The Best Indestructible Dog CratesMarch 29, 2021 2021-11-12 8:32
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Far from being cruel, dog crates give your canine companion somewhere safe to curl up, a little like a den, and limit the amount of damage he can cause while you’re out of the house.
For me, crate training became a necessity when my Cairn Terrier puppy developed a fondness for electrical cables. While he didn’t need a heavy-duty dog cage, when our Australian Cattle Dog came along, things changed.
A soft, collapsible dog kennel no longer cut the mustard, and we needed to find something that was virtually indestructible.
Initially, our search produced little of interest – even products recommended as the best indestructible dog crates were made of flimsy materials or featured latches that didnå’t lock properly.
After getting some expert advice and reading a few hundred reviews, we finally came across six items that fit the bill and will keep even the most talented and strongest Houdini hounds behind bars.
Our Best Indestructible Dog Crate
ProSelect Empire cages are arguably the strongest in the world. With their 20-gauge steel reinforced tubing and dual door latches, these cages are designed to keep powerful dogs safe and calm. Ideal for high-anxiety and potentially aggressive dogs, ProSelect Empire dog cages come in either medium or large size, so are suitable for most dog breeds, although even the medium is probably a bit much for a Yorkshire Terrier!
Easy to assemble, the ProSelect Empire dog cage comes with optional casters for greater maneuverability. Move your crate to the warmest or coolest place in the house simply by wheeling it along and then locking it into position. Alternatively, you can remove the casters to make the crate more stable, which might be necessary if your dog's figured out how to move his container around to gain access to chewable knick-knacks, curtains, and the like.
While wire dog crates have their uses, dogs that do manage to escape may injure themselves in the process, which is why this steel construction is a better option. It’s proved capable of withstanding the jaws of the toughest and most determined chewers.
The latches aren’t perfect, and intelligent dogs will quickly figure out how to work them loose, although a sturdy padlock should be enough to stop them from escaping.
Providing a safe haven for dogs of all sizes, the Pro Select Empire cage is worthy of its hefty price tag, proving durable enough to withstand the mighty jaws of Rottweiler and featuring a clever enough design that even the quick-witted German Shepherd will find a challenge.
Table of Contents
Mini Reviews For Indestructible Dog Crates
Need a specialty crate? Here are our runner-ups and specialized choices for crates.
Best For Escape Artists
A similar type of design to the ProSelect Empire dog cage, the Smother heavy-duty dog crate now features an upgraded anti-escape lock instead of the double-locking mechanism of the ProSelect. Instead of prison-like vertical bars, the Smonter features a unique Y-pattern designed to be bite-proof as well as eye-catching. It also means your dog can't get his nose through the bars, gaining access to the external latches in the process.
With its non-toxic finish, the Smonter is both safe and capable of keeping the most talented escape artist confined. Like the ProSelect, the Smonter has casters to make it easier to move it around. A removable tray on the floor also makes it easy to clean.
Despite its solid steel structure, Smonter's heavy-duty crates are surprisingly easy to put together. There are three sizes available, the largest of which is suitable for a 100lb dog, like an American Bulldog or Rottweiler.
The metal bars on the floor of this durable dog crate are quite widely spaced, so you will need a machine washable crate pad if you want to stop your dogs’ paws from slipping through the gaps.
Smonter’s pet crates are a little more affordable than the ProSelect’s steel crates and come with a 3-year warranty, which should give pet parents as much peace of mind as the cage gives to the most anxious of dogs.
Most Versatile Dog Crate
Unlike our two top choices, the Precision Pet indestructible crate is made of wire rather than steel bars and features both a double door design and a 5-point precision lock system. Its other key features include a divider separator and collapsible frame which are what make Precision Pet metal dog crates so versatile.
The separator enables you to adapt the size of the crate to provide maximum security and comfort as your puppy grows. It's lightweight enough to be used as a portable dog crate for vet visits and vacations, or you can fold it up and pop it in the trunk, ready for use when you reach your destination.
