When it comes to buying the best soft sided dog crate available on the market, exactly how do you know which is best and which is not?
There's just so much clutter for you to sort from one another, and it's a lonely, lonely road if you don't know exactly what to look for in one.
Also, why should you invest in a soft sided dog crate? Isn't a regular dog crate made from metal a better option for you to buy?
Well, this article aims to answer these questions and much more that you may have if you're contemplating adding one of these products to your dog toolkit at home.
But first, and before we get into answering all the questions you may have about soft sided dog crates, let's take a sneak peak at what we believe are the top 5 best soft sided dog crates available on the market today.
Our List Of The Top 5 Soft Sided Dog Crates (Updated List For 2019)
Top Pick: EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate, Indoor & Outdoor Pet Home
Pick #2: Go Pet Club Soft Pet Crate
Pick #3: 2PET Folding Soft Dog Crate for Indoor, Travel & Training
Pick #4: NOZ2NOZ Sof-Krate Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home
Pick #5: Precision Pet Products Soft-Sided Crate
*Note: The links in the table above, as well as several links in the remainder of the article below, will take you to over to Amazon.com or Chewy.com where you can find out more information about the products, such as current prices and customer reviews.
Why Get Your Pup A Soft Crate?
Have you ever postponed a vacation or any type of travel simply because you couldn't find a sitter for your pooch? Not yet? Trust me, you don’t wish to find yourself in this position. Those who have before know just how bad it sucks. Here are the reasons why you need to have a soft crate:
To Carry Your Dog Around
A soft dog crate is a much-needed savior you want to have when traveling. They make it possible to move around with your dog as your travel companion with ease. In fact, lots of traveling dog owners just can’t get enough of the excellent portability this tool boasts of.
Usually, they feature sturdy, padded handles that keep your hands comfortable as you move around with your pooch. They are also collapsible, folding into much smaller dimensions, which make them easy to carry around when not in use.
Dogs A Need A Home Too
The best soft dog crates can be used indoors and outdoors allowing you to take your dog on outdoor trips without worrying about sharing your sleeping bag. Besides, she’ll love it knowing there’s a place she can retreat to while traveling, at home, or waiting her turn at a training session or performance. Also, most of them are water-resistant. Therefore, you do not have to worry about your pooch when you are caught in the rain.
The crates can also be used as a den for your dog when indoors, providing a dedicated spot for your dog at home. Not only does it mean your dog is not underfoot; she also won’t be all over the furniture or running around in areas you don’t want her going.
Soft crates are far more comfortable than their hard counterparts. If you are crate-training your dog, the latter may be a better option because it can properly contain her unruly actions. However, once your dog has gained the necessary skills, consider a soft crate to up the comfort and provide a cozy space for her with little likelihood to hurt itself when turning within.
You may not know this, but the comfort of an animal impacts its personality and interactions with other members of its family. So, look at a soft crate as something that’s necessary for overall well-being.
Best Soft Sided Dog Crate Reviews
No matter what reason is prompting you to search for the best soft sided dog crates, we've got you covered with this list of the top soft sided dog crates on the market today.
Generous Space: This is one of the most generous soft dog crates out there when it comes to enough space inside for your dog to move around comfortably, with the manufacturers having paid special attention to the height, which ensures your dog is able to stand on their feet comfortably without hitting the crate's ceiling.
Most of the times, you'll find that your dog has generous extra space above their head inside the crate for you to put something on it.
Excellent Ventilation: This soft sided dog crate comes with 3 mesh doors that ensure your dog is breathing fresh air at all times when they're inside their crate, get much needed sunlight and not feel like they're trapped in a closed area, and that they're able to enjoy the view around them wherever they may be going by looking through these 3 doors.
One Of The Most Durable: Even though it isn't exactly the hardest of jobs for dogs to chew/scratch their way into destroying a soft sided dog crate if they have the physical power required in them to do so, this crate is made from some of the highest quality and durable material you'll find among its peers.
Increased Difficulty For Pets To Chew: 2PET have done an incredible job with the new design they came out with in this soft sided dog crate, where they've made it much more tough for dogs to chew and destroy parts of this crate, thanks to a smartly placed zipper mechanism on the front door of the crate.
