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5 Best Dog Crates for Separation Anxiety (2021 Review)

To a dog, their owner is their whole world, so when it’s time for their owner to leave, some dogs become very distressed and display unwanted behaviors: this is known as separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is more common than you might think. While it can be upsetting for both owner and dog, crate training along with the right choice of crate can help to tackle the problem.

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What is the Best Dog Crate for Separation Anxiety?

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Comparing the Best Dog Crate for Separation Anxiety

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  • Best soft-sided crate
  • Cozy and comfortable
  • Easy to clean and transport


  • Best heavy-duty crate
  • Strong steel and dual locks
  • Stands up to destructive behavior


  • Best plastic crate for small breeds
  • Sturdy structure and secure latch
  • Cozy and comfortable


  • Best plastic crate for large breeds
  • Sturdy plastic and secure lock
  • Comfortable and well ventilated


  • Best for ‘dark and cozy’ space
  • Window covers to create dark space
  • Soft and comfortable

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More Detailed Dog Crate for Separation Anxiety Reviews

Frisco Indoor & Outdoor 3-Door Collapsible Soft-Sided Dog Crate review

Features

  • Best soft-sided crate
  • Cozy and comfortable
  • Easy to clean and transport

The Frisco Indoor & Outdoor 3-Door Collapsible Soft-Sided Dog Crate is 1 of the best crates for separation anxiety, especially if you’re looking for something soft and cozy. Being soft-sided, lightweight, and foldable, this crate isn’t particularly strong but is great for dogs who aren’t destructive when they’re anxious. It has 3 mesh doors with locking clips, which I found created a cozy, well-ventilated area making my dog feel safe while still allowing them to look out at the world.

A water-resistant base that can be hand-washed helps keep your pup comfortable and is easy to clean if they have an accident. The crate is available in a wide range of sizes to suit all breeds. It comes at a very reasonable low price.

Pros

  • Owners found that the crate was lightweight and easily portable, making it great for travel
  • Many felt that this crate was very affordable and good value
  • Easy access through 3 doors, making it easy to get your dog in and out of the crate no matter where it’s positioned
  • Spacious enough for your dog to turn around and lie comfortably, yet cosy enough to keep them calm
  • Mesh provides ventilation yet the crate is still dark and ‘den-like’, which owners found helpful for anxious dogs

Cons

  • Not suitable for dogs who are destructive or try to escape, as it’s not designed to be particularly sturdy
  • Some owners felt the material wasn’t as durable as other crates they’d tried
  • Some found that it was too warm for their dog during hot weather

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Frisco Ultimate Heavy Duty Steel Metal Single Door Dog Crate review

Features

  • Best heavy-duty crate
  • Strong steel and dual locks
  • Stands up to destructive behavior

If you’re looking for the best crate for a dog with separation anxiety, the Frisco Ultimate Heavy Duty Steel Metal Single Door Dog Crate is an excellent choice. If your dog displays destructive behaviors as a result of their anxiety, this crate is the 1 for you. It’s very heavy duty, made from strong steel and featuring dual locks to keep your dog safely confined.

The crate has a grated floor with a removable plastic slide-out tray underneath to keep your dog comfortable and clean. I find these plastic trays very helpful, as they’re easy to slide out even while your dog is still in the crate to make cleaning up any mess or accidents simple and hassle-free.

The metal mesh means it’s very well ventilated and allows your dog to keep an eye on what’s going on outside their new safe space. The crate comes in 2 sizes to suit medium and large breed dogs. While this crate is on the higher end of the price range, if your dog is destructive it’s well worth the investment to keep them safe.

Pros

  • Owners found this crate very secure and sturdy, keeping even extreme escape artists safely confined
  • Bigger dogs, like Labradors and German Shepherds, found this crate roomy yet small enough to help them feel safe and calm
  • Some found the wheels were very handy for moving the crate, especially in small homes where the crate needed to be moved at night
  • Many owners felt that, despite the higher price, the crate was worth the investment for its strength and security
  • Despite being heavy-duty, most dogs found the space comfortable especially when some comfort items such as beds and blankets were added

Cons

  • Some owners found that the ball bearings fell out of the wheels when the crate was moved around a lot
  • When dogs frequently bit the bars, some owners found that the crate became rusty in well-bitten areas
  • Heavy and harder to move than other crates

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Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog & Cat Kennel review

Features

  • Best plastic crate for small breeds
  • Sturdy structure and secure latch
  • Cozy and comfortable

The Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog & Cat Kennel is a fantastic option for small breeds with separation anxiety. It’s made from sturdy plastic and steel wire, and features a secure latch to keep your pup confined safely. 2 entryways provide easy access for you and your pup.

