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Crate Safely

Last week we chatted about car safety, and dove into harnesses. This week lets talk about crates for the home and travel.

My dogs love their crates, we have crates set up in our home for each of our dogs, giving them a safe spot to eat and sleep. The use of crates is also my preferred method of travel. A well fitted crate will give your dog plenty of room to lay down, turn around, and stand up. For car travel, I highly recommend strapping the crate down (some cars come with tie down options in the cargo area, others they can be added) to ensure that it will not move with sudden braking or worse an accident.

Over the years I have used many different crating options from the hard plastic (vari kennels), to SUV wire (made narrow to fit properly into your car), regular wire, plus soft crates. I would LOVE to own an Impact Crate, Rough Tuff Crate, or a Gunner Kennel. One of these options will be mine in the future..... I just can't decide which one!

Lets break down the pro's and con's for each "type" of crate:

HARD PLASTIC CRATE - the best of the best would be the Rough Tuff or the Gunner Kennel. These have excellent crash test ratings. Most of us have Vari Kennels, or other hard plastic crates I used these for many years, in the home and in the car. When my dog count got larger and the size of my dogs got bigger, I had a hard time getting all the crates to fit in my suburban. Hard crates are good as they can provide a bit of shade in the car, they also keep toes and noses where they belong. Being more den like, many dogs like this as they feel safer in an enclosed space. These are also perfect for airline travel, for those dogs that need to be checked. When I have extra dogs in for training or to stay, I prefer to use a hard crate for their stay as I find that they are more comfortable.

WIRE CRATES - these come in every shape and size, and can easily be purchased to fit your space. Many come with side doors, some even come with top and rear doors. For use in the car, you can look into SUV crates which are narrower and designed to fit side by side between the wheel wells. Wire crates have excellent air flow, but the wire can get hot in sunlight. They fold flat for storage, which is an added bonus. Some dogs will pull items through the wires and chew on them, so be mindful of where you set up your crate. When used in the car, in an accident they do not fair well. This is something to keep in mind.

SOFT CRATES - these can be a great space saver, but should never be used for dogs that like to dig or escape. I also avoid these with puppies that are still being potty trained. These are my prime choice when needing to take a portable crate to training class, as they are light weight, easy to pack into the car, and easy to carry.

ALUMINUM CRATE - these have been around for ever and a day and are very popular with the conformation crowd. Even the old ones are a great find. My modern day favorite is the Impact Crate. They are not cheap, but they have been put to the test and have come through with flying colors. I am 99% positive this will be my next crate investment for in the car and dog showing.

The bottom line is to find what crate is best for your situation and your dogs needs.

Join the conversation on FB, tell me what you think, and what type of crate you use and why.

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