Ask A Vet: Are dog crates cruel?

Ask A Vet: Are dog crates cruel?

Everyone who has a canine knows how much it hurts when your pups are hurt. So whenever someone mentions dog crates, your mind immediately goes to the negative side, and you may feel guilty about it if you've ever crate trained your canine companion.

But enclosed spaces create a shelter for your pup to relax and rest. Dogs impulsively seek smaller spaces to create safe havens for themselves. They look for such areas when they want to feel protected and secure.

This week, the dog experts at Proud Dog Parents address the question: are dog crates cruel?

Proud Dog Parents was created to provide you with information from dog experts as dog owners. On our sites, you will find free e-books, well-being items, and articles that improve your dog's health. 

Benefits of a dog crate

Many people reject the crate and kennel training for their dogs as they feel that such confinement is cruel. But, a kennel or a crate can give the dogs a sense of security.

The crate or the kennel becomes a familiar place where your pups feel secure and safe, and once they are properly crate trained, your dog will at times go into it of their own accord because they learn to love it there.

Not a penalty but a bonus!

If your dog is taught to love the crate through positive reinforcement, it becomes their own private little safe place, almost like a bedroom is for a child. The kennel or crate is somewhere your dog can go and not be disturbed; it's the perfect destination for when they are nervous or tired. If you're a dog owner, you'll know that even your dog needs some alone time to relax.

Since dogs have a natural impulse to be in a den, most dogs easily adjust to a crate.

How long can dogs stay in a crate overnight? 

In some cases, have your dog sleep in a crate for more extended periods. It depends a bit on the age of your dog and his character. Older dogs are used to holding their urine for more extended periods. Therefore, older dogs can sleep longer in a crate.

On the other hand, Puppies need freedom of movement. If you keep puppies in a crate for too long, there is a good chance they will pee in their box because they can't hold it anymore.

In short: it is not possible to say precisely how long a dog can sleep in a crate. This depends on the situation. Always observe your dog determine the maximum time he can stay in the crate.

Should I lock my puppy in his crate at night?

Your crate is designed to provide comfort for your dog. Yet, your dog will not always experience it that way. Also, our dog experts get a lot of questions from dog parents who want to know if a crate can be used as a means of punishment when the dog does not listen.

We do not recommend using a crate as a punishment for your dog. Condition your dog that his crate is a place for rest. Feed him in his crate and let him take naps.

Teach your dog that his crate is his place and never punish him by locking him in his crate.

Can my dog hold his pee for that long? 

Many older dogs will have no problem holding up their pee for 10 hours. Like humans, dogs have learned to hold their pee for long periods. Be sure to walk your dog before bedtime, so he doesn't have to pee for the time being.

However, puppies do need to pee more often. They will also do this more uncontrollably than adult dogs. Therefore, the dog experts at Proud Dog Parents recommend not keeping your puppy in a crate for an extended period.

Should my dog take crate training?

When carried out properly, Crate training is a very effective and efficient system that can also be a lifesaver for dog owners!

Using a crate for reasonable periods is helpful with several important goals, such as teaching your dog to relax and settle, preventing destructive behavior, and house training.

Benefits for you as a proud dog parent

Crate training also provides several benefits to dog owners!

A properly sized crate encourages a dog's impulse not to make a mess at the place he sleeps. It helps teach the dog bowel and bladder control. The tendency to view the kennel or the crate as a clean place greatly benefits house training a puppy or a new rescue dog.

Using a crate also prevents your pup or dog from getting into issues when you can't supervise them directly. These times might include when you are at work, busy cooking, at night, or any other time when your attention is diverted somewhere else than directly to your dog.

Crate training teaches overexcited dogs and puppies to enjoy and expect some downtime and relaxed behavior.

Pups and dogs can be put into their crates with their favorite stuffed toy or a yummy chew toy to keep them relaxed, secure, and out of mischief for some time.

A crate is a tool you use to comfort your dog, help them fit easily into human life and family, and provide them a place of their own for security and comfort.

Alternatives To Crate Training a Dog

Okay. Crate training is not an option for you so. Maybe your dog finds it scary, or you find a crate in the living room unsociable.

Don't worry; many dog parents would rather not have a crate for their dog. Fortunately, there are many alternatives.

There are many benefits to having a crate for your dog.

Exercise Pens

An exercise pen is a fence where your dog has his area to run around. He will probably have less fear than in a crate. You must have room for an exercise pen because they take up a lot of space.



This is a more expensive alternative to a crate. Daycare is an excellent alternative to leaving your dog alone when at work. The advantage of daycare is that your dog learns to interact with other dogs and is not alone. The downside is that it does not teach him how to be alone.


By approaching your dog correctly, you can use a crate to give your dog extra comfort. You can follow special crate training to get your dog used to his place in the house.

Ultimately, his crate should be a place where your dog can retreat and where he feels safe. Therefore, never use a crate to punish it. Do not confine dogs to its crate unnecessarily.

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