Should you build your own dog crate?

Handy with a hammer? Wizard with a welder? Savvy with a screwdriver? Maybe you’ve considered building your own dog crate. Let’s take a look at your options.

Why would you want to build your own dog crate?


The main reason people turn to building their own dog crates is usually because they can’t find one that suits their decor or living space.

Being able to choose both the materials and design offers endless possibilities and frees you from the restrictions of manufactured crates.

Bespoke sizes

Building your own dog crates allows you to make it to exactly the right size that you need for your dog, and you get to make it fit into the space where you want to put it, even if that’s in a corner!


If you’ve got a garage full of offcuts already, why not put them to good use and save yourself the expense of buying a dog crate.

hammer and nails

Can you build your own dog crate?

For Your Home

Of course you can. Any shape, size or color, as long as the materials are all non toxic even if chewed then go ahead.

For your Car

Possibly. If you’re looking for something to contain your dog and stop it wandering around the car and distracting the driver then yes. But if your looking for something that’ll keep your dog safe in a crash then no. You’re going to need a crash tested crate for that.

Air Travel

No. Airlines have very strict regulations as to the size and construction of an approved crate so you’ll never be allowed to board with a home made dog crate.


How to build a dog crate for your home

Choose your materials

Wood: Wood is a common choice for DIY dog crate construction. Plywood, MDF, or solid wood can be used for the frame, walls, and door. Make sure the wood is non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals. You can paint or stain the wood for a more appealing finish.

Wire Mesh: For ventilation and visibility, you can use wire mesh or metal grating for the sides of the crate. This material is sturdy and allows your dog to see outside.

Plastic or PVC: Plastic or PVC panels can be used to create a lightweight and easy-to-clean dog crate. This is a good choice if you need a portable crate.

Metal Bars: If you prefer a more industrial look, metal bars or tubing can be used for the crate frame and door. Ensure the bars are spaced close enough to prevent your dog from escaping or getting stuck.

Bolts and Screws: Use appropriate screws, bolts, and nuts to securely fasten the materials together. Make sure there are no sharp edges or parts that your dog could injure itself on.

Latches and Hinges: Install sturdy latches and hinges to keep the crate secure and ensure the door can be opened and closed safely.

Padding and Flooring: Add a comfortable and easy-to-clean floor for your dog’s comfort. Foam padding covered with a washable fabric is a good choice. Consider including a mat or cushion inside the crate for added comfort.

Paints and Finishes: If you choose to paint or finish the crate, use non-toxic, pet-safe paints and finishes. Allow the paint or finish to fully cure and off-gas before introducing your dog to the crate.

Wheels or Casters (optional): To make the crate easily movable, you can attach wheels or casters to the bottom.

trolley wheels

Find or create a design

If you’re not the design type, then opt for some easy to follow plans from Etsy.

Double crates with vertical bars

Sliding doors double crate with mesh

Corner dog crate plans

Ensure the safety of the crate

Will anything get trapped?

Check the width of the mesh or bars that you’re choosing to use. Is anything going to get trapped like a toe or if they’re wider, their necks? A simple check can avoid any tragic accidents.

Is it toxic?

Have you checked your paints and varnishes to ensure they’re non toxic and pet friendly?

Can it be chewed?

If it can, is it going to be safe? Is the wood soft and won’t splinter into sharp shards? Is the paint used non-toxic? Are the bars strong enough not to bend or break?

Why you shouldn’t build your own dog crate

What’s the old saying? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Safety testing

Shop bought dog crates have been through rigorous testing to be allowed to be sold. In fact, in Europe, the standard for testing pet toys and equipment is far more stringent than the tests for children’s toys.

Do you think you can replicate that level of testing and feel reassured and confident in your dog’s safety when using the crate?


Are you certain you can check and use the correct materials making sure of no edges or protruding screws to get caught on, no toxic paints to be ingested and ensure that it’s strong enough to contain your dog safely?

Build quality

Are you a competent DIY builder?


If you’re in any way unsure as to your DIY abilities or your confidence in choosing the right paints and finishes, perhaps it might be wise to buy your dog crate.

Ready to start crate training your dog?

Grab our free guide here

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


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