Not every dog is happy to remain quietly in his crate, and some are very accomplished escape artists! But what can you do to keep your canine companion safely contained when a regular dog crate simply won’t cut it?
How do dogs escape from their crates? What can you do to foil escape attempts? And is there such as thing as an escape-proof dog crate?
Read this guide for some helpful tips and to read our reviews of the best dog crates for Houdini hounds.
Comparison Table of the 7 Best Heavy Duty Dog Crate For Escape Artists
ECOFLEX Dog Crate
- Dual use pet crate and end table
- 20-pound weight capacity
- Strong, well-built dog crate
MIM Safe Variocage
- Crash-tested metal crate for safety
- Available in several different sizes
- Durable, anti-corrosion material
LUCKUP Heavy-Duty Metal Dog Crate For Large Dogs
- Suitable for large dogs
- Strong, robust kennel
Pet Gear The Other Door Tan & Black Steel Dog Crate
- Insulated base is durable and does not crack in cold weather
- Built-in wheels and handle for moving from room to room
- For pets up to 90-pound
Zinger Winger PR4000
- Lightweight but strong
- Flush-mounted slam latch security system
- Silver hammer powder coating finish
ProSelect Empire Cages
- High-grade hammerstone finish
- Paired door latch design locks
Confote Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel & Metal Dog Cage
- Safe, secure, and escape-proof
- Wheels for easy portability
- Removable tray
How Do Dogs Escape From Regular Crates?
Picture the scene. You arrive home from work to discover your dog’s crate wide open and your furry friend sitting amid the carnage that was once your orderly home with an innocent “it wasn’t me” expression on his face.
But how did your dog escape from his conventional dog crate? To prevent the same thing from happening again, you need to know that.
So, there are three primary escape methods that are used by Houdini hounds of all sizes and breeds:
Unlocking The Latch
Dogs that don’t have the brute strength to bust out of their crate often use their brains to do so instead.
Intelligent breeds, such as Goldendoodles, can often figure out how to manipulate the crate latch. Once they’ve cracked the code, a dog will wait until the door closes and you leave for the day before quickly letting himself out of his crate and running amok.
Using Brute Force
Even small dog breeds, such as terriers, can be surprisingly strong and muscular. Strong dogs are often extremely persistent, too, pushing and shoving at the crate door or searching for a weak spot in the metal bars where they can force their way out. A collapsible dog crate design tends to be particularly vulnerable to this escape tactic.
Avoid cheap and poor-quality crates, as these are generally made from weak materials and are an escape waiting to happen. Also, conventional crates are often not strong enough to keep an escape artist confined and contained for very long.
Remember that your dog has nothing to do all day but keep trying to escape from his crate, and many won’t give up until they get loose.
Exploiting Weak Spots
Most wire dog crates use metal connectors to hold the crate panels together and to mount the doors.
A dog with a strong jaw will often identify the connectors as the weak spots on a wire crate, biting and chewing until the connectors break. Fido then simply wriggles through the opening he’s created, and he’s away and gone.
What To Look For In An Escape-Proof Dog Crate
Owners of canine escape artists need an escape-proof dog crate that will thwart even the most determined Houdini hounds. Before we get to the product review section of this guide, let’s take a look at what features you need in a dog crate that will make the kennel truly escape-proof.
Unfortunately, many crates that are advertised as being “heavy-duty” or “escape-proof” are not accurately described. And while no dog crate can be 100% escape-effective 24/7/365, there are certain crucial features that you generally find in the strongest, most resilient dog crates:
A truly heavy-duty crate will be constructed like a lion cage, using metal, such as an aluminum frame or durable high gauge steel frame. Although a metal kennel will be a heavy crate, it will also be much more secure.
Although plastic crates are popular for traveling and many are airline-approved, a plastic crate is generally pretty flimsy and won’t contain a determined escape artist for very long. A wire dog crate is better and stronger than plastic, but it is still vulnerable to breakouts.
Whatever dog crate you buy, always double-check that the durable material used to build the crate has a safe, non-toxic finish and that the crate furniture is sturdy and of good quality. High-quality dog crates are not cheap, so ideally, you want the crate to be built from corrosion-resistant materials so that it lasts for a long time.
Your dog’s crate must be well-ventilated for your dog’s comfort and welfare. Crates that get damp will encourage the growth of mildew and bacteria, which is not good for your pet’s health.
However, a crate with a solid wall is more secure than a metal wire or tubular steel crate. So, be sure to choose a kennel that has a well-ventilated, solid outer wall as a design option.
Your dog’s crate must be kept clean and hygienic. If you keep your dogs in crates that are dirty and soiled with feces and urine, your pets will be even more likely to want out.
So, look for a crate that has a removable pan so that you can keep the crate clean with minimal hassle.
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll be taking a heavy-duty, escape-proof crate on road trips with you, you might need to relocate the crate from time to time. So, a crate that has wheels is a definite bonus, especially if the cage is heavy or of a stackable design.
A folding crate is also a bonus, although this design can be difficult to make escape-proof.
