Dog crates are fantastic tools. Not only can they help you to keep your dog out of trouble, but they can also be incredibly useful for training and safety purposes. If you are the kind of dog owner who wants to take his or her dog on the go, it’s also nice to know that many dog cages can be collapsed and brought with you on the road. To do that, though, you’ll need to know how to fold a dog crate.
The good news is that it doesn’t take an engineer to figure out how to collapse your crate for transit. It is, however, very important that you know which general type of crate you have so that you can get your crate folded properly and ready to go. Fortunately, this guide can help you to learn how to pack away and store the most common types of dog crates.
Start with Identification
The first step in your journey to fold a dog crate is basic identification. There are actually many different types of dog crates out there, some of which are meant for specific sizes of dogs while others are designed to deal with specific types of security concerns. What’s important, though, is that you are able to identify whether your crate folds into one of the three major categories—folding wire crates, plastic crates, or soft-sided dog crates.
The folding wire crate or the collapsible dog crate is perhaps the most common type of dog crate. It is the big, generally black, crate that the majority of dog owners use to train and house their pets and they can be found at virtually any pet store. These crates combine size with ventilation, allowing your pet to rest comfortably while still giving him or her the ability to breathe easily and see what is going on around him or her.
The next type of dog crate is the plastic dog crate. Generally made to medium-to-tiny dogs, these crates are made out of plastic rather than metal and tend to be designed with moving around in mind. Many of these crates tend to have a handle on top and a single, front-facing wire door on the front. These crates don’t tend to have the same kind of ventilation as the more common wired crates, but they tend to be preferred for those dogs who love a place to hide or need a little more privacy when they are on the road. These are the best travel dog crates.
The soft-sided dog crate is the newest kind of dog crate, as well as the most fragile. These crates tend to be made of canvas or nylon and are almost always intended for smaller, calmer dogs. These lightweight crates are designed for those dogs who have already been crate-trained  and who are used to traveling. You will typically see this type of crate at airports being used for dogs who are traveling with their human companions, but they are also commonly seen among those who might be on the road and only need temporary accommodations for their pets.
It should probably be noted that there is a fourth type of dog crate, though you’re almost certainly not going to bring one of these on the road. The so-called heavy duty dog crate is meant to provide security for bigger, more destructive dogs and is therefore made of materials that are incredibly hard for even the biggest of dogs to destroy. It should be noted that these crates are actually intended to be housing for bigger dogs, especially for those who need a little bit of extra safety put between them and humans—these are typically large dog crates. You won’t generally find yourself folding one of these crates, though there are some models that can be put away when necessary.
Finally, there are the furniture dog crates. These crates are designed to fit in with your furniture and double as a dog crate at the same time. Most tend to look like a table, though there are a few models of crates that look like other types of furniture. As you can imagine, these aren’t crates that can really be folded up as they are designed to be a bit more sturdy.
Cleaning a Crate
If you are going to fold up your dog crate, you have to start by cleaning out the unit. The best way to do this is to start by getting out anything that your dog tends to store inside the crate. This means not only blankets and bowls but any dog toys that might be in the crate and anything that your pup has cleverly hidden inside the crate. This is generally a good time for you to toss any of your dog’s pillows or blankets in the washing machine as well, as this will help you to keep the crate smelling fresh while helping to keep your dog’s environment a bit more sanitary at the same.
Before you start folding, you’ll also want to start scrubbing down the crate. It’s generally recommended that you do this outside if you have the ability to do so, but scrubbing out the crate in a tub or a shower can work as well.
You’ll want to start scrubbing by grabbing a good cleaning solution. You can use just about any ammonia-free cleaning solution that you happen to have on hand, so you don’t need to worry about going out and buying a special formula just for cleaning your crate. You can also make your own solution by mixing half a cup of bleach into four quarts of water or by mixing dish detergent into the water in one to ten ratios. Regardless of what you choose, you should be able to clean out your dog’s crate fairly simply.
Folding the Crate
Now it’s time to start the process of folding your crate. As you might imagine, doing this is going to be different based on the type of crate that you have chosen to use.
If you happen to have a wired dog crate, you’re going to start the process by closing down the front and side doors of the crate. Next, you’ll collapse the front and back panels of the cage inward. This is generally done by finding the pair of hooks that keep this part of the cage secure. Some newer crates have latches that you can unlatch, but most older models have tabs that will require you to press down on the top of the cage so that you can move the tabs.
Once you can move the front and back portions of the crate inward, you will follow the same process with the sides of the cage. You should be able to simply fold the left side of the crate down, and then fold the right side of the crate on top of that side. The top of the cage will be on the top, creating something of a ‘sandwich’ of all the pieces. If your crate has a latch, you can use it to hold the pieces in place while you are in transit.
Soft-sided crates are even easily collapsible. Every soft dog crate has certain points to press that allows it to collapse in on itself. You can identify these spots by pressing on the sides of the crate and looking for the portions that have more give.
Once you identify the collapsing points, simply press in on the paneling and allow each side to fall into the middle. Again, the two sides of the crate will sit on top of one another to minimize the amount of room that the crate takes up. Most soft-sided crates have some kind of straps that you can use to secure the crate, so use them to ensure that nothing moves around as you move the crate.
Finally, there are plastic dog creates. This type of crate comes apart a bit differently, but it’s still a relatively easy process. You’ll start by unlocking the latches that are on either side of the crate. This should allow you to take the top half of the crate off. Simply take this half of the crate and flip it upside down, this stores the other part of the crate inside of the top half. This will make it easier to transport.
Above all else, don’t get too frustrated if your dog’s crate doesn’t come apart easily. Metal dog crates can be harder to collapse if they have been warped or bent due to moving around, while soft-sided crates can be difficult if you can’t identify the collapse points. If all else fails, make sure to identify the brand of your crate and look online to find the instructions from the manufacturer. With a little work, you should be able to collapse virtually any portable dog cage so that you can take it with you on the road or so that you’ll be able to store it away without taking up too much space.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you fold down a dog crate?
Folding down a dog crate is usually as easy as identifying the type of crate you have and following a few simple steps. If you have a wire crate, you’ll unhook the front and back portions, lay them down, and then lay down the sides and top. If you happen to have a soft-sided cage, you’ll need to find the collapse points and press inwards. If you have a plastic crate, you’ll unhook the top of the crate and then put the bottom of the crate inside the top.
How do you fold up a portable dog crate?
This largely depends on the type of dog crate that you happen to have. If you have a plastic-top crate, you can’t actually fold it down; instead, you can take the top of the crate off and stack the parts on top of one another. If you have a soft-sided portable crate, press down on the collapse points and you should be able to fold the crate down. If you have a metal dog crate, you’ll unhook the front and back first, then fold them inside the crate. After this, you’ll just need to fold the crate down.
How do you fold a metal pet crate?
First, you’ll want to identify the tabs or latches that hold the front and back of the crate up. Unlatch these spots, then fold the front and back panels of the crate in on themselves. From here, you’ll lay down first the left side then the right side, with the top of the cage ending up on top. Some models have a latch that will let you lock the resulting product together, but the folded product should be fairly stable regardless of whether the latch is present.