When I got a dog crate, I never imagine it would be such an important tool for separation anxiety. If your dog seems nervous and uneasy every time you go out the door, you probably need it, too.
Separation anxiety is a common behavior issue in dogs, and as the name suggests, it happens when your dog or puppy is starting to stress out when you leave him alone.
Using a crate is one of the first things you should try in order to stop or prevent separation anxiety. It’s also by far the easiest way to deal with this problem.
Keep in mind that a good crate acts as a shelter, serving as your dog’s designated safe place.
Over time, simply the act of entering the kennel will bring your dog a sense of security, whether you’re home or not.
Now, let’s talk a little about anxiety signs in dogs. If anything sounds familiar, it’s time to take action!
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Anxious Behavior: Pacing and panting are a strong indication of separation anxiety. Oftentimes, your poor pooch will walk back and forth throughout the house and follow your every step while you’re getting ready to leave.
Destructive Behavior: Chewing and scratching means that your dog is so anxious while you’re gone that he’s trying his best to self-soothe.
Excessive Vocalization: If your dog tends to whine, bark, or howl after you leave, you may be dealing with separation anxiety. Keep in mind that some dog breeds are more vocal than others, so look at other symptoms as well before you jump to conclusions.
House Soiling: An anxious dog may also experience loss of control of his needs and have accidents around the house while you’re away.
Okay, so how the best dog crate for separation anxiety looks like? Here are our top examples.
What’s the Best Dog Crate for Separation Anxiety?
Note: For best results, the size and the strength of the kennel should match your dog’s weight.
1. AmazonBasics Pet Kennel
This pet kennel is a great choice if you’re on a budget.
It has a plastic roof that provides a dark environment for your dog, which is highly important because it helps to make him feel safer and more comfortable.
Unlike many crates, this one has both a front and a top door that can be opened either from the left or right. This allows for simple entry, and a less stressful experience for your pup.
The manufacturer even made the carrying aspect easier by providing a handle on the top of the kennel for easy, one-handed transport.
Besides snapping the four latches, you also have the option of securing the top and bottom of the crate using screws (included). This is very useful in case you decide to take your dog on a trip, or to the veterinarian, as it makes it far more secure.
This product is available in 19″ and 23″ sizes, which are only suitable for small dogs that weigh up to 20 pounds.
- Has a front and top door
- Has a carrying handle
- Can be screwed for added security
- Only for dogs up to 20 pounds
2. Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate
This pet crate can be used as a safe place for your dog, as well as a small table for you!
Not only is it stylish, and looks far more handsome when compared with the standard competition, but the rubberwood build makes this kennel a cozy and private place for your dog.
Other than that, the multiple openings provide nice air circulation, along with a great view of what’s happening around the house.
Anxious dogs will also appreciate the sealed bottom, since that allows them to hide when they need a break.
As a bonus, the floor is covered with waterproof melamine that’s very easy to clean in case your dog had an accident.
Keep in mind, though, this crate can only be used inside the house, and it’s pretty heavy. Also, if your dog is a chewer, I wouldn’t recommend getting it. Instead, you should go with either a hard plastic or metal crate, as the material is more durable.
This product is available in two sizes, 24″ for small and medium-sized pets, and 27″ for medium and large-sized pets. Plus, you can choose between two finishes, Espresso and Mahogany.
- Double as furniture
- Made from rubberwood
- Has a sealed bottom
- Has a waterproof floor
- Comes in two beautiful finishes
- Not the best crate for chewers
- Heavy and not easy to transport
3. MidWest iCrate Metal Dog Crate
This folding dog crate is ideal for people with storage problems. That said, it still has the potential to provide your dog with the feeling of a safe den.
You will, however, have to use a cover to provide your pup with the optimal sense of security he needs.
The kennel is also very easy to set up and fold, and it has a strong carrying handle, so it’s highly portable as well.
It even has rubber feet to protect your floors, and rounded corner clips to avoid sharp points.
