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Choosing The Proper Kennel Or Crate For Your Dog

Just like humans, dogs like their own space. Dog crates, kennels, and exercise pens are widely available. But which option is right for your dog?

Size

Dogs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and there are dog crates or kennels to accommodate them. Whatever you get, for whatever reason, getting the right size for your dog is the first step. The basic rule of thumb is that your dog should have enough space to be able to turn around in, and have up to four inches of extra head space when your dog is sitting or standing up. Do not be tempted to get a crate that is too big, or your dog may decide to use the extra space as a toilet area. If your dog is not yet fully grown, buy the appropriate crate or kennel for your dog’s eventual size and partition off the excess space. You can buy the appropriate crate or kennel for your dog by an estimation of your dog’s adult weight. Kennels and crates fall into broad categories based on the weight of your dog's breed:

  • A 24 inch dog crate or kennel is recommended for a dog weighing up to 25lbs, such as a Chihuahua or a Jack Russel Terrier.
  • A 30 inch dog crate or kennel is recommended for a dog weighing between 26 to 40lbs such as an American Pit Bull Terrier or a Dachshund.
  • A 36 inch dog crate or kennel is recommended for a dog weighing between 41 to 70lbs, such as a Bassett Hound or a Cocker Spaniel.
  • A 42 inch dog crate or kennel is recommended for a dog weighing between 71 to 90lbs, such as a Dalmatian or an Irish Setter.
  • A 48 inch dog crate or kennel is recommended for a dog weighing between 91 to 110lbs, such as a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler.
  • A 54 inch dog crate or kennel is recommended for a dog weighing over 110lbs, such as a Great Dane or a St. Bernard.

If your dog is a working or hunting dog then most likely it will spend most of its time outside. Outdoor dog runs or pens can be constructed or bought, depending on your budget and the size of your dogs; remember to provide shelter for your dog within its run. There are numerous self-assembly options available on the market or you could design and build one of your own.

Needs

You may need a dog crate or kennel for travel and/or as a refuge for your pet. Outside dogs such as working or hunting dogs need a place to exercise within a safe area, so a wire mesh exercise pen will most likely be more appropriate. Once your dog is used to the crate or kennel, it will be much safer for you and your family if your dog is safely confined in your vehicle during a journey. Your dog may also be a nuisance or intimidating to certain visitors. A crate or kennel where the dog will be happy and quiet is a quick solution.

For short trips, a plastic crate or for smaller dogs a soft sided transport bag should be adequate.

A crate is a useful option if your dog is sick too, your vet may want you to observe your dog, a crate or kennel is ideal for this, and your dog is less likely to injure itself during the recovery process.

Finally, there may be times when you just do not want your dog wandering around. If you can train your dog to be content in its crate then potentially destructive/disruptive behavior can be avoided and everyone will sleep soundly.

Time spent in the crate or dog kennel

It is perfectly feasible for a dog to spend the night confined in a crate or kennel if the dog does not feel trapped or alone. Getting this right is down to you, the owner, to gradually introduce your dog to the crate. Make the experience a better one by associating going into the crate with treats and praise. It is also a good idea to initially place the crate where your dog can see and hear you or members of the family. Make the crate or kennel as comfortable as you can, but continue to take your dog through its normal routine for toileting. If your dog has access to too much food and water in its crate then there will be messes to clean up. Of course, if your dog is going on a long trip, then adequate food and water must be provided. If you are taking a flight, then pay particular attention to the requirements of your airline regarding dog crates.

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