Whether you’re a new dog owner looking for your furry friend’s first kennel or an experienced pet parent searching for an upgrade, finding the ideal dog kennel for your pup can be overwhelming. With so many options on the market, how do you determine what kennel is best for your dog?
In this comprehensive guide to dog kennels, you’ll discover everything you need to confidently choose the perfect model for your canine companion.
By the end of this dog kennel guide, you’ll be able to shop with confidence and provide your furry BFF with a safe space of their very own. Let’s dive in!
- 1 Introduction to Dog Kennels
- 2 5 top-rated dog kennels
- 3 Tractor Supply Company Dog Kennels
- 4 How to Choose the Right Dog Kennel
- 5 How to Set Up and Use Your Dog Kennel
- 6 Dog Kennel Maintenance
- 7 Dog Kennel Safety Considerations
- 8 Travelling with Your Dog and Their Dog Kennel
- 9 The Different Types of Dog Kennels
- 10 Best Practices for Dogs in Dog Kennels
- 11 Dog Kennel Alternatives
- 12 Conclusion
Introduction to Dog Kennels
What is a Dog Kennel?
A dog kennel is an enclosed structure that safely contains dogs for periods when they can’t be directly supervised. Kennels come in various shapes, sizes, and materials to suit different spaces and pet needs. At their core, all kennels provide dogs with shelter, security, and a place to rest when they can’t be with you comfortably.
Kennels are commonly used for:
- Containing dogs when owners are away from home
- Providing outdoor shelter at home
- Transporting dogs by car or plane safely
- Housing dogs overnight at boarding facilities
- Keeping dogs secure during veterinarian visits
- Participating in dog shows and events
Benefits of Using a Dog Kennel
There are many advantages to having an appropriate kennel for your dog:
- Safety: Kennels protect dogs from household hazards and prevent unsupervised access to dangerous objects or spaces. This includes keeping dogs away from entryways so they don’t escape.
- Comfort: The right kennel provides a secure space for your dog to relax and sleep undisturbed. This sense of security can help ease anxiety.
- House Training: Kennels assists with potty training puppies by limiting access before they have full bladder control.
- Travel Convenience : Kennels allow for simple transport of your dog in vehicles or during air travel.
- Containment: Outdoor kennels give dogs room to move while keeping them safely confined to your property.
- Den Appeal: Many dogs naturally seek out den-like enclosures to feel protected. Kennels appeal to this instinct.
Kennels can be invaluable for dog owners if introduced properly and never used punitively. They create a safe space for your pet when you can’t actively supervise them.
5 top-rated dog kennels
When it comes to picking the perfect dog kennel, there are tons of options to choose from. To help you select a high-quality crate or enclosure for your canine companion, we’ve highlighted the features, pros, and cons of 5 top-rated dog kennels. Whether you need an airline-approved carrier or a heavy-duty outdoor run, these models provide secure containment tailored to your needs.
1. Petmate Sky Kennel
- Features: Sturdy plastic shell, metal wire front, ventilation on all sides, squeeze latch doors
- Pros: Meets airline regulations for carry-on, well-ventilated, easy to clean and assemble
- Cons: Bulky for car travel, limited visibility for anxious dogs
2. MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate
- Features: Leak-proof plastic base, foldable metal wire frame, slide-out tray, carrying handles
- Pros: Affordable, good for housebreaking puppies, portable for car trips
- Cons: Not airline approved, minimal ventilation
3. Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Wire Kennel
- Features: Heavy-duty steel frame, weatherproof cover, raised feet, secure slide bolt
- Pros: Sturdy outdoor kennel, rust-resistant, good for large breeds, easy to clean
- Cons: Expensive, permanent outdoor structure, not portable
4. Precision Pet Products ProValu Double Door Dog Crate
- Features: Plastic base, steel wire, divider panel, foldable, dual doors
- Pros: Good value, easy assembly, good for growing puppies, travel-friendly
- Cons: Bars can bend if chewed, not completely enclosed
5. Precision Pet Products ProValu Double Door Dog Crate
- Features: Foldable steel crate, slide-out tray, plastic carrying handle
- Pros: Affordable, easy to set up, good for house training, good ventilation
- Cons: Only one door, not airline-approved, may not contain aggressive chewers
These highest-rated dog kennels provide secure containment tailored for different needs, from house-training puppies to travelling with pets. Compare the pros and cons to find your best option.