The thing that makes it the best metal dog crate, in my opinion, is that you can use the divider panel to adjust the crate size while your puppy is still growing. In addition, if your dog has an accident, the leak-proof plastic pan can be easily removed and washed.
This product is available in seven different sizes. To find the size that’s best for your dog, consult the size/breed reference on the product’s page.
- Folds flat
- Has a carrying handle
- Includes a divider panel
- Includes a removable tray
- Comes in various sizes
- Need to purchase an additional cover
4. Petmate Compass Plastic Pets Kennel
This pet kennel is made of durable plastic, and it’s also one of the easiest ones to assemble, thanks to its unique Slide N’ Snap feature.
It has plenty of ventilation holes, but it still manages to block most of the light from outside, so your dog will be able to sleep securely without interruptions.
If he’s initially hesitant to go inside, you can remove the lid and turn it into a dog bed.
Additionally, the crate has an oversized doorway, which can be opened both ways for maximum convenience, as well as two safeguards on the top and bottom of the doors.
Owners who love to take their dogs on vacations will be happy to know that this kennel is fully compliant with air travel requirements. However, it’s always best practice to confirm it with the airline beforehand.
This product is available in six different sizes, accommodating dogs less than 10 pounds to larger breeds that weigh in the 90-pound range. Be sure to pick the one that’s appropriate for your dog.
- Made from durable plastic
- Easy to assemble
- Above-average door size
- Airline compliant
- Has a carrying handle (small models)
- Comes in various sizes
- No handle on bigger models
5. Petmate Sky Kennel
This kennel is perhaps the most durable dog crate made out of plastic. Although it’s surrounded with ventilation openings, the durable shell gives your dog the feeling of being inside a cave.
Because of this, it suited for dogs with higher anxiety, as it creates a safe environment that can help them cope with their stress.
Other than that, the crate has a reinforced steel door to ensure that your anxious dog stays safe while he’s inside, where the larger models offer a vaulted door for extra security.
If you travel with your pup a lot, this is a great option to consider, as it meets most air travel requirements. Unfortunately, only the smaller crates come with a carrying handle for easy transport.
This product is available in six different sizes to accommodate small to larger dog breeds, so be sure to check out the weight recommendation table. Plus, you get two ‘Live Animal‘ stickers, identification stickers, as well as two clip-on food and water bowls.
- Made from high-strength plastic
- Reinforced steel door
- Has a carrying handle (small models)
- Includes flight accessories
- Comes in various sizes
- No handle on bigger models
6. ProSelect Empire Dog Cage
This metal cage is all but impossible for your dog to damage. If the previous choices couldn’t hold him, this escape-proof crate will.
It has a thick construction made from reinforced steel tubes, as well as robust latches, so that it can handle abuse from even the biggest, strongest dogs.
Cleaning the cage is a breeze, due to a removable steel tray at the bottom. It’s also very easy to move around, as you can simply attach the included wheels.
However, once you have it in place, you should remove the wheels for maximum stability.
This product comes in two sizes, medium and large. The interior and exterior dimensions of both cages are mentioned on the seller’s page.
- Super strong dog crate
- Ideal for large, high-anxiety dogs
- Removable steel tray
- Can be easily moved around
- Not for every budget
Types of Dog Crates for Separation Anxiety
Plastic crates: These crates are made of hard material, and they tend to be covered well, which should make dogs feel protected. Also, most of them are relatively easy to carry, especially if they come with a handle.
Wood crates: These crates look great indoors, and can even serve as a table. They should provide enough privacy, but they’re usually heavy and not portable. Be aware that some dogs may chew or scratch at the wood surface.
Wired crates: These crates are typically strong and sturdy. However, you’ll probably need to use some sort of cover to make your dog feel safe. Some of them even fold flat for easy storage and carrying.
Metal crates: These crates can sometimes be used to confine big, high-anxiety dogs (also known as escape artists) in order to prevent them from destroying or escaping their crates while hurting themselves.