However, the manufacturers are very honest about their product and clearly state that dogs known to be heavy chewers will easily destroy their way out of this crate, in which case you are advised to either make use of a heavier-duty soft sided dog crate or a metal crate once and for all.
Very Easy Setup And Storing Away Process: If one of the main criteria by which you're going to be basing your purchase decision of a soft sided dog crate is on how easy it is to set it up and then fold it and store it away when you're not going to be using it, then this is one of the best soft sided dog crates in this department.
You can get this thing unfolded and ready for use in less than 60 seconds, and the same goes for folding it and storing it away.
And, just like our #1 pick above, this also folds into self-carrying case you can make use of outside the realms of your doggy-world, a very useful and cool feature that many customers appreciate.
Pick #3 - Go Pet Club Soft Pet Crate
This crate looks more like a fancy kennel than your standard crate. The design features soft edges and a clean, uncluttered exterior with no hanging flaps or ties.
Durable: When it comes to the construction and material, the manufacturer used sturdy metal rods for the frame and heavy-duty, water-resistant polyester infused with PVC. The sides feature a rectangular mesh patch for adequate ventilation.
Versatile: It can be used indoors and outdoors and only takes up storage space of two inches when folded up. The package includes a sheepskin mat, removable lamb wool floor padding, and the carrying case for the crate.
Ability To Close/Open Window: One feature we specifically admired when going over this soft sided dog crate is the ability to have the two windows (one on the front and one on the side) rolled down (closed) or rolled up (open) via shades attached on both.
This will prove to be very convenient and will come in very handy for people who want to give their dogs some much needed shade when they're inside their crates at certain times, and want to let their dogs enjoy the view around them other times when the sunlight isn't as strong.
The bottom of the crate could be more rigid, but DIY doggy parents have found a way to use hard cardboard to create adequate rigidity.
Generally, GoPetClub Soft Portable Pet Home is easily the best portable dog crate you’ll find out there. If you’d like to give it a try, look no further than chewy.com for the best prices.
The only reason we decided to give this soft sided dog crate a #4 spot on this list is because unlike our #1 pick above, this one seems to have a few issues with bad smell when you first put it to use. (Some customers report that no nasty smell whatsoever came with their item, but the other reports were just too frequent for us to ignore).
Now, apparently, this nasty plastic smell does indeed go away after a few days to a week of you leaving it out in the sun to "air out", but this isn't always something all dog owners want to do, as many want to make immediate use of this crate upon arrival.
The problem is that even if you can get yourself to endure the nasty smell, your dog won't be coming anywhere close to the crate until the smell goes away.
So, we just think that it's better off for you to stick to our #1 pick above, which won't have you worrying about this problem at all.
This crate comes with four doors which are fitted with zippers for easy access. The fold-and-store design on this crate makes it easy to carry around and set up.
My favorite feature on this crate is the water bottle opening that allows your pooch to have a drink while in the crate. The rear of the crate is also fitted with storage pouches to carry your dog's knick-knacks and toys.
To give this crate longevity, the seams on this product have been reinforced. Also, the tubular frame is made from epoxy-coated steel to further enhance longevity.
Another thing you will love is that the material is water-resistant, which means your pooch will be warm and dry even in wet conditions.
Also fitted on this crate is a clip for your dog’s leash. Not forgetting the interior, which is also fitted with a plastic floor for rigidity.
Other cool features include a carrying case for easy storage, a washable mat that makes it easy to keep the crate clean, and an easy-to-maintain exterior.
You can expect a small crate for 25-pound dogs, a medium crate for 40-pound dogs, a large crate for dogs weighing up to 70 pounds, and an extra-large crate for 90 pounders.
Precision Pet Products Soft-Sided Crate is available for purchase at pet stores nationwide, including chewy.com.
Why Should I Make Use Of Soft Dog Crates?
We've compiled a shortlist of the most important factors you should be looking for upon purchasing a soft sided dog crate below.
No matter what you're purchasing a soft sided dog crate for, these factors are what ultimately separates the best soft sided dog crates from the rest.
Of course, some factors may be more important than others for you as opposed to someone else that's looking for a soft dog crate for other reasons, but this list takes all purposes into consideration.
Soft sided dog crates are incredibly lightweight when compared to regular metal dog crates, which makes it very easy for you to carry them around wherever you want to go and use them as portable dog crates.
