Separation anxiety is a condition that’s commonly seen in certain breeds and rescue dogs. While initially, it may be a little flattering that your dog wants to spend every waking moment with you, this is not healthy behavior for your pet, and they must learn how to function without you at times. One way you can help treat anxiety is by crate training your pet using the best dog crates for separation anxiety. These crates are comfortable, spacious, and will give your anxious pet a sense of security.
But finding the right model for your dog can require some serious homework since there are so many models to choose from, each of which has different features to offer, size options, and more. To make this task much easier on you and to help ensure your pet gets that secure space they need, I’ve tested out many of the top-selling models of dog crates and have chosen six that have all the comforts your dog will need in order to get over their dependency on you and learn how to self-soothe and feel more secure and confident. I’ve also put together an informative buyer’s guide that will include many of the features you should look for and some great tips on how to help your pet feel confident and happy during this time. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that features each of the six models that landed on my best of the best list, their top features, and how they rated.
Dog Crate for Separation Anxiety Comparison Chart
|ProSelect Empire Dog Cage||Steel||2||Yes|
|SMONTER Heavy Duty Crate||Steel||4||Yes|
|MidWest Homes for Pets Crate||Wire||7||No|
|Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel||Plastic||4||Yes|
|KELIXU Heavy Duty Dog Crate||Steel||4||Yes|
|Haige Pet Your Pet Nanny||Steel||3||Yes|
ProSelect Empire Dog Cage
This is a twenty-gauge steel crate by ProSelect that’s well-built, incredibly strong, and reinforced with half-inch diameter tubes made out of steel. This is a medium-sized crate, so it will work well for medium-sized breeds such as pit bulls. The crate features a floor grate and tray for easier cleanup. It also comes equipped with caster wheels that are removable, making the crate highly portable. When attached, the caster wheels allow you to easily roll the crate from room to room. The model is perfect for escape artists, chewers, and even the most hyper dog.
- Removable caster wheels
- Easy to clean
- Made out of reinforced steel
- Perfect for medium-sized dogs
- Bottom grill can be uncomfortable
The bottom grill design is the crate’s only real flaw since it can be very uncomfortable for your pet to lie directly on. I recommend purchasing a dog pad to improve comfort. Aside from the grill, this is a great crate and one that’s perfect for the pet owner in search of a model that’s highly portable and easy to clean.
SMONTER Heavy Duty Dog Crate
This is an escape-proof steel dog crate by Smonter. The crate features a special Y-pattern design which makes this model bite-proof, preventing a dog’s mouth from sticking out, making this a great choice for chewers. It also comes equipped with a double lock, complete with safety buckles, which is designed to prevent even the slickest escape artist from breaking free. The crate also comes with two doors, which will make it more convenient to let your dog in and out. The durable metal frame provides optimal visibility and improved ventilation.
- Made out of welded steel bars
- Easy to clean
- Four size options available
- Padding needed to improve pet comfort
This portable, well-built crate is perfect for small to large breed dogs. It’s designed with both chewers and escape artists in mind and comes equipped with caster wheels that allow you to move the crate from room to room. The crate is designed for both indoor and outdoor use and comes with two doors, a removable plastic tray, and a non-toxic finished surface that will protect pets who try to chew on the metal frame.
MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate
This is a wire dog crate designed for small to large breed pets. It does not come with wheels, but it does feature a carry handle that you can use with the smaller sized crates. The double door allows for easier entering and exiting of the crate, while the foldable design allows you to easily store the crate away when not in use. It’s also covered by a one-year warranty. This model comes with a divider panel, so you can crate two smaller dogs in the same model.
- Two doors
- Carry handle
- Seven size options
- Heavy-duty slide bolt latch
- Easy to assemble
- Not designed for chewers or escape artists
- Not portable
This model is easy to assemble, but the lack of caster wheels can make it difficult to move from room to room. The crate is available in seven size options, comes with a removable divider, and features a removable plastic tray for fast and easy cleanup. This model is a great choice for the pet owner on a budget and anyone looking for a crate that features a space-saving design.
Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel
This model is perfect for air travel or crate training your dog. This crate comes in four size options and is a great choice for small to medium-sized breeds. It also features tie-down strap holes, a raised interior, and wire vents for improved ventilation, all of which are designed to improve your pet’s comfort. The crate meets most airline’s travel specifications and is made out of heavy-duty recycled plastic. The door of the kennel is made out of metal and is equipped with an easy to open front latch.
