Kennel covers are important dog products to have whether your dog has an outdoor kennel or an indoor dog crate. At times every dog needs to be confined to a kennel or crate, and whether you're traveling, leaving your pet at home for long periods of time, or you choose to have your pet live in an outdoor kennel all the time, you want him to be safe and comfortable.
Obviously, covers on outdoor kennels will keep your pet safe from the elements, but covers on indoor kennels and crates are just as important. A cover on an indoor dog kennel or crate imitates the den used by our dogs’ ancestors for shelter and protection. In an uncovered kennel or crate, your dog may feel vulnerable and anxious; this is simply not what their instincts dictate is right.
When your Fido's crate is uncovered, he is confined but not hidden, as his genetic make-up tells him he must be.
One way to alleviate your dog’s anxiety, as well as to protect and control him, is to create that den-like atmosphere with a kennel cover. It may make your dog nervous in the beginning, so you'll have to take the proper steps to get him used to having his dog crate covered, but once you do, he will be comfortable and content in his den-like sanctuary.
It's actually very easy to get your dog used to a crate cover. Simply put the cover on for a short period of time, maybe just a few minutes, and then take it off. Everyday leave it on for longer periods of time, and before you know it your dog will love being in a covered crate. This is all about getting your Fido used to the cover being there.
If your dog has to spend a lot of time outside, or you choose to have him live outside all the time, you need to be extra cautious of his safety. Dogs should never be chained or tethered in any way.
In fact, in July of 1996 the United States Department of Agriculture issued a statement in the Federal Register against tethering:
“Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog's movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog's shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog's movement and potentially causing injury.”
If you absolutely must keep your dog outside, you should have a fence in the yard, or an outdoor playpen or a kennel that allows the canine plenty of space while keeping him safe all at the same time. Outdoor kennels are also a good idea for dogs that cannot be contained by regular fencing. If your pet jumps over or digs under traditional fencing, an outdoor kennel may be the best option for him.
Whether you need to keep your dog in an indoor crate or kennel, or your pooch requires an outdoor kenneled space, covering this area is an essential part of keeping your Fido safe and comfortable. Selecting the right cover will take some research, but it will certainly be well worth your efforts.
How to choose the right dog kennel cover
The type of kennel cover that you choose will depend on whether your dog has an indoor or outdoor kennel.
You will also have to decide what material you want it to be made from, whether or not you want it to be easily removable (for traveling purposes), and in some cases what color or design you would like it to be.
Indoor kennel and crate covers
Most indoor kennels and crates are constructed from wire or plastic.
Plastic kennels usually have solid walls except for ventilation holes and the door, which is typically made of wire. The material and construction of the kennel itself creates a den for the dog, but there are still lights, sounds, smells, and other stimuli that will enter the kennel through these small openings and may disturb your pet.
Quite the opposite, kennels with wire sides and tops are very open and can create a lot of stress and anxiety for your pet, especially while traveling or when in a new place. A cover for these types of dog crates will help your dog feel more comfortable and ultimately lead to a happier life of a pet.
RELATED: Five best dog crates for traveling
There are many different types and styles of kennel covers available for dog owners who prefer a variety of choices. There are also some important considerations to keep in mind when purchasing one.
For example, will your kennel be set up in one place in your house and rarely moved? Or do you intend to break it down to take with you while traveling? The cover on a mobile kennel should be made from sturdy material that is simple to put on and take off and doesn’t tear easily, all of which limit the available options.
Your choices in kennel covers may be limited if your kennel is one you intend to break down often. However, if your kennel is stationary or will be moved from room to room infrequently, your options will broaden.
Kennel covers should be aesthetically pleasing
Kennel covers can be made of almost anything, including that old, torn blanket you took with you on camping trips.
However, to properly socialize a puppy or to confine an adult dog without making the pet feel as if he’s being separated from his “pack,” a kennel usually needs to be placed in a well traveled area of the house. A kennel cover made from worn out sheets, towels, pillowcases and blankets is probably not the image you want to project to your guests, too.
Likewise, while traveling you probably don't want everyone you come in contact with to see the old ratty kennel cover that you made out of last year's sheets or blankets. Kennel covers are not outrageously expensive and since they don't suffer a lot of wear and tear, they typically will last as long as your kennel does. Unlike many other dog supplies, spending a little extra on a dog crate cover in the beginning will pay off in the long run.
When discussing how to choose the right dog kennel cover it may sound silly to say that you need to make sure it matches your homes décor. Think about where you are going to put your kennel. What is the room used for? Who are the most common visitors? Will your pooch enjoy staying within that room?
