The Best Dog Crates of 2023

Veterinarians say that size matters most, but ventilation and portability come into play, too, when choosing the best crate for your dog.

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Updated on November 07, 2023

Our Top Dog Crate Picks

When you welcome a new four-legged friend into your life, it's likely your goal to make them feel as at home as possible, as quickly as possible. While you might think that giving them free rein of the house is the easiest way to make them comfortable with their new surroundings, there's something to be said about giving them a place of their own within your space. That's part of why crates (and crate training) come so highly recommended by vets and dog trainers alike. But that doesn’t mean you should just go and buy the first crate you come across. After all, there are a number of factors you’ll want to consider before purchasing your pup’s new den. To save you from having to do the research, we chatted with two vets about what to keep in mind when shopping for the best dog crates. Keep reading to uncover their top tips.

Does My Dog Really Need a Crate?

Crate training can be a beneficial tool for many dogs, but that’s not to say that every dog needs a crate — nor will every dog fit in one. Just because crates aren’t unanimously necessary doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile, though. According to The Vets veterinarian Dr. Alejandro Caos, dog crates offer safety and security to your pets both within the home and while traveling, and they can enhance potty and obedience training to boot. Read more about each dog crate benefit, below.

Safety and Security: A crate provides a safe and secure space for your dog when you are unable to directly supervise them,” Caos says. “It can prevent them from getting into dangerous situations or engaging in destructive behavior when left alone.”

House-Training Aid: “Dogs naturally have the instinct to keep their den clean,” Caos says. “Utilizing a crate during house training can help teach your dog bladder and bowel control. They will learn to associate the crate with their sleeping area and will be less likely to eliminate inside it.”

Travel and Transportation: “Having a crate-trained dog makes traveling and transporting them much easier and safer,” Caos says. “Crates provide a familiar and secure space, reducing anxiety and preventing your dog from moving around too much in the vehicle.”

Management of Behavior: “Crates can help manage certain behavior issues such as separation anxiety, excessive chewing and destructive tendencies,” Caos says. “A crate serves as a calm and confined space where your dog can feel secure and relaxed.”

Aid in Obedience Training: “Crates can be used as a training tool for commands like ‘go to your crate’ or ‘stay,’” Caos says. “It can help establish boundaries and provide structure in your dog's daily routine.”

While many benefits of crate training exist, Caos admits that in order to achieve the intended results, whether they be bladder and bowel control, reduced separation anxiety or better behavior overall, the process must be approached with care. “The crate should never be used as a form of punishment, and your dog should have positive associations with it,” he explains. “Gradual introduction, positive reinforcement and providing comfort inside the crate are essential for successful crate training.”

How to Determine the Best Size Dog Crate

When scrolling through the different dog crate sizes on the market, you may feel unsure which is best for your pup. Don’t overthink it though! “The crate should be big enough for the dog to comfortably stand up and turn around in,” says Dr. Gary Richter, DVM, author of Longevity for Dogs and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition.

If you don’t feel comfortable eyeballing it, Caos says to measure your dog’s height and length to determine the appropriate size crate. While doing so, he says to prioritize crates that are also spacious enough for your pup to comfortably lay down. They shouldn’t have to hunch or stay curled up to fit.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Dog Crate

While size is the most important factor when shopping for a dog crate, Caos says that there are a few other characteristics to keep in mind before clicking ‘Add to Cart.’

Design: You’ll quickly notice that there are dog crates of every shape and size on the market. When picking the best dog crate for your pup, Caos says to prioritize those designed with proper ventilation to ensure good airflow. “Wire crates are popular because they provide visibility and good ventilation, but plastic crates can offer more privacy and a den-like feel for dogs who prefer it,” he adds. You can also think about where you plan to put their crate. If it will be out in the open, you may want to move forward with an option that’s more fashion-forward.

