Dog crates are useful for providing a safe place, housetraining, and restricting activity in case of surgery or injury. Many people use crates for safety when they leave the house or while traveling with their dogs. If you have multiple dogs and not a lot of space, however, crates can be difficult to utilize. Stacking your crates will give you twice as much crating room in half the floor space. Crates must be stacked safely and securely, however, or you risk causing damage to your home or injury to your dogs.
Things You'll Need
- Dog crates
- Plywood or 2 x 4 boards
- Bungee cords, cable ties, or ratcheting tie-downs
Purchase sturdy crates appropriate for the sizes of your dogs. You may opt for crates made of hard plastic, metal, or thick-gauge wire. There are some crates made of wood, but these are generally not suitable for stacking, although the sturdier ones might be fine as the bottom crate. In a car or van, wire crates are preferred as they allow the best air flow. Some crates are specifically made to be stacked. These are usually made of wire or metal.
Choose a safe area for the crates. The floor beneath the crate should be solid and well-supported. There should be adequate clear space around the crates, at the top and on all sides, so the dog can't reach through and pull on any items that would pose a hazard. Watch out for rugs, blankets, electrical cords or outlets, and cords for curtains or blinds. In vehicles, seatbelts should be kept away from the crates.
Stack the crates. Larger and heavier crates go on the bottom, smaller and lighter crates on the top. If you're stacking the crates for more than a temporary period, insert something between them to add strength and distribute the weight more evenly. You could use a piece of plywood or a few lengths of 2 x 4 placed across the width. Check the floor of the upper crate regularly for cracks or breaking. Spilled water, urine, or other fluids can leak through these cracks into the crate below. If you have crates designed for stacking, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Secure the crates if necessary. If your crates are not made for stacking, they should be secured to prevent slipping as the dogs get in and out. This is especially important in a car or van since the crates may also move with stops, starts, turns or corners. Bungee cords or cable ties are generally suitable for use in the home. Be sure the hook ends and excess ties point outside of the crate to avoid injury to the dog. For stacked crates in a vehicle, ratcheting tie-downs might be a better option.
Tips & Warnings
- Be sure your dogs are comfortable with stacked crates before making them permanent. The dog on the bottom may be afraid of having something over her head, while the dog in the upper crate might have a hard time getting in and out of the enclosure.
- Plastic crate pans are quieter than metal. You can get a thin layer of foam to put underneath the pan to muffle noise and minimize cracking.
- Caught toes can be a problem with upper crates, so watch your dog when he's getting in and out of the crate and help him the first several times.
- Young puppies should not be jumping out of crates onto hard floors, as this can damage their growing bones and joints. Lift your puppy out of the upper crate until he is at least a year old, if possible.
- Some laws are specific about crating conditions. Be sure your state, county, or city don't have laws prohibiting stacked crates.