When I chose my German Shepherd puppy, my breeder recommended I get a crate as well as a good dog bed. But there are so many different types and sizes of dog crates you can buy, how do you know which one is the best for your German Shepherd?
The best dog crate for German Shepherds is the MidWest Homes for Pets Dog iCrate as it’s strong, durable, and ideal for large dogs. This “all-inclusive” crate has everything you need as it includes a convenient divider panel and a removable plastic tray. A size 48″ crate is best for your GSD.
Purchasing a dog crate was one of the best decisions I ever made as my German Shepherd loved it from the day I brought her home. She slept in it the very first night and I began crate training her the next day.
This is my review of the Midwest Homes for Pets iCrate from Amazon. Find out why it’s my favorite pick!
Let’s get started.
Why I Picked the Midwest Homes for Pets iCrate
There’s no need to spend a fortune on a dog crate for your German Shepherd but if you’re not careful you can end up spending more than you budgeted for if you add on various accessories.
Don’t worry though as this stylish dog crate has everything you need to get started for around $80. Although the Midwest Homes for Pets Dog iCrate is an all-inclusive product, I do recommend a good quality crate pad to go with it, but more on that later.
Here are the many reasons why I chose this crate as the best dog crate for my German Shepherd:
- This crate has all the features you need to get started so there are no hidden extras to buy. It is perfect from puppyhood to adulthood.
- It is nice and secure with two slide-bolt latches on the door(s) to keep your German Shepherd safe. Rounded corners make the crate safe, especially if you have children or other pets.
- It comes with a handy divider panel to adjust the size of your crate so your German Shepherd can grow with it. You definitely need to segregate your crate when house training as puppies don’t like to poop where they sleep – they will do this if the crate is too large!
- A dog tray is included which is easy to slide out and wipe clean. It is secured to the crate to prevent any accidents from spilling.
- There is a choice of a double door or single door option. I like the double door as it’s great for easy access to your German Shepherd and gives you more options on where to place the crate in your home.
- Also included are 4 roller feet which are handy especially if you have hardwood flooring as they will prevent your floor from getting scratched.
- The crate is quick and simple to assemble and folds down flat for easy storage and travel. No tools are needed to set it up and it includes comfortable plastic carrying handles.
- There is an option of two other colors, pink and blue.
- You can buy various accessory kits such as covers and bowls that snap onto the side of the crate so your GSD can’t knock over his water bowl.
- The iCrate comes with a 1-year warranty.
What to Look For in a Dog Crate
You would think there’s not much in choosing the best crate for your German Shepherd. Wrong!
Here are the main features you should consider when choosing the best crate for your GSD:
- Size. Your dog’s crate should be large enough for your GSD to comfortably stand, turn round, and lie down on his side with outstretched paws. Make sure you choose a size 48″ which is just right for your German Shepherd to grow in to.
- Durability. You need a sturdy metal crate for a strong dog such as the German Shepherd. Make sure the edges are nicely rounded for safety, especially if you have small children. Don’t buy a soft-sided crate as these are only good if you travel a lot with your dog.
- Style. Choose a double door variety that provides versatility so you can put it anywhere in your home. However, opt for a single door if you already know where you are going to put it. This will also save you a few dollars.
- Accessories. An adjustable divider is recommended whilst your German Shepherd pup is growing. You don’t want a crate that is too big for your puppy as he may be tempted to use half of it as a toilet! If you divide off the crate when he is small, he won’t want to pee or poop in his area. Your crate should also come with an easy-clean removable plastic tray.
- Easy Assembly and Portable. Choose a crate that you can quickly set up without needing any tools. It needs to be able to fold flat and has a carrying handle so you can move it around. Some dog crates have roller feet that prevent your hard floor from scratches.
Buying a crate such as the all-inclusive iCrate for your German Shepherd is the easy part, but it’s more important to have a quality crate pad or mattress. Find out why in the next section.
Best Crate Pad for German Shepherds
When I bought my first crate for my German Shepherd I chose a crate mat to go with it which was no thicker than a bath mat or towel! I wish I had known at the time how important it was to protect my dog’s joints instead of leaving her on a hard and jarring surface such as the base of a crate. So, what is the best crate pad for German Shepherds?