Doors: While many dog crates only have a single door, some are designed with front, top and or/side openings. “Having multiple doors can provide more flexibility in positioning the crate,” Caos says. Just make sure that whatever crate you pick has sturdy locks so that even if there are multiple doors, the crate won’t be prone to escapes.

Collapsibility and Portability: If you plan to travel with your dog crate (or if you simply hope to only have it in use when your dog is a puppy), look for collapsible designs, as well as those with built-in handles and/or wheels. According to Caos, they make for the easiest transportation and storage.

Safety: In addition to checking how well the doors latch on your crate, you’ll want to consider a few other safety concerns. Since pups get the zoomies and could potentially collide with their crate, Caos says that those with rounded edges and no sharp parts are ideal. “Also, check that the crate is sturdy and stable to prevent it from collapsing or tipping over,” he adds. (This is especially important for collapsible crates, which are designed to fold in on themselves.)

Durability: Not all dog crates are created with equal durability standards. With this in mind, Caos says to look for those made to withstand your dog’s activity level, as well as the environment where you plan to use it. For example, if you’re shopping for a car crate, you’ll want a design that’s crash tested.

Easy to Clean: Dogs have accidents. Picking a crate with a removable tray makes it easier to clean up after them.

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Best Overall Dog Crate

Inspired by baby industry quality standards, the Diggs Revol Dog Crate, which is sold in three colors and four sizes, is built to last. It features a collapsible design with front, top and side doors, which makes it easy to position, travel with and store when not in use. What’s more, to make moving it from point A to point B a bit less challenging, it has rear wheels for easy towing. Additionally, it’s designed with a leak-proof tray that makes for easy accident clean-up.

From $375
Photo Courtesy Diggs

Best Budget Dog Crate

Wire dog crates are the classic silhouette that many vets and dog trainers fall back on, both due to their proven effectiveness and affordable price point. The MidWest Life Stages Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate, which is sold in six sizes, features a collapsible design, a pull-out, leak-proof pan and a highly ventilated design.

Best Splurge Dog Crate

The Fable Crate is a fan-favorite thanks to its well-ventilated, ultra-chic design that doubles as a side table. The wooden crate has an acrylic door that slides up like a garage door, giving it a sleek, modern look that dogs and humans alike seem to enjoy. It’s sold in three sizes and two wood finishes.

From $495
Photo Courtesy Fable

Best Dog Crate for Puppies

Newborn puppies (and those six to 10 weeks out from birth) tend to be small, so having a crate that caters to their size is helpful in the transition process — whether from the rescue to your home or from your home to the vet for one of their various vaccination appointments. Of all the small crates that exist, the Petmate Pet Porter Fashion Dog Kennel, which is sold in five colors and four sizes, is among the most popular because of its easy-to-carry design (it has a built-in top handle) and more enclosed silhouette, which makes it feel more den-like (ie: safer) to potentially nervous pups.

Best Dog Crate for Travel

While many people travel with their dogs uncrated in their cars, vets and dog professionals recommend opting for a crate instead (or, at the very least, a harness and seatbelt). Of all the supposedly car-friendly dog crates, the Gunner G1 Kennel tops the list. Sold in four sizes and five colors, it’s crash tested, designed with double-impact protection and comes with harness straps to ensure your pup is as safe and secure as possible while on the go. (One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this crate isn’t necessarily airline approved, as each airline has specific guidelines as to what crate types and sizes they permit. As such, it’s important to double-check any specifications prior to booking your pup on a flight, or before buying a crate specifically for air travel.)

From $550
Photo Courtesy Gunner

Best Dog Crate Bundle

If you’re looking for a quick and easy approach to not only buying a crate but a pad and cover, too, the MidWest New World Double-Door Dog Crate Kit is worth considering. Beloved by hundreds of Amazon shoppers, the kit, which is sold in five sizes, comes with a classic wire crate, a plush crate pad and a removable cover that transforms the otherwise open-feeling crate into a more den-like design. In that way, it’s the best of both worlds!

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