When shopping for a wooden dog crate, you will quickly discover that there are as many finishes as there are sizes and designs. If you find a dog crate that you love, but it’s not in the finish you prefer, you may find yourself considering refinishing or finishing the crate yourself - but is that a good idea?

Finishing wooden dog crates isn’t like finishing other types of furniture. There are a variety of considerations that must be looked at to ensure that the crate is safe for your pet. Many commercially available stains and paints are toxic and aren’t recommended for use on pet furniture.

However, if you are willing to educate yourself on the proper way to finish a dog crate, you can create a customized product that matches your home’s decor and is both decorative and functional. Finishing your own dog crate can also be fun for people that enjoy painting, staining or decorating. If you decide to attempt to finish your own dog crate, you first need to decide if you’re going to paint or stain it.

Paint can be chipped if your dog likes to chew on the crate, whereas stain does not chip. Many chewproof wooden dog crates that are commercially available are stained rather than painted for the most durable finish. You can find pet safe finishes and paints online through specialty retailers.

If you decide to look at your local home improvement store, look for a paint or stain that is non-toxic and water based. Speak with your local professional to get the best idea of which product you should use. If no products are available at your local store, you need to shop online because your pets safety is your first priority.

Once you’ve made your selection, you’re ready to begin. Start by making sure that all surfaces are smooth and ready to accept a finish. If they aren’t, you can use a sander to smooth the wood. Be sure to remove all sawdust and debris by wiping the crate with a dry cloth before you begin the finishing process.

Next, you’ll need to apply the first coat of finish to the crate. Paint typically can be done with just one coat, while stain may take multiple coats depending on the color you wish to achieve.

To apply stain to the crate, use a soft bristled brush or a soft cloth to work the stain in and then remove any excess that is not absorbed within a moment or two with another cloth or paper towel.

Once your wooden dog crate is finished, you’ll have a custom made piece that you can be proud of. You can add a clear protective layer over the paint or stain for added durability and long lasting beauty. Your hand-finished wooden dog crate is sure to be a focal point in your home as well as a comfortable place for your pet to relax.