Many regular dog crates use a simple barrel lock, but those fastenings won’t keep your dog safely and securely confined inside his crate.
Clever dogs quickly learn how to outsmart simple locks, so you need a high-tech slam latch or back-up safety latches that engage automatically when you close the door, as these are generally more effective.
Alternatively, if you go for a double-door design of crate, you might find that the kennel has dual door latches. That kind of double lock mechanism with decent latches is also very difficult for your dog to unfasten, securely keeping him confined in the crate.
How Can You Outsmart A Houdini Dog?
Sometimes, even the strongest and best crates can let you down. So, you’ll need a few tips and tricks to make your dog’s kennel absolutely escape-proof.
A few tried and tested techniques for holding Houdini hounds in check include:
Watch Your Dog!
Before you can take steps to prevent your dog from escaping, you need to know how he’s getting loose from his crate.
Most dogs don’t choose to escape right in front of their owners, preferring to wait until the coast is clear before making a break for freedom. So, you’ll need to set up a webcam or some other kind of camera to record the event. Once you’ve caught your canine in the act of breaking out, you can take action.
Reinforce Crate Seams
If your dog is forcing his way out of his crate by pushing apart the seams, you might find using carabiners or some other kind of metal hardware is the most effective method of reinforcing the crate.
Don’t use plastic zip ties, rope, or tape, as a determined dog will quickly gnaw his way through that.
Dogs often get bored very quickly, and if your dog is frustrated, he will quickly try to escape from his crate to go in search of something interesting and entertaining. Consider leaving a favorite toy with your dog in the crate that he can play with or cuddle up to. That might be all it takes to dissuade your pet from escaping.
Just be sure that the toy you choose is safe and can’t be destroyed and swallowed by your dog.
Exercise Your Pet First
All dogs need plenty of exercise. If your pet is full of energy, he will not settle in the crate and is more likely to try to escape.
Try taking your dog for a long walk or indulging in a game of tug of war or fetch in your backyard before you put him in his crate. With a bit of luck, your precious pet will simply go to sleep in your absence rather than attempting to break out.
Relocation, Relocation, Relocation
The location of your dog’s crate can sometimes influence his escape attempts.
For example, if the crate is placed near a window where the dog can see passers-by and other dogs, he might be more likely to try to escape so that he can join them. That’s especially common in dogs that suffer from separation anxiety. If you move the crate so that the dog can’t see or hear what’s going on outside, he might be more likely to settle down.
That said, if a dog suffers from severe separation anxiety and you put his crate out of sight of people, your pet might become even more stressed and likely to try to escape. So, the best crate placement really depends on your pet’s individual personality.
Keep Your Pet Comfortable
As we’ve already mentioned, you want to keep the crate floor clean for hygiene reasons. However, your dog also wants to be comfortable and warm. So, unless the crate has a comfortable floor, you’ll need to provide him with a cozy bed.
7 Best Heavy Duty Dog Crates For Escape Artists
Now, here are our reviews of seven of the best heavy-duty dog crates for escape artists that are currently on the market.
1. ECOFLEX Dog Crate
Dual use pet crate and end table
20-pound weight capacity
Strong, well-built dog crate
If you have a small dog that likes to get out of his crate, this ECOFLEX dog crate is a stylish way to house your pet that will keep him confined.
ECOFLEX is a unique, non-toxic polymer composite material made from recycled plastic wood. The material doesn’t split, crack, or warp and is resistant to the most determined chewer. The spindles are made of stainless steel tubing, providing excellent ventilation for your dog, as well as keeping the crate secure.
Stainless steel double latches keep the crate doors securely locked shut, foiling the most determined escape artist. You don’t need any tools to assemble the crate, and it’s very straightforward to put together.
- Heavy-duty crate for dogs up to 20 pounds
- Can be used as an end-table
- Decorative wood crate
- Excellent ventilation
- Easy, wipe-clean surfaces
- Not as sturdy as other heavy-duty crates
2. MIM Safe Variocage
Crash-tested metal crate for safety
Available in several different sizes
Durable, anti-corrosion material
The MIM Safe Variocage is definitely a heavy-duty, durable crate, and it’s pretty secure too. This durable metal crate is crash-tested by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as per their guidelines and recommendations. That makes this an excellent choice for road trips.
You can buy this indestructible dog crate in several different sizes to accommodate most dogs breeds. You can use the crate at home or when you and your canine chum are on your travels, as it’s reasonably portable and will fit into most family cars and trucks. For safety, the crate has an emergency escape hatch.
- Several different sizes are available, including extra-large dog crates
- Crash-tested crate for safety, so an excellent choice for travel
- Features a handy emergency escape hatch
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- Excellent ventilation
- The kennel is pretty heavy, so portability is an issue unless you have help
3. LUCKUP Heavy-Duty Metal Dog Crate For Large Dogs
Suitable for large dogs
Strong, robust kennel
The LUCKUP Heavy-Duty dog crate is designed and built with large dogs in mind and is almost completely escape-proof.
