cpoanimallogo.gif - 2752 Bytes Pet cages

Pet cages save you grief, and most animals like them!

What do you do if you want to have your dog indoors, but it is not fully house-trained? How can you be sure your new pet won't tear up the carpet or eat the sofa when you go to work?

Unless you don't work, have lots of spare time to supervise a pooch or enough money for a private trainer, you may be in trouble. The obvious solution is to have a safe and comfortable area for your pet that is immune to destruction and improper elimination. Many pet owners use airline carriers or cages to solve this problem.

Professional trainers, handlers and hunters have used crates and cages for years.

Animal care professionals and hobbyists accept crates and cages, but some pet owners still believe that a crate somehow harms the animal's psyche. In reality, dogs and cats are notorious for curling up for many hours at a time in small, dark, quiet spaces. A little positive reinforcement for entering and remaining in the crate can go a long way toward making such confinement a pleasant experience.

One of the best uses for a crate is to create an "accident-free zone" for your puppy. When you cannot watch the pup closely, confinement in a crate allows you to be sure the animal has not eliminated. When you do take the pup outside you can be sure that it will need to eliminate and you can be prepared to positively reinforce the correct behavior.

The amount of time you may keep an animal in a crate each day should be determined by what you are trying to achieve. an average of eight hours confinement a day can be safely maintained almost indefinitely. Longer period can cause problems.

Consistently requiring a dog to hold its fluid for 10 or more hours daily can lead to bladder infections and other disorders. Another danger to long periods of confinement is that the animal may eliminate out of desperation. Once an animal has lost its inhibition against soiling in the crate it is difficult to correct the problem.

Crates and cages are available in a variety of forms. Aluminum flight kennels can resist almost any type of abuse, but tend to be hot in warm weather. Heavy wire cages allow air to circulate, but tend to rust in wet climates and do not afford protection from the elements. A compromise between these two is the hard plastic kennel with a heavy wire door. These plastic crates have become the industry standard. An additional benefit to enclosed crates of metal or plastic is that they may stacked on top of each other while traveling or at home.

Another advantage of plastic crates is that they can be easily disassembled for storage. The top of the crate fits inside the bottom to form a compact shell. They are also easier to clean and sterilize.

Prices range from $21 for an inexpensive cat carrier to more than $500 for an aluminum carrier big enough for a Saint Bernard. Plastic crates for small to x-large dogs range from $40 to $125. Crates are available through Noah's Ark.

Some tips for using a carrier:

  • Start your animal early. If the animal is exposed to the crate as an infant, you will have less trouble confining the adult animal.
  • Start with short periods of confinement and gradually increase the amount of time the animal must remain in the crate.
  • Make sure the crate is big enough - but not too big. Measure the animal from the base of the skull to the base of the tail. The crate must be at least as long as this measurement. Height should be measured from the shoulders to the ground. It is acceptable for the dog to stoop a little to get into the crate. If you have a puppy, ask for help to estimate the adult size of your pet.
  • If you have a doggie door, you can use the crate to speed the process of house training. First remove the door from the crate. Secure the crate against the inside of the doggie door. Now, Fido can remain in the crate for shelter or go outside to eliminate.
  • A crate is an ideal tool for traveling. Many hotels and motels will allow pets that are crate trained.
  • A crate also allows you to secure the animal in case of an unexpected emergency.

    Information source
    Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary

    Animal Care Home Page
    ComPortOne Home Page

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