The Benefits of Crating Overnight
There is a lot of speculation and varying opinions about whether or not you should leave your dog in their crate at night. Many people see crate time as punishment or time out for their dogs, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth as long as you’ve introduced and familiarized your dog with their crate. When introduced correctly, a crate functions as a den or natural sleeping area for them.
Keeping a dog in their crate at night is both a safe and effective way to contain your dog while you are either asleep or unable to watch them. Therefore, it is completely reasonable and humane to crate your dog at night or for an extended period of time.
When putting your dog in their crate a night or for any extended period of time, it is important to think about crate setup and the amount of time they will be confined. Whether you’re getting a new dog or you’re having behavioral issues with your current dog, such as nighttime potty accidents or chewing, crating is a fool-proof way to keep your dog safe and secure.
Safety First – Crating At Night
With all dogs, it can be tempting to let them come up onto the bed or roam the house at night. However, this can be hazardous to your dog, especially if they are younger. Trash cans, medicine bottles, tables, and baseboards can be especially appealing to your dog, mainly when you are preoccupied with sleeping! If you are just now introducing your dog to being in their crate, click here to read how to acclimate your dog to their crate to prevent issues such as whining or barking while they are up.
When it comes to puppies or dogs who are not housebroken, it is imperative to keep them in their crates at night to reduce accidents throughout the house. When younger dogs wake up, they are likely to wander and may not wait until you wake up to let them outside to use the bathroom. These accidents can set your potty training back as dogs will often go to the same place to have accidents as their smell is familiar to them.
Based on your situation, you may want to provide your dog with access to food and water if you are going to leave them confined for more than a couple of hours. For our puppy, I have to remove her water bowl from her crate at night, or else she will knock it all over herself and her blankets while she’s sleeping. I also had to take out her blanket during the first month we had her because she would see the towels as a place to potty in the middle of the night.
Best Crates To Use At Night
My absolute favorite crate to use when getting a new puppy used to crate time, especially at night, is the tried and true Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel. This crate is an absolute wonder because there are no small nooks or crannies for your pup to get stuck on or try to chew through. The heavy material also blocks out light, which gives the crate a more natural “den” feel, making your dog feel relaxed and comfortable.
Another great and cheaper alternative is the traditional wire crate with a removable crate pan. This works wonders, especially during the potty training phase, where you may wake up to an accident (but at least it’s contained!). I used wire crates for both of my younger dogs since they fold up nicely for travel, and I can put a blanket or towel on top to achieve the same “den” effect as the larger, heavy sided crates. Midwest also makes crate covers that can be attached directly to the wire crate, adding a secure covering that won’t slide around.
If you are confident that your dog will not have an accident or are in the process of housebreaking, you can add an exercise pen to your set-up to allow your dog to have more room during the night. Exercise pens are attached to the primary or secondary door of the crate and are usually connected by small metal clasps.