Say you often have to move your dog crate around the house for whatever reason, it's going to be incredibly easier and less physically strenuous for you to move around a lightweight dog crate made from fabric than is going to be the case with a moderate-heavyweight dog crate made from metal.
Portable - Good For Travel
If you're going to be going on some sort of a road trip with your dog or traveling out of town and want to take them with you, whether that's just for a breath of fresh air or for business you have to attend to, then making use of a soft sided dog crate is an absolute must.
Have you ever tried fitting a metal dog crate into your car before? How'd that go? I assume you're like me and dread absolutely every single second of the entire process!
All dog owners alike would appreciate it much more when they're given the option to load a very lightweight, soft sided dog crate into their car for a road trip in no time rather than spend a bunch of time and effort contemplating how they're going to manage to get in their metal dog crate into the car this time without damaging any part of the car's interior and exterior.
Very Easily Stored
One thing I absolutely love most about soft sided dog crates, as opposed to regular metal dog crates, is how exceptionally easy it is to have them stored away somewhere they take up negligible space when not needed for use.
Because the best soft sided dog crates are foldable dog crates (also called collapsible dog crates by some), you can easily fold yours when your dog isn't using it and store it away somewhere it doesn't take up any useful space.
You can't exactly do this with the majority of metal dog crates out there, as those will often need to remain put in one location at all times.
Yes, some metal dog crates out there (usually the better ones on the market) give you the ability to fold them in order to save space, but you can only fold them to a certain degree and are still left with a final product that will require sizable space in order to be put away.
Regular metal dog crates all tend to look the same, since not much design and unique aesthetic touches can be done with that material.
However, soft sided dog crates come in some of the coolest designs, colors and styles you've ever seen, and you have the utmost freedom to choose whichever your heart desires most.
A washable soft sided dog crate is an absolute must if you're planning on buying one of these things, since there's always the possibility of your dog having a "potty accident" inside, in which case you'll want to immediately wash this crate before you make use of it again.
If you get a non-washable soft sided dog crate for your dog and they have a "potty accident" inside for whatever reason, good luck spending hours on end and trying a million and one ingredients in order to remove that stench and all those stains.
Indoors & Outdoors Use
A very significant feature you'll be getting with the best soft sided dog crates available on the market is the ability to make use of them for your dog both indoors and outdoors, equally well.
What Criteria Determines The Best Soft Sided Dog Crates?
Unfortunately, this is not a case of the softer the crate, the better it is. The softness just gives cushioning to a hardy frame that would otherwise be extremely uncomfortable for your pooch.
Here are the most important things to look for in a soft dog crate:
The best soft sided dog crates are ones that are made of high quality and durable material that's able to withstand your dog's "destructive" attempts without being ripped apart one week after purchase.
With that being said, it must be made very clear that you shouldn't be purchasing a soft sided dog crate if your dog is known for their over-the-top destructive behavior, whether that be through chewing, scratching, digging or whatever.
Soft sided dog crates are made from fabric, and no matter what kind of fabric goes into the making of these things, it's still fabric at the end of the day and can only withstand a certain threshold of your dog's destructive behavior before it starts tearing apart.
This is one area where it's the customer's responsibility to evaluate how much of a destructive chewer/scratcher/etc .. their dog is, and make a well thought out decision about whether or not investing in a soft sided dog crate will actually be worth it.
If you think your dog is a fairly destructive dog and will easily tear apart one of these things, then it's probably best that you stick to a regular metal dog crate which they obviously won't be able to break into pieces.
In any soft sided dog crate you end up choosing for your dog, always keep in mind that the best soft sided dog crates will always have adequate ventilation openings in order to keep the fresh air flow coming in and going out for your dog.
The last thing you want happening is your dog spending a long amount of time in a soft sided dog crate with no fresh air coming in for them, as that will be just like having your dog trapped in a locked car with the windows closed - both will lead to suffocation.
Also, ventilation allows the dog crate to stay fresh and hygienic and prevents heat stroke-related complications. The ventilation on soft crates is simply a mesh patch on the sides of the crate.
This one goes without saying, you always have to make sure before you make the purchase that the soft sided dog crate you're getting for your dog has adequate space inside for your dog to remain comfortable at all times, and not feel like they're being crammed somewhere too small for them.
Making sure of measurements is key here.