- Made out of recycled plastic
- Airline compliant
- Wire vents
- Four size options to choose from
- Not recommended for chewers
- No sizes available for extra-large breed dogs
Need a comfortable spot for your pet to snooze? Then look no further. This model is a great choice for crate training purposes or for use for air travel. The large plastic interior provides plenty of privacy for anxious pets in need of a quiet space to call their own. It comes in four size options, features built-in vents for improved airflow, and is available at a reasonable price.
KELIXU Heavy Duty Dog Crate
This is a heavy-duty dog crate that’s available in four size options. It’s made out of steel that’s corrosion-resistant and is designed to prevent even aggressive dogs from escaping. If you have a pet that’s very destructive, then this model is a perfect choice. The slide-out removable plastic tray will catch any excrement, urine, or food, protecting the floor underneath. This easy to clean crate also comes equipped with caster wheels that can rotate three hundred and sixty degrees. Assembly is a cinch and will take only five minutes to complete.
- Removable tray
- Easy to clean
- Does not come with any padding
This is a highly portable crate that can be rolled room to room. It’s easy to assemble and clean, features a durable destruction that allows it to contain even the most hyper or aggressive dogs, and is basically indestructible. It’s available in four size options, features an escape-proof and chew-proof design, and is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.
Haige Pet Your Pet Nanny Heavy Duty Dog Crate
This pet crate is made out of heavy-duty corrosion-resistant steel and features a nontoxic finish that will protect chewers. This model is perfect for medium and large breed dogs and provides just the right amount of space to allow your dog to remain comfortable while you’re away. The caster wheels enable you to move the crate to a different room, effortlessly. The wheels can also lock in place, so the crate will not slide or roll. The crate has just a single door, which is kept securely locked with the help of safety buckles. The plastic tray is removable and easy to clean while assembling the crate will take just five minutes.
- Covered by a three-year warranty
- Lockable caster wheels
- Made out of heavy-duty steel
- Nontoxic finish
- Not recommended for toy, small, or large breeds
This crate features a modern design, complete with lockable caster wheels. It’s built tough, and perfect for escape artists and chewers, and has a removable plastic tray that makes clean up a breeze. This durable, highly portable crate is designed to keep your pet secure, safe, and happy, while you’re away from home.
Dog Crate for Separation Anxiety Buyer’s Guide
For most pet owners, the idea of their dog suffering at home and struggling with anxiety can be very distressing. Unfortunately, most dogs that have separation anxiety also display unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination in the home, and destructive behavior. Some dogs may even try to escape the home and yard in their panic. That’s where dog crates come in. With the right training and the perfect crate, your dog will feel safe and comfortable while you’re at work or running errands for the day. But if you’re a new pet owner, then you may not know what type of dog crate will work, or the features they have to offer.
Training a dog to use their new crate is very similar to teaching a dog commands. It will take commitment, willpower, and consistency to get your dog used to their crate. Many owners are tempted to let their dogs out as soon as they whine or show any signs of anxiety, which can make training difficult. Fortunately, there are many training tips and tricks you can try that will quickly have your dog loving their new den.
In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need to make an informed decision concerning which type of crate will work the best for your pet, based on a number of factors such as size, durability, extra features, and the types of materials used. But before I dive into what must-have features to search for, let’s learn a little bit about separation anxiety in dogs, what it is exactly, and the common symptoms that can indicate that your pet may be suffering from your absence.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is triggered when a dog becomes upset when the person or people they are attached to leave. Essentially, this means that a dog has become too dependent on their guardian for assurance, security, comfort, and confidence. Being without his or her handler or being alone will make a dog feel vulnerable and lost. In some cases, a dog may try to escape or inflict bodily harm, unintentionally. More commonly, a dog will chew inappropriate objects, howl, bark, vomit, whine, defecate, or urinate whenever their person leaves them home alone.
What Causes Separation Anxiety?
There’s no one cause for separation anxiety, however, many dogs that have been adopted from shelters and rescues are prone to this condition since they have been given up by their previous family.