You can decide to provide your dog with a comfortable, safe space.
Tractor Supply Company Dog Kennels
For those looking for heavy-duty outdoor kennels built to withstand the elements, Tractor Supply Company offers a wide selection of quality options for your dog.
When choosing a kennel from their lineup, keep the intended use, size, materials, and features in mind. To help you pick the perfect outdoor enclosure, here’s an overview of Tractor Supply Company’s top dog kennels.
Tuffguard Dog Box Kennel
- Made of heavy-duty plastic resin, raised off the ground
- Good for large breeds, easy cleaning, weatherproof
- Doors on front and sides ventilated on all sides
K9 Kennel Store Outdoor Dog Kennel
- Prefab galvanized steel frame, optional sunscreen roof
- Good for permanent outdoor use, 6 size options
- Assembly required, not easily portable
MidWest Outdoor Chain Link Kennel
- Galvanized steel chain link construction
- Outdoor use, dig a guarded border along the bottom
- Choice of 3 sizes, optional privacy slats
Precision Pet Extreme Log Cabin Dog House
- Log cabin style, asphalt shingled roof
- Offers protection from elements, raised floor
- Good for 2 medium or 1 large dog
With Tractor Supply’s sturdy indoor/outdoor kennels and dog houses, you can provide your pet with the perfect outdoor sanctuary on your property.
How to Choose the Right Dog Kennel
Picking the perfect kennel for your dog requires some careful consideration. Follow this criteria to select a kennel your pup will love:
The kennel must be appropriately sized for your dog based on weight and measurements. Too small Kennels don’t allow dogs enough space to stand, turn around, and relax. Oversized kennels defeat the purpose of containment and security.
General sizing guidelines:
- Small breed dogs under 15 lbs: 24 “L x 18” W x 19″ H
- Medium dogs 15 – 40 lbs: 36 “L x 24 “W x 27 “H
- Large breed dogs over 40 lbs: 42 “L x 28 “W x 30 “H
Customize dimensions based on your specific breed and dog’s measurements. Size up if your dog is near the threshold between categories.
Look for Quality Materials
Durable, chew-proof, leak-proof, and weather-resistant materials are ideal for kennels. Look for:
- Heavy-duty plastics and metals like aluminium or steel
- Tightly woven fabric like ballistic nylon for soft-sided kennels
- Rot-resistant wood like cedar or composite lumber
Avoid flimsy wire or mesh that dogs can damage. Be sure any paints or finishes are non-toxic.
Choose Appropriate Construction
The kennel construction depends on your intended use. Key features include:
- Ventilation – Wire crates and mesh panels promote airflow. Solid kennels need ventilation holes.
- Visibility – Wire and mesh kennels allow dogs to see out but block drafts. Solid kennels reduce stimulation.
- Portability – Look for kennels with wheels or collapsible frames for travel.
- Outdoor Durability – Use weatherproof and rust-resistant kennels meant for extended outdoor use.
- Cleaning – Kennels with slide-out trays simplify waste removal. Look for leak-proof bottoms.
Choose construction tailored to your needs to create an optimal shelter for your dog.
How to Set Up and Use Your Dog Kennel
Once you’ve selected the ideal kennel for your dog, proper setup and training are key to ensuring your pup enjoys spending time inside it.
Choose a spot in your home for your dog’s kennel that is:
- Away from direct sun and draft sources
- Near family activities and entryways
- On a non-slip, easy-to-clean surface
- Not in high-traffic areas
For outdoor kennels, look for shaded, level ground with good drainage.
