Before I brought my first puppy home, I agonized about what type of crate to buy — and for good reason. After hours of research into puppy care, I knew that the right crate could make all the difference in helping my Nyxie feel comfortable in her new home and learn excellent manners. Knowing just which to buy, however, required a whole lot more research as there were so many types and brands to consider.
So, by now, you might be wondering what did that research reveal and what is the best crate for a puppy? The MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate with a double door was the top choice for my girl. After digging deep and weighing all the options, it came down to utility, security, and comfort and this crate checked all the boxes.
Your ideal criteria might be a little bit different, however, depending on your puppy’s breed, household setup, or other factors. You can get started in completing the research that will reveal the best crate for your large breed puppy, small breed puppy, and everyone in between right here. This piece will explore all the top crates in each category plus give you insights on how to make the most of this important puppy care tool.
Why You Should Trust Me?
Although it should have been enough to do the research before bringing Nyxie home, I completed it all once again for Ruby. Then, when I decided to add Bandit to our pack, yep, you guessed it. I completed the research all over again. Through the years of looking into what is the best crate for a puppy, I have spent literal days comparing all the different options for home and travel.
Although that might have been enough for some, for me, it didn’t stop there. I still picked the minds of all my fellow dog lovers from our groomer to everyone on the local flyball team. There was a lot of agreement on what crates to select and many warnings on which ones to avoid. Above all, they confirmed what my research was telling me: the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate was the best overall option, but there were a few others that ranked high as well.
Why Your Puppy Needs a Crate
From The Humane Society and Paws to all my local dog trainers, the big names in the dog world agree that crates are vital for house training and keeping puppies safe from harm. While in the crate, puppies are less likely to pee and poop in the house, as they do not like soiling their den. They also cannot get themselves in trouble by chewing up and eating potentially dangerous (or expensive!) items.
So, without a doubt, it is worthwhile to put your puppy in a crate when you cannot directly supervise them. Although they may whine at first, puppies quickly grow comfortable in their crates, cherishing the security and peace it provides. You will benefit, too, through complete peace of mind that your puppy is safe and secure while you are away or just busy for the moment.
Types of Crates Available for Puppies
When looking for a crate for each of my dogs, I found many different types, all made of various materials, including:
The crates differed in design as well with some that looked fancy and blended in with the furniture and others pure utility. The soft-sided polyester crates even come in a variety of fun colors that are pleasing to the eye.
To pinpoint the best crates for my pack, I had to reflect on the characteristics of their breeds and use my understanding of puppy behavior. Since puppies chew and farm dogs are relentless in their pursuits, I knew I needed something that could stand up to their initial attempts to escape the confines of their den. I knew that air and car travel were out for us, so I did not need plastic or polyester crates for that purpose either.
A little time reflecting on the design of my household helped as well. I settled on the wire crates because they are sturdy and cannot be chewed through like the polyester options. They are also a bit more aesthetically-pleasing than plastic, in my opinion, though not as fancy as the wood furniture crates.
What to Look for in a Quality Crate
Across all the many options, not all crates are made equal. As with all things, some are made from quality materials while others are not. Whether the crate is made from metal wire or polyester, the material has to be thick enough to hold the dog securely inside.
In addition, the latches and other hardware should move smoothly and without catching. This will allow you to open and close the doors, fold the crate down, or take it apart with relative ease. Your dog, however, should not be able to complete those tasks using their nose or paws.
Quality crates often come with additional accessories that make your life easier or your puppy’s much more comfortable. Metal wire crates, for example, often come with a divider panel that answers the question, “How to make a dog crate smaller for puppy?”
Ways to Help Your Puppy Love Their Crate
If your puppy is anything like my three, they will go above and beyond in convincing you they do not love their crate. And at first, it is likely true. Your puppy just wants to be by your side and a part of the action. They have F.OM.O.! They have to get used to being in the crate and start to understand its benefits before they stop causing a ruckus and settle down.
Thankfully, there are some ways you can help them love their crate, such as:
- Use a divider to make it a cozy den
- Place a soft towel or crate pad inside
- Add your puppy’s favorite toy to chew or cuddle
- Give your pup a treat every time they go in the crate
- Put a radio nearby and turn it to something soothing.
Want to know which toys are the safest for a crate? Click here for more information.
Also, remember to never use your dog’s crate as a place for punishment. They should only go in the crate to rest comfortably while you are away or otherwise unable to supervise them. Ruby was notoriously naughty, so this was difficult, but I worked around it by training alternate behaviors.
If you want some useful tips on crate training your puppy at night, click here to read the article.
