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Heavy duty dog crates are designed specifically for dogs that are master escape artists - perhaps like some Shiba Inus you know.

These types of dogs will stop at nothing to break free and clear of the crate that is intended to keep them safe.

While most dogs can be housed in a standard crate without getting into trouble—or breaking loose - escape artist dogs need heavier duty crates to keep them safe.

Sometimes escaping dogs have underlying anxiety issues such as separation anxiety that need to be properly addressed. Often times, once these anxiety issues are corrected, the urge for escaping decreases in dogs.

Heavy duty dog crates are made from resilient materials, special locks, and other mechanisms to keep your escape artist dog safe inside.

However, with the influx of heavy duty dog crates on the market, you might be having a hard time deciding which is the best.

Here is a quick guide to help you decide which heavy duty crate suit your needs the best.

french bulldog in jail

How Dogs Escape from Standard Crates

Before discussing what heavy crates are and how they work, it is essential to understand why conventional crates don't do their job.

It’s not solely because you have a genius dog on your hands.

Part of the blame is in the weak construction of many standard crates.

While there are plenty of ways a dog can manipulate a crate to break free, here are the following three methods most dogs use to spring themselves loose:

1. Chewing on Weak Spots

Standard wire crates use frail plastic or metal connections to keep the sides together and to mount the door.

Many dogs seem to be able to target these weak points, chew through the plastic or metal, then burst out through the weakened space.

2. Manipulating Latches

For a dog brainiac, fumbling with a latch and eventually figuring out how to open the door with little effort is as easy as learning how to dance.

Okay, actually, it might even be easier than dancing for them. In other words, a simple lift and release latch isn’t going to last long against an observant and sly dog.

3. Muscling Through

Many dogs, regardless of their size, can simply use brute force to break through a cheap cage. Sometimes, it might take a little bit of chewing, but eventually they can get their head through—and from there, all it takes is a little push.

Your dog might be escaping by using a combination of these three top methods.

If you’re curious, you can always record them escaping from the standard crate if it hasn’t been completely totaled by the most recent attempt to understand what is happening. Once you know which route your dog is taking to break free, you can purchase a crate that has fortifications in the right place.

Husky Easily Manipulating a Flimsy Standard Metal Crate:

Quick Look: Our 2 Fave Heavy Duty Dog Crates:

What is a Heavy Duty Dog Crate?

You’re probably convinced that there is no crate that can hold your escape artist dog, but don't lose hope.

Heavy duty crates are on an entirely other level of security, despite how similar they look to a conventional dog crate.

One of the most important differences in heavy duty dog crates are the materials they are made of. 

Instead of plastic, these crates are typically constructed out of reinforced metal.

Some have sheet metal walls. Others have metal bars.

Because these materials can make heavy duty crates heavy and cumbersome, an ideal model will have locking casters to help both move the crate and secure it in place while your dog moves around.

Heavy duty dog crates can be expensive.

Very, very expensive.

Most crates start at around a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand dollars.

It's up to you to assess your situation and decide if this type of crate is necessary for your situation.

What to Look For When Purchasing a Heavy Duty Crate

There are a couple of things you need to look for when purchasing a heavy duty crate.

Some features should be mandatory, because they increase the strength and resilience of the crate. 

Others are nice to have but not essential.

When browsing heavy duty dog crates, look for the following characteristics:

1. Made from Durable Materials

Any heavy duty crate worth its salt with be constructed of metal.

While a flimsy metal cage might dissuade a calmer dog from doing any damage, those with the urge to escape or suffering from separation anxiety are going to burst through weak crates as if it was made of paper.

While not every metal crate is completely escape-proof, the heavier the metal, the better.

A decent metal would be aluminum or steel. There should be no plastic in the crate save for the flooring.

Other important things to keep in made is the grade of the metal.

For example, some crates might advertise military-grade latches and welded, no rust rivets. This ensures the crate will last a number of years, even with wear and tear.

2. Devoid of Sharp Surfaces

Since heavy duty dog crates like to use industrial-grade hardware, including metal screws, nuts, and bolts, any unguarded section where this hardware can be found poses a potential threat to your dog.

Make sure the internal space where your dog is going to be doesn’t have an uneven, sharp surfaces.

3. Ventilation

A good crate will never reduce ventilation in the name of security.

