Choosing the Right Crate, Kennel or Carrier for Your Cat or Dog

As much as our pets like to roam free at home or on a leash, it’s not always ideal. For the times we can’t keep an eye on our furry friends, or when we’re traveling with them in tow, having the right crate, kennel or carrier can make the experience more enjoyable for both of you.

Choosing the right cat or dog carrier depends on a few factors, including your pet’s size and how you intend to use it. Read these tips for finding the best solution for your pet, as well as how acclimate them to the new space.

Choosing A Crate, Kennel or Carrier for Your Cat or Dog

What to Consider When Shopping for a Pet Carrier

Pets can be very sensitive to changes in their environment, so it’s important to choose a pet carrier that makes them feel safe and comfortable. Makeshift containers like a basket, box or pillowcase may injure or traumatize your pet and should be avoided. When looking for a dog crate, dog kennel or pet carrier, consider the following:

  • Choose an enclosure that allows your pet to comfortably stand, sit, turn around and lie down
  • If you have a puppy or kitten, select a pet carrier that will accommodate them once they’re fully grown
  • Consider the primary purpose of your pet’s crate or carrier: dog crates and dog kennels are more stationary options, while carriers are great for traveling in the car or on airplanes
  • Crates, kennels and carriers should be easy to open so they can climb in or out with little hassle

Introducing Your Pet to Their New Crate or Carrier

Once you have selected a crate, kennel or carrier for your cat or dog, slowly introduce them to their new sanctuary. Especially if you plan to use the carrier for transportation, it’s important to get them acclimated as soon as possible so they aren’t distressed or unwilling to go inside.

Here are some easy ways to make their first encounters with a crate, kennel or carrier a less-stressful experience:

  • Start with hard-sided carriers or kennels that open from the top and front
  • Once your pet is familiar with being in a confined space, you can move to a soft-sided carrier, which are lighter-weight, smaller and easier to handle
  • Make the space comfortable by adding a blanket or towel and toys to create a familiar, friendly environment
  • Place the crate, kennel or carrier in a central part of the home so you’re not isolating him or her while you train them to use it
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