Your Dog’s Crate Is Important: Here’s Why

To crate or not to crate? This is a question asked by new dog owners and seasoned dog owners alike. This topic is quite controversial because there are many positive and negative aspects to crating your pet. Or so you may hear – the negative aspects are often exaggerated on the Internet.

When you visit pet forums, you’ll see people fighting endlessly over this topic. But that kind of tense discussion doesn’t get us dog lovers anywhere. Understanding the benefits of using a dog crate is the best way for you to make a solid choice about this hot topic.

It’s important to know that all of the negative talk about crating your dog stems from the improper use of crates. When a crate is not used correctly, it can definitely cause behavioral issues such as fear, depression, and anxiety. Fortunately, learning to use a crate the right way is fairly easy. A bit of research and common sense make it possible for any dog owner to get the most out of their crate.

If you are unsure of why you should use a dog crate, that’s pretty understandable. With so much misinformation out there, it can be overwhelming to know what the genuine facts are. That’s why we’ve put together a list of reasons your dog’s crate is important and beneficial. Read on to learn how you can use this inexpensive and effective tool to make life easier for you and your pet.

#1 Crates are a highly effective tool for potty training.

One

of the main reasons that dog owners use crates is for potty training their dogs. The American Kennel Club state that crates are a high-ranking and effective tool for this task. Potty training a pup takes a lot of work, so you’ll want to use every resource that you can. A crate is certainly a must-have when it comes to successful training.

However, there are some measures you may want to take when using a crate for potty training. Healthy adult dogs can go up to 8 to 10 hours without urinating, but these numbers fluctuate with your dog’s age. For example, puppies under six months should not be crated for more than three to four hours. Make sure that you know the proper amount of time that your dog can go without urinating.

#2 Crates give your dog a safe space when they feel anxious or fearful.

Many

pet owners understand that their dogs feel emotions just like they do. Your furry friend can feel sad, anxious, and scared for a number of reasons. But what can they do to make themselves feel better? When humans feel these stressful emotions, we take actions to make those negative feelings go away. For some of us, that action is sipping a cup of tea or reading a book. You definitely won’t see your dog doing these things – and if you do, you’ve got quite a unique pup. But all jokes aside, your dogs needs a way to ease his or her anxiety and fear, too.

When your dog has a comfortable crate to retreat to, his negative feelings can quickly melt away. It’s important to make sure that your dog has cozy items in his or her crate. Popular examples include a nice, soft blanket or some beloved old chew toys. Create a safe space for your dog in his or her crate, and you can rest assured that they’ll have somewhere to go when they are feeling down.

#3 Crates cater to your dog’s natural den creature instinct..

Have

you ever noticed that your dog has a favorite place to lay under the kitchen table? Or maybe he digs at the same place beneath a shady tree in your backyard. In most cases, dogs tend to return to the same spots over and over. These little quirks may seem a bit odd to us, but they are far from random. They do these things because of their primal instincts.

The American Humane Association explains that dogs are naturally den animals; this means they need a space of their own to feel completely at home. In the wild, animal dens are often just the right size for them to fit comfortably. If you’ve ever seen a foxhole, this is a pretty good example of the space your dog is instinctively seeking. This makes crates ideal for dogs, as they need something that caters to their built-in den mentality. A quality crate is just the right size to make your dog feel secure.

#4 Crates can help you introduce your furry friend to children and strangers.

Like

many dogs, your pet may feel nervous in the presence of strangers. This can be particularly true when young children are around. Little ones are usually eager to play with pups, so they can easily overwhelm dogs with their excited behavior.

Alternatively, you may have some friends that feel a bit tense around dogs. This is pretty common, and dogs can easily sense that tension. Or perhaps your friend or family member is bringing a small infant into your home, and your dog has never been around one before. Your pet may be instinctively curious and perhaps overeager around the baby. This is natural, but it may not be the safest scenario. The last thing you want to deal with is an accidental injury.

In these instances, having a sturdy but comfortable crate for your dog can be very useful. It will give you, your pet, and your visitors a sense of security during get-togethers. You can slowly introduce your pup to new people, but starting out in the crate is ideal for the scenarios mentioned above.

#5 Crating your dog can help prepare him or her for visits to the groomer, stays at animal hotels, and more.

At

some point or another, your dog is likely to spend time in a crate outside of your home. Whether you book a few days at a puppy hotel or a trip to the groomers, your dog will be crated in these situations. If your pet has never been exposed to a crate, these situations are going to leave him feeling pretty nervous and upset. That’s the last thing you want when you are spending time away from your companion.

