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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Frequently Asked Questions About Crates

Frequently Asked Questions about Crates

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1. Is using a crate humane?
Yes, using a crate properly for the containment of your pet is humane. Dog, by nature, are den animals and like to have a safe area in your home that they can call their own. A crate can provide this safe, personal area. Without a crate, your dog may find unsafe areas in your home to curl up.

2. Why should I buy a crate?
There are many advantages to using a crate:

  • Crates are a valuable tool to help house train puppies and adult dogs.
  • It's an area for your dog to take refuge if the household becomes too hectic or if small children and others frustrate him.
  • It can be used to help prevent dogs and puppies from having opportunities to be destructive or disrupt family members at inappropriate times.
  • Crate-trained dogs travel more conveniently.
  • Crates can provide safety for your dog when traveling to unfamiliar locations. Crate-trained dogs may have an easier time if they need to stay in a kennel, since kennels will sometimes allow you to bring your own crate to house your dog.

3. What type and size of crate do I need?
The type of crate you should buy depends on how you plan to use it. Will you be traveling with your pet often? If so, consider fold and carry crates, which are convenient for transport and storage. Consider a corner pin crate if you intend to assemble and leave the crate in one consistent area of your home.

The size of the crate you should purchase depends on the size of your dog. Your dog is physically comfortable when the crate is tall enough for your dog to stand up to his full height without having to duck his head, wide enough to allow your dog to lie on his side and stretch out, long enough for him to lie down stretched to his full body length without having to curl up. Puppy owners usually purchase crates according to the estimated adult size of the breed. To avoid keeping your puppy in a space that is too large, you can use divider panels.

4. What is a divider and why should I need one?
If you have a puppy and want to make an investment in a crate you will use throughout his growing years, divider panels allow you to buy a crate for the adult size of your breed. If the crate is too large for your puppy, he may use one end to curl up and another end to soil. Crate dividers make the crate smaller, so your puppy can be trained to wait until let outside. You can gradually expand the space for your puppy as he grows. Dividers also add versatility to your pet's home and save you money (you don't have to keep buying new crates as your dog becomes too big for his old one).

5. What is the difference between Zinc and Epoxy coating?
Zinc coating is a bright silver or gold finish on the crate. Epoxy is a finish which is available in black and designer colors, not just silver or gold. Both types of coating are durable and attractive.

6. How easy is it to assemble a crate?
Very easy! Corner pin crates have six separate panels that are secured together with a "drop-pin" in each of the four corners. These crates require no tools for assembly. In fold-and-carry crates, panels are connected and set up within seconds.

7. How do I clean the crate if my dog has an accident?
Using floor grids will make cleaning the crate easier. Floor grids are removable, vinyl coated grids which allow you to remove the crate pan without disturbing your dog. Do not use a cleaner with ammonia. Urine has ammonia in it and that smell encourages your puppy to come back to the same spot within the crate. Use a cleaner which neutralizes the odor and cleans the area at the same time. Use a pet-safe cleaner.

8. What room should I put the crate in?
One of the main reasons for using a crate is to confine a dog without making the dog feel isolated or banished. As a result the crate should be placed in a corner, near a "people" area in the home. Make sure the area is free from cold drafts or direct heat. Your dog should be able to have privacy, yet feel as though he has company when people are home.

9. How long can my pet stay in the crate?
Don't leave your very young puppy in his home all day. At six weeks, a puppy can hold his bladder about four hours. By eight weeks, five hours. By 12 weeks, six hours and by 5-6 months a puppy should be able to hold his bladder for an eight-hour work day.

10. Should I put my dog in the crate when he's naughty?
Never use the crate to punish your dog. Your dog's home should be his secure place, it should not be associated with punishment, fear or anything negative.

11. Can a crate help housebreak my dog?
Yes! Since dogs will not usually eliminate where they eat and sleep, a crate can help train the dog to soil when let outdoors.

12. What are the advantages of wire crates?
Wire crates allow your dog to see more of his surroundings, offering good visibility in all directions (this may be a disadvantage, depending on the dog and the situation). Wire crates also allows more air circulation, which may be an advantage in hot or humid climates and can typically be folded flat or easily disassembled for carrying or storing. Wire crates can be easily cleaned.

13. What are the advantages of plastic crates?
Plastic crates restrict the dog's view of his surroundings (this may be a disadvantage, depending on the dog and the situation). Plastic crates provide more insulation, which may be an advantage in cold or wet climates. They can be disassembled for storage and can be used as an open dog bed by removing the top. Many plastic crates are airline approved, please contact specific airlines to make sure your crate is approved. Plastic crates usually weigh less than wire crates.

14. What types of toys should I put inside the crate?
Toys can help make the crate a more familiar area for your dog if you are just beginning to crate train. Use safe toys only, nothing the dog or puppy can tear apart and choke on while you're not there. Rawhide chews are not good for unsupervised dogs. Squeaky toys need to be monitored, because the squeakers can be removed and swallowed and may cause the puppy to choke.

15. Is is safe to crate my dog with his leash on?
Never crate a dog with a choke collar on or leash attached. The collar or leash can become entangled, endangering your dog and making them suspectible to choking or strangulation.

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