Right Size Crate

The size of the crate you choose for your dog plays a significant role in its effectiveness. A crate that is too small can be uncomfortable for your dog, while a crate that is too large can defeat its purpose. It is essential to select the right size for your dog’s comfort, safety, and overall well-being.

Comfort and Security

Dogs are den animals by nature, and they feel secure and comfortable in enclosed spaces. A properly sized crate provides a confined and secure space where your dog can relax and feel safe. This is especially important during thunderstorms, fireworks, or other stressful events. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. If the crate is too small, your dog may become anxious and restless, leading to barking, whining, and destructive behavior.

Avoid Accidents and House Training

Another crucial reason for selecting the right size crate is for housebreaking purposes. Dogs naturally avoid soiling their sleeping areas; thus, a crate that is appropriately sized will encourage them to hold their bladder and bowels until they are let out. This aids in faster and smoother house training, saving you from cleaning up accidents in your home.

Separation Anxiety Relief

Dogs are social animals and often struggle with being alone. Separation anxiety can cause stress and destructive behavior in dogs, such as chewing furniture or excessive barking. A properly sized crate can provide comfort and reduce separation anxiety for your dog by giving them a safe and secure space to retreat to when you are away.

Prevent Destructive Behavior

If your dog has a tendency to chew on furniture, dig up plants, or get into other mischief when left alone, a crate can be a lifesaver. By keeping your dog contained, a crate can prevent destructive behaviors and save your belongings from being damaged.

Travel and Transportation

Crates also offer a safe and secure way to transport your dog in cars, on planes, or at the vet. Many airlines require dogs to be in crates during flights, and a properly sized crate will ensure your dog is comfortable and has enough room to move around during the journey.

Training Aid

Lastly, crates are an invaluable tool for teaching basic obedience commands and fostering a sense of independence in dogs. When used correctly, a crate can help with potty training, stopping unwanted behaviors, and promoting positive behaviors.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Crate Size

How to Select the Right Size Crate for Your Dog

Now that we understand the importance of selecting the right size crate for our dogs, let’s explore the key factors to consider when choosing a crate size.

Breed and Adult Size

The size of your dog plays a significant role in determining the right crate size. While every dog is unique, specific breeds tend to have common adult sizes. For example, a Golden Retriever is typically larger than a French Bulldog. Doing some research on your dog’s breed and their average adult size can give you a better idea of what size crate to choose.

Age and Weight

It is essential to consider your dog’s age and weight when selecting a crate size. Puppies will grow quickly, so it is best to choose a crate that they can grow into. If your dog is already an adult, you can refer to their weight to determine the right crate size. It is recommended to add 10-15% to your dog’s current weight to account for any potential growth or weight gain.

Activity Level

The activity level of your dog also plays a role in determining the appropriate crate size. More active and energetic dogs may require more space to move around and stretch their legs, while calmer dogs might be content with a smaller crate.

Purpose of the Crate

Consider the purpose of the crate when choosing its size. Is it for housebreaking, travel, or training? Each purpose may require a different sized crate to serve its specific function effectively.

Measuring Your Dog for the Correct Crate Size

How to Select the Right Size Crate for Your Dog

To ensure you select the right size crate for your dog, it is essential to measure them correctly. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Measure Length: Using a tape measure, measure your dog from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail.
  1. Measure Height: Measure your dog’s height while they are standing up, from the floor to the top of their head or ears.
  1. Measure Width: With your dog standing, measure the widest part of their body, typically around their shoulders.
  1. Add Space for Comfort: As mentioned earlier, the crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. To determine the minimum size, add 2-4 inches to each measurement. For larger breeds, add 6 inches to each measurement.
  1. Consider Growth: If you have a puppy, it is crucial to take into account their expected adult size and add extra space to accommodate their growth.

Types of Crates Available

There are several types of crates available, each with its own benefits and features. Here are the most common types of crates you will come across when shopping for your dog:

Wire Crates

Wire crates are the most popular type of crate and are typically made of metal wires or bars. They offer excellent ventilation, visibility, and can be easily folded for storage or travel. Wire crates also come with a removable tray for easy cleaning. However, they may not provide enough privacy for dogs who prefer a more enclosed space.

Plastic Crates

Plastic crates, also known as airline-approved crates, are made of sturdy plastic and often have a wire door. They are great for traveling and offer more privacy for dogs who prefer it. They are also lightweight and easy to clean, but they may not be as durable as wire crates.

Soft-Sided Crates

Soft-sided crates are made of fabric and are ideal for traveling with smaller breeds. They are lightweight, easy to fold, and usually come with carrying handles. However, they may not be suitable for dogs who like to chew or scratch, as they are not as durable as wire or plastic crates.

Wooden Crates

Wooden crates are becoming increasingly popular due to their stylish appearance and functionality. They blend in well with home decor, and some even double as furniture, such as end tables or nightstands. Wooden crates are sturdy and offer privacy for dogs, but they can also be more expensive than other types of crates.

Tips for Crate Training

Properly crate training your dog is essential for them to see it as a safe and comfortable space. Here are some tips to help you effectively crate train your dog:

Start Slowly

Introducing your dog to their new crate should be done gradually. Allow them to explore the crate on their own terms without forcing them inside. You can place treats inside the crate to encourage them to go in and reward them when they do.

Make it a Positive Experience

Positive reinforcement is crucial when crate training. Praise and reward your dog when they enter the crate or settle inside. You can also give them special treats, toys, or even a comfortable blanket to make the experience more enjoyable.

Never Use the Crate as Punishment

The crate should never be used as a form of punishment. Your dog should associate the crate with positive experiences, not negative ones.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Especially in the beginning stages of crate training, it is best to keep your dog’s time in the crate short and gradually increase it as they become more comfortable. This will prevent them from feeling trapped or anxious.

Use Command Words

Using consistent command words, such as “crate” or “kennel,” can help your dog understand what you want them to do. Use these words when introducing them to the crate and when asking them to enter it.

Gradually Increase Time Alone

Once your dog is comfortable in their crate, you can start leaving them alone for short periods. Start with just a few minutes and gradually increase the time as they get used to being alone in the crate.


A properly sized and utilized crate can greatly benefit both you and your dog. From providing a safe and secure space to aiding in housebreaking, preventing destructive behavior, and serving as a training tool, a crate is an essential tool for any dog owner. By considering factors such as breed, age, and activity level, measuring your dog correctly, and utilizing proper crate training techniques, you can choose the right size crate for your furry friend and ensure a positive experience for both of you. Remember, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key when it comes to crate training, so take your time and enjoy the process of helping your dog feel comfortable and safe in their new den.


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