What are the advantages and disadvantages of plastic and metal dog crates?

If you’re still trying to decide between buying a plastic crate, or a wire metal dog crate, whether for the home or the car, let’s take a look at the pros and cons for each. We’re going to cover the basic styles of both plastic and metal dog crates, and look at airline crates and crash tested crates in another article

wire dog crate

Wire Dog Crates

What are they?

A wire dog crate, also known as a wire dog cage or kennel, is a type of dog enclosure made primarily from metal wire or bars. It is designed to provide a secure and controlled space for your dog in various settings, such as at home, during travel, or for training purposes.


Durability: Metal wire dog crates are known for their durability and longevity. They can withstand the wear and tear of daily use and are less likely to be damaged.

Ventilation: These crates offer excellent ventilation due to their open design. Proper airflow helps keep your dog comfortable and prevents them from feeling confined or overheated.

Visibility: The open design of metal wire crates allows your dog to see what’s happening around them. This can reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety, as dogs often feel more secure when they can see their surroundings.

Easy Cleaning: Metal wire crates are easy to clean and maintain. Many have removable trays that can be taken out and cleaned separately, making it simple to address accidents or spills.

Foldable and Portable: Most metal wire crates are foldable, making them easy to transport and store when not in use. This is especially useful for people who need to travel with their dogs or have limited space at home.

Training: Wire crates are often recommended for crate training because they allow you to monitor your dog’s behavior and offer a clear view of their needs.

Customization: Many metal wire crates come with dividers, allowing you to adjust the size of the crate as your dog grows, making it a cost-effective choice for puppies.


Less Privacy: Wire crates provide less privacy for your dog. Some dogs may become anxious or stressed in a wire crate because they can see everything going on around them. This lack of privacy can be a disadvantage for dogs that prefer a cozier, enclosed space. (Try a crate cover)

Noise: The metal construction of wire crates can be noisy. If your dog moves around, scratches, or pushes against the crate, the sounds can be loud and potentially disturb the household. This can be a disadvantage if you need a quiet environment.

Potentially Chilly: In colder climates or drafty areas, the open design of wire crates may make your dog feel colder compared to the enclosed design of a plastic crate. You may need to add blankets or covers to help keep your dog warm.

Limited Portability: While many wire crates are foldable and portable, they tend to be bulkier and heavier than plastic crates. This can be a disadvantage if you need to transport the crate frequently or move it around the house. (Although you can have more than one crate)

Potential for Escape: Some dogs may be skilled at manipulating the latches on wire crates or using their strength to push the doors open. It’s important to choose a crate with secure latching mechanisms to prevent escapes.

Less Aesthetic Appeal: Some people may find wire crates less visually appealing than plastic or wooden crates. If you’re looking for a crate that blends seamlessly with your home decor, wire crates may not be your top choice.

Ideal use for a wire metal dog crate

Wire crates are versatile and suitable for at-home use, training, and long-term containment,

Not for…

While wire dog crates have many advantages, there are situations where you should avoid using them. Here are some scenarios where a wire dog crate should not be used:

Destructive Chewers: Dogs that are prone to excessive chewing or biting may damage the metal bars or wire mesh of a wire crate. This can not only destroy the crate but also pose a safety risk to your dog if they ingest small pieces of wire. For dogs with this behavior, a heavy-duty crate designed to withstand chewing is a better option.

sled dogs

Cold Climates: In extremely cold climates, the open design of a wire crate can make your dog feel colder, especially if they are not provided with adequate insulation. In such situations, a plastic crate or a crate with a more enclosed design may offer better protection against the cold.

Nervous or Anxious Dogs: Some dogs, particularly those with anxiety or nervousness issues, may not feel comfortable in a wire crate due to its open design. The visibility and lack of privacy can exacerbate their stress and anxiety. For such dogs, a plastic crate or a crate with solid sides that provide more privacy and security might be a better choice.

Noisy Environments: If your home or surroundings are particularly noisy, the metal construction of a wire crate can amplify sounds, potentially causing distress to your dog. In such cases, a more enclosed crate with solid sides can offer a quieter and calmer environment.


Plastic Dog Crates

What are they?

A plastic dog crate, also known as a plastic dog carrier or pet kennel, is a type of dog enclosure made primarily from sturdy plastic materials. These crates are designed to provide a safe and enclosed space for your dog in various situations, such as at home, during travel, or for short-term confinement.


Portability: Plastic dog crates are generally lighter than metal wire crates and often have carrying handles, making them easy to transport. This feature is especially useful for air travel.

Privacy and Security: The enclosed design of plastic crates can provide a sense of security and privacy for dogs who prefer cozier spaces. This can be particularly helpful for anxious or nervous dogs.

Easy to Clean: Plastic crates are typically easy to clean, as they have a solid base and fewer nooks and crannies for debris to accumulate.

Quiet: The solid construction of plastic crates reduces noise, which can be beneficial in situations where a quiet environment is preferred, such as in apartments.


Limited Ventilation: Plastic crates offer less ventilation compared to wire crates. In hot weather, they may become uncomfortably warm, and in colder climates, they might not provide adequate airflow.

Limited Visibility: The enclosed design can lead to feelings of isolation in some dogs. They may become anxious if they can’t see what’s happening around them.

Less Customization: Plastic crates are not adjustable in size like wire crates, so you may need to purchase multiple crates as your dog grows.

Chewing Concerns: Some dogs may chew on the plastic, potentially damaging the crate or ingesting small pieces. This is less of a concern with metal wire crates.

chewing puppy

Ideal use for a plastic dog crate

Dogs Who Prefer Enclosed Spaces: Some dogs feel safer and more secure in enclosed spaces. The solid walls and roof of plastic crates offer privacy and can help reduce anxiety in dogs that prefer cozier, den-like environments.

Quiet Environments: The solid construction of plastic crates reduces noise, which can be beneficial in situations where a quiet environment is desired, such as in apartments or other shared living spaces.

Puppies and Small Dogs: Plastic crates are well-suited for small or toy breeds and puppies who need a safe and secure space.

Not for…

While plastic dog crates have their advantages, there are certain situations where they may not be the best choice. Here are some scenarios in which you should avoid using a plastic dog crate and the reasons why:

Hot Climates: In hot or humid environments, plastic crates may not provide sufficient ventilation for your dog. The enclosed design can lead to overheating and discomfort, potentially causing heat-related issues. Wire crates, with their open design, are better suited for hot climates as they allow for better airflow.

Dogs with Separation Anxiety: Dogs with separation anxiety may not do well in a plastic crate because the enclosed design can exacerbate their anxiety. The lack of visibility and the feeling of confinement can lead to increased stress and destructive behaviors. A wire crate with better visibility may be more suitable for these dogs.

Large or Giant Breeds: For very large or giant dog breeds, plastic crates may not offer enough space and may feel too confining. These dogs need room to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. In such cases, it’s better to opt for a larger wire crate or a heavy-duty metal crate.

Chronic Chewers: Dogs that have a strong chewing habit may damage the plastic walls or components of the crate. This can not only destroy the crate but also pose a safety risk if the dog ingests plastic pieces. For chronic chewers, a crate designed to withstand chewing, such as a heavy-duty metal crate, is a safer option.

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All articles on tetradog.com are written by qualified behaviorist and dog trainer, Cheryl Walker.


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