Is it cruel to crate a dog: A Vet Speaks the Truth

Francine Ratter, DVM at South Arundel Veterinary Hospital in Edgewater, states that extended periods in a crate is emotionally difficult for dogs depending on their activity level, and their temperament. Nevertheless, it is not cruel to crate a dog according to the Veterinarians at the Ostrander Veterinary Clinic.

Is it cruel to crate a dog? It is not cruel to crate a dog. You do need to ensure that the crate is large enough so that the dog can stand up and turn around. Also, add some toys and treats to the crate so that your dog will enjoy being in the crate.

Not only does crating aid in dog training but it provides a stressful environment for your dog while you are away at work.

Is it cruel to crate a dog while at work

If you are away at work, the best scenario would be to have something there with your dog during the day, but that is not practical financially for most dog owners. If you train your crate correctly, they will be ok in a crate while you are working.

It is not cruel to crate a dog while at work if they are not developing separation anxiety that is causing them to whine, bark and to be unhappy while crated. So, you need to train your dog from the puppy stage to be ok in a crate and to feel safe there.

Here are some signs that your dog is not happy being in a crate while you are at the workplace. If your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety after being in a crate while you are working. Your dog could be panting more than usual, pacing could occur within the crate, excessive whining and backing once they are left alone in the crate.

To determine if the above signs of separation anxiety is happening, you will need to film your dog while you are away. I recommend the Petcube Cam for Pet Monitoring that is available on Amazon. Click here the current pricing.

You will not have to record your dog while in the crate for an extended period. Just long enough to see if the anxiety level is high while your dog is in the crate.

You try to treat your dog that is dealing with separation anxiety while in a crate. The most extreme treatment would be to medicate your dog, but that should be the last resort. Treatment with medications can be a lengthy process, it could take as long as 12 months to see a lot of change.

Never punish your dog if you find out that they are not behaving well while crated. If your neighbors are telling you that there is a problem with barking, there is a good chance that your dog is stressed and anxious while you are at work. Punishing a dog is not a clever idea. Nevertheless, you should reward them for good behavior.

To train your dog deal with the crate while you are away during the day, there are steps to follow.

  1. First step is to place your dog in their crate and then to leave the room for 10 minutes. I recommend Midwest iCrate starter kit that is available on Amazon.
  2. If they do not bark or whine, you should reward them with a small treat.
  3. If they start to bard or while, then ignore them until it stops. As soon as they are once again relaxed and calm, then reenter the room while they are crated and reward them.
  4. Over time, increase the amount of time that you leave them alone in the crate.
  5. At some point, you will be able to leave them alone for hours at a time since they will become used to only being rewarded when they are calm and relaxed.

Besides crate training while you are away at work, is it cruel treatment to leave them alone at night in their crate?

Is it cruel to crate a dog at night?

According to a study on canine sleep behavior by Researchgate, only 13 percent of dog owners reported that their dog was sleeping at night in their crate. Owners are not crating their dogs at night. Most dogs tend to sleep on their dog bed or on their owners’ bed. Nevertheless, I will analyze if it is cruel to force your dog to sleep in its crate at night.

It is not cruel to crate a dog at night. They need a place that is quiet and stress free. Most dogs will sleep outside of the room where their owners are sleeping contrary to what most people feel. If your dog whines and barks when crated at night, more crate training is necessary.

If you ensure that you make the crate comfortable inside, by adding a blanket. Your dog will be more apt to want to sleep in the crate. It is good to introduce your dog to the crate during the daytime. If your dog enjoys the crate, they will likely be ok to sleep in the crate during the night. I recommend the MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate, which is available on Amazon. Click here to view the details and price.

Some dog owners provide treats for their dog when they notice that they are in the crate during the day. This will reinforce that you are pleased in their behavior.

Something that needs to be mentioned is that you need to leave the room from time to time when your dog is in the crate. A study released by Kennesaw University on the impact of human presence on sheltered dogs concluded that dogs that are crates become more stimulated when humans are present in the same room. Also, at night, your dog will be alone in crate. They need to be aware that they should sleep in the crate instead of having human interaction.