The best crate pad for German Shepherds is the Big Barker 4″ Orthopedic crate pad. The deep multi-layered foam provides the extra support needed to protect your dog’s joints especially as GSDs are prone to hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. This pad thoroughly cushions your dog’s hips and elbows from the hard metal and plastic underneath him.
This top-quality crate pad is specially engineered for large breed dogs such as the German Shepherd. It’s a 4-inch deep real mattress that not only protects your GSDs joints from pain and discomfort but also helps to prevent all those nasty mobility conditions.
It is also a great compliment to the Big Barker Dog Bed and it’s just as superb for exactly the same reason – it’s clinically proven to reduce joint pain and stiffness of large breed dogs that are prone to arthritis or hip dysplasia.
The University of Pennsylvania conducted this recent scientific study to establish if Big Barker dog beds could improve the quality of life in large dogs who were tormented by the pain and discomfort of arthritis. The dogs evaluated were at least 3 years old and weighed over 70lbs (31.75kg).
The results were quite conclusive in that Big Barker products reduced pain severity by 21.6% and joint stiffness by 12.5%. Joint function was also improved by 17.6%. You can find out tons more on the Big Barker dog bed in my review here.
Just like the bed, the Big Barker crate pad is also made from the same CertiPUR US® certified therapeutic foam.
This high-quality crate pad is comfy enough for you to sleep on as it’s like a real human mattress. So, that’s why it’s the best crate pad for German Shepherds!
The extra-large size pad will fit just perfectly inside the 48″ crate I recommended above.
Is the Big Barker Crate Pad Worth It?
Okay, onto the nasty part! The Big Barker orthopedic crate pad is not cheap and will set you back around $160. So, is it worth the cost?
I think the Big Barker crate pad is well worth the cost as it helps to prevent your German Shepherd from suffering the pain and misery of joint and mobility issues.
Many German Shepherds never outgrow their crates. As this is a luxury product, it is engineered to last your dog his lifetime, making it a one-time purchase.
Big Barker products are guaranteed to protect your German Shepherd for 10 years. That works out at just $16 per year! So, what’s the point in buying cheap crate mats that need to be constantly replaced? No doubt you will end up spending a lot more in the long run on thin crate mats that provide your German Shepherd zero protection!
German Shepherds are also prone to separation anxiety. When you leave your GSD alone in his crate for a few hours at least you can relax knowing he is nice and comfy while you are away.
What to Look For in a Dog Crate Pad
When choosing the best crate pad for your German Shepherd, there are some important things to look for:
- Comfort. Choose a pad that actually has some padding and that will provide comfort and lots of support. You don’t want one of those typical crate mats with the bolsters around the sides. They are so thin that your German Shepherd will be able to feel the hard metal and plastic underneath. This can provide lots of discomfort and actually harm his joints. The pad also needs to be made of a material that ensures your GSD does not get too hot or cold.
- Thickness. Young pups and even older dogs sleep a lot so you need a pad with several inches of foam if they are going to be spending a few hours sleeping in their crate. The Big Barker crate pad is 4 inches deep and will not flatten over time. It’s made from the same premium orthopedic American foam as the bed which protects joints from pain, dysplasia, or arthritis.
- Durability. Your crate pad needs to be strong to withstand natural puppy behavior such as nesting or digging. Ideally, it should be tear-resistant and well-made. The Big Barker is made with furniture grade Cordura. There is no such thing as a chew-proof pad but this one is the closest you can get. Make sure your GSD is well exercised before crating him and leave a variety of chew toys to keep him busy!
- Waterproof. Choose a mattress that is 100% waterproof to protect against potty training accidents. Any mess will simply wipe off.
- Fit. Make sure the crate pad you buy fits snuggly inside your German Shepherd’s crate. It should fit just inside the edge of the plastic tray and not go all the way to the crate sides. This is to ensure any accidents stay on the tray which can then be easily removed for cleaning. For the recommended size 48 x 30 x 33 inch crate, if you opt for the Big Barker crate pad, you will need to get the extra-large size (pad dimensions: 44.8″ x 27″ x 4″).
- Washable. Just like a stinky dog bed, there’s nothing worst than the smell of a stinky dog crate mat! Choose one that is easy to clean, preferably with removable covers that you can just throw in the washing machine. The Big Barker crate pad cover unzips for easy removal and is machine washable.
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