The metal crate is finished in silvered black crackle for a smart look that works well both at home and away. The heavy-duty, expertly crafted crate has a dual-door design that’s fitted with robust safety latches and secure locks that will foil even the most experienced, determined four-legged felon. The kennel design incorporates excellent airflow to keep your dog comfortable in hot weather.
Since this is quite a heavy metal crate, the manufacturer has fitted it with 360-degree lockable wheels for easier portability. Cleaning the crate is easy, thanks to a detachable tray, and a hardware pack is included with the kennel that has all the things you need for easy assembly.
- Perfect for XL dogs
- Sturdy and durable metal kennel
- Secure dual-door design fitted with non-tamper latch locks
- 360-degree lockable wheels for excellent portability
- Removable composite plastic tray for hassle-free cleanup
- Quick and simple assembly without the need for additional tools
- Expensive but definitely worth the money
4. Pet Gear The Other Door Tan & Black Steel Dog Crate
For pets up to 90-pound
Easily accommodates giant breeds
Insulated base is durable and does not crack in cold weather
This crate from Pet Gear is built from extremely strong blow-molded plastic that’s reinforced by steel inserts that will prevent even the most determined Houdini safely confined to barracks.
For the safety of your pet, your home, and visitors, the crate has rounded, smooth corners. Unlike most escape-proof dog crates, this one has four doors, enabling you to easily load and unload your dog and get to him in the event of an emergency situation. The crate has been designed incorporating fully integrated casters and a pull-handle feature. Escape artists will be kept securely contained in the crate, thanks to the secure locking system.
As an added bonus, for your pet’s comfort, you get a useful storage bag and a snug fleece crate pad included with the price.
5. Zinger Winger PR4000
Lightweight but strong
Flush-mounted slam latch security system
Silver hammer powder coating finish
The Zinger Winger PR4000 dog crate can be used at home and on the road and is one of the best-rated crates on the market.
The classic bar design style metal crate is finished with a silver hammer powder coating for a stylish look that’s great for any room in your home. The crate can also be used outside, thanks to the weatherproof finish. Despite its substance and strength, the crate is made from aluminum, so the crate is deceptively lightweight and easy to move around or lift in and out of your car when necessary. Actually, the Zinger Winger PR4000 is just one-third of the weight of a steel crate.
All the hardware used to build the crate is Houdini-proof, as well as being reassuringly corrosion-resistant.
- Excellent heavy-duty for safe and secure transport
- Attractive silvered finish
- Lightweight, portable aluminum dog crate
- Expensive but well worth the money
6. ProSelect Empire Cages
High-grade hammerstone finish
Paired door latch design locks
The ProSelect Empire Dog Cage is marketed as being virtually indestructible. In fact, the manufacturer claims that the crate is virtually escape-proof and is one of the strongest crates on the market.
The crate is made using thick steel tubing, paired door latches, and heavy-duty welds that even the strongest dog won’t break his way through. The crate looks good as well as being built to last, thanks to the durable hammerstone finish.
For easy portability, the crate has four wheels, two of which can be locked to prevent the crate from moving around if containing a boisterous dog. If you don’t plan on moving the crate, the casters can be removed. Also, the crate floor is grated, and there’s a removable tray underneath to catch any waste, enabling you to clean up spills and accidents quickly and easily.
- Virtually indestructible and escape-proof
- Has four wheels for easy portability
- Grated floor and removable tray for easy cleanup
- Some super-tough pups might manage to escape
7. Confote Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel & Metal Dog Cage
Safe, secure, and escape-proof
Wheels for easy portability
The Confote metal dog cage is built from stainless steel for longevity and strength.
The crate is constructed using strong welds to keep even the most boisterous dog in check. The kennel is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, being corrosion and rust-proof, and its finish is also resistant to scuffs and scratches. All the materials used to build the crate are non-toxic and safe for your dog.
The crate has a double-door system, enabling you to get your dog in and out of the top and front of the crate, and the 360-degree rotating casters are lockable so that you can move the crate when you need to but keep it stable, too.
The crate has a removable, slide-out plastic tray that catches dropped food and waste, making cleanup hassle-free and easy. Assembly is easy, as the crate comes with all the tools you need, taking between three and five minutes to put together.
- Double-door entry system for easy access
- Robust and strong build
- Removable tray for easy cleanup
- Expensive compared to other similar crates
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best heavy-duty, escape-proof dog crates. If you found our article helpful and informative, please take a few moments to share.
Of the products we reviewed, our favorite heavy-duty dog crate that we recommend without hesitation is the Zinger Winger PR4000 dog crate. The crate looks very smart, thanks to its silver finish, and the aluminum construction is strong but lightweight, too, so the crate is portable and easy to manhandle. The crate is weatherproof, so you can use it outdoors and indoors. You can even put the crate into the flatbed of a truck to transport your pet without worrying that your furry friend will get wet or escape.
Which of the heavy-duty dog crates for hairy Houdinis that we featured here did you like the best? Tell us in the comments box below.