Richard is a journalist who specialises in dog behavior. He's written hundreds of articles and books related to dogs, including for the Continental Kennel Club, Dog Fest (the UK's biggest dog festival) and various veterinary surgeries. When he's not spending time with Jess and Rudy (his beloved Labrador and Golden Retrievers), he enjoys reading, hiking and watching sports.
Pros: Walter, as I stated before, has this crate and he loves it. It’s roomy enough for him to move around in, yet sizeable enough that he knows it’s a resting place. We put a dog pillow and toys in there for him and he’s occupied for hours. The sides are chew-proof and the bolts are secure enough where even pretty smart dogs won’t be able to break out. It’s a heavy crate, around 50 pounds.
On the budget end of the price range is the Smithbuilt self-proclaimed ‘Heavy Duty Dog Crate.’ This industrial looking dog crate is crafted using high-quality steel to make a strong, durable crate that will prove inescapable for a dog and will last for many years. The front door is locked with two slide bolt latches, and the top opening is secured with one. There have been reports that the locking mechanism is weak and can be hugely improved with a standard padlock bought separately. Smithbuilt has made this crate fade, rust, and corrosion resistant by covering it with a multi-layer finish that is better than the powder coat paints on other brands of a dog crate.
Cons: And on that note, even though the dogs weren’t able to get through the mesh, they still were able to chew the zippers, some of them. If you have a puppy that loves chewing things and making escape attempts, watch out for the zippers. Also, several customers pointed out that there was a plastic smell when you opened the crate, but one aired it out for several days and found that the smell was gone once it was hit with fresh air.
But secure containment should not equal neglect. Your pet has mental and physical needs too. She can last for up to 8 hours without needing to relieve herself. However, apart from the extreme exceptional circumstance, you should be giving your dog a break outside the crate at least once in 4 hours. You should also have allowed her to get some exercise before crating. She should also have access to water.
Just like with all other equipment, the market is oversaturated with various brands and models of so-called chew-proof and inescapable cages that can’t live up to the task. It can be really challenging to find one that will genuinely suit the needs of your dog, especially if you don’t know a lot about these items. Read our review guidlines for best heavy duty dog crates, and find everything that you need to know before purchasing one of them.
The ventilation, on the other hand, is solved by the addition of a generous number of holes in each side of the crate. Their purpose is to promote extra air flow and allow the owner to use the cage on warm days. The heat can also cause evaporation of toxic materials, but that’s not something you need to worry about with this model – no harmful chemicals were used during its manufacture.
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Addendum added January 28, 2013: My vet had never noticed these carriers because I had never put one up on the exam table until my last vet visit. She looked at it with interest and totally concurred with my opinion of having a small, but open carrier for my two (panicky) cats. She has seen more than a few overheated pets in too enclosed carriers. Since I live far from the vet I always carry spare towels for the bottoms of the carriers and she found that the "stable floor covering'* I use was an additional comfort feature for my pets long trip to their appointments. (I just ordered the larger size of this carrier for my "Phat Kat" and will donate her previous carrier to our local animal shelter.)