Things to Look for in Dog Crates for Separation Anxiety
It’s not uncommon that dogs who deal with separation anxiety bite on things to help them relax.
So, when you’re choosing a crate, check to see if it’s made of high-quality materials that can stand up to your dog.
If your dog isn’t a chewer, you can try a wooden crate. But generally speaking, a hard-sided plastic crate, or a covered metal crate is usually a safe bet for dogs with any type of anxiety.
Since we’re dealing with a dog, and specifically a troubled one, we need to be prepared for potty accidents. Therefore, you want to choose a crate that’s easy to clean.
Some crates are completely washable or come with a waterproof floor, while others include a removable bottom tray. It’s also wise to use a good enzyme cleaner to get rid of the dog urine completely.
Finally, you should choose a crate that’s appropriate for your dog’s size.
A tiny crate would be uncomfortable to lay in, while a big crate won’t provide the security your dog needs, and he might even try to use it as a toilet.
How to Pick the Right Size?
To find the right crate for your dog, you need to know his size. Start by measuring him from the top of his head to the floor, and from the tip of his nose to his tail.
The height of the crate should be about 3″ taller and longer than your dog, so there’s enough room for him to stand up, lie down, and turn around.
However, if you have a puppy, and you want to use the same crate when he reaches his full size, you’ll need to do some research. Check online or ask your vet what your puppy’s measurements will be in his adulthood, and pick a kennel accordingly.
If you’re unsure, choose a crate for his current size, and invest in a bigger one later. Alternatively, opt for a kennel that comes with a divider panel, and adjust the size as your pup grows.
What Are the Benefits of Getting a Dog Crate?
1. Provides a Safe Place for Your Dog
A crate can be your dog’s private space when he’s tired or feeling unconfident. But keep it in a quiet area of the house, and consider removing the door unless you’re crate training, or your dog needs to be confined.
It’s also a secure solution for owners who can’t watch their puppy all the time, and worried that he might get into mischief.
2. Doubles as a Cozy Bed
It doesn’t matter if your dog is stressed out or not, all dogs love to sleep. There simply isn’t a better place to take a nap than where they feel the safest.
To make sure your dog wants to nap in his crate, make it as warm and cozy as possible by padding it with a warm blanket or, better yet, a dog bed.
3. Keeps Your Dog Under Control
Don’t use it as a punishment. In fact, you want your dog to love his crate, not fear it.
By using lots of praises and rewards, you can train your dog to get into his crate on command. This can be handy when you’re having people over, or deciding to adopt another pet.
4. Helps Your Dog Get Acclimated
Portable crates, which your dog is already familiar with, can be used both in the house and on trips. In doing so, they will help your pup adjust to new places quickly, and without all the stress.
5. Can Help with Housebreaking
While a crate can help prevent possible potty accidents, it may be more challenging for a dog with separation anxiety. In some cases, you’ll need to discuss with your vet or a dog trainer about the right course of action.
How to Get an Anxious Dog Inside the Crate?
As mentioned a few times already, your dog needs to see his crate as his new safe den, a place where he can feel secure when he’s alone. So you should never force him to get inside.
There are better ways to deal with dogs who don’t like his kennel. For example, you can use chew toys or dog treats to lure them in, or even start feeding them there for a while.
Here are a few more tips on how to introduce your dog to his crate, the right way.
How to Use a Crate for Dog Separation Anxiety at Night?
If you’re trying to stop your dog’s separation anxiety, the last thing you want to do is let him sleep with you in the same bed. Not surprisingly, this will only increase his dependence on you.
In case your dog is afraid, you can put the crate where he can actually see you, especially at night. For most people, this means their bedroom.
You can then use a short leash to help your dog get into his crate every time he jumps on your bed. Be patient, it may take a while.
When your dog is used to sleeping in his crate, slowly move it away from you until it’s on the other side of the room.
After a few nights, try to place the crate somewhere else in the house if that’s more convenient for you. However, there’s absolutely no harm in keeping it where it was.