What to Look for in Dog Crates and Kennels

The many options for dog crates and kennels confound almost everyone the first time they start searching for one to buy. A basic understanding of how they're used will make the choice much easier.

Difference between Dog Crates and Kennels

There is no difference between the two terms and they are used interchangeably. There are two types of dog crates and kennels available commercially. One is made of hard molded plastic consisting of a top and a bottom held together with nuts and bolts. It has a door at one end and ventilation holes along the sides. The other choice is made of heavy duty steel wire that is welded together. It typically has a door at one end as well as a removable top.

Choose the dog crate or kennel that best suits your purpose, be it air travel, road travel or as a training aid.

Air Transport

If you're buying a dog crate or kennel to transport your dog by air, you have to use one approved by the airline. It will have to be made of hard molded plastic and most airlines require that it have a welded steel wire door rather than a plastic one. It will also need an attached water cup. Some airlines allow small dogs to travel in the passenger section of the airplane if their crate will fit under the seat.

Road Transport

Either of the two types of dog crates and kennels is suitable for traveling by road, but the hard molded plastic crate is usually the better option. They are easier to strap down with a seat belt and the handle on the top makes it easier to move around if need be. Another consideration is that many emergency workers will not remove a dog from a vehicle unless it is securely crated and unable to escape. The molded plastic crates and kennels are less likely to be damaged in an accident than the welded wire ones.

Training Aid

Either of the two types of dog kennels and crates are suitable for use as a training aid. Buy one that allows your dog only enough space to stand up, sit and lie down. If there is too much room available, they might use a portion of it to relieve themselves.

If you have a large-breed puppy, there are dog crates and kennels with partitions that can be adjusted to fit the size of the dog through all of its growth stages. Buying one large enough for the full grown dog and moving the partitions will be the most cost effective.

Buy the best dog crates and kennels you can afford. Look for smooth surfaces inside and out for easy cleaning. Check that the nuts and bolts holding molded plastic crates together are made of steel and not plastic. Run your hands over the wires to check for jagged edges that could tear your dog's skin. Opt for a welded wire door on the molded plastic, because it will hold up better than a plastic door.