Dog crates are among the most important things we can buy for our dogs, not only to keep them safe but also for obedience training. We can also use the crates to help our dogs feel comfortable and safe while traveling. Other benefits of buying a crate for our dogs include:
- Offers a safe place for them to relax and sleep.
- Helps in reducing destructive behaviors.
- Helps in toilet training, where our dogs learn to hold their bladders until they are outside.
Before buying a crate for your dog, we have to consider your dog’s size and the space you have in our homes. It should be big enough for our dogs to lie down, stand, and turn around, but not too big that they feel insecure in it.
Some facts we need to know about dog crates include:
1. Is it good to cover a dog crate at night?
It is good to cover your dog crate at night, only if you adhere to important guidelines to keep your dog safe and comfortable. Dogs are naturally cave animals that prefer covered and dark areas when they need to relax and sleep. Covering the crates will help block visual stimuli that may make our dogs excited or violent (1).
When buying a cover for my dog crate, I like to use a cover made from breathable materials. Avoid using knit blankets because they may unravel.
When placing a cover make sure that the covers are not within our dog’s reach, especially in the stage where they chew a lot because of teething and it is far away from any fire sources.
In order to ensure the dog gets used to their crates, you need to introduce them gradually by first covering the top and allowing them to get into the crate by themselves. We should then cover one side and increase the time the dog spends in the crate until they are comfortable getting in and staying in a completely covered crate.
Look closely at your dog’s reaction when you cover their crate and adjust or change the cover if they show signs of getting too hot or too cold.
2. Can I crate my dog for 12 hours at night?
You shouldn’t crate your dog for 12 hours at night. the maximum time for a full-grown dog to be in a crate at night is 8-9 hours. This is because the dog needs to relieve themselves, and that is the maximum time they can hold their bladders. It would also hurt the dog if they stayed in the crate longer because they would be stiff.
The dog’s age is of importance before we decide how long we will leave them in the crate (2).
- Healthy full-grown dogs- 8 hours.
- Over 17 weeks- 4-5 weeks.
- 15 to 16 weeks- 3-4 hours.
- 11 to 14 weeks- 1-3 hours.
- 8 to 10 weeks- 30- 60 minutes.
For young dogs who just started crate training, we need to have them beside your bed to monitor their behavior and ensure they do not get anxious.
3. Is it cruel to crate a dog while at work?
In most cases, it is not cruel to crate your dog while at work, but that will depend on your work schedule and your dog’s age. As we saw earlier, dogs of different ages can stay in the cage for different periods, with the longest period being 8 hours at night, but the maximum time is 4 hours during the day.
Unless we are self-employed, most of us are at work for a lot more than 4 hours, which will make it cruel to have our dogs in the cage, especially because they need to be active during the day. Also, leaving them in cages continuously will make them socially anxious.
Leaving dogs in a dog crate when working is only good for us who are fortunate enough to have flexible schedules and work close to home. We can give the dogs a break from the crate for them to stretch, walk or even play, and even then, we should have toys in the crate for the dog to play with.
4. Should I put a puppy pad in the crate?
It is not a good idea to leave a puppy pad with your dog in the crate. While a puppy pad in the crates can be a good source of heat for our dogs, it can be a chewing hazard, especially if the dog is in the teething stage.
Besides, it will be bad for the toilet and house training because the dog will pee and poop in the crate whenever it feels like (3).
Once we release the dog from the crate, it will use everything as a puppy pad and pee and poop everywhere and on anything, even our favorite blankets!
5. When should I stop crating my dog at night?
We should stop crating our dogs at night once they have learned to sleep throughout the night without needing the potty. That is the easiest time to stop, not only for the dog but also for us.
A good rule of thumb is that our dogs should have been able to spend at least two months in their crates at night without any incident. We should also ensure that they are less destructive and have stopped whining before letting them sleep outside.
6. Can you move a dog crate from room to room?
We can move the crates from one room to another, or even to the car, because the dogs are attached to the crate and not the room.
Moving the crate will ensure that the dog is around us all the time so we can have a close eye on them, and at the same time it ensures that the dogs don’t get bored being in one position all the time. If we plan on moving the crate around, it is best to choose a lightweight crate, like a metal one.
7. How do I know when my dog has outgrown his crate?
If the dog can’t stand, turn around, or is whining while in the crate, they have grown too big for that crate. A crate should be 2-4 inches taller and longer than the dog plus the weight limit of the crate should not be less than the dog’s current weight.
8. Why is my dog suddenly whining in the crate?
Our dogs may whine in their crate because they are uncomfortable, and it is a way of letting us know. The discomfort could come from a bad smell, noise, insect bites, the crate being so small, or because the spot they are in is too windy or hot.
The first thing to do is get the dog out of the crate while looking for the possible cause in the crate. Make sure that there are no insects or things of such sort. Sometimes the reason for whining could be small, and we might miss it, which is why we need to be thorough.
We should then inspect the dog to see if they have anything on them like fleas or if they are showing signs of sickness. The third thing to do is to inspect the room they live in. Look around the room and the spot where we have the crate to determine if it is windy, cold, or too sunny.
Possible solutions include changing the spot, changing the bedding, washing the dog, or changing the crate.
9. Is it okay to put two dogs in one crate?
You should not put two dogs in one crate. All dogs should have their own crates. We get our dogs crates because we want to give them their personal, intimate space.
It is also better to have them in separate crates because if the dogs get agitated and don’t have a way to calm themselves down, they will attack the other dog, leading to unexpected accidents.
10. Can a crate be too big?
A crate can be too big for your dog. When it comes to size, we might think that larger crates are good because they offer more space for our dogs and because the dogs can use them for a longer time.
However, if a crate is too big, the dog may feel insecure or even use one end of the crate as a toilet and sleep in the other corner. To choose the right size, measure the dog and ensure the crate is 2-4 inches taller and longer than the dog.
11. Do dogs get bored in their crate?
Our dogs can experience boredom in their crates, especially if they have been in them for too long or have nothing to play with. To keep the dog from getting bored;
- Ensure there is food and water in the crate.
- Always have toys in the crate, but ensure they are not breakable. Also, have different types of toys.
- Don’t use the crate as a punishment.
- Ensure it is big enough and comfortable.
- Don’t leave the dog in the crate for long.
Also read: Best Crate for German Shepherds