But when you use a crate at home, your dog will be familiar with a new crate. While it is not the same as his cozy den at your house, it is still a concept your dog will recognize. He may adapt more quickly to the new environment because of his familiarity with crates in general. This can make the situations described above a lot easier for you, your dog, and the people working with him.

#6 Crates keep your dog safe when you are cleaning or potentially harmful materials.

Imagine

it’s time for spring cleaning – not so exciting, but it’s something that has to get done. From mopping the floors to dusting the shelves, you’ll be using lots of different liquids, sprays, and other cleaning products. Unfortunately, common products that you may use can be dangerous because cleaning products that are harmful to animals. It is pretty inevitable that your naturally curious dog is going to come sniffing around. This is a recipe for disaster and danger.

This same concept applies if you are painting your walls, refinishing your floors, and so on. Crating your dog is a foolproof way to keep him or her away from toxic chemicals. Of course, it’s crucial to make sure that you keep his crate in a safe and well-ventilated part of the house away from the odors of paint, cleaning products, and so on.

#7 Crates give your dog a safe place to stay when the temperatures outdoors are too high.

During

those hot summer days, it can be fun to enjoy some time outside with your dog. You might visit the dog park more often or even go swimming. However, it’s pretty dangerous to leave your dog out in the heat alone for too long. The Humane Society lists some very serious symptoms of heat stroke that your dog can experience. From fever to unconsciousness, these symptoms are the last thing you want your pet to go through.

When it is hot outside, use your dog’s crate instead of leaving him outdoors for long periods of time. After all, you wouldn’t want to be stuck outside for hours alone in unbearable temperatures, would you? The last thing you want is to put your innocent pet in that kind of danger. This will ensure that he is safe from heat stroke and other heat-related health problem.

#8 Crates give you the option of quickly confining your dog if he becomes overwhelmed or agitated.

Earlier

in this article, you learned a bit about the emotions that dogs experience. In addition to feeling anxious or scared, your dog can feel overwhelmed or tense. In some cases, you may be able to use verbal commands to diffuse your dog’s agitated state. Unfortunately, there are times when you simply may not be able to calm your dog down. This puts you in a tricky spot, and it can be dangerous if you have visitors in your home.

A crate allows you to quickly confine your dog and de-escalate a situation like this. Don’t look at this is a form of punishment, and do not treat it as one. Punishing your dog by using a crate can be unhealthy. Instead, use it as a safety precaution for your pet and for the people around him. Never force your pet into his crate; be gentle and encouraging to get him in there. When your dog has a safe spot to chill out in, he’ll be feeling like his happy, friendly self again soon.

#9 Crates can make traveling with your dog more pleasant for you and your pet.

Some

dogs enjoy car rides, but long road trips can be less fun for your pet. Traveling can leave your pup feeling confused or overstimulated. Jumping between the back and front seats is dangerous for you, and it’s hazardous for your dog as well. Some states even have laws that prohibit you from driving with an improperly secured dog. Between the legal and physical risks, why even bother taking a chance?

Taking your dog’s crate on road trips can make traveling with your dog much easier and safer for both of you. You’re essentially bringing along your dog’s security net, and he’ll also be confined properly in your car. Of course, you’ll need to ensure your dog isn’t overexposed to heat or ever left alone in your car. Also, make sure to take pit stops so you and your pet can stretch your legs and get some fresh air. This may help your dog from going stir crazy in his kennel on road trips, too.

#10 Crates prevent your dog from causing damage to your home and possessions.

It’s

inevitable that you’ll need to leave your pet at home alone from time to time. If your dog is not fully trained yet, he may unintentionally wreak havoc. From chewed up pillows to accidents on the carpet, a loose and untrained dog can be a recipe for disaster. Instead of wasting time and money fixing these problems, simply stop them before they happen.

You may safely crate your dog as long as you won’t be gone for an extended period of time. The age of your dog impacts how long he should be crated. However, the average dog can safely stay in a crate for four to five hours. So if you’re running errands or going out for drinks, don’t hesitate to crate your pet for awhile. Just make sure he has a few comfort items to keep him feeling reassured while you are out and about.

As

you can see, there are plenty of reasons why your dog’s crate is an important tool. From comfort to safety, your dog can seek solace in the comfort of his “den”. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that your furry friend is benefiting from the use of a crate. Additionally, you can know that your home and visitors are safe and sound in the presence of your dog. There’s no need to worry about stressful interactions or damaged furniture when your dog is relaxing in his crate.

If you’re still feeling a bit worried about crating your dog, that’s perfectly okay. Responsible dog owners are cautious people, so your hesitation may actually be a good thing. But you’ll be glad to know that there are lots of resources available to you. Visit BestFriends.org or HumaneSociety.org for free information on how to effectively use a crate with your dog.