Essentials: a safe and comfortable bed.
Optional extras: bowls of food and water (if you leave your dog for a long time), toys.
For comfort: 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.
If you are leaving your dog crated, it is essential to ensure safety. Therefore, it is necessary to choose crate accessories responsibly. There should not be anything extra inside that your dog can eat.
Below you will find tips on the best things to choose for a dog crate.
- What’s the best bed to put in a dog crate
- When you must put food and water bowls in the crate
- What are the best toys to put in a dog crate?
- 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
What’s the best bed to put in a dog crate
A crate bed is a must for your dog’s comfort, but it must meet certain requirements:
- Choosing a special chew-proof crate pad from sturdy materials is better, with sturdy seams and no exposed clasps 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 inside mattress. Also, you must read customer reviews to ensure the bed doesn’t lose shape after washing.
Examples of appropriate dog crate beds:
Look for more good crate bedding in my review.
What you should 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 tends to lose their shape).
A plush bed can only be put in by an adult dog who definitely won’t chew on it.
When you must put food and water bowls in the crate
In most cases, you shouldn’t leave food and water in the crate because dogs can’t control thirst and hunger. Your dog will likely drink and eat a lot and then pee and poop.
But there is an exception if you want to leave your dog crated for more than 4 hours. Bowls that are attached to the bars are ideal for these cases.
They don’t obstruct, and the dog won’t flip them over, so the crate will be tidy.
Also, you can leave some treats for the dog. But never leave any bones in there.
What are the best toys to put in a dog 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 it can’t be swallowed;
- entertaining. Keep your dog occupied with toys that it can chew or lick;
- special. The dog won’t be very interested if you put a toy it plays with every day. Put a special thing that your dog is crazy about. Use it specifically for such occasions.
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 either don’t leave your pet longer than he can handle without a walk, or ask someone to come and walk him. For example, you can hire a dog sitter.
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 or water or toys. After all, you want your pet to sleep peacefully, not 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.
Use a cover
Dogs are usually comfortable in secluded places. So try using special crate covers, or a regular blanket.
But not all dogs like it. Some, on the contrary, prefer to watch their surroundings and start protesting if they are covered.
Attach 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:
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.
Rearrange 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.
Buy a different size crate
If you think your dog is uncomfortable in his crate, the size may be the problem. Here are a few rules of thumb:
- The cage 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 will walk back and forth and be anxious.
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 can find many tips for dealing with this situation.
I hope that the tips in this article will help you! I wish you and your puppy a successful crate training!