Unlike a standard wire crate, the Pet Precision model is made of heavy-gauge wire with a rust-resistant finish. The metal tray at the bottom slides out for easy cleaning, while the double doors give you more access points and, therefore, more choices about where to place the cage and its precious cargo.
The only real drawback of the Precision Pet design is that the horizontal wires under the doors are just wide enough for a small- to a medium-sized dog to get his paws caught. Using machine-washable crate pads can help reduce the risk, although fixing some heavy-duty material over the wires is a more effective solution.
Despite its durability and additional features, the metal crates from Precision Pet are much more affordable than the steel designs from ProSelect and Smonter. Admittedly, it probably doesn’t provide quite the same level of indestructibility but, for a dog that’s already trained and accustomed to a cage, it can help turn stressful situations into a positive experience.
Best For Travel
This portable crate uses a combination of durable materials to create a lightweight yet durable travel cage.
A heavy-duty steel frame makes this model more indestructible than most plastic crates, while the garage-door design means it doubles up as a comfortable kennel while also being ideal for day trips and visits to the vet.
The larger opening is also less intimidating for dogs suffering from anxiety and makes crate training a puppy easier than with the traditional design featured by ProSelect and Smonter.
Although smaller than the durable crates we've looked at so far, this portable crate is large enough to allow your dog a bit of movement while providing him with a sense of security.
Easy to assemble and fold down, 'The Other Door' pet cages also come with a convenient travel bag and built-in wheels to make them more portable. These pet cages come in three different sizes, the largest of which stands 28 inches tall, making them suitable for most adult dogs.
This high-quality product has a purpose-built steel latch mechanism for extra security and a non-skid bottom and bolster pad for additional comfort. Costing a little more than the Precision Pet model, ‘The Other Door’ steel crate is affordable and comes with a 30-day warranty.
Best Crate For Small Dogs
A double-locking system provides extra security, while the 90-day warranty gives pet parents three months to assess its suitability. It’s also affordable enough that, even if it only lasts six months, it would have proved cost-effective.
Best Crate For Big Breeds
The vast majority of large dog owners have found this configurable pet crate to be effective at containing big breeds like Labradors and German Shepherd dogs. Not only does it give them room enough to move around, but it’s also small enough to provide that den-like sense of security.
Best Value For Your Money
This affordable metal kennel offers great value for money but does come with a warning or two.
Not all products from Midwest appear to be the same standard in terms of quality, and pet parents who've purchased a sub-standard model have found sharp edges and poor quality latches.
If you do purchase this product, be sure to check it thoroughly before introducing your dog to his new home.
On a more positive note, the MidWest Homes for Pets ICrate comes with a one-year warranty so, if you do find any sharp points or sub-standard materials, you should be able to exchange the item immediately.
If up to standard, this crate for pets is both durable and versatile. It can be folded away for easy storage and comes with four roller feet to protect your floors and make it easier to move around.
Additional features include secure side-bolt latches, a divider panel, and a removable plastic tray for easy clean-up purposes.
Ideal for puppy training and helping a dog cope more comfortably with separation anxiety, the MidWest may not stand up to the destruction a pair of Bulldog jaws could inflict on it but is more than strong enough to house an energetic, 70lb German Shepherd.
A Buyer’s Guide to the Best Indestructible Dog Crates
What Can You Use a Dog Crate For?
Before we start considering things like materials and design, let’s consider what you want a heavy-duty dog crate for. Does your dog cower under the bed when lightning flashes overhead? Do thunder or fireworks make him seek sanctuary in a cupboard or other den-like environment? For stressed or anxious dogs, a heavy-duty crate provides a safe haven – a place he can go to find comfort and a little me-time.
Similarly, dogs that exhibit unwanted or destructive behaviors because of severe separation anxiety are reassured when enclosed in a cage that resembles a natural dog lair. Not only can this help to calm them down and alleviate some of the symptoms of separation anxiety, but it also prevents them from wreaking havoc in your absence.
Some unfortunate dog owners have come home to holes in the walls, and doors ripped off their hinges by stressed and lonely pets so, getting the right heavy-duty dog crate could save you a fortune in interior decor!
