Aspiring pet owners purchase various items before they welcome a new companion animal into their homes. Food, collars, leashes, toys, and preventive medications are just some of the items necessary to keep pets happy and safe. Large animals like dogs and cats often benefit from crates and carriers as well.
Though some individuals and animal rights organizations are against crates, when used responsibly, crates can be useful in various ways.
Crates provide a safe space. Certain animals have a natural instinct to bed down in dens. While some homes have areas that serve as cozy nooks, a crate set aside in a quiet room can replicate a safe den for the pet when he or she is stressed or tired and simply needs some time away. A pet may seek out this ‘den’ on its own or can be placed there by an owner when the animal needs to calm down. Children should be advised to leave crated animals alone.
Assist with house training. Many animals prefer not to soil where they sleep. Therefore, a pet will not void in the crate, provided it is sized correctly, and will learn to gradually hold it until it is granted access to the proper place to relieve itself.
Keep areas off limits. Cordoned off areas surrounded by gates may work for some pets, but certain dogs are able to scale or circumvent such barriers. A closed crate provides a safe option when the animal cannot be supervised and has not yet demonstrated it can be trusted to have free reign of the home.
When selecting and outfitting a crate, pet owners should keep certain things in mind.
Be sure there is adequate ventilation so that the animal can breathe comfortably. Wire crates, which are among the most popular, will allow for plenty of air flow and enable the pet to see his or her environment.
Seek out a crate that is rated for travel so that you’ll get double duty out of the item. Keeping pets contained in a moving vehicle is a safer way to travel.
Monitor your pet to determine what you can put inside the crate. Some trainers recommend feeding and watering your pet in the crate to make the animal more comfortable with it. Comfortable bedding or a favorite toy or blanket may help provided your pet is not a chewer (and swallower) and can be trusted with these items overnight.
Remove harnesses, collars and other items from the pet before placing it in the crate to reduce the risk of strangulation or injury.
Limit the time the pet spends in the crate to allow for exercise and stretching. The pet should be able to stand up and reposition in the crate, but the crate should not be large enough that the dog can soil on one side and rest on the other. The crate should never be a punishment tool.
If the pet messes inside the crate, clean it promptly.