Some dogs do very well with being crated and some struggle, so it’s best to assess your own dog and how well they cope in a crate, and how well they’ve been trained to enjoy being in the dog crate. However, there are some things to consider when deciding; Is it ok to crate a dog every night?
- Consider why your dog is being crated.
- What are the welfare guidelines in your country?
- How long is too long?
Why would you crate your dog overnight?
Crating dogs overnight can serve several purposes, and it’s important to note that the decision to crate a dog should be made with the dog’s safety, well-being, and comfort in mind. Here are some popular reasons why dog owners might choose to crate their dogs overnight:
Crates can be a valuable tool in house training puppies or dogs who are not yet reliably potty trained. Dogs are less likely to eliminate in their sleeping area, so a crate can help them learn to hold their bladder until they are taken outside.
However, for very young puppies it will be physically impossible to hold themselves all night so you should expect to set an alarm to let them out halfway through the night. As a rule, a puppy can hold it’s pee for one hour per month it’s been alive, plus one. So your 8 week old puppy will be able to hold pee for a maximum of 3 hours.
Containing your dog in a larger area that’s easy to clean is an alternative to keeping your dog in a crate for a long time overnight. The kitchen or utility room is a common choice due to the flooring.
Crating can keep dogs safe from potential hazards in the home, such as toxic substances, electrical cords, or small objects that they might chew on or swallow. It can also protect them from accidentally injuring themselves while unsupervised.
Dogs can be kept in rooms which have fewer chewing options, such as the kitchen, or they can be contained in a larger area than a crate such as a puppy pen, which can be placed in the centre of rooms and act as a barrier between the dog and those tempting, chewable items.
Preventing Destructive Behavior:
Some dogs have a tendency to chew furniture, shoes, or other household items when left alone. Crating can prevent them from engaging in destructive behavior when the owner is not present.
Pick up everything that your dog likes to chew and put it away. Buy some shoe storage, pick up your socks and place the TV remote on a high shelf.
Dogs with separation anxiety may feel more secure and less anxious in a crate. It can provide them with a “den-like” environment where they feel safe and comfortable.
Being close to you may alleviate your dogs anxiety so having them in your bedroom overnight might be enough to reassure them.
If you’re teaching them to cope by being further away from you then a baby gate might be the first option, keeping them outside the bedroom but still in sight.
After surgery or illness, a crate can be used to restrict a dog’s movement and prevent them from licking or chewing at surgical sites or wounds. It can aid in their recovery.
Other than a pen (which has the temptation for the dog to jump over) there are no alternatives to crate rest after surgery. It’s an important part of the healing process and however mean you feel about restricting your dog’s movement, in the grand scheme of things it’s just 6 weeks from the dog’s whole life.
Welfare Organisation Guidelines for Dog Crates
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the United Kingdom and RSPCA Australia all consider the use of dog crates as acceptable but they all emphasize responsible and humane use.
The common position on dog crates across welfare organisations is as follows:
Size and Comfort:
They stressed the importance of selecting an appropriately sized crate to ensure that the dog had enough space to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. The crate should be a positive and comfortable place for the dog, not a confinement for extended periods.
It is recommended that dogs should not be kept in a crate for extended periods. It was essential to balance crate time with regular exercise, social interaction, and mental stimulation.
Training and Gradual Introduction:
They encouraged gradual introduction to the crate and using positive reinforcement techniques to ensure that dogs associated the crate with positive experiences.
Owners were advised to monitor their dogs when they were in crates and not leave them unattended for long durations.
What’s considered an extended time or long period to be in a dog crate?
In the UK, businesses that look after your dog when you’re on holiday are regulated and licensed. As part of the licensing rules and regulations the following applies to the use of dog crates;
13.5 A dog must not be confined in a crate for longer than 3 hours in any 24-hour period.
13.6 A dog must not be kept in a crate unless:
(a) it is already habituated to it
(b) a crate forms part of the normal routine for the dog
(c) the dog’s owner has consented to the use of a crate
If a crate is used, it must be of a suitable size and construction.
Some dogs may choose to sleep in their crate during the day and overnight. The crate door must be left open to allow the dog to choose where it sleeps.
13.7 Any crate in which a dog is kept must be in good condition and sufficiently large for the dog to sit and stand in it at full-height, lie flat and turn around.
Reference; UK home boarding guidelines
Whether or not to crate a dog overnight should be based on the individual dog’s needs, training, and well-being however, welfare organization guidelines, such as those from the ASPCA and RSPCA, emphasize responsible and humane crate use and UK guidelines suggest not crating a dog for longer than 3 hours in any 24-hour period.
All articles on tetradog.com are written by qualified behaviorist and dog trainer, Cheryl Walker.
- · Foundation degree (Level 5) in canine behaviour management
- · WSDA instructor (World Scent Dogs Association) and level 1 competition judge
- · ADTB Puppy level instructor Diploma
- · Diploma in Puppy Training
- · Diploma in canine behavior training
- · Canine First Aider
- · Veterinary Support Assistant Diploma
- · Completed Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Sirius academy
- · Owner of an extraordinary working Cocker spaniel called Huckleberry
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