What Should I Put in My Puppy’s Crate at Night?
One of the best ways to help your puppy love their crate is by making it a high-value place to be. You can achieve this goal by putting your puppy’s absolute favorite things in the crate, including:
- Safe toys
Do not put bowls of food and water in the crate, however, as it is likely your puppy will knock it all over or have to go out more often in the night. Even if your puppy stays in their crate overnight, do not place water inside the crate.
Having set feeding times during the day also helps speed up house training, so everyone can move onto more enjoyable training tasks.
On the first night at home, Nyxie was rather upset at being away from her pack at night, so I had to go one step further than toys and chews. To help her feel like I was right in there with her, I wrapped a warm water bottle with the t-shirt I wore that day. The warmth and scent were enough to help her fall asleep in the crate without making too much of a fuss.
Top Five Puppy Crates on the Market
To keep the crate selection process from feeling overwhelming, it is important to see which options rank at the top of their class. Here’s a rundown of all the best crates you will see on the market today as you do your research and head out to shop.
|1||Best overall cage||Midwest Homes for pets Dog Crate (double door)|
|2||Best budget option||Amazon Basics (double door)|
|3||Best travel option (soft-sided)||Elitefield|
|4||Best Multi-use crate (airline approved)||Petmate Sky Channel|
|5||Best Crate Furniture||Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate End Table|
Best Overall Cage
With its durable wire construction, collapsible design, and convenient divider panel, the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate with double doors won me over from the start. This crate arrives folded down in its low-profile travel configuration but was easy to set up without any tools or know-how.
Once it is set up, it feels completely sturdy and durable, giving confidence it would hold up to any puppy’s escape attempts. This makes it the best crate for large breed puppy as does its divider, which allows you to slowly expand the space as your pup grows.
You simply place the divider within the crate, creating a space just big enough for your puppy to lie down and turn around. As your puppy grows bigger and bigger, you can slowly move the divider to give them more space without allowing for room to soil their den. Until the divider reaches the other end, you cannot use the double doors though the end door works just fine for the time being.
Shaped like L-handles, the latches keep the doors securely closed but are easy enough to open when you come back to let your puppy out. Not even my wily escape-artist, Bandit, could bump open the latches with his nose or paws. The bottom plastic pan stays put as well due to the ingenious brackets at either end, which fold down for easy removal and cleaning.
Best Budget Option
When money is tight, the AmazonBasics double-door crate is an excellent choice as it comes in as the best budget option. Available in many different sizes, this option is the best crate for a Yorkie puppy or all the way up to Great Danes without breaking the bank.
Like the iCrate, it is made from durable metal wire and comes with a divider panel, plastic bottom tray, and secure slide bolt latches. It also arrives folded down flat and sets up in minutes without any tools. You can fold it back down in just a few moments, readying it for transport wherever you are heading.
As your puppy grows and gains more freedom in the house, you can leave this crate open, folding the side door flat against the crate. This allows your puppy to enter their den whenever they are feeling insecure or just want to take a timeout from all the household activity. At bedtime, you can simply close the door and hook the latches, secure in the knowledge your puppy is safely put to bed for the night.
If your puppy makes any messes inside the crate, the easily removable tray makes cleanup a cinch. Just flip the L-brackets down and slide the tray out for quick cleaning sessions outside. Then, slide it back in place and flip the brackets back up to keep the tray in place until next time.
Best Travel Crate (soft sided)
When travel is always at the top of your itinerary, nothing but a soft-sided crate will do. The best soft-sided crate of the bunch is undoubtedly the EliteField 3-door folding soft dog crate. This option works both indoors and out to give you a safe, secure place to keep your puppy while you are attending to other things.
You can pick up this crate in a number of sizes, making it the best crate for Goldendoodle puppy, Chihuahuas, and many other breeds. With its durable 600D polyester fabric sides and plastic supports, it keeps its shape incredibly well and discourages puppies from chewing their way through. The mesh material along the sides provides plenty of ventilation and allows your puppy to peek through to say, “Hi.”
Available in nearly a dozen colors, this crate looks just as good as it performs. The blue-gray and maroon styles are particularly eye-catching to this pack. Made from black, tan, or gray mesh, the three doors blend into the design beautifully. And they quickly zip up and down as needed to give your puppy access to the crate and let them back out again. The accessory pockets on the side are a nice touch as well, giving you a place to store treats and toys for fun on the go.