While some models are designed as more permanent pieces of furniture, collapsible dog crates double up as travel kennels, giving you an easy way to transport your dog safely. Having an over-excited canine leaping around the car is a recipe for disaster and, for some, a pet seat belt just isn’t enough to contain their enthusiasm.
Heavy-duty dog crates are also useful for house training puppies, preventing pets from intimidating visitors, and calming a dog during a stressful situation, like moving house.
Although dog crates have many uses, they should never be used as a punishment nor to keep a dog confined simply because he’s making a nuisance of himself.
Leaving a dog in a crate for too long can also create negative associations that may make him unwilling to go back in. While adult dogs that have been properly trained can cope with a whole night in a crate, puppies should only be left for a few hours at a time as they still need proper socialization.
What To Look For In A Heavy-Duty Dog Crate
High-quality materials are literally make or break when it comes to indestructible dog crates. Sub-standard wire cages can cause injury, while wooden cages are easily chewed making escape child’s play for a determined dog.
If you need to contain a dog that’s set on escape, a reinforced steel structure like that of the ProSelect Empire cage is your best option. Rust-resistant and durable, the ProSelect is “the Alcatraz of pet cages,” although the Smonter is also worth considering, with its welded steel bars and sturdy metal frame.
Some wire cages are suitable for potentially destructive dogs but probably won’t last as long as one built from steel bars. Plastic crates can be surprisingly durable, especially ones made of long-lasting blow-molded plastic, like ‘The Open Door’ model.
Locks and Latches
One of the most common problems with indestructible dog cages is poor-quality latches and lock mechanisms. Even if the main body of the cage is industrial-strength, a poorly designed latch made from sub-standard materials will render it useless.
Some determined escape artists have managed to open the locks on the ProSelect Empire cage by getting their noses through the bars and working away at the latch. The Smonter’s Y-pattern design is better in this respect as its bite-proof shape prevents that from happening.
The best type of latch is one that locks automatically when the door shuts as these have fewer external parts for your dog to get his mouth around. ‘The Other Door’ crate features tabs instead of latches but, as these are plastic rather than metal, they’re still not the best and can break relatively easily.
Getting the right size crate for your dog is essential. Too big, and your canine companion won’t experience the safety and security he’s seeking; too small, and he’ll feel confined and uncomfortable.
The right size for a crate to be used in the home, however, isn’t the same as the correct sized travel crate as the latter needs to be smaller to protect your dog against potential injury.
Ideally, a domestic crate should be big enough that your dog can stand up, lie down, and sit comfortably. He should also be able to turn around and have a stretch when needed. In other words, it should be “at least 6″ (15 cm) longer than their body length and 6″ (15 cm) higher than their shoulder height.”
A travel crate can be a little smaller, measuring the same height as your dog stands from his paws to the tips of his ears. Lengthways it should be equivalent to your dog’s body length, plus half the length of his legs, while the width should be double your dog’s shoulder width.
Getting the right size dog crate is only the first step to ensuring your dog’s comfort. Getting a good-quality crate pad or bed will also help him feel at home in his cage.
The best heavy-duty dog crates are compatible with most brands of crate pads, including top-of-the-range, heavy-duty, machine-washable, orthopedic offerings like the one from Big Barker.
Removing your dog’s collar and tags before he goes into the crate will not only make him more comfortable but will also prevent them from getting caught on any latches or wires and causing him potential injury.
Never put water into your dog’s crate as this will inevitably get spilled, leaving him with a soggy bed, and you with a big clean-up operation on your hands.
If you’re crating your dog to curb unwanted behaviors associated with separation anxiety, you can also throw your dog’s favorite toy or Kong, packed with his favorite recipe, in with him as a kind of rubberized comfort blanket.
The more easily your dog can access his crate, the more willing he’ll be to go in it, making your crate training sessions more successful.
Double-door designs have some advantages, especially if you move the crate around a lot and need access from various angles.’The Other Door’ design is also good with its garage-door concept giving the dog an entrance as wide as the cage is long.
The ProSelect and Smonter models aren’t quite so inviting, as the dog must step up as well as into the crate. With a little training and a comfy crate pad, however, you’ll get there in the end.
