From personal experience, I’ve compiled this list of do’s and don’ts for the dog crate:
- a safe and comfortable bed.
- bowls of food and water (if you leave your dog for a long time);
- crate cover or bumper.
❌What you shouldn’t put in the crate:
- small things;
- soft toys and blankets (only if your dog will be under the supervision and you’re sure he won’t tear or swallow them);
- pee pads.
The crate should be a safe and comfortable place for the dog. Therefore, it’s important to choose the accessories for the dog crate responsibly. There should be nothing inside that your dog could eat.
- Things you need for the dog crate
- Appropriate toys
- Should you put pee pads in the crate?
- What to put in your dog’s crate at night
- How to make a dog crate more comfortable
Things you need for the dog crate
Below you’ll find tips on what things are best to choose for a dog crate.
A bed for a dog crate
What is the best bed for a dog crate? A crate bed is a must for your dog’s comfort. I tried many options before I determined the main factors in choosing the perfect bedding:
- 👉It’s better to choose a special chew-proof crate bed made of sturdy materials, with sturdy seams and no exposed fasteners that the dog can tear off.
- 👉Fits perfectly to the size of the crate.
- 👉It shouldn’t be too thin to provide at least minimal orthopedic support.
I prefer beds with a removable cover and a waterproof lining that protects the inner mattress. Also, you need to read customer reviews to make sure the bed doesn’t lose its shape after washing.
Examples of appropriate dog crate beds:
Look for more good crate bedding in my review.
⛔️What should you avoid:
- Don’t put clothes or fluffy fabric in the crate, as your dog can chew on them and even choke on a piece of cloth;
- Cheap products (they tend to lose their shape). Let’s be honest, a quality product can’t cost less than $20.
A plush bed can only be put in by an adult dog, who will definitely not chew on it. Here’s a helpful video on the subject:
Food and water bowls
In most cases, you shouldn’t leave food and water in the crate because dogs can’t control thirst and hunger. Your dog will probably drink and eat a lot and then pee and poop.
However, there is an exception if you want to leave your dog crated for more than 4 hours. Bowls that attach to the bars are ideal for these cases.
I love them because they don’t get in the way and the dog doesn’t tip them over, so the crate stays neat.
Also, you can put some treats for your dog. But never leave any bones in the crate.
Well-chosen toys will help your dog pass the time in the crate, so he won’t get bored and try to get out. This is especially helpful at the beginning of crate training.
What is the perfect crate toy?
- ✅sturdy, so the dog can’t chew it to pieces;
- ✅big enough so that it can’t be swallowed;
- ✅entertaining. Keep your dog busy with toys he can chew or lick;
- ✅special. The dog won’t be very interested if you put a toy that he plays with every day. Put something special that your dog is crazy about.
For more ideas, check out the article "Best Toys for the Dog Crate."
Should you put pee pads in the crate?
You shouldn’t because that will teach your puppy to go to the bathroom where he sleeps. And one of the purposes of a crate is to teach your puppy to be patient.
Also, the puppy can chew on the pee pad, which is dangerous.⚠️
So don’t leave your puppy alone for longer than he can stand without a walk, or ask someone to walk him. You can hire a dog sitter, for example.
What to put in your dog’s crate at night
The only thing your dog needs at night is a bed. You don’t need to put food, water, or toys in the crate. After all, you want your dog to sleep peacefully and not be distracted, right?
How to make a dog crate more comfortable
Do you want to keep your dog as comfortable as possible in his crate? Check out these tips.
1️⃣Use a cover
Dogs usually feel comfortable in secluded places. So try using special crate covers, or a regular blanket.
Here’s how it worked for one dog owner:
by u/Giraffe_Hood from discussion Crate Cover
But not all dogs like this. Some prefer to observe their surroundings and protest when they’re covered.
2️⃣Attach a padded bumper
Your dog will be more comfortable lying and leaning against the crate walls if they are covered with a soft bumper like this one:
But only use a bumper if you’re sure your pet won’t chew on the fabric. As an alternative, look into beds with high bumpers.
3️⃣Rearrange the crate
The location of the crate also plays a role. To make your dog less anxious, move the crate to a quiet place, away from windows.
There are a few tips on where to put the dog crate.
4️⃣Buy a different size crate
If you think your dog is uncomfortable in his crate, size could be the problem. Here are a few rules of thumb:
- The crate shouldn’t be cramped (the dog should be able to stand up and turn around easily);
- There shouldn’t be too much space. The crate must be 5-10 cm bigger in height and length than the height and length of the dog. Otherwise, he’ll run back and forth and be restless.
If your dog still doesn’t want to stay in his crate, improper training may be the reason. In my article “Why Puppy Hates the Crate,” you’ll find many tips on how to deal with this situation.
I hope the tips in this article will help you! I wish you and your puppy a successful crate training!
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