Dog and Puppy Crates
Wire, Wooden, and Plastic. Which is Best?

If you recently bought or adopted a puppy, or an adult dog for that matter, you may be interested in learning more about puppy crates and which types work best.

As den animals, all puppies and dogs thrive in an area in which they feel instinctively safe and comfortable. And contrary to what some feel about them, crates provide dogs with both safety and comfort.

If safety and comfort are not enough, many dog trainers and veterinarians agree on the fact that crates can be a valuable management tool.

Whether you are planning to house train your puppy, searching for a confinement solution, or looking for a safe way to transport your dog, a crate may be the optimal solution for you.

How to Choose the Best Puppy Crates

Dog crates come in different shapes, materials, and sizes. The proper choice of puppy crates will vary depending on what type of dog you own and your main goals. If you feel overwhelmed by the vast assortment of puppy crates on the market, it may help to narrow down the selection by looking at the many different types of crates offered.

Puppy Crates

Wire Crates

Wire or metal crates are a great aid for house training puppies; however, many dog owners utilize them for other purposes as well.

Characterized by wire on all four sides, dog owners may choose between different levels of wire gauge. Generally, the lower the number, the sturdier the dog crate. If your puppy belongs to a large dog breed, you are better off with a heavier gauge to withstand your dog's potential chomping powers.

The following describes some pros and cons of wire puppy crates.


  1. You can easily observe your puppy for signs of needing to be taken out to potty
  2. Because many wire crates can be folded, they are fairly easy to transport from one location to another
  3. Puppy Crates - Wire Crate
  4. Many metal crates are equipped with a slide-out tray so to catch accidents and make cleaning easier
  5. Several Midwest dog crates offer divider panels which expand the living area of the crate as the puppy grows. Visit crate training a puppy to learn why the size of a crate is so important
  6. Many wire dog crates have double doors for both front and side access
  7. Wire crates are also ideal for dog shows, competitions, or car travel
  8. Due to the way they are built, wire crates offer good ventilation which is ideal for long-haired dogs


  1. Because the puppy can see through a wire crate, it may feel more inclined to whine
  2. While wire crates can be folded, they are pretty heavy
  3. Wire crates may not provide enough warmth and insulation for small puppies or short-haired dogs
  4. While great for car travel, wire puppy crates are not airline approved
  5. This crate can be noisy when your puppy or dog moves around

Plastic Crates

As the name implies, these crates are made of sturdy plastic which makes them an excellent choice for travel. Quite different than wire crates, there are reasons why some dog owners prefer this type of crate over the wire ones. Let's take a look at some pros and cons of plastic puppy crates.


    Puppy Crates - Plastic Crate
  1. The privacy of a plastic crate may prevent a puppy from whining
  2. The smaller sized crates can be light to carry and often have a handle
  3. Because plastic crates are covered, they may help a small puppy or short-haired dog retain more heat
  4. Some plastic crates are airline approved, but it is best to check with the airline for requirements
  5. Plastic puppy crates offer an ideal solution for home confinement


  1. Because plastic crates are covered, puppies and dogs cannot be clearly observed
  2. With greater privacy, some puppies and dogs may feel isolated and frustrated
  3. Unlike wire crates, plastic crates cannot be folded
  4. Should the puppy have an accident, odors will be trapped inside the crate
  5. Plastic crates need to be taken apart to be effectively cleaned
  6. Large dog crates and extra large crates may be quite heavy and may require a dolly for transportation

Soft Sided Crates

As the name implies, these are soft crates made out of canvas that offer many advantages over the other types of crates. Many owners find them particularly convenient for traveling purposes. The following describes some pros and cons of soft sided crates.


    Puppy Crates - Soft Sided Crate
  1. These crates are very easy to fold up and store
  2. Soft crates offer privacy and a sense of comfort
  3. Some soft crates make a good airline dog carrier for the cabin
  4. The mesh on the sides offers good ventilation
  5. Portable crates can be incredibly lightweight and easy to carry


  1. Chewers may easily destroy the crate
  2. With time, the dog's nails may cause damage
  3. Not suitable for puppies or dogs that are not potty trained
  4. Portable crates do not provide the sturdy protection of plastic crates

Wood Crates

These crates are not very common, but they are preferred by many dog owners because of their pleasant appearance. The following describes some pros and cons of wooden crates.


    Puppy Crates - Furniture Wood Crate
  1. May blend in nicely with surrounding home decor
  2. Available in different types of wood
  3. Some crates are designed as furniture dog crates which double as nightstands or side tables
  4. These crates are quite sturdy and durable


  1. Wooden crates are at risk of being chewed
  2. Not suitable for house training

Aluminum Crates

An aluminum dog crate is the ultimate solution for folks looking for a great transportation crate that will last over time. For good reason they are much appreciated by trainers, owners of hunting dogs and dog show enthusiasts. Following are some pros and cons of aluminum crates.


  1. These crates can be quite lightweight despite their dimensions
  2. Puppy Crates - Aluminum Dog Crate
  3. Ideal for dogs with a reputation for destroying and breaking out of plastic and wire crates
  4. Several vent holes ensure proper ventilation
  5. Some aluminum crates have a reputation for exceeding airline requirements
  6. Aluminum crates offer an appealing design compared to wire crates
  7. A great solution for home confinement


  1. May be significantly more expensive compared to other crates
  2. May not be easily found in pet stores
  3. Some dogs accustomed to breaking out of other types of crates may get so agitated while trying to get out from these crates that they may hurt themselves

Final Thoughts...

In a dog's eyes, crates are ultimately a comfy place to call home. When introduced properly, puppy crates can become a safe haven where comfort and security reigns. Best of all, puppy crates provide priceless peace of mind when you are unable to directly supervise your puppy or dog.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

If you need help with teaching your dog obedience commands or just trying to understand dog behavior, I recommend this dog behavior and obedience training guide.


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