Dogs can get pretty big, so if you choose the crate training route (which you should), you’re going to need some pretty expansive crates, but therein lies a problem.
We’re not all fortunate enough to live in palatial abodes, meaning we may have to sacrifice some of our precious living space in order to accommodate them.
However, if the space simply isn’t available, we may have to come to terms with only having one pooch. Tragic, I know, but what else are we to do?
Well, thinking outside the box crate, there perhaps is one way that those of us with small homes could potentially invite more furry family members into our lives… stacking the crates!
But before we go ahead and start amassing pups, we need to consider whether this sort of vertical setup is safe for dog and man alike. Let’s get into it!
Is Stacking Dog Crates Safe?
The short answer is, drum roll please… yes!!!
You can indeed stack dog crates and save some of that sweet, sweet space, but it has to be done in a certain way in order to keep both us and our doggos safe and happy, and I’m going to run through how it’s done.
Purpose-Build Stackable Dog Crates: The Safest Way To Stack
The easiest and – most importantly – safest way to stack your dog crates is to purchase crates designed for that very purpose.
These crates either arrive with a frame that you can mount them in, or the crates themselves act as the frame and they fit into one another similarly to pieces of Lego.
Each design will be slightly different, so it’s important to consult the manual for the one you end up with before starting the installation, but generally speaking, all you’ll need is a few screws and a screwdriver.
In fact, many of the vertical crate kits arrive with most of the hardware you need to get started right away.
Stacking Plastic Dog Crates
Plastic dog crates aren’t usually the largest enclosures, so stacked or not, you don’t want your pooch to spend too long inside.
However, the good thing about plastic crates is that they’re pretty easy to stack if the need arises. Here’s how it’s done…
Step 1: Assess Crate Dimensions
Before you get stacking, inspect the dimensions and build of your crates. It might be that the two are in no way compatible, meaning you cannot set one on top of the other securely.
Take the empty crates and give stacking a go, placing the largest at the bottom and stacking the rest on top in order of size.
Even if the stack seems secure, give it a firm shake to test its structural integrity, as your dogs aren’t exactly going to be sitting still in their crates.
Step 2: Find A Way Of Securing The Stack
Next up, consider where the stack will go in your work or living space and try to come up with some way of securing the crates in place.
You might be able to secure them with rope or bungees, or in some instances, your furniture may play a role in keeping the stack upright.
Step 3: Set The Crates Up
Before you stack the crates once and for all, deck them out with all the comforts, treats, and toys that your dogs will need during their confinement.
Step 4: Stack ‘Em
Stack your crates in place and secure them as per the plans you made earlier.
Step 5: Introduce Your Dogs To Their Crates
Starting with your top dog, place your pets in their crates and observe how they get on for 5 minutes or so.
Keep an eye out for any signs of toppling during your dog’s movement, and if either of your pets seem uncomfortable with the vertical orientation, it’s time to abort the mission.
If they seem happy enough, you can leave your dogs like this momentarily, but as the crates aren’t strictly designed for such a purpose, it’s important that you un-stack them ASAP.
Stacking Non-Stackable Dog Crates
If you’re handy with a spot of DIY, you can also stack dog crates that haven’t been designed to sit on top of one another.
Step 1: Clearing The Space
Any debris left on the floor can throw your crates off balance, so cleaning the installation space is a crucial first step.
Step 2: Installing A Splitter
It’s not a good idea to stack mesh crates, as they don’t fit securely into one another, and the gaps allow for a little too much interaction between the dogs, but if you use a bit of wood as a buffer between the two, you can keep the pups separate and secure the crates in place.
The wood needs to be about an inch and a half thick and should reach as far as the edges of your crates.
To install this splitter, you’ll need to thread bolts through the mesh ceiling of the bottom crate and the mesh floor of the top crate before drilling them into the wood.
The top of the bolts should now be holding the mesh against the wood.
Step 3: Securing The Crates
Once the splitter is in place, your crates should be pretty secure, but just to make sure nothing goes awry, consider how to provide extra stability. Bracing the bottom crate against something solid is a no-brainer, and, again, bungee cords can be a real help.
Step 4: Set The Crates Up
Fill your crates with all the necessary dog care products then place your dogs inside starting with the top crate, and voilà; you’ve successfully stacked your crates (see also ‘Should Dogs Be Crated?‘).
There you have it — You can indeed stack dog crates.
But, ideally, the two makeshift methods given above will only be a temporary solution to your space issues until you’re able to invest in crates designed to be stacked, as you don’t want to take any chances where animal safety is concerned.