Changes in a routine can also cause this behavior since many dogs thrive on a routine. When their handler makes a sudden change to their normal routine, whether they’ve started a new job or have begun going on weekend adventures, this type of change in the routine can make a dog very nervous. This is also very common when a person works from home and then starts a new job away from home.
Changes in the home, such as moving to a new house or apartment can also trigger separation anxiety, since a dog will be left in an unfamiliar location.
If a family member moves out or passes away, if the dog was especially attached to that person, they may develop a fear of other members of the family disappearing as well.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Some common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include the following:
Tips on How to Relieve Separation Anxiety in Dogs
There are some things you can try that can help to reduce the severity and frequency of separation anxiety in dogs. For milder cases,
There are a few things you can do to ease your dog’s anxiety. Methods will vary depending on your dog’s anxiety level.
- For mild cases, try to give your pet something desirable whenever you’re planning on leaving the home or doing something that can trigger anxiety. This can be in the form of a toy filled with treats.
- For moderate cases, try leaving your pet alone for short periods of time, ranging from fifteen to twenty minutes, then come back. This will show your pet that they don’t need to fear that you’re abandoning them.
- In severe cases, crate training your pet is often the best bet, since it will provide your dog with a safe, secure space of their own, which can help to significantly reduce anxiety. A crate, combined with the techniques that I’ve discussed above, together, can help your pet feel more secure and confident when you leave the home.
Other Important Features
Dog crates work to relieve anxiety by providing your pet with a private space of their own. If you have a multi-dog household, no other dog should be allowed to use another dog’s crate. The crate will not just be used when you’re not home. Instead, the crate can be used for sleep, when someone is over and your dog is looking for a quiet spot to relax, and when your pet is home alone.
Inside the crate, you can put a favorite blanket and toy, and give them a treat every time he goes into his crate.
Now that you know more about the purpose of these crates and how they can help, let’s go over what features to look for, beginning with the size.
Finding the right size dog crate is crucial. Your pet should be able to stand up and turn around in their crate, comfortably. However, the crate should not be too big since this will give your pet the opportunity to defecate or urinate in their crate due to anxiety.
Fortunately, many of the leading models of dog crates are available in several size options, so you can carefully measure your pet and compare it to a crate’s dimensions in order to determine whether or not a particular model will work.
The crate should be strong enough that it can withstand your dog’s strong jaws, especially if your pet is prone to chewing. Many models that are chew proof will also come with a nontoxic finish, so it’s safe even if your pet does try to chew on the bars.
A crate that’s easy to clean will be ideal. Models that are made out of plastic are pretty easy to spot clean or wash. Some wire crates will come equipped with a pull-out tray that’s made out of plastic, which can make it easy to remove and hose down the tray in the event of an accident.
If the crate is going to be placed in a common space, then you may want one that will complement the décor in your home. Most box-style plastic models can easily blend in, as can beautiful wooden crates.
If you want to travel with your dog in the car, then you may want to look for a crate that’s portable. If you want to fly, then make sure the crate is also airplane-friendly and is a model that meets flying requirements.
Types of Dog Crates for Separation Anxiety
These days, there are many pet crates that are made out of plastic, with a door that’s made out of metal. Others are made entirely out of metal, or wood. If your pet chews, then you’ll need to choose a heavy-duty model made entirely out of metal.
Below, you’ll find a list of the different styles of dog crates to choose from and the benefits they offer.
This type of crate is simple to clean and usually comes with a removable plastic tray on the bottom. Wire crates will work well for dogs who do better if they’re able to see out of their crate. They don’t provide quite as much privacy as a plastic crate, but they’re also more breathable and many feature a collapsible design that makes them easier to move and store. If you want to give your dog more privacy when they’re in their crate, then you can purchase a cloth cover that will give the space a more den-like feel.
Many people prefer to use a plastic dog crate since it provides dogs with a safe enclosed, quieter space. These crates are portable for airplane travel and car travel and are relatively easy to clean. However, you won’t want to use this type if your dog is a chewer.
This is another type of portable crate that many pet owners love. These crates are a great choice if you want to travel with your dog in the car. Usually, they’ll consist of a solid frame and will come equipped with one or two doors, with walls that are made out of fabric.