If your dog kennel is in a more formal room, consider a cover made of linen or the like in a subtle color that coordinates with your furnishings. The kennel cover in your den could be made from a sturdier fabric with a color and pattern designed to complement the rest of the room. Most dog owners will want the kennel cover to blend in with its surroundings, not stand out because it doesn’t fit in with the room’s color and decor.
Similarly, there are many different materials from which kennel covers are made, including wood, plastic, bamboo and fabric.
There are wire and wood kennel covers that can make the dog crate look like a piece of furniture, an end table or coffee table for example, which will fit with the style of most rooms. A good example is the popular Merry Products Cage with Crate Cover Set.
These types (such as above) of wooden or plastic kennel covers are great, but they are more expensive and not nearly as versatile as fabric covers. For instance, if you want a kennel cover that completely envelops the visible sides of the pet crate, all four sides and its top, you may need a cover made from a lighter fabric or with a looser weave so there is some diffused light in the kennel and your pup isn't left in the dark.
Quick Tip: There are do-it-yourself patterns available, and if you’re handy with a needle and thread or a hammer and nails, you can make an attractive kennel cover all by yourself.
Most fabric kennel covers can be washed and dried and are available in a variety of materials, colors and patterns. You can find fabric kennel covers to match almost any décor. And don’t forget the padding for the inside of the kennel. Matching padding is available with most covers and not only will it give your dog crate a more polished look, but it will keep your pooch comfortable and happy.
Some kennel covers have sides that roll up to form an attractive edge around the top of the kennel. Some can be parted and tied back like curtains. Some have pockets on the outside for storage and others have ties and supports for food dishes and water dispensers. Some of these amenities you will need, and others you can choose simply based on your aesthetic preferences.
Outdoor kennel covers
If your dog has an outdoor pet crate, making sure it has a cover is important, especially if he's going to be outside most of the time, or for long periods of time while no one is home.
Even if your dog has a dog house in their outdoor kennel, the kennel still needs to be covered. Without a cover, the elements can still affect your dog, even if he is inside his dog house.
Like indoor kennel covers, outdoor covers are manufactured from many different materials, some thicker than others. Make sure that the cover you select will hold up to the common weather elements where you live. For example, if you live in New England, the outdoor kennel cover you choose should be strong enough to hold up the snow that your area will undoubtedly get in the winter.
Likewise, in southern areas, you should get a cover that will repel the sun and protect your pet from the heat. If the sun is beating down on your Fido's dog house, it will essentially turn your pet's home into a low grade oven. The shade provided by a kennel cover could save your dog's life in an instance like this.
The little bit of shade that the cover provides will keep your dog from overheating in the summer's sun and allow your dog to stay cool.
Color and appearance are solely up to you when it comes to choosing an outdoor kennel cover. Some covers have pitched roofs and others are flat. They are made from many different materials and come in a wide variety of colors.
As long as you know the material will hold up well in the weather conditions in your area, the aesthetic appearance of the kennel cover is your personal preference. You may want to choose one that matches the colors and décor of your yard, or simply go for the cheapest one.
What else to consider when choosing a dog kennel cover
Price is a big factor for most of us and it's no exception with kennel covers. These dog crate covers are available in all price ranges, and they differ depending on whether you're buying a cover for an indoor or outdoor kennel, what material it is made out of, what size it is and its design type.
You can find extremely cheap kennel covers online for less than $20, but you're not getting much. The material will be thin and the cover itself will be poorly made. Chances are that you or your dog will rip the cover in no time or the seams may not be sturdy and will break quickly. Spending a little extra on a kennel cover will mean a huge difference in quality and you will probably have the cover for as long as you have the kennel.
I've saved the most important consideration, and possibly the most obvious one, for last. Make sure the kennel cover fits. Most dog kennels come in standard sizes for small, medium, and large dog breeds, but yours may not be a standard size. Measure, measure and then measure one more time before making the final decision.
Compare the dimensions of your kennel with the cover you want to purchase and measure again. Make sure the openings in the cover and the openings in the kennel match. Don't just measure the size of the kennel, but measure all the doors as well. You don't want to have to take your kennel cover completely off in order to put your dog in it or take him out. This process must remain simple.
Shopping for kennel covers is easy as long as you know what size you need. You really can't be too sure when it comes to measurements, so be absolutely positive that you've measured multiple times. I really can't stress enough how important that is. Because every kennel is different and every cover is as well, you need to be sure that the dimensions of your kennel will line up correctly with the cover that you purchase.