Poorly ventilated crates will be uncomfortable, damp, and cause bacterial growth—which is bad for the health of your furry companion. 

Always ensure there is adequate ventilation, especially when you are choosing solid (ventilated) walls over bars and wiring.

4. Windows

Although the heavy duty crate should be like Alcatraz for your doge, you don’t want them to feel like they have been placed in prison either.

Therefore, even if you are choosing a solid wall design, select something that allows your dog to still be within the space and not disconnected from what is going on.

This will help make your dog feel more secure and calm.

5. Easy to Assemble

Though it is mainly convenience for you, the owner, you should keep in mind the difficulty of putting a crate together.

Many heavy duty crates come to you in pieces because of the overall weight and size. An easy to assemble model might not be as tough as something that requires hammers and drilling to fully assemble. Keep this, and your toolbox, in mind.

6. Latches

As mentioned above in the material section, you want to pay special attention to the type of latches that are on the crate.

Escape artist dogs usually have no problem solving a simple barrel lock.

Choose something that is impossible for them to figure out, even if that means putting a padlock on the door.

The best option, however, is the high-tech slam latch, which engages automatically when the door shuts.

heavy duty dog crate features

Other Considerations When Purchasing a Heavy Duty Dog Crate

Sometimes, part of the reason your dog wants to escape the crate so badly is because they are bored. 

No crate, regardless of how heavy duty it is, can hold up long against a bored and / or anxious dog.

Therefore, you should always attempt to fortify the crate’s latches and connections with metal carabiners and other reinforcements.

Put the crate somewhere that will engage your dog, such as on a porch with lots of windows or where people can be within sight.

Also don’t forget to spend plenty of time playing with your dog so they are tuckered out and less willing to expend more energy to escape.

Additionally, if your dog is suffering from anxiety, ask your vet or dog trainer for tips and advice.

Final Thoughts

Has your dog confounded you again and again by breaking free of standard crates? 

Now is the time to try out an industrial crate. The construction of a heavy duty crate can deter your Houdini doge from busting free.

Aim for more robust materials, decent latches and locks, and appropriate ventilation.

While heavy duty dog crates are a big investment, the peace of mind knowing your dog is safe and secure is well worth the cost.

ProSelect Empire Dog Crate

The ProSelect Empire heavy duty metal dog crate is our top choice in tough dog crates due to it's sturdy construction and price point.

Most dogs that have severe crate anxiety and escape tendencies will meet their match with this crate. 

While it's not the most heavy duty crate available on the market, in most cases it's the perfect fit for dogs with escape issues.

The crate is constructed of tough 20 gauge steel and reinforced with 0.5-inch diameter steel tubes.

Dual latches are used to ensure that even the most skilled escape artists won't have an easy time opening this crate from the inside. The design of this crate will also allow you to add an additional lock to the crate if necessary. 

This ProSelect crate also has removable casters to make transporting this crate manageable. 

Additionally, this crate has a removable bottom tray which makes cleaning easier.

The Proselect large heavy duty dog crate will fit most dogs under 80 pounds, while the medium will accommodate dogs under 45 pounds. 

However it's important to take measurements before ordering. Some dogs in the same weight category are tall and lean while other dog breeds may be short and compact.

Check the availability and latest price of the ProSelect Empire heavy duty metal dog crate here.

Grain Valley Dog Collapsible Durable Aluminum Dog Crate

The Grain Valley dog crate is designed for a top level escape artist dog type.

It's for the dog's that possess brute strength and skills like no others.

The Grain Valley dog crate is constructed out of heavy-duty aluminum with a rust-resistant powder coating. The crate also is reinforced with 3/8" bars along with welded cross bars for additional stability.

It features crush-proof corners, welded "no-rust" rivets and marine grade stainless steel "slam latch" latches.

Slam latch latches are great for dogs that good at figuring out how to open locks and latches. With slam latches, you can just slam the door shut without having to worry about locking.

A great feature of this U.S. made crate is it that it collapses to a height of less than eight inches making transporting it much easier.

Additionally, this crate is fully IATA (air transport) compliant and has airline rail storage slots.

The crate features good 4-sided ventilation that allows superior air flow throughout the crate. The materials and coatings of this crate is also 100% dog safe with no harmful toxins, dyes, or chemicals.

Check the availability and latest price of the Grain Valley Collapsible heavy duty dog crate here.

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