Regardless of what you need a heavy-duty dog crate for, being able to reposition it is essential. You may need to just move it around the room to provide your dog with suitable shade or so you can place it closer to a radiator. Maybe you need it to double up as an outdoor playpen or a travel crate, in which case, portability is even more crucial.
Top-quality models, like the ProSelect and Smonter, come with removable casters so you can wheel your cage from place to place. The downside of this is that the casters can cause the crate to be less stable, especially when your dog’s jumping around with excitement at seeing you again.
Some intelligent pooches have even mastered the art of moving a crate on wheels by their own volition, shifting it towards a chocolate bar left on a coffee table or a pair of delicious-looking curtains.
Of course, you could just remove the casters once the crate’s in position, or you could opt for a different design that can provide both maneuverability and stability, like the MidWest Homes for Pets ICrate with its roller feet and metal frame.
Why and How You Should Crate Train Your Dog
We explored some of the benefits of using a heavy-duty dog crate earlier on, so you should be familiar with some of the main reasons for crate training your puppy.
It can provide a safe haven for your puppy in stressful situations and prevent him from potentially hurting himself like Biscuit almost did chewing on electrical cables.
Crate training also helps potty train your puppy, prevent him from chewing on furniture, or eating things that might be harmful to him or precious to you – like USB sticks, for instance!
Crate training a puppy doesn’t have to be difficult if you do it the smart way and will be a benefit to both you and your dog for the foreseeable future.
Start by giving your puppy small meals in the crate, so he knows it’s his happy place. When he starts getting drowsy, put his favorite bed into the crate and let him nap in there for as long as he feels comfortable. Don’t shut him in initially – just allow him to explore this new environment and figure out for himself that it’s safe.
After a while, your puppy will start seeking out his crate as a peaceful place to sleep or enjoy some one-on-one with his favorite toy.
Never use a crate as punishment as this will only give it negative connotations in your dog’s mind, making it a place of fear or sadness rather than peace and comfort.
The Bottom Line
Pet crates come in all shapes, sizes, materials, and designs, but finding the best indestructible dog crate requires some serious research and dedication. Some products feature faulty latches, others sharp corners, and still others poor-quality materials. Price isn’t always an indication of quality either, with some of the most expensive heavy-duty dog crates proving the least durable.
For large dogs with serious chewing issues or a Harry Houdini approach to escapology, heavy-duty, reinforced steel crates are your best option. The ProSelect Empire cage is the pet equivalent of Alcatraz and has been specifically designed for powerful and potentially aggressive dogs.
Its 20-gauge steel bars and frame are probably strong enough to contain a tiger, although some cunning canines have been able to figure out the latches so, if you’ve got a particularly wily Wire-haired Pointer, the Smonter might be a better option.
The Y-pattern design of the Smonter crate makes it virtually impossible for any dog, no matter how artful, to get his nose through the bars, making the external latch mechanisms inaccessible.
Although not as durable as the steel crates, some wire pet crates come close to being indestructible. The Pet Precision, Carlson, and New World wire crates are all versatile, durable, and collapsible, making them ideal for both travel and domestic use.
‘The Other Door’ steel crate is the best for travel in general and its garage-door design also makes it ideal for anxious dogs that may find entering a crate intimidating, to begin with. Few other plastic crates are as robust as this one, making them too flimsy to be considered indestructible. Similarly, while wooden crates look the part, they’re too easy for dogs to chew through, making them unsuitable for heavy chewers and escape artists.
More affordable crates often come with quality problems and should therefore be approached with caution. The Midwest Home For Pets crate, for example, is pretty tough, but it can also have dangerously sharp points that could cause your dog harm. You may be able to pick up a high-quality crate secondhand. Check local thrift stores for donated crates if you are looking to save.
A crate needs to be a comfortable haven for your dog, especially if he suffers from severe separation anxiety, so choosing the best, most indestructible option is the best way to go, even if that means spending a bit more. After all, you want to know your dog is safe as well as comfortable if you’re not around to keep an eye on him.