Thursday, January 01, 2009

Wire Versus Plastic Dog Crates: Which is Best for You?

There are many different dog crates on the market today, but only two main types of dog crates: plastic and wire kennels. So, you have a new puppy, what type of crate is best for you? Three years ago we got a Labrador Retriever puppy. We had never crate trained a puppy, but knew other people who had and were happy with the results. We bought a large plastic crate because we knew our puppy was going to grow. After getting through about three days of whining, we had a puppy who considered his crate his place of refuge, his den and home. When he was about one year old, we bought a large wire crate.

Through the years we have used both dog crates for different reasons. We keep the wire crate on the back porch and use it whenever needed, which isn’t very often anymore since Buddy normally sleeps inside. But when he is outside, it is not unusual to see him lying in his crate.

Whenever we traveled in our suburban, we would use the plastic crate. Though the plastic crate is now a tight fit for Buddy, it still works well for travel. He lays back there quietly and we never here a peep out of him.

Without going into any detail, lets take a quick look at the pros and cons of both types of dog crates.

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Advantages of wire dog crates:

* That they allow your dog to see what is going on around them - allows them to feel like part of the family.

* Are well ventilated so it allows plenty of air flow for your dog to stay cool - great in a warmer climate!

* Are collapsable for easy storage, and can be broken down quickly and easily.

* They are easy to clean with their slide out tray. Especially nice if your puppy has an accident, the wire bottom keeps your puppy out of his mess.

* Last, many wire crates offer dividers. This can save you money by only having to buy one crate that will last your puppies growing growing months. A divider panel that can be adjusted as your puppy grows.

Disadvantages of wire dog crates:

* May lead to excessive whining and crying (greater visibility can be a pro or a con!).

* Not airline approved

* Less insulation than a plastic crate - problem if you live in a colder climate!

* Can be heavy, especially the larger ones. This can be a pain when traveling.

Advantages of plastic dog crates:

* Most are airline approved

* Provide better insulation for maintaining body heat - especially important for puppies, short haired dogs or if you live in a colder climate.

* More privacy so it can cut down on whining since there is less to distract you puppy.

* Normally lighter than a wire crate.

* On most of them the top will come off for storage, or for allowing the bottom of the crate to be used as an open dog bed.

Disadvantages of plastic dog crates:

* Plastic can trap smelly odors over time that are hard to eliminate.

* Harder to clean than a wire crate.

* Do not fold flat for easy storage.

* Reduced ventilation and air circulation - especially bad if you live in a warm climate.

* If your dog really likes being around people, a plastic dog crate can create feelings of isolation.

So, what is best for you, plastic or wire dog crates? Only you can answer that question. After reading through the advantages and disadvantages of each type of crate, you have probably realized that what may be an advantage for one family or type of dog, is a disadvantage for another. So, consider what breed of dog do you have or are you planning to get? Some dogs like moments of privacy, while others want to feel part of the family at all times. Where do you live, what is the prevailing climate and will your dog mostly be outdoor or indoors? What type of coat does your dog have? Will you be traveling a lot? Make a list, answer these questions and any others that may be applicable, and make a wise choice the first time around. It will save you money, and give you a happier dog.

MJ writes for ClickShops Inc., which offers a great selection of dog crates at www.dogkennelsandcrates.com.

Related Articles:

Crate Training for my Labrador Retriever


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