Make the kennel comfortable and welcoming:
- Place a blanket and favorite toys inside
- Use a crate pad or dog bed for cushioning
- Attach food and water bowls to the door
- Install chew toys if needed for anxiety
Proper identification, like name tags, should be on your dog and the kennel. Consider a camera to check on them remotely.
Take time acclimating your dog to their new kennel:
- Encourage exploration with treats and praise
- Crate for short periods, gradually increasing the duration
- Use keywords like “kennel up” to enter
- Never use the kennel for punishment
- Keep sessions positive and rewarding
With time and consistency, the kennel becomes a place of comfort and security for your dog.
Dog Kennel Maintenance
To keep your dog’s kennel in good condition for years to come, be sure to follow these maintenance tips:
- Remove all bedding material and wash regularly.
- Use a pet-safe disinfectant to clean the interior.
- Rinse thoroughly and allow to fully dry before reintroducing your dog.
- Clean the exterior with soap and water as needed.
For wire kennels, periodically:
- Disassemble sections for cleaning.
- Check and tighten any loose rivets or bolts.
- Replace any damaged mesh panels.
Inspecting for Damage
Regularly check for:
- Rust, cracks, or holes on the frame.
- Chewed or damaged spots.
- Sharp edges.
- Issues with door function and locks.
Closely supervise teething puppies using wire crates.
- Use kennel manufacturer-approved replacement parts.
- Seal any minor cracks or holes.
- Sand and repaint areas are showing exterior rust.
- Replace broken wires or mesh panels.
Know when damaged kennels need replacement for safety. Proper maintenance keeps your dog’s kennel functional.
Dog Kennel Safety Considerations
To keep your dog healthy and comfortable in their kennel, be mindful of these important safety factors:
- Don’t place kennels in direct sun or next to heating vents.
- Check on outdoor kennels during weather extremes.
- Provide cool resting surfaces in summer.
- Use cozy bedding and blankets in winter.
- Indoor kennels should stay between 60-75° F.
Ensure adequate airflow by:
- Choosing wire, mesh, or slatted kennels.
- Drilling ventilation holes if needed.
- Keeping airspaces and gaps clear of debris.
- Positioning outdoor kennels away from buildings or fences.
For outdoor kennels:
- Take advantage of natural shade from trees or overhangs.
- Install a shade cloth if needed for sun coverage.
- Choose light-colored kennels that reflect heat.
- Plant bushes or vines to provide cooling coverage.
Monitoring temperature, ventilation, and shade keeps your dog safe and comfortable while kenneled. Don’t take preventable risks to your furry friend’s health and well-being.
Travelling with Your Dog and Their Dog Kennel
Bringing your dog along for the ride is easier with the right kennel. Follow these tips for smooth travel:
Preparing for Travel
Before a trip:
- Make sure vaccinations are up to date.
- Have your vet check your dog’s health.
- Gather medical records and ID to bring.
- Research pet policies for accommodation.
- Arrange for petsitters if needed at the destination.
Choosing the Right Kennel
Look for kennels with:
- The sturdy structure won’t collapse.
- Waterproof flooring and zippers.
- Ventilation on at least 3 sides.
- Shoulder straps for carrying.
- Meets airline requirements for space.
Pro tip: Practice having your dog spend time in their travel kennel before the actual trip.
Tips for Smooth Travels
- Use familiar bedding and toys.
- Include a water bottle and bowl.
- Attach food unless travelling by plane.
- Cover the kennel with a light blanket for privacy.
- Affix the ID sticker with your contact info.
- Never check pets in cargo during extreme temperatures.
Patience and preparation ensure you and your dog enjoy your travels together. A quality kennel keeps them comfortable en route to adventures.
The Different Types of Dog Kennels
There are several common styles of dog kennels, each with their uses.
Crates are enclosed kennels made of plastic, metal, or wood with a wire front door. They come in different sizes to fit any dog.
