So you want to buy a dog crate? The question is, should I buy a plastic or metal?
My recommendation is that if you really want to save money from the get go, you should buy a quality metal crate. Why? It will last!
First, I’m not referring to the cheap metal wire crates that we see all over the place. I’m talking about the quality metal crates that I recommend here at topdogsupply.com. This one listed below is a heavy duty dog crate.
Yes the initial cost of a good aluminum dog crate can be relatively expensive at first, but if you factor in how long you will use it and for the peace of mind the size a metal crate is worth the investment many times over.
Remember that not all metal crates are created equal. Dog crate manufacturers have different designs and certain designs can expose certain flaws. So do your research.
The point is that metal will not deteriorate and damage easily like how most plastic crates do. Metal crates can last a lifetime if maintained properly.
But metal crates aren’t for everyone right?
Yes. Some dogs can’t get out of plastic crates while other dogs can chew their way out. Some dogs do not really need a metal crate but that is quite difficult to determine early on. In some cases, people say that dogs of gentle breeds are fine with a good plastic crate while dogs of more active breeds are fine in metal.
However, this is not always the case as very active breed of dogs can be just as fine in a plastic dog crate while gentler breeds can easily break out of them. Nothing is totally constant when it comes to dogs. Life is funny right?
Personally, I use both plastic and an aluminum metal crates. I have both types because they do have their advantages and can be useful for different scenarios. But read on to learn the advantages and disadvantages of metal crates versus plastic crates.
Advantages of a Solidly Built Aluminum Metal Crate
- An aluminum crate is harder to escape from. (almost impossible if you buy the right one)
- Aluminum metal dog crates do not rust easily.
- Metal is much stronger than plastic.
- Aluminum is heavier than plastic but lighter and less corrosive than steel.
- Aluminum dog crates will not scratch as easily especially if they are powder coated.
- They will last your lifetime.
- Metal crates look cool!
Disadvantages of Metal Crates
- They are heavy.
- A bit difficult to move around because they’re heavy.
- Not cheap. (Can cost a couple more hundred dollars than plastic crates)
- No insulation. Metal crates are not recommended during the winter because it is not comfortable for the dog.
My metal crate weighs about 40 pounds (20kg). With my dog in it, it will weigh over a hundred pounds total. For smaller dogs, a metal crate can still weigh 25 lbs or about 12 kg. If you don’t mind the weight, then it would be the perfect.
With all this said, plastic dog crates do have their advantages.
Advantages of Plastic Dog Crates
- Plastic dog crates are cheaper!
- Plastic dog crates are much lighter than metal dog crates.
- Will have more privacy for your dog. (Usually have less openings)
- Parts can be easier to replace or customize with additional parts.
- Plastic has more insulation properties than a metal crate.
Disadvantages of Plastic Dog Crates
- The plastic material may deteriorate overtime especially if it is constantly exposed to sunlight.
- Easier to escape then when in a metal crate.
Plastic Crates Based on My Experiences
If you are going to buy a plastic crate, buy an IATA Dog Crate.
IATA stands for International Airline Travel Approved. Here’s an example below that I highly recommend!
Perhaps the major disadvantage of plastic dog crates is that you will probably have to buy a new one every 8 years to 10 years.
I maybe wrong but from personal experience, I did not have to replace my plastic dog crate because of damage from my dog. I had to replace my dog crate because the plastic material dried out and started to crack just after 5 years of use. My dog still uses the plastic crate as I have duct taped the cracks but I won’t rely on it for the containment of my dog.
This is the disadvantage of plastic made crates. After many years, plastic will start to lose it’s flexibility (softness) thus make it more prone to cracking as time passes.
A special mention of a really durable plastic crate that will last for years would be this:
Crates for Cars?
If you need to get a crate specifically for travelling on the road, get one that is designed for traveling in cars like this one:
If not, then at least properly secure the dog crate with ratchet straps and make sure that the crate does not slide forward when you apply the brakes.
The crate above has specially designed handles that you can use to strap down in the back of your truck/car.
The Importance of Crate Training
As soon as a dog learns that it can escape from a confined area, your dog will think he or she is Harry Houdini. A dog being able to escape becomes a hazard for your dog, other people, and property. This is why it is important to train your dog early on.
An effective solution that has properly taught my dogs to be properly crate trained is by simply getting a good dog crate from the start.
The main problem especially with adopted dogs is separation anxiety. Separation anxiety and other fears of isolation may cause the dog to want to get out and. This is why it is important to crate train your dog.
In crate training your dog, you must teach them that their dog crate is their home. How do you do this? You do it slowly and one step at a time. First, place some food in the crate and let your dog go in. Do not lock the door yet. Second, get your dog comfortable without closing the door. This will take time. When you see that your dog is comfortable and relaxed, try closing the door. If your dog continues to look comfortable and relaxed, keep the dog in there for about 2 minutes. If your dog continues to look relaxed, just start adding a couple more minutes until you can reach an hour. If your dog however starts to panic when the door is locked, open the door right away, give some treats, get him relaxed and start all over.
A dog crate is a valuable tool to have. A metal and plastic crate both has it’s advantages and disadvantages but if you can, I would highly recommend you get a metal crate. A plastic crate is easier to get out of but not all dogs can get out of a plastic crates and if you were to buy plastic, go for an IATA dog crate. Finally, make sure you get a crate that is the right size for your dog!