Plenty of ventilation will keep your dog comfortable and cool, while the plastic is easy to keep clean. The plastic sides help to keep your dog feeling cozy and enclosed, which I’ve found really helps with anxious dogs. This crate can even double as a carrier and comes at an amazing low price.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble, requiring no tools and with simple to follow instructions
  • 2 doors provide easy access for dog and owner, while also allowing the dog to peep out
  • Many owners found that the option to use the crate as a carrier was very useful
  • Easy to clean which is helpful if your dog has accidents when nervous or during travel
  • Lightweight which owners found helpful during travel or for moving the crate around the home

Cons

  • Some owners found that the ventilation holes were sharper than expected, which they felt was a safety hazard
  • Some felt that the crate was not as sturdy as expected, particularly regarding the 2 plastic sections which clip together
  • Some owners found the size description misleading

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IRIS Deluxe Travel Dog & Cat Kennel review

Features

  • Best plastic crate for large breeds
  • Sturdy plastic and secure lock
  • Comfortable and well ventilated

The IRIS Deluxe Travel Dog & Cat Kennel is an excellent choice of plastic crate for both medium and large breeds. The sturdy plastic is easy to clean and strong to keep your best pal safely contained. Plenty of ventilation, as well as a detachable food and water tray (I found these very helpful to prevent mess), provide comfort for your dog.

The crate has 2 carrying handles for transportation when needed. The plastic sides keep your dog feeling safe and enclosed, yet the wire doors and windows still allow them to peep out. Perhaps best of all for owners, this crate comes at a very reasonable price.

Pros

  • Most owners found the crate very sturdy, even for larger breeds, which provided peace of mind
  • Easy assembly, with the top simply clipping into the bottom then being secured with screws
  • The door is removable, which makes cleaning easier
  • Handy for travel and trips to the vet, keeping dog’s safe during transport
  • Owners were pleased with the ventilation, particularly when compared to other similar crates

Cons

  • Some owners felt the lack of detailed instructions made assembly harder than it should have been
  • Some felt that the crate was not sturdy enough for their dog
  • Removable door causes a weak spot, which makes the crate less secure than other options

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Petmate Single Door Collapsible Soft-Sided Dog Crate, Dark Taupe/Coffee Grounds Brown review

Features

  • Best for ‘dark and cozy’ space
  • Window covers to create dark space
  • Soft and comfortable

If your dog is non-destructive and needs a cozy dark space to calm their anxiety, then the Petmate Single Door Collapsible Soft-Sided Dog Crate is the 1 for you. Mesh windows on all sides of the crate provide ventilation and let your dog look out at the world, yet have fold-down covers to create that safe, calming, dark space when your dog needs it. When I first rescued my Pomeranian, this ability to cover the windows really helped with keeping her calm.

The water-resistant fabric is easy to clean, as well as making the crate lightweight and foldable for storage. A soft bottom creates the ultimate comfort for your precious pup. This crate comes in 2 sizes for small and toy breeds, and even comes at a fantastic low price.

Pros

  • Fold-down covers create a dark den that many dogs find comforting and calming
  • Assembly is quick and easy, with many owners saying it took only moments to put together
  • Great for travel, both in the car and for use on holiday, as well as at home
  • A carrying case and tent stakes for use outside are very useful when using the crate in different environments

Cons

  • Some owners felt this wasn’t strong enough for their dog, as they were able to chew or rip it easily
  • Not suitable for dogs who are destructive when they’re anxious
  • Some found the zipper wasn’t sturdy and broke easily with repeated use

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Things to Look for in a Dog Crate for Separation Anxiety

The search for the best crate for dogs with separation anxiety can be confusing. You want the best for your dog to help ease their anxiety and keep them safe. Don’t worry, we’ll go over what you should keep in mind to help you make the best choice:

Correct Size for Your Dog

It’s crucial to choose the right size of crate for your dog. It’s common to want to get your dog a bigger crate to give them more space, however, a smaller crate keeps your dog safe and helps them to feel more secure. Their ancestors would have found small dens to rest in, so it’s their innate behavior to feel calmer in smaller spaces.

The crate you choose should be big enough for your dog to stand up fully, stretch out comfortably, and turn around in, but never big enough for them to walk around.

Sturdy and Secure

How secure you need the crate to be will depend on how your dog displays their separation anxiety. Some dogs will be destructive, in which case you need a wire crate that is heavy-duty and very secure to keep them safe. Other dogs may not be destructive, so a soft-sided or plastic crate may be more suitable for them.

‘Enclosed’

Crates that create that ‘den-like’ or ‘cave-like’ feeling we mentioned earlier will be more calming for your dog. Plastic or soft-sided crates tend to be darker and more enclosed, often feeling more calming to a distressed dog. If your dog is destructive and you need a wire crate, putting a blanket or crate cover over their crate can help to create that darkness and sense of calm.

Ventilation

It’s vital your dog’s crate provides enough ventilation. Wire crates have plenty of airflow. Plastic crates tend to have wire windows or ventilation holes to create good airflow. Soft-sided crates often feature mesh windows and doors to create plenty of ventilation.