- House training
- Containing dogs when unsupervised
- Portable indoor kennel option
- Travel by car or plane
Kennels provide outdoor shelter and containment. They are made of durable materials like treated wood, galvanized steel, and high-density plastic.
- Permanent outdoor kennel structure
- Backyard dog run
- Bringing dogs outdoors but keeping them contained
- Shelter at parks or campsites
Cages have a metal mesh box design with a slide-out tray for easy cleaning. They provide optimal ventilation.
- Boarding or grooming facilities
- Veterinary clinics or hospitals
- Temporary at-home kennel
- Transporting multiple dogs
Exercise pens create a portable fenced area using interlocking metal panels. They allow dogs more space to move.
- Both indoors and outdoors
- Supervised activity space
- Camping or other travel
- Dog shows and events
- Yards without proper fencing
There are kennels suited to any situation where you need to contain your dog comfortably and safely.
Best Practices for Dogs in Dog Kennels
To keep your dog happy and healthy when kenneled, follow these tips:
- Never leave dogs unattended for over 4-6 hours in a kennel.
- Check on outdoor kennels frequently in extreme weather.
- Use cameras to monitor dogs kenneled for extended periods.
- Pay attention to signs of stress, injury, or illness.
Limiting Time in the Kennel
- Puppies under 6 months shouldn’t be created over 2 hours.
- Adult dogs shouldn’t be created over 8-10 hours daily.
- Make sure dogs get bathroom breaks every 4-6 hours.
- Alternate kennel time with activity, training, and socializing.
- Give water, toys, treats, and bedding in the kennel.
- Place kennels away from loud noises or high-traffic areas.
- Maintain good ventilation and moderate temperature.
- Use pheromone sprays or music to ease anxiety if needed.
Following these best practices keeps your dog mentally and physically healthy when spending time in their kennel. Know your pet’s limits and watch for signs of distress.
Dog Kennel Alternatives
For dogs that won’t take to a traditional kennel, consider these other containment options:
Installing fencing creates a safe outdoor space for dogs. Choices include:
- Wood privacy fences
- Chain link fences
- Iron or aluminium fences
- Invisible underground fences
Consider height, digging prevention, climbing deterrents, and gates suited to your dog when choosing fences.
Gates keep dogs confined to specific rooms indoors when you can’t supervise them. Look for:
- Free-standing wood or metal gates
- Hardware-mounted gates for doorways
- Extra tall gates for jumping dogs
Use baby gates safely by mounting them tightly and using safety features to prevent falling.
For dogs that overturn rigid kennels, try collapsible soft-sided crates. They provide security but aren’t as confining.
Proper introduction and training help dogs accept the containment. However alternative options exist for pets who refuse traditional kennels. Fences, gates, and soft crates allow secure freedom.
Dog kennels provide secure containment and shelter for your furry friend. Choosing an appropriately sized kennel made of durable materials can give your dog a safe space when you’re away or travelling. Location, accessories, and training help dogs become comfortable spending time in their crate, cage, or pen. Maintain kennels properly and use best practices to keep your pet happy and healthy when confined.
Can you leave dogs in a kennel?
Dogs can be left in kennels for 4-6 hours maximum. Puppies and older dogs may require more frequent breaks. Provide water, bedding, and toys to keep them comfortable when kenneled.
Should a dog be in a kennel all day?
No, dogs shouldn’t spend all day in a kennel except at night for sleeping. Take dogs out for potty breaks every 4-6 hours. Limit total crating during daytime hours to less than 8-10 hours daily.
Can I use a dog crate as a kennel?
Yes, dog crates designed for pets can safely be used as indoor kennels when you temporarily contain your dog. Use proper sizing and include bedding for comfort.
Where can I leave my dog when I go on vacation?
The best options are booking at a licensed kennel facility in your area, hiring a pet sitter to stay in your home, or bringing your dog and their kennel with you on vacation. Never leave dogs unattended for long periods.
With proper setup, use, and care, a kennel lets your dog relax safely when you can’t be there. Follow these tips to choose the right kennel and integrate it into your pet’s daily life.