The right size dog crate or kennel can be a huge benefit to your dog. We go to our local pet store where Jimi gives us a run through of the different types of crates you can buy, which is best, and how to size it perfectly to your dog. We also learn the importance of selecting the right size crate or kennel for your dog.
- Dog beds or bedding is not needed. To a new dog it can induce bad habits such as chewing. Once your dog is well trained, then soft bedding can be considered (although not necessary).
- Dogs need their privacy. No wire crates that are completely see-through. Plastic creates provide more privacy, they are lighter, and often cheaper!
- Craigslist can be a great place to find crates at low prices.
- Size the crate to your dog’s size. Most owners buy crates that are far too large. The dog should be able to stand up in the crate and turn around, but they should not have much more room than this. Remember we are trying to give the dog a small, safe place to relax that resembles a den, not a play pen.
We are here to help!
We’d love for you to share your dog crate or kennel experiences with us in the comments below. We do our best to answer every question posted!
How long is too long for a dog to be left in the cage?
Hi Maria! It varies depending on the age of the dog and level of training. As the dog matures and you’re able to establish a higher degree of obedience and trust, then eventually the time in crate can be eliminated entirely. Can you give us some more background on your dog and how long he/she is currently spending in the crate on a typical day?
Hello!!. I want some advices. My breeder told me that the puppy probably is going to be like 15” length and 15” height to the top of the head. And I’m trying to decide which size of crate would be better for her. One crate is 21” length and 17”wide, and the other crate is bigger: 26” length and 20” wide.. I don’t know which size could be better for her. What do you recommend me? Thank you ahead for your help!🙏🏼🤗
Hi Michelle! Go with the smaller crate initially but be ready to upsize to a larger crate as your puppy grows.
This is great to know! Our dog is just a little too tall for her kennel. She needs to crouch down a little to get inside but it’s plenty wide and long. Should this be a concern? We kennel her for eight hours a day total in 4 hour increments.
It’s best to have the kennel appropriately sized and not too big or small, even if it’s only in one particular dimension. Feel free to take a photo (or better yet, a short video) and submit it to us using our website’s Contact Us page. From there we’ll be able to provide you feedback regarding the crate size. Thank you!
I have a golden retriever what size kennel should he be in
Hi Kristin! Take a look at the video on the page which explains how to select the right crate for your dog. If you have additional questions afterwards, let us know and we’d be happy to answer. Thanks!
What are your thoughts for a dog in a crate for a 18 hour flight overseas?
Hi Dawn! Ideally you would not want a dog to travel for that long without at least one stop in between. If the dog is well-trained then there should technically not be an issue; however, use your best judgement and err on the side of caution. -YDG
My dog can stand up and turn around in the crate, but when she is sitting, her head will touch the top so that she can’t sit up totally straight. Is that okay or should I get one with more height?
Hi Katie, if it’s just the top of your dog’s head that is slightly touching and they are still able to rotate and comfortably lay down in the crate, you’re okay. Feel free to use the contact form on our website to submit a photo or video of your dog in the crate and we can give you a definite answer. –YDG
Why does my dog choose to go into the very small kennel instead of her bigger kennel? Meaning my dog is about two times the size of the small kennel. I cant even believe that she can get in it.
Most dogs feel more comfortable and secure in smaller spaces. It’s similar to why we swaddle a baby. A kennel that’s too large feels unnatural and makes it difficult to get cozy. One of the most common things dog owners get wrong is purchasing a kennel that’s too large. The kennel should only be large enough that your dog can stand up and turn around in.
My dog is 8 going on 9 and recently has started pawing to get out of kennel at night. We have trained or dogs to sleep in their kennels at night so when we go away they are happy to sleep in their crates at someone else’s house. We let them sleep with us time to time mostly on the weekends. When you say bedtime she runs to her crate and no issues. But lately after a while she will start pawing to get out. At first I thought she had to go to the bathroom so let her out then back in, but she keeps doing it. I’ve also checked her bedding and washed it to ensure nothing is in it. She just seems to want out. My other pup who is 11 has no issues and only time she has cried to get out is for bathroom or something, this is very rare.
We are considering buying a larger crate for her as our groomer mentioned that perhaps her current one may be too small as she is older and may want to stretch out more.
We ignore her through the night not wanting to acknowledge or reward the behaviour.
What suggestions might you have?
Hi Larissa, sounds like you inadvertently trained this behavior when you let her out of the crate when she first started pawing at the door. A larger crate isn’t the solution. If she has enough room to stand up and turn around, then the kennel is large enough. We suggest being very consistent with ignoring the pawing and make sure you do not react to it whatsoever. -YDG
Hi, thank you but this has been going on for months. We let her out once and since then ignored her. Any other suggestions beyond what we have been doing?
