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5 Signs Dog Crate Is Too Small | Dog Crate Size Guide

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The main 5 signs that the dog crate is too small

Did you notice a change in your dog’s behavior lately? Are you worried that the dog crate or kennel you bought recently might be too small for him? Are there dead give away signs when a dog crate is too small?

Asking yourself these questions is perfectly justified. After all, the health and safety of our beloved pets are one of the most important things there is.

Little that you know, your dog might be trying to send you signals that his new crate is too small.

Is it even possible to identify these signs and make the proper corrections to make sure my dog doesn’t develop future health issues? Let’s explore the main 5 signs the dog crate is too small.

You can also click here to see the crate size choosing guide.

1. Your dog can’t sit up straight

To begin, the first test you should always do to measure if there are signs dog crate is too small is the sitting up straight test.

Have your dog sit up straight inside the kennel and make sure it is not hitting its head in anyway way.

The dog should have enough room inside so he doesn’t have to be cramping or hunching in any circumstances.

If you are somewhat tall and you had to hunch your back for a few hours inside a car or a small room, you know the feeling. Make sure the dog passes that test.

Not too much room, just enough so it can sit as it would naturally.

black puppies in a wooden box

2. Your dog can’t turn around easily

Similar to the first test, this one is as quick and as easy and will quickly determine if there are signs dog crate is too small. Very simple, take a piece of treat, have the dog turn around a couple of times inside the crate.

The dog should be able to turn easily on itself without any hunching and the only thing touching the crate should be maybe its tail a little bit.

This is extremely important not to ignore this sign as it will increase the risk of health issues over time.

If the dog can’t turn around freely without feeling uncomfortable, he will also have trouble laying down on its side, which is our #3 sign.

3. Your dog is not able to lay down on it’s side with its paw stretched out.

Just like most of us, your dog loves to lay down and stretch.

Heck, some of us would love to lay down and stretch all day if we could.

Why would you want to take that away from him? Another quick and easy test is to have your dog lay down on its side with its paw stretched out as much as possible.

Again the dog should be able to do this without any restraint and should not be touching the small fence too much.

That is assuming he is sitting in the middle of the crate of course. Having your dog stretch in front of you is the best way to be certain that the size of the crate isn’t too small.

However, if you are having a problem having the dog lay down in the middle of the crate ad stretch on command, I will allow you to use a measuring tape for good measures.

Just make sure to ass 2-3 inches to whatever number you came up with.

4. Your dog looks visibly uncomfortable

This one should be pretty straight forward.

However, we sometimes get accustomed to unusual behavior and we tend to ignore minor problems which can end up being big problems over time.

Maybe you will realize that you were ignoring some of the signs your dog has been sending you.

Here is a shortlist of signs that your dog is uncomfortable:

-Growling

Growling is basically the first sign that the dog feels either threatened or at least that someone is in their space. This will usually happen if someone other than the owner gets close to the crate as the dog feels vulnerable in this position. This is all fine and you shouldn’t really punish the dog for this behavior too much. If, however, the dog is growling while being alone without anyone near it, this could be a sign that the crate is too small.

-Barking

The act of barking can also mean a variety of different things but in the context of a crate being too small, a sign would be a sudden increase in the amount of barking. I am talking here about more of a stressed kind of bark and not a bark you would typically hear when a dog is about to bite for example.

-Whining

Whining is generally considered to be an automatic response when the animal feels stressed out.

In other words, the dog can’t really control itself and will be whining if its level of stress hits a certain amount.

A little bit of whining at the beginning or within the few seconds of you putting the animal inside the crate is fine.

Excessive whining would be considered a sign that the crate is too small.

-Shivering or freezing

If ever there was a sign you didn’t want to ignore, it’s this one.

Shivering or freezing excessively usually follows barking and whining.

Is it a sign that your dog’s body can’t handle the current stress levels and that they might become unpredictable.

If this behavior appeared after you bought it, it might be a sign that the dog crate is too small.

-Pacing

Pacing abundantly could be another sign that the crate you bought is a little small. Turning around to find the right spot and then lay down is perfectly fine. If it lasts more than a few minutes, it might reason for concern.

All of those could be very important signs dog crate is too small.