Here is a video that analyzes the myths of dog crating, such as do dogs like their crates or can you leave a two-month-old puppy in a crate.

Why do people crate train their dogs?

Dog owners that crate their dogs are doing so for distinct reasons. They feel that crating will decrease the incidents of damage that their dog may create while they are away. Dogs will misbehave due to the stress of separation anxiety. Having a crate will reduce the damage to your home in these cases.

Here is a table that illustrates what owners were noticing when they did not crate their dogs. The number one situation was that the dogs were tearing up furniture. This is not to say that damage will necessarily occur, but it presents a good argument for the need to train your dog to stay in a crate while you are away.

If dog is not crated while alone, what damage can they do because of anxiety and separation anxietyPercentage of total incidents reported by owners
Tearing up furniture25%
Chewing baseboards19%
Destroying clothing18%
Clawing doors18%
Getting into garbage14%
Ripping carpets6%
data from dog forums on damage that dogs created when not crated

According to the above table, the threat of having torn furniture is the top reason for crating a dog. Twenty-five percent of owners experienced such destruction.

Nevertheless, you do need to treat the separation anxiety that exists. You cannot ignore it, or your dog will be unhappy being crated. If a dog owner is not able to reduce the separation anxiety on their own, they may need to have their dog medicated to treat the anxiety. Dr Sharon Crowell Davis, University of Georgia, highlights the use of Amitriptyline, or Clomipramine to reduce the anxiety. Of course, you need to consult with your vet to find out if medication is required for your dog’s condition.

Dealing with separation anxiety is harder as a dog ages, making crate training a harder task. If you start to train your dog as a puppy, you will have more success.

How to crate train a puppy

  1. Never use the crate as a form of Punishment.

Dr Debra Horwitz, a behavioral specialist, states that if you do not punish your dog 1-2 seconds after an incident, you have lost your window of opportunity. Punishing your dog even 3 seconds after it misbehaves can make the problem worse or various other related problems could surface.

2. Make the crate a positive choice for your puppy.

Add your puppy’s favorite toys and a blanket that your puppy has already slept on. I recommend the shag throw blanket that is available on Amazon. Click here to see pricing. The puppy scent will be there making the crate more welcoming. It turns the crate into a den area for your puppy according to Fiona Whelan, of the Animal Behavior Center.

3. Give your puppy a treat if they enter the crate.

Dogs need to be rewarded when they do something that is positive. They will try their best to please their owners. In volume 113 of the Applied Animal Behavior Science Journal, military trained dogs were rewarded for obeying commands. Sometimes it would be just a pat on the head or just a simple stroking, but this method worked well for them.

4. Pick the right crate for your puppy

Make sure to buy a dog crate that will allow your puppy to stand up and to turn around. Also, buy one that has a divider so that if your puppy is young, you can still but a larger crate that can be used once your dog is larger. A recommend the Midwest Homes for Pets Dog Crate that is available on Amazon, click here to view the details.

How long can the average dog stay in a crate before he becomes unhappy

Length of time for a crating session
reported by dog owners
Frequency of total responses
2 hours12%
4 hours24%
6 hours23%
10 hours35%
12 hours6%
data derived from numerous dog forums online

Based on the data in the above table, 35 percent of dog owners feel that it is ok to leave their dog in a crate. They are trying to convince themselves that their dog is perfectly fine in the crate while they are away at work. The problem with this assumption is that they do not have an idea how their dog is mentally dealing with being in the crate for such an extended period.

Dr Marty Becker, an adjunct professor at Washington State School of Veterinary Medicine, states that you need to add toys that will keep your dog occupied while in the crate. Also, the length of time possible will vary from dog to dog due to the need to urinate. Some dogs will not be able to last 10 years in their crate before having a potty accident.

When training your puppy to remain in a crate, the length for being in a crate will be less than for an adult dog.

How long can you leave a puppy in a crate

You can leave a puppy in a crate up until the time when they will need to go outside to pee. The younger the dog, the more often that they will need to pee according to the American Kennel Club.

The length of time that your puppy can be left in a crate is based on how often they pee. To calculate the average length of time in hours between urination times for a puppy, add one to their age in months. For instance, a dog that is three months, should be left in a crate only up to 4 hours.

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