The rule of thumb when it comes to any dog crate you get for your dog, soft sided dog crates included, is that dogs must be able to clearly stand on their feet inside without having to bend over/without hitting their head on the top part, and they must be able to have adequate room inside to move around whichever side they choose.
However, you must also make sure that the soft sided dog crate you get for your dog isn't way too big for their needs, as that will be just as bad as getting one that's way too small for them. A soft sided dog crate that gives them just the right amount of space they need is the best.
If you've got a giant dog breed at home such as a great dane, then you're unfortunately out of luck since there aren't soft sided dog crates manufactured to meet the size needs of such giant dogs.
We've seen it first hand that the majority of returns manufacturers of soft side dog crates have to deal with are the result of customers purchasing crates that aren't the exact size their dogs need, so save yourself and the manufacturing company you're buying from the hassle and get the measurements on point the first time around.
Given the fact that your dog will be in the crate most of the time, you need a crate that is comfortable for her. Consider a crate that features side pockets; they will act as your all-in-one travel case for your dog. Side pockets allow you to store all your dog related items in one place for ease of reach.
These provide excellent cushioning for your dog, keeping it comfortable when it lies down. Most crates come with a pad for cushioning, but dogs parents can always get another option separately.
Opt for easily washable mats for hygienic reasons in case your pet makes a mess of it.
Also, consider the health issues of your pooch when buying a mat. These include allergies as well as age and pre-existing conditions, like arthritis and other orthopedic problems.
How safe it actually is for your dog to be in the soft sided dog crate being studied is a huge factor that goes into determining how good it is.
Suppose you have your dog in their soft sided dog crate in the backseat area of your car, and you had to come to an abrupt stop along the road or make a sudden and unexpected turn at any given time, which leads to your dog's soft sided crate to fall on the floor in the backseat area - how safe will this be for dogs?
The best soft sided dog crates will have safety features that aim to minimize any harm that may happen to your dog in such situations.
Not so many of us like a dark room and neither do dogs. Since the crate doubles up as a relaxation den, consider the amount of visibility within.
Granted, some dogs are comfortable in a semi-dark space, but most become distressed, anxious, or even aggressive when confined in a dark space.
In fact, if your doggy is an active, energetic pooch, consider a crate with windows and a good amount of visibility.
A soft dog crate requires assembly and disassembly, especially if you and your pooch are on the road a lot. Opt for a model that is easy to set up and collapse down. This reduces the hassle during travel and you can easily diagnose a problem with the crate once you are conversant with its construction.
You can watch the video below to learn more about the pros and cons of different dog crates as it will be helpful as well in deciding which one to have:
A Quick Note About Soft Sided Dog Crates And Potty Training
It's best that you make sure that your dog has been properly potty trained before you have them start to use one of these things.
Because soft sided dog crates are made from fabric, you won't exactly have a good time trying to clean this material and rid it from your dog's urine/poop if they had an accident inside.
Washing and cleaning a metal dog crate because of your dog urinating/pooping inside is a much easier job than doing so when fabric is involved.
Ideally speaking, your dog has been perfectly potty trained and knows by heart that they need to get out of the soft sided dog crate they're in and head towards their designated "potty area" whenever they want to eliminate.
A Quick Note About Soft Sided Dog Crates And Destructive Behavior
No matter what kind of high quality material a soft sided dog crate was made of, and no matter how durable it actually is, you have to keep in mind that if your dog is physically strong enough and they feel like destroying it for any reason whatsoever, they will tear it into pieces.
Owners of small sized to medium sized dogs usually don't have to worry about this happening if they go with any one of the best soft sided dog crates mentioned in the list above, but when we're talking about a relatively larger sized dog with sheer physical power, you must be very careful before having them step into one of these things.
If your larger sized and powerful dog is known to exhibit destructive behavior in their surroundings and you can't seem to get them to "tone it down" for the life of you, then think twice before buying them a soft sided dog crate, since the risk of them shredding it to pieces is high.
However, if you've been successful in controlling your larger sized and powerful dog's destructive behavior through means such as positive reinforcement training or the like, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about and will be just fine.
As for those who have a teething puppy at home that just wants to chew on anything in order to relieve the pain they're feeling, make sure to make use of the best chewing toys for teething puppies if you're planning on putting them in a soft sided dog crate for any amount of time.