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Dog Crate Sizes: Choosing the Right One is the Key to Your Dog’s Health and Comfort

Making the decision to crate train your dog is a solid one. After all, a dog is naturally a den animal, so once trained, your dog’s crate will be it’s own personal security zone and place of comfort. However, there is one challenge that most people run into when looking at dog crate sizes: with such a wide number of sizes and varieties to choose from, it’s hard to know for certain which unit will best for your treasured pet.

Dog crates come in plastic varieties (usually referred to as travel or “flight crates”); fabric versions with rigid, collapsible frames; and collapsible metal wire pens. Most people looking for an everyday crate are shopping for the metal wire variety — one which they can keep at home as a retreat or training tool, fold up for occasional use, or use for transporting their pets in their personal vehicles. While all of the enclosures come in a an appropriate number of sizes to accommodate nearly every size of animal, the one you choose for your dog should not be too big, or too small, or you will run into several issues.

If the dog crate is too big, for instance, your dog may not see this as simply a place to relax, chew his chew toys, and take a nap; he may also see it as a place to relieve himself. There needs to be enough space to stand up fully, without hunching over, as well allow your dog the ability to turn around with ease and lie down comfortably with his or her legs outstretched. Any larger than that, and you run the risk of your pet deciding that his cozy little space isn’t so little, and that a corner of it is just fine for a little bathroom action.

On the flip side, if your dog crate is too small, your dog will be uncomfortable and cramped, which will ultimately lead to physical problems (and possible even more destructive, emotional ones) over time. A dog needs to be able to stretch and move just like any other living creature, so enclosing it in a space that’s too small just isn’t healthy.

As far as sizes go, many manufacturers will label their dog crate sizes in standard form: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large and occasionally, XX-Large. Additionally, they will give weight ranges and dimensions to help you decide. The difficulty in making the decision, however, is that most dog owners don’t always know the true height and weights of their animals. Before deciding which crate to choose, you should measure your pet’s height from the bottom of their front feet to the highest point of their shoulder blade. This should technically be their height, and you may want to add several inches on top of that if you want your dogs head to fit more naturally. Weight is also important, of course, but that is easier to estimate based on your dog’s last veterinary visit, or may be accomplished at home by weighing your dog on your home scale if it is a smaller breed.

According to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, dogs under 30 lbs. may use and 18″ x 24″ crate; those between 30-38 lbs. may opt for the smaller size or one with 24″ x 24″ dimensions; under 40 lbs., but on the taller side may go up to a 24″ x 36″ model; and dogs who range in the 50-60 lb. area may want to choose a 24″ x 30″ or 30″ x 36″ crate. Larger canines require dog crate sizes to get even bigger in both width and height, and suggested sizes include: 36″x36″ for 60-80 lb. dogs; crates 42″x30″, 42″x36″, 48″x24″, 48″x30, and 48″x36″ for dogs in the 80-100 lb range; a 60″x36″ size for dogs between 100-130 lbs.; and for pets 130-180 lbs., you will want the largest, at 72″x36″.

As you can see, it can get quite difficult to decide on which of the dog crate sizes you really need. Proper crate sizing is entirely dependent on your canine’s particular height and weight, and cannot be exactly determined by breed or weight alone. You may have the runt of the litter, or the Godzilla of your breed, but unless you can assess it’s actual, complete size, you will not be sure if you have chosen the correct unit until you bring it home and try it out. The importance of correctly choosing the dog crate sizes cannot be stressed enough, however, because your dog has to spend a lot of time there, and you want them to be happy.

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