When you choose a dog crate, you have to find a happy medium between big and small. If the crate is too small, your dog won't fit comfortably. However, if he has too much room in there, it loses some of its appeal as a den-like area and he may even feel that there's enough room to go to the bathroom inside. By measuring your dog (or estimating his adult size if he's still growing) you can determine just about how big the crate should be.
Tip #1 - Measure your dog from the base of the tail to the tip of the nose, along the spine. The measurement you get should be just a little smaller than the length of your crate, as a dog should be able to walk in, turn around and comfortably lie down without contorting or squeezing in. Dog crates are sized in proportion to the oblong shape of most dogs, so the only measurement you need is the length.
Tip #2 - Estimate, if you don't know how big your dog is going to be. For example, if you're about to bring home a new dog but can't measure it before you buy the crate, buy a crate suitable for the breed's size and shape. A crate that's 18 inches by 18 inches, for example, is suitable for a Chihuahua or another small breed that is under 24 pounds. Your pet supply store can also recommend a crate based on your dog's breed.
Tip #3 - Mark out a spot on your floor where you want the crate to go, to make sure the crate fits there. For example, you don't want the crate to block doorways or heating and air conditioning vents. Your crate should ideally go in a room where people hang out, like the kitchen or living room, so your dog doesn't feel lonely when you crate him.
By Tom Ryan
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.