Without getting a more in-depth picture of your dog, household, and typical interactions, it’s impossible for us to make meaningful suggestions beyond the obvious (e.g. not reacting/responding to her pawing at the crate door). The way we work through these type of issues with students of our Online Interactive Program is they record and submit videos to us so we’re able to see exactly what is going on and provide more concise coaching from there. More times than not, dog owners are doing a lot more than they realize to contribute to their dog’s bad habits, big or small. Learning how to make interactions with your dog more productive and developing a clear communication method is crucial. But this takes time and the utmost consistency while following the appropriate structured training program. -YDG
Hi Dog Guru, I am trying to persuade my parents to get my dog a new crate. If he lies down in his crate his butt and his snout can touch both sides at the same time and he is in his crate a lot. Can you give me some tips?
Hi Tristan. You need to purchase a slightly larger crate so that your dog is able to lay down straight without touching both ends of the kennel as you described. If you check sites or services like Craigslist, OfferUp or NextDoor, you should be able to find a used crate for very cheap (sometimes free). Happy Training!
Hi just bought these crates, debating on exchanging the bigger one for a second intermediate one. Not sure if its too big for my bigger dog? If appreciate an opinion. I would like to send a picture? If someone could email me? we are crate training bc my smaller dog has energy and won’t stay calm enough to heal, even with sedatives from vet thank you for your time.
Hi Cassie, we’ll reach out to you via email so that you can send us a photo. -YDG
Hi my female is pregnant for the first time. She is 2. The dad is her crate mate. They have shared a crate and an outside fenced area for outdoor play since we got the female at 5 weeks old and our male was 1 year. They grew up together and have even had separation anxiety if we take one outside and leave the other inside. Now that she is pregnant they keep fighting in their crate! It’s plenty big enough for them both. And nothing has changed except the pregnancy. I am afraid to crate them separately since it upsets them but I know she doesn’t need to be fighting while pregnant. What would you suggest?
Hi Britney. We don’t condone breeding under the conditions that you described, particularly while the dogs are untrained and present behavioral issues. Your dogs should have been crated separately from the beginning. Dogs need there space and it’s our jobs as owners to interact with them in productive ways to build up their mental stability and confidence. Imagine being kept in a small room with another person for hours on end for years. Regardless of how much you like that other person, there would be significant conflict and codependency. At this point, you should consider hiring a local trainer that you can work with to start dealing with the situation at hand. -YDG
My rescue is much taller than he is wider. He’s a 70 lb mix, maybe Great Dane/Greyhound/Boxer, basically very trim and athletic but very tall. He can stand in his crate but can’t or doesn’t fully extend his head up, and when he’s seated or sleeping–which he doesn’t folded up in a ball, he barely takes up half. Is this the correct size for him? He also suffers from abandonment anxiety and HATES being crated. (Any tips?) Unfortunately, I can’t remember which crate I bought, but he needs a second one for travelling and to have at the grandparents–they have a 2 year old Boston Terrier who does not get crated often if at all because she can be trusted around food and can’t reach counters. 🙂 Suggestions welcome, thank you!
Hi Alyssa! Best thing to do is send us a video or a few photos of your dog in your crate and we can tell you if it’s sized appropriately. Separation anxiety and avoidance/fear of crate cannot be solved quickly as there’s usually a much deeper issue that needs to be consistently worked on over a longer period of time. Our online interactive training program would be a great place to start learning what productive interactions with your dog should look like and how to build a true bond/relationship with your dog. -YDG
I am wondering about purchasing a larger dog crate so I can leave food and water in it as well – is this alright to do?
What is the maximum time a dog should be left in a crate?
Hi Maggie! We do not recommend leaving food and water inside of the crate. Instead, create a schedule where you can let him/her out of the crate several times per day and then provide food/water during those times. Regarding the maximum time a dog should be left in the crate, it depends on the dog. If a dog is an adult, correctly potty-trained, presents no medical or behavioral issues and has had a chance to fully relieve themselves prior, then they should be okay in the crate for several hours. However, we like to see owners taking their dogs out and interacting with them on a regular basis throughout the day instead of leaving them in crates for extended periods of time. If your schedule does not allow this, then consider hiring a pet sitter or friend/family member that can let your dog out during the day. Most importantly, invest in the time to train your dog (or hire a trainer) so that your dog is eventually able to be trusted in your home alone while you’re gone. -YDG
My puppy chews a ton!!
I just bought a wire crate and put a mat on the bottom it reaches all edges so it’s hard for her to chew the sides.
