One of the most important choices you have to make for your dog is the size of its kennel. If you intend to crate your dog while you’re out of the house, then it’s vital that the kennel is large enough for them. A good sign that your kennel is too small for your dog is if they appear to be cramped inside.
How do you know if your dog’s kennel is too small? If your dog has difficulty turning around inside of it, laying down, or even sitting up within it then it’s too small. There are also other factors that can seemingly decrease the size of your dog’s kennel. While the kennel may seem to be a great fit for your dog, that may be before you start filling it with other objects.
A blanket, for example, may take up considerable space. Your dog may now no longer be able to turn around easily or even sit up without hitting its head on the top of the kennel.
Other objects like toys, food bowls, and water bowls can also eat away at the space inside of the kennel. If those objects force your dog to look cramped, then you should probably increase the size of your kennel.
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How Big Should Your Dog’s Crate Be?
Your dog’s crate should be a few inches larger than the dog, itself. A good way to measure the crate is to first measure the dog. Take a tape measure and measure from their nose to their tail. This gives you the general size of your dog. You’ll then want to take that measurement and add at least four inches to it. That’s the size of the crate you should purchase.
You’ll also want to consider width. You can follow the same procedure as before. Measure the width of your dog’s hips. Then add four inches. You’ll likely find measurements that are close to the ones you need for your kennel, but not exact ones. In this case, it’s always a better idea to choose the larger kennel.
A little bit more space won’t harm your dog.
Should Dogs Be Able To Stretch In Crate?
There are a few activities that your dog should be able to do inside of its kennel. If they’re unable to perform these activities, then the kennel is too small. The first is to stretch. Just like humans, dogs need to relieve their muscles now and then. It helps to keep the blood flowing through them. If your dog is unable to stretch, then this could result in muscle and health problems down the line.
Another activity that they should be able to perform is sitting up. While dogs will typically spend most of their time sleeping in the kennel, they may need to sit up in order to look around or greet you. If their kennel is too small, then they may launch to their feet quickly when they grow excited and hurt themselves by hitting their head on the top of the kennel.
Finally, dogs should also be able to turn around inside of their kennel. When you put your dog inside of the crate, check to see if they can easily turn around to face you. If not, then the kennel is too small. Being able to turn around allows your dog to easily exit and enter the kennel. It also means they’re able to access their food and water bowl if they’re on one side of the kennel.
When Should I Increase My Dog’s Crate Size?
There are a few times in your dog’s life that you should increase their crate’s size. The first is when they start to grow. If you have a medium or large-sized dog, then you’re going to need to own a few crates over the course of their life.
When they’re puppies, they’re going to need a smaller crate. Once they start to become adolescents, you’ll need a new crate quickly. Dogs tend to grow quite fast. The first sign that it’s time to increase their crate is if they start to have difficulty turning around within it. Another sign is if they need to stoop their necks in order to keep their head from hitting the top.
To ensure your dog continues to grow in a safe manner, you need to limit the chances of having a neck injury. A properly sized kennel can help that.
Finally, you’ll likely also need to increase the size of their kennel when they become full adults. For some dogs, there won’t be much of a difference in regards to their size from adolescents to adults. For others, there’s a substantial difference. Look for the signs as before to indicate when it’s time to get a new crate.
You may also choose to increase your dog’s kennel after they have been housebroken. In the case of puppies, once they’re able to hold their bladders, you may graduate them to the crate that will be used for their adolescence.
One final time to increase their crate is if you include another dog in the crate. The more dogs that you have inside of a kennel, the larger the kennel needs to be in order to accommodate all of the dogs.
Can A Crate Be Too Big For A Dog?
The biggest problem you’ll have with crates that are too big for your dog is that it can encourage elimination. Dogs won’t use the bathroom, or at least try not to use the bathroom, in areas where they frequent. Areas that they consider their den, for example, are areas where they try to keep clean. They don’t like to sleep where they urinate or eliminate waste.
Larger crates give your dog plenty of space to move around. They can sleep in one corner and use the bathroom in another. They won’t be housebroken very easily.
One method you can use if you want a big crate is to section off areas. This keeps your dog confined to one area of the kennel.