If you have decided that it’s time to get your Labrador a crate, then you need to realize that there is more to choosing the right size crate than just “eyeballing” it. The crate you choose needs to be comfortable and safe enough for your dog to like and enjoy spending time in whether you are home or not. These guidelines will help you know and choose the right size of crate for your Lab.
Why Buy a Crate for Your Lab?
There has been some debate about whether or not putting your dog in a crate is the right thing to do. Some people think that having your puppy in an enclosed space for a given period of time is somewhat cruel to the puppy. The truth of the matter is that, when used correctly, your Lab’s crate could very well be the best thing you ever buy your dog. Here are some reasons why you should seriously consider buying your Lab the right size crate:
- It provides your Lab with a safe space: Dogs have a natural “denning” instinct that often drives them to find a safe space they can relax in and just be themselves. This is particularly true when they feel stressed or anxious. This crate could be that space for your Labrador. You should ensure that your children know that when the dog is in the crate, he/she is not to be disturbed.
- It’s a great and easy way to housetrain your Labrador: Dogs, in general, don’t like sleeping on soiled beddings. Having the right size crate will gradually ensure that your Lab learns how to control his/her bowel movement.
- It’s a safe way to travel with your dog: While it’s perfectly fine to let your dog ride upfront with you when you are just driving down to the nearby grocery store when it comes to long-distance travel, this might not be the best of ideas. A good way to ensure that your dog remains safe through that long haul is to keep them in a comfortable and secure crate.
- It makes it easier to leave them at the vet overnight: There are going to be cases when your dog needs to stay overnight at the vets for one reason or another. In these cases, having a familiar crate in which the Lab can sleep is a great way to keep him/her calm.
- It’s a good way to keep your Labrador from causing damage to your house: Let’s face it, there are going to be days when you are not home, and inevitably your dog will get very bored. In some cases, they might choose to wreak havoc on your furniture and shoes. This wouldn’t be the case if you had a comfortable crate where they can safely remain and entertain themselves with the right kind of toys.
What is the Right Size Crate for Your Lab: How to Choose?
Knowing what the right size crate for your Lab is will take some consideration. As already mentioned, eyeballing it probably won’t do you much good. You need to choose the right size crate for several very good reasons:
- It’s safer for the dog
- It allows you to include all the necessary accessories for your dog within the crate
So, what is the right size crate for your Lab? How do you choose? Here are some guidelines you can follow:
1. Start by Measuring the Size and Weight of Your Dog
First things first, if you have a puppy, then you should be prepared to gradually buy bigger crates as the dog grows. Other than that, if you are dealing with a fully grown dog, then the general rule of thumb is this:
- Measure your dog from nose to tip of the tail (this will be the height)
- Measure him/her when he is sited to get his/her base (this will be the length)
- Add about 4 inches on those measurements and get that size crate
2. Choose One Size Bigger When Dealing with Smaller Labradors
Going a size bigger is always a good idea when dealing with dogs that still have some room to grow. Maybe your Lab has recently lost a bit of weight, and you think getting a crate in its original size would be too much. In this case, the best thing to do is to get a crate that is a size bigger than its current size based on the measurements above. As is the case with puppies, you should be prepared to buy other crates as the dog grows.
- Pro Tip: You could just decide to buy an adjustable crate like the Amazon Basics Single Door & Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate with optional dividers that can be used to gradually increase the size as your dog grows or as you increase the number of accessories in the crate.
3. Choose an Open Kennel
While it’s true that this is a much riskier option because your dog could quickly learn how to jump over it, using an open crate is a great idea when you just want your dog to have a safe play area away from the house furniture. With this kind of crate, there really aren’t any strict sizes, and you can get whatever size you want to give your dog the kind of space he/she might need.
Which is the Best Crate for Labradors?
There are very many different options when it comes to Labrador crates, but the best ones are made out of durable materials such as metal, easily adjustable, easily transportable, and quite durable. One of the best crates out there is the MidWest iCrate Single Door & Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate for several good reasons:
- It’s made out of metal which means that your Labrador won’t chew through it
- It’s has a sturdy build to ensure that your dog can’t easily damage it as it gets bigger
- It’s easy to clean
- It comes with a divider which makes ideal for those who want to section the crate
Always take time to see whether or not your Lab is comfortable in the crate you get before you completely settle on it.