5. Rashes, neck & back problems, and other health issues

Maybe you just acquired or adopted a new dog.

You are not exactly sure how their previous owners were treating him.

Whenever an animal such as a dog is left in a dog crate that is too small for its body for a long period of time, it will eventually develop health issues such as rashes, neck problems, back problems, etc.

The risk of developing mental health issues increases considerably as well.

Here is a list of many different disorders related to dogs left for an extended period of time in crates that were too small:

  • Aggression
  • Withdrawal
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive licking
  • Separation anxiety
  • Inability to bond with humans
  • Muscle atrophy

If your dog or any dog experience symptoms related to this kind of disorders, make sure to take an appointment with your veterinarian as these serious issues can be related to many other factors.

Tommy Hilfiger

Standard and plus size

What Dog Crate Do We Use?

Naturally, if you have been following us for a little while, you know we both a small chihuahua and a decent size labrador.

We currently own two different models. For the labrador, he is currently weighting around 50 lbs / 23 kg so we opted for an all in one kind of options. The crate comes with two dog bowls as well as pet bed. Here is an example below of how it looks. You can click to be taken to the amazon description.

However, the chihuahua is another story. It’s currently weighing around 14 lbs / 6.5 kg. I’ll put a link to the Amazon description and I’ll let you guess who bought this one.

Dog crate size by weight and breed

Crate SizeDog’s WeightDog’s Breed
18″ x 18″0 – 24 lbs / 0 – 11 kgChihuahua
18″ x 24″0 – 30 lbs / 0 – 14 kgChihuahua, Pomeranian
24″ x 18″0 – 30 lbs / 0 – 14 kgAffenpinscher, Cairn Terrier, Havanese, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Norfolk Terrier, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Scottish Terrier, Shih Tzu, Skye Terrier, Silky Terrier, Toy Poodle, Toy Fox Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier
24″ x 24″0 – 38 lbs / 0 – 17 kgAffenpinscher, Cairn Terrier, Havanese, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Norfolk Terrier, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Scottish Terrier, Shih Tzu, Skye Terrier, Silky Terrier, Toy Poodle, Toy Fox Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier
24″ x 30″20 – 40 lbs / 14 – 18 kgCocker Spaniel, Australian Terrier, Basset Hound, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dachshund, Italian Greyhound, Jack Russell Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Schnauzer, Parson Russell Terrier, Wirehaired Fox Terrier
24″ x 36″″20 – 40 lbs / 14 – 18 kgCocker Spaniel, Australian Terrier, Basset Hound, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dachshund, Italian Greyhound, Jack Russell Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Schnauzer, Parson Russell Terrier, Wirehaired Fox Terrier
30″ x 24″0-40 lbsAmerican Eskimo Dog, American Staffordshire Terrier, Basenji, Beagle, Brittany Spaniel, Chinese Sharpei, Chow Chow, German Pinscher, Irish Terrier, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier
30″x30″ or 30″x36″40-50 lbsAmerican Eskimo Dog, American Staffordshire Terrier, Basenji, Beagle, Brittany Spaniel, Chinese Sharpei, Chow Chow, German Pinscher, Irish Terrier, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier
30″x30″ or 30″x36″50-60 lbsAmerican Eskimo Dog, American Staffordshire Terrier, Basenji, Beagle, Brittany Spaniel, Chinese Sharpei, Chow Chow, German Pinscher, Irish Terrier, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier
36″x24″ or40-60 lbsAmerican Pit Bull Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, Old English Sheepdog
36″x30″ or 36″x36″50-60 lbsAmerican Pit Bull Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, Old English Sheepdog
36″x30″ or 36″x36″60-80 lbsAmerican Pit Bull Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, Old English Sheepdog
42″x30″ or 42″x36″80-100 lbsAiredale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, American Bulldog, Boxer, Briard, Malinois, Tervueren
42″x30″ or 42″x36″80-100 lbsAiredale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, American Bulldog, Boxer, Briard, Malinois, Tervueren
80-90 lbsAiredale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, Boxer, Briard, Dalmatian, Malinois, Tervueren
48″x24″ or 48″x30″80-100 lbsAiredale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, Boxer, Briard, Dalmatian, Malinois, Tervueren
Up to 100 lbsAfghan, Akita, Bloodhound, Borzoi, Chinook, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Gordon Setter, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Leonberger, Neopolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland, Pointer, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Standard Poodle, Weimaraner
60″x36″ or 72″x36″100-150 lbsAkita, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Leonberger, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Scottish Deerhound, Siberian Husky
60″x36″ or 72″x36″150-180 lbsAkita, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Leonberger, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Scottish Deerhound, Siberian Husky