Should i remove this and then what?
she lays on the hard plastic???
is that good for her as i work a few hours a day and come home after 4-5 to let her out.
would this be hard on her body? or is there another solution to sleeping on something soft?
We REALLY do not recommend wire crates and advise that you purchase a plastic crate instead. We’ve seen too many dogs (both puppies and adults) get hurt in wire crates by getting body parts caught in the grates or destroying the bottom pan and ingesting pieces of sharp plastic (requiring surgery to remove). Wire crates are not allowed by any transport or airline company for pets for these same reasons yet so many pet owners continue to use them at home or in their cars! Avoid placing anything soft in the crate initially. It’s much more important that you size the crate correctly to your puppy so that they feel safe, secure and confident. Once they’ve matured a bit and hopefully gone through some basic training, they’ll be able to enjoy soft blankets and a pet bed for the rest of their days! Happy Training!
I have a border collie/lab mix, 9 yrs old with little arthritis. Need to fly with her. The Large travel crates are 40 x 27 x 30. This seems to be a good fit (had her walk in at PetSmart) except for the height. She is 29 in from floor to top of her head. Should we go to the next size up or will that be too large?
Check with the airline that you intend on flying to see if they have a maximum restriction on the crate size. 40x27x30 may be the largest. If the crate is only a couple inches short in height, then it should be fine for a flight. We’ll reach out to you via email to have you send us a photo/video and can give a better answer after that. Thanks for your question!
Hello! My pup is a 75lb Labradoodle and about 36” tall when standing. I can only find crates 33” or 45” tall. Would you recommend sticking to a slightly shorter crate that’s still big enough for him to lie down in or going for the taller crate that will have excess space? He sleeps on a dog bed by the foot of our bed at night with no problem so we only plan to use the crate when we’re away from home since he tends to get into things anytime we leave
Hi Rebecca! Since the majority of time will be spent lying down in the crate, the length is the more important dimension. However, if you’re expecting your pup to grow more, then you might consider going for the overall larger crate. It’s most helpful for us to see a photo or video of your dog inside of the crate and then we can give a more precise answer.
Regarding only using the crate when you leave the home, it’s really the wrong way to look at crate training. By only utilizing the crate when you are leaving your dog alone, the crate can quickly become a place they want to avoid. In our online training program, we introduce and teach the crate in a way that dogs view as a safe and secure place that they WANT to be in. This takes time, effort and consistency while following the right steps. We want all dog owners to reach a place where their dogs are comfortable in the crate and can eventually remove the crate door entirely, but this simply can’t be accomplished by only utilizing the crate when you think there’s a higher chance of something going wrong. Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks and Happy Training!
Hi there. My dog is flying in cargo on two separate and long trips. I am flying from Los Angeles to South Africa via Frankfurt. I have a crate size for her that is about 8 inches taller than she is. She is basically the size of lab shepherd and you could fit a wolfhound in the crate. I am wondering if I should get one size smaller so she will feel safer in it, or since she is flying for 2 long periods of time, should I allow her more space and keep the crate I already have? Thank you so much!
Hi Natalie! If the crate that is one size smaller still has enough clearance in length for her to fully lay down and while still allowing her to stand up and turn around, then it could be a better fit. Feel free to email us a photo of her in your current crate and we can give more accurate feedback from there.
I am adopting a 5yr old male greyhound wt 39kg in 10 days. I have been reading a lot about crates. I am thinking about a soft sided one (brand You&Me) for introductory purposes, safe place, line of sight to watch me work from home etc. I watched your video about sizing and no soft furnishings initially. Given that he has little fat and thin skin I feel he does need a pad/ blanket, and as he is a trained adult dog there shouldn’t be any issue. My concern is that the v large crate is 710mm high and I estimate he will be about 750mm at the shoulder so he won’t be able to stand. Though I guess the roof will have some give in it. What do you think? Regards Jolanta
Hi Jolanta! We still would not recommend a soft crate. Most dogs up for adoption are not trained anywhere near what is advertised by the rescue. A sturdy, plastic travel crate is safe, quick/easy to clean and does not retain any moisture or smells if there’s ever an accident. As far as sizing goes, as long as the dog can stand up, turn around and fully lay down, then it should be okay. The best thing would be to purchase from a retailer with a good return policy so you’re able to exchange it for a different crate if the sizing does work out. You can also send us a video once your dog arrives and we can give you our feedback on sizing. -YDG
Hi! I really wanted to buy a dog crate for my dog and your thoughts really helped me to guide the way through it. Thank u so much.
You’re very welcome! Happy Training!