Lots of people looking forward to welcoming home their first puppy want to know what size crate for a Lab is most suitable. Growing puppies don’t need as much room as adult Labs. But, you don’t need to waste money on multiple crates. Most adult Labs require a 36 inch or 42 inch size crate. An especially large Labrador might even need a 48 inch crate. For a growing Labrador puppy, most people prefer to choose a crate for their final size, with a divider for their early days.
- The benefits of crates for any age dog
- Measuring your Labrador
- The best Labrador crates
- Puppy crates vs playpens
Crates are one of the best toilet training tools you can use throughout your puppy’s training. Dogs love having a small den to sleep in, and once trained, will find comfort in tucking themselves away in a crate. But Labs come in many different shapes and sizes, and grow quickly as a pup.
Benefits of Crating a Dog
There are many benefits to using a crate for a new puppy or dog.
1. Safe Sleep and Relaxation Space
A crate offers a safe space for your dog to relax and rest in. This is the most important use of a crate and should be your first priority when crate training. Although domesticated dogs are vastly different than their wild cousins, they still like a ‘den’ space to cozy up in and sleep.
House training your puppy will be significantly easier if they are confined to a small space. Puppies innately know not to eliminate in their sleeping area. Using this innate knowledge to your advantage can mean only a few days of accidents in the house.
2. Safe Space When You Can’t Watch Them
A crate is a great way to ensure your Lab has a safe place to go when you can’t watch them. This avoids them chewing on furniture or getting into kitchen cupboards.
Labs are an intelligent breed who love to chew. They will quickly work out how to open kitchen cupboards and help themselves to your food. This is particularly important for puppies when you aren’t able to watch their every move.
This space is only safe if you have correctly and fully trained your Lab to be relaxed and calm in the crate. Ensure you read over our crate training guide before you attempt to secure your Lab inside the crate.
3. Preparing for Future Travel
If you plan on traveling with your dog in the future, then it is wise to crate train them while they are young. This will minimize the stress they feel when they are inside a crate.
If they are familiar with sleeping in a crate, they will be able to relax. Dogs will be put into crates at the vets if they ever need surgery or an overnight stay. Again, you can minimize their stress by crate training from day one.
Crating doesn’t suit all dogs. Some dogs, no matter how much you train them, won’t enjoy the confinements of a crate. Untrained or nervous dogs are a danger to themselves inside a crate. Crating can cause a welfare issue if the dog is stressed inside it. However, most puppies and dogs will get used to and even enjoy the crate once they are trained.
What Size Crate for a Lab?
As a general rule, your Lab should be able to stand up fully, turn around and lay outstretched in the crate, without too much spare room. Depending upon the individual Lab, they can vary in height and weigh between 50-80 lbs. Males will be on the larger side and dogs from the showing line will be bigger than working Labs.
Since your Lab needs enough room to move around, you can measure them to see exactly what size crate they need. Measure from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail while they are standing. Add 4 inches to this measurement. Also, measure from the floor to the top of their head while sitting. Add 2 inches to this measurement.
This will give them enough room to move around, but not too much room to do themselves any harm.
The MidWest Homes for Pets dog crate* is a real favorite of mine, and we’ve used them successfully for years with no issues. It is easy to set up and comes with roller feet to protect your flooring. The plastic tub style base will contain any accidents and is easily washable.
Depending on the size of your Lab, purchase a 36-inch crate or 42-inch crate with the divider. A divider is good for puppies, as you can make the crate space as big or as small as you need to.
The Casual Home wooden pet crate* doubles up as a side table. If you are looking for a crate that will fit with your décor, then this wooden crate is a good solution. We recommend the extra-large size to contain an adult Labrador. This would not be suited to young Labs that still chew.
What Size Car Crate for a Labrador?
Your Lab will need the same sized car crate. They should be able to move around in the crate comfortably, without extra space. If you plan on having the crate in the trunk of your car, you will likely require an SUV or truck as crates take up a lot of space.
The MIM Safe Variocage crash tested dog cage* is the only safety tested cage suitable for safely containing your dog in an accident.
Crates vs Playpens for Lab Puppies
I always use a full sized adult crate with a divider for my puppies. It saves a lot of time and hassle.
If you need to confine your puppy or dog to an area for extended periods of time, then it is best to use a playpen instead of a crate. A crate should only be used for sleeping, traveling or for short periods of confinement where they don’t need to drink or go to the toilet.
This playpen from MidWest* is ideal for a bigger safe space for your Lab. A Lab will require a 42-inch playpen to keep them contained. Playpens can be used indoors and outdoors to keep your dog contained. If you want an even larger contained space, purchase 2 or 3 playpens of the same brand and size and join them together.
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