How Long Should You Leave a Dog in a Crate?

As a dog parent, it is crucial for you to provide your dog with a safe space for relaxing and resting. Just like us humans, dogs need a home they can retreat to when they feel stressed, or just to be comfortable in. One important aspect of crate training that dog parents sometimes overlook is how long a dog can stay comfortably in a cage. In this article, let's find out the optimal time you can leave your dog in a crate.

How long can a dog stay in a crate?

How Long Should You Leave a Dog in a Crate?

Every dog is different when it comes to time in the crate. It's crucial for dog owners to follow a schedule that is specific to the dog's age, size, health, and energy levels to ensure the best results.


How Long Should You Leave a Dog in a Crate

Since puppies have smaller bladders, it's best to start with short periods of crating initially and work your way up. Beginning at eight weeks old, practice leaving your pup in the crate for thirty to sixty minutes only at a time. As your puppy grows, slowly increase their time in the crate to one to three hours until they reach fourteen weeks old. Between fifteen and sixteen weeks of age, your puppy can be crated for up to four hours, then up to five hours when they are seventeen weeks and older.

Keeping a puppy in a crate for long periods can cause your puppy to go into stress mode. Make sure you monitor your puppy's progress and adjust the crate time length if necessary to avoid accidents.

Adult dogs

Most adult dogs stay crated for up to eight hours. Some dogs can stay crated for even longer if they are trained correctly.

Depending on the dog's age, pet parents may modify their dog's crate time. For example, senior dogs with slowing bowel control may require more frequent bathroom breaks than younger dogs. Additionally, rescue dogs with anxiety may take longer to get used to their crate training process and need more attention.

What if I need to crate my dog for over eight hours?

The short answer is yes you can. Depending on your situation, your dog can stay in their crate overnight for up to twelve hours. Adult and older dogs sleep longer nights than younger dogs and thus may be able to stay in a crate longer.

Bear in mind that being crated both overnight and during the day may be too much for your pup and can adversely affect their mental health. If you intend to leave your dog in their crate for extended periods of time, be sure to keep your dog entertained with their favorite toy.

How much crate time is too much?How Long Should You Leave a Dog in a Crate

Most dogs are social creatures, therefore excessive isolation from crating can lead to behavioral problems such as anxiety and depression. Being in a small space consistently without much physical stimulation may cause your dog to feel trapped and develop strong resentment towards their crate. They are also more prone to obesity if given too much crate time. Keep your dog active with enough exercise to help them stretch and release pent-up energy.

For busy dog parents, taking your dog to the doggie daycare can be a great alternative and an excellent way for your dog to socialize with others. For anxious dogs, a dog sitter or dog walker may be a better option.

Why crate training is important

How Long Should You Leave a Dog in a Crate

Crate training your pup, while requiring some upfront effort, can be extremely beneficial in the long run. A well-trained dog sees their crate as their home, a comforting resting place where they can unwind and sleep. This is due to the dog's natural tendency to find small, secure spaces that serve as their shelters.

You can crate-train your new puppy or rescued dog during house training. The crate acts as a gate, restricting your pup from entering the rest of the home. This can help teach your dog boundaries, help them recognize where they're allowed to stay, and overall help them understand the house rules better.

It's recommended by dog trainers and vets that you start crate training from an early age since it aids in potting training tremendously. Staying in the crate will enable your pup to practice holding their bladder. You won't have to worry too much about accidents; dogs don't like to soil their resting place and will do their best to control their bowel movements while in the crate.

A crate also serves as a safe way to transport your dog during car or airplane rides. Crate is a practical way to contain your dog during emergencies when you need to be on the move quickly.

Crate training tips

How Long Should You Leave a Dog in a Crate

Here are some tips you can consider in order to successfully crate-train your dog:

    • Before crating your dog, take them out for a walk.

    • Leave plenty of treats in the crate. This will help your dog foster a positive association with the crate.

    • Don't forget about toys! They will help your dog stay occupied and entertained.

    • Avoid punishing your dog by crating them. This may lead to unwanted hostile feelings toward the crate, which can undermine the training.

    • For dogs with separation anxiety, crating might not be the solution. However, choosing the right crate can greatly reduce the risk of your dog escaping and injuring themselves.

Transition away from the crate

Although crate training is super important when your dog is younger, they don't have to be confined to the crate when they reach adulthood. In the case that your dog is fully potty trained, and is showing good, non-destructive behaviors, you can start allowing them to sleep on their bed outside of the crate. Of course, the case is always useful in situations when your dog feels stressed and needs some extra space for relaxing.

Final thoughts

While crate training is no easy task, knowing the ideal duration of time you can keep your dog in the kennel can certainly help. Prevent from keeping your dog in the crate for over than eight hours, and be sure to take them out for physical activities and bathroom breaks.crate