This type is usually the best choice for large breeds that are chewers or escape artists. These crates can withstand a dog’s jaw strength and they’re a better choice for a chewer or escape artist compared to a wire crate.
Many people will choose this type of crate for aesthetics. These stylish crates are made out of wood, complete with metal rails on the door and window. These decorative crates look great in common spaces of the home, but they’re not the best choice if your dog is prone to chewing.
Tips and Tricks for Using a Dog Crate
Many new pet owners are concerned about bringing home a dog crate since getting their dog used to hanging out in their crate as opposed to sticking close to their side seems impossible. But crate training a dog is fairly simple. To start, place your pet’s favorite blanket and toy in the crate. Gently coax your dog into the crate using treats. Praise your pet and encourage them to use it while you’re home. Avoid immediately placing them in the crate when you leave. It’s important to allow them to get comfortable with their crate and get used to using it, while you’re home. Once your pet has established that the crate is a comfortable, safe space then you can try putting him in the crate before you leave. At this point, your dog will feel comfortable and happy being alone in his den.
How long can a dog remain crated? This is another common question and a good one. A dog can stay crated for up to eight hours, but not right away. Your dog should be slowly trained, as you gradually increase the length of time by thirty minutes up to one hour over the course of several weeks. Of course, if you’re planning on crating your dog for several hours, you’ll need to take certain water and food precautions. Avoid giving your pet a full bowl of water and food before you leave since they will not be able to use the bathroom. Provide your pet with just one cup of food and two cups of water thirty to sixty minutes before you leave, then take them for a walk. This will help to tire him out so that he’ll be sleepy and feel more comfortable in his crate during the day.
Is there anything I can do to make my dog more comfortable during training? You can try using an essential oil, such as lavender, which can be very calming. Try placing a lavender diffuser next to your dog’s crate so he can smell it. Test out using the diffuser while you’re home first and ensure you don’t place it too close to the crate.
For more information, click here to read my article on first-time dog owner tips.
How You Can Ease Separation Anxiety
Once you come home at the end of the day, your dog is going to be a whirlwind of high raw energy. As your dog follows you all over the home, you may notice some accidents, personal items that have been chewed up, and other signs that your dog was in distress while you were gone. You may even hear reports from the neighbors that your dog was barking, whining, or howling for hours while you were gone. All of these are common signs that your dog has anxiety while you’re gone.
In nature a dog will typically never be away from their pack members, so in their eyes, your absence is very unusual and scary.
Below, I’ve included some things you can try to make your dog feel more comfortable with your absence and can help them to relax and remain calm.
- Take your dog for a long walk before work. Begin your day by taking your dog for a walk. You can also put a weighted backpack on your dog to make the walk more rigorous. After the walk is over, be sure to reward your dog with some treats. The goal here is to leave your dog happy, quiet, and resting when you leave.
- When you walk back in the door, avoid making eye contact, don’t speak to your dog, and don’t touch them. When you leave for the day, don’t make a big deal about it. Don’t make a big deal about returning for the day either. This way, you’re communicating with your pet that your time away isn’t a big deal. Depending on how severe your dog’s anxiety is, you’ll need to practice this rule for five minutes or so, but you may need to avoid engaging them for up to thirty minutes once you get home.
- When you’re getting ready to head out for the day, try to remain calm. Instead of making your dog tense by frantically running around, and giving them dozens of hugs before you leave, keep things casual. It’s important to project confident energy since you’re the pack leader. Be assertive and calm. This can help to ease the anxiety your pet is experiencing.
- You can try playing an audiobook when you’re not home. Some studies have shown that this can have a calming effect on dogs and can help to reduce anxiety. Having the sound of a human voice playing during that first hour or two while you’re gone can do wonders to reduce your pet’s stress as they await your return.
The best dog crates for separation anxiety should be large enough to allow your dog to stand up and turn around, should be made out of a durable material, and should provide your pet with a secure, safe space that they can call their own. If you choose the right type of crate for your pet, one that’s designed with the escape artist, large breed dog, or chewer in mind, you can provide a secure space for your dog to rest and relax until you return. This guide is designed to help you make the right choice based on your dog’s behavior, size, anxiety level, and comfort needs. I’m confident that you’ll find a crate in my top six lineup that can meet your pet’s needs and one that will work for your home, the available space, and your budget.