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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Dare

Crate Comparisons: airline vs wire

Updated: May 18, 2020

If you have a new pup on the way, you’re probably shopping for a variety of items, including a crate. In this article, I’d like to cover a few pros and cons of two crate styles in particular – the collapsible wire crate and the molded plastic airline crate.

Wire crate pros:

  • Provides a room with a view - this may appeal to some dogs, though you also have the option of draping parts of it with a blanket to make it feel more den-like. (Just be aware some sneaky pups can pull bits of the drape in through the wire mesh, chewing on it and potentially consuming, which could be a health hazard).

  • Allows person to see what dog is doing inside crate.

  • Offers better ventilation.

  • Is collapsible when not in use, thus taking up less storage space.

  • Some brands offer two doors, which adds to its versatility.

  • The bottom pan can be slid out for easier cleaning.

  • Remote-controlled treat dispensers, like this, can sit on top of crate for convenient treat-drops right into crate.

Wire crate cons:

  • Treats dropping out of food puzzles that you provide inside the crate can easily fall through the wire mesh, thus frustrating the dog who can see and smell them, but not access them.

  • Dogs may be able to get their mouths on/through the wire mesh, resulting in potential injury.

  • Some brands have extremely flimsy wire mesh that dogs can bend or break, resulting in injury or escape. (Do your research carefully to be sure you’re selecting a sturdy, well-made model, but if you have a dog that’s frantically chewing on the crate or trying to escape, you have a bigger issue to address anyway.)

  • Some gate latches are poorly designed and clever dogs may learn how to release themselves.

  • Bottom pans are sometimes cheap and can be broken by the dog.

  • When dancing around excitedly inside a crate, or when exiting, it’s possible for a dog to get a toe jammed in the wire mesh, causing pain or injury.

Airline crate pros:

  • More enclosed design may appeal to some dogs.

  • Approved for use on airplanes, in case you plan to travel with your dog.

  • Less risk for toes catching on parts of crate, and thus less risk of injury.

  • Mesh spacing on door of crate is smaller than wire crates, so dog is far less likely to get mouth around it.

Airline crate cons:

  • More limited view for dog, and harder for you to see what dog is doing inside.

  • Less ventilated.

  • Cheaply-made models have flimsy door-locking devices, allowing some tenacious dogs to push their way out.

  • Less convenient to clean.

  • Can only be broken down in half and then nested together, thus taking up more room in storage.

  • More challenging to use remote-controlled treat dispenser with these crates.

Bottom line: you get what you pay for, so do your research carefully! Crates can be a very helpful, temporary tool during puppy raising, but only if your little furry bundle is relaxed about it. So be sure to take the time to teach him how to calmly accept crating, doing this in small, positive steps.

Virginia Dare is a certified dog trainer & behavior counselor with decades of experience. Her business offers live video consultations anywhere in the US for training and behavior help, puppy matchmaking services, and pre- and post-arrival counseling for new puppies. She also provides in-home, private lessons and behavior consultations in northern Fairfield and Westchester counties, western New Haven county, Putnam and southern Dutchess counties.

Please visit to learn more, or contact me at 804.784.0120


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