Crate Size by Weight

0 – 24 lbs / 0 – 11 kg18″ x 18″
0 – 30 lbs / 0 – 14 kg18″ x 24″
0 – 30 lbs / 0 – 14 kg24″ x 18″
0 – 38 lbs / 0 – 17 kg24″ x 24″
20 – 40 lbs / 14 – 18 kg24″ x 30″
20 – 40 lbs / 14 – 18 kg24″ x 36″″
0-40 lbs30″ x 24″
40-50 lbs30″x30″ or 30″x36″
50-60 lbs30″x30″ or 30″x36″
40-60 lbs36″x24″ or
50-60 lbs36″x30″ or 36″x36″
60-80 lbs36″x30″ or 36″x36″
80-100 lbs42″x30″ or 42″x36″
80-100 lbs42″x30″ or 42″x36″
80-90 lbs
80-100 lbs48″x24″ or 48″x30″
Up to 100 lbs
100-150 lbs60″x36″ or 72″x36″
150-180 lbs60″x36″ or 72″x36″

Crate Size by Breed

18″ x 18″Chihuahua
18″ x 24″Chihuahua, Pomeranian
24″ x 18″

Affenpinscher, Cairn Terrier, Havanese, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Norfolk Terrier, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Scottish Terrier, Shih Tzu, Skye Terrier, Silky Terrier, Toy Poodle, Toy Fox Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier

24″ x 24″Affenpinscher, Cairn Terrier, Havanese, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Norfolk Terrier, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Scottish Terrier, Shih Tzu, Skye Terrier, Silky Terrier, Toy Poodle, Toy Fox Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier
24″ x 30″Cocker Spaniel, Australian Terrier, Basset Hound, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dachshund, Italian Greyhound, Jack Russell Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Schnauzer, Parson Russell Terrier, Wirehaired Fox Terrier
24″ x 36″″Cocker Spaniel, Australian Terrier, Basset Hound, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dachshund, Italian Greyhound, Jack Russell Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Schnauzer, Parson Russell Terrier, Wirehaired Fox Terrier
30″ x 24″American Eskimo Dog, American Staffordshire Terrier, Basenji, Beagle, Brittany Spaniel, Chinese Sharpei, Chow Chow, German Pinscher, Irish Terrier, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier
30″x30″ or 30″x36″American Eskimo Dog, American Staffordshire Terrier, Basenji, Beagle, Brittany Spaniel, Chinese Sharpei, Chow Chow, German Pinscher, Irish Terrier, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier
30″x30″ or 30″x36″American Eskimo Dog, American Staffordshire Terrier, Basenji, Beagle, Brittany Spaniel, Chinese Sharpei, Chow Chow, German Pinscher, Irish Terrier, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier
36″x24″ orAmerican Pit Bull Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, Old English Sheepdog
36″x30″ or 36″x36″American Pit Bull Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, Old English Sheepdog
36″x30″ or 36″x36″American Pit Bull Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, Old English Sheepdog
42″x30″ or 42″x36″Airedale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, American Bulldog, Boxer, Briard, Malinois, Tervueren
42″x30″ or 42″x36″Airedale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, American Bulldog, Boxer, Briard, Malinois, Tervueren
Airedale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, Boxer, Briard, Dalmatian, Malinois, Tervueren
48″x24″ or 48″x30″Airedale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, Boxer, Briard, Dalmatian, Malinois, Tervueren
Afghan, Akita, Bloodhound, Borzoi, Chinook, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Gordon Setter, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Leonberger, Neopolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland, Pointer, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Standard Poodle, Weimaraner
60″x36″ or 72″x36″Akita, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Leonberger, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Scottish Deerhound, Siberian Husky
60″x36″ or 72″x36″Akita, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Leonberger, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Scottish Deerhound, Siberian Husky

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