Easy to Clean

Dogs with separation anxiety are often so nervous that they will have accidents in their crate. Therefore, choosing a crate that is easy to clean will be less trouble for you and more hygienic for your pup. Look for removable bottoms or materials that are easy to wipe clean.

Ease of Transportation

If you want to use your dog’s crate during travel, for example in the car or to take on holiday with you, then finding a portable crate is important. Some may fold down while others may have carry handles.

Comfortable for Your Dog

1 of the most important things to take into consideration is that the crate needs to be as comfortable as possible for your dog. A crate of the right size and with good ventilation is key for comfort. Creating that dark, safe space we mentioned earlier, as well as adding in a bed or blankets, crate-safe toys and chews, and water can also be helpful.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Common symptoms of separation anxiety are shown below.

    • Destructive behavior: This might include chewing, digging, and destroying things around the home when their owner isn’t present.
    • Going to the toilet indoors: Many dogs with separation anxiety will urinate or defecate indoors.
    • Vocalizing: Your dog may bark and howl when they’re home alone.
    • Pacing: Some dogs pace back and forth around the home, often going over the same route repeatedly.
    • Attempting to escape: Your dog might try to escape the home or areas where they’re confined, often by chewing or digging to get out.
    • Coprophagia: This means that your dog may eat their poop when they’re anxious.
    • Panicking before you leave: Your dog might notice signs of you getting ready to leave the home, and begin to experience these as ‘triggers’. They might start displaying anxiety behaviors in reaction to these triggers before you leave the house.

If your dog displays any of these symptoms it’s always a good idea to get them checked at your vet to rule out any medical problems.

Why Some Dogs Suffer With Separation Anxiety

There are lots of reasons a dog might suffer with separation anxiety. Some breeds are more genetically predisposed to anxiety in general. Some dogs who have been through trauma in their lives are understandably far more nervous, and therefore more likely to worry about being away from their owner.

The other reasons for separation anxiety all revolve around change in a dog’s life. If a dog loses their owner or has been rehomed, this can trigger separation anxiety. Moving home, even with their original owner, can cause anxiety in some dogs.

Changes in their owners’ schedule, for example working longer hours away from home, can cause anxiety. The addition of a new family member, whether human or another furbaby, can sometimes be troublesome.

How a Crate Can Help With Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be very distressing for both you and your dog, but don’t worry there are lots of things you can do to help your pup. 1 of the main things you can do is get them a crate and crate train your dog. You might be wondering how a crate can really help, well let’s take a look

As we mentioned earlier, a crate provides a ‘den’ that can help your dog to feel calmer and more comfortable. With crate training, your dog will learn that their crate is a very positive, safe place, and this can bring them comfort when you’re gone.

If your dog displays destructive behaviors as a result of their anxiety, such as chewing, going through the rubbish, and digging, this can be dangerous for them and problematic for you! The last thing you want is them choking or eating something that can harm them. Crate training a dog with separation anxiety can help to reduce these behaviors and keep your dog safer while you’re gone.

If your dog has accidents when you’re gone, crate training can help to reduce the mess this might make around your home and help to keep things more hygienic for your dog. If your dog paces around, a crate can help to prevent this behavior and instead, aid your pup with self-soothing.

Other Ways to Deal With Separation Anxiety

As well as crate training, there are lots of other ways you can help your pup with separation anxiety. 1 of the best ways to get started is with counterconditioning. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explains that counterconditioning is, “a treatment process that changes an animal’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead.”

Essentially, you work to teach your dog that they don’t need to fear being alone and instead help them understand that being on their own is safe and can even be fun. You can do this by:

  • Being calm when you leave and come back into your home. Don’t interact with your pup unless they are calm, to prevent reinforcing their anxious behavior.
  • Changing up your routine for leaving home, such as picking up your keys or your coat in a different order to help desensitize your dog to these cues. Start using these cues at other times of the day too so they don’t hold such meaning to your dog.
  • Giving them safe treats and toys to make being home alone more fun.
  • Training them gradually to be left alone by starting with shorter periods on their own and increasing the time gradually as they get calmer.
  • Make their crate a cozy, safe space.

You can also help your dog by taking them out for a walk before you leave so that they’re tired and more likely to be settled. It’s crucial you don’t punish your dog for their behavior when they’re anxious, as this can make them even more upset. If you are struggling and need help, a dog trainer or your vet may be able to provide more advice.

Crate Safety Advice

Always choose the right size crate for your pup and ensure they have plenty of ventilation. Crate training is vital before you leave your dog alone in a crate. If your dog is destructive, choose a heavy-duty crate to keep them safe.

FAQ

Do crates really help with separation anxiety?

Yes, when crates are paired with other training methods they can be very helpful in tackling separation anxiety.

Is crating a dog cruel?

No, provided you crate train your dog, using a crate isn’t cruel. In fact, it can be very beneficial for your dog.

Conclusion

Separation anxiety can be very distressing for both you and your dog, but with the right crate and some training you can help your pup to feel safe again.

References

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (2021), “Separation Anxiety”.

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