Best Multi-Use Crate (airline approved)
When your travels demand airplane rides here and there, nothing else will do but the Petmate Sky Kennel. This dog crate comes in six distinct sizes, all built to suit puppies from large to small. With all its size options, it is the best crate for French Bulldog puppy, Mastiffs, and more, especially for frequent jetsetters.
Made from durable plastic materials, it meets the requirements for most airlines and can be adapted for the rest. Since puppies may have to spend an extended period in their crates while traveling, this option comes with dual food and water cups that clip onto the side. It also has a strong handle secured on top to make it easy to transport. You will also receive two “Live Animal” stickers to put on the side along with an ID sticker that you can mark with your contact information.
Although it is mostly made of thick plastic, this crate has plenty of ventilation for your pup by way of the mesh metal inserts. It is easy to disassemble for cleaning as needed by unscrewing the tough wingnuts around the middle edge. Then, all it requires is a quick wipe down to clean up any messes your pup left behind.
Best Crate Furniture
In figuring out the best place to put dog crate in house, you may find the wire, plastic, and soft-sided options far too unsightly for your ideal areas. If that is the case, then you are in luck, as there are crates designed to look like beautiful furniture.
Of these options, the absolute best one is the Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate End Table. As the name suggests, this crate looks like a beautiful end table and even has a flat top for you to use for your drinks and other items. Inside is a safe place to put your puppy with a securely-latching door at the end. When you want to keep the crate open and accessible, you can swing the door inward, keeping it out of the way. Even when closed, your puppy will have lots of airflow through the bars along the ends and sides.
To ensure this gorgeous furniture piece matches the rest of your décor, you can select either the dark espresso or light mahogany finish. In either finish, the wood looks amazing and stays that way despite messes thanks to its melamine-coating along the floor. This coating keeps the wood from absorbing liquids and warping.
No matter what crate you choose, you will need to decide where to keep dog crate in house. I chose to keep my dogs close by putting their crates in my bedroom during the puppy stage. Then, as they developed good house manners, they transitioned out of the crates and sleep on the floor by my bed at night. Their crates are still used when I am away and cannot supervise, however, to keep potential scuffles and the rare destructive episode to the bare minimum.
Key Puppy Crate Brands
Knowing a little bit about the brands making each of the best crates for dogs can help in the selection process. Here’s a quick look at each one.
MidWest Homes for Pets
Known as the largest home builder for pets in the United States, MidWest Homes for Pets makes dog crates their specialty. They also make homes for many other pets, including birds, rabbits, and other small animals. In their product lineup, you can also find cat trees, beds for dogs, and crate accessories galore. Since 1921, they have made quality their top priority, which is why they are ranked as one of the best out there today.
Crates for puppies and older dogs are just one of the many things created by AmazonBasics, which opened up shop in 2009 from its headquarters in the United States. Across their extensive offerings, they also have a wide variety of other pet care items ranging from grooming tools to toys. For all their products, they perfectly balance quality and value, ensuring the budget-conscious always have great options.
Ranked number one for soft-sided pet crates on Amazon, EliteField makes it their mission to bring quality pet products to the masses. In addition to their soft-sided crates, they have metal wire crates for puppies and dogs, cat trees, and pet beds of all kinds. Since 2004, they have been dedicated to providing quality products and excellent customer service to all their valued clients.
Petmate Sky Channel
Developed in 1959 as Doskocil Manufacturing, Petmate offers an extensive collection of pet care products for dogs, birds, and many other animals. They make sustainability a core goal, creating their plastic puppy crates and other products from recycled materials. There is almost nothing you cannot find from their company, making them the perfect one-stop-shop for pet owners.
Crown Pet Products
Quality remains at the forefront of all Crown Pet Products does, regularly earning their pet crates and gates five-star approval ratings from the American Pet Association. Their product line also includes many other care items you may need for your pets, including cat litter cabinets. They have been operating out of Florida since 2014, quickly making a name for themselves in the world of pet care products.
Got Challenges At Night?
Now that you have the best crate for your puppy sorted, you may come up against challenges with your puppy at night in their crate. We’ve got some additional blog posts that you may find useful:
- Things to do and things to avoid re: puppy training at night;
- Your puppy pooping their crate at night.
What is the best crate for a puppy? For a range of factors, I settled on the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate for my dogs Nyxie, Ruby, and Bandit. This crate has served us well through the years, though the other options are on my mind if our needs or situation changes in the future. You can find your perfect crate as well with a look at your preferences and living situation, making it much easier to care for your puppy through the years.
Other Puppy-Related Resources
- Golden Retriever puppies: what are their exercise limits?
- Harness vs. collar? What’s best for a puppy?
- Swimming pools and puppies: good or bad idea?