Knowing how to make a dog crate more comfortable is going to benefit your dog ALOT in the long term.
Not only will your dog be more comfortable, but you’re going to protect and relieve their joints and bones.
Older dogs, dogs with arthritis, and dog with hip, elbow and other joint problems can definitely benefit from a more comfortable dog crate.
Let’s check out a few ideas about how you might do this…
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
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How To Make A Dog Crate More Comfortable: 10 Tips
1. Make Sure The Crate Has Enough Room
Firstly, make sure the crate has enough room inside it so your dog can stand up straight in it without touching the sides or ceiling.
You also want to make sure that they have enough room in the crate so that their head or body isn’t touching the metal when they are laying down.
Take both standing and laying down dimensions of your dog (note whether your dog like to lay out or curl up), and order a crate accordingly.
You can check out some of the best dog crates in this guide.
The MidWest iCrate Single Door and Double Door Metal Wire Dog Crate (on Amazon) is quite a popular cheap metal wire dog crate.
2. Make sure a dog is crate trained, and associates the crate with being a comfortable environment to be in
It helps from a young age if your dog positively associates with their crate.
A nice bed, a big enough crate, having available water and food, being able to go potty when required, and having the crate in a comfortable location in your house helps with this.
The other part to this equation may involve some dog crate training.
3. Get A Good Dog Bed With At Least 4 Inches Of Orthopedic Memory Foam
Second, the bottom of dog crates are usually made of hard plastic which is the tray, and hard metal from the cage.
Laying directly on the crate floor is terrible for a dog’s joints and bones long term. Even more so if your dog is old, has joint problems, or has arthritis.
Can you imagine how your body would feel if you slept on tiles every night?
A dog bed with at least 4 inches of high density orthopedic memory foam can provide your dog with ALL the support and comfort they need.
Something like the Dogbed4less Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed (on Amazon) for example.
For bigger dogs you might consider a 7 inch therapeutic foam dog bed like the Big Barker 7 Inch Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed, Headrest Edition (on Amazon) for example.
4. Get A Good Dog Crate Pad/Mat
If you choose to have JUST a dog crate pad or mat inside the dog crate, make sure you have padding and cushioning inside the crate and under the crate pad.
If you get some cheap cushioning, make sure your dog isn’t inside the crate for long periods and that they get to lay down on their bed outside the crate which does have cushioning.
The benefit of dog crate pads is that because they are so flexible they are easy to put in a crate as short term cushioning.
They are also easy to wash and clean – you can throw them straight in the washer.
You can get more chew resistant and heavier duty crate mats/pad like the Big Barker 4 Inch Orthopedic Foam Dog Crate Pad (on Amazon).
5. Warm The Crate In Cold Weather
There are many things you can do to make a crate warmer for your dog.
Having the crate inside in a warm area and putting a nice warm thermal polar fleece blanket inside are two good things to start.
Many of the things you can do to heat up a dog house are very similar things you can do to heat a dog crate.
You may even decide to get a heated dog bed.
Check out this guide we wrote about 22 ways you can heat and warm a dog house for ideas.
Be careful with heat and electricity around dog crate metal though – always seek a professional’s advice when dealing with safety issues.
6. Cool The Crate In Hot Weather
When the seasons switch back around to the hotter summer months, it’s worth cooling your dog down inside the crate.
A fan sitting next to the crate certainly helps (a water mist fan can be lovely).
You may look at a self cooling dog mat and gel pad to put under your dog.
Check out this guide for more ideas – how to cool a dog house in hot weather.
7. Leave Some Dog Toys In The Crate
For both dogs that like to chew and purely for interaction, leaving dog toys in the crate is a good idea.
Toys can make a dog feel comfortable simply because they are familiar and they associate them with fun.
8. Leave Crate Door Open
So your dog doesn’t feel trapped, and so they can go to the toilet, or go drink water and get food outside the crate – it’s good to leave the crate door open if possible.
Leaving the crate in an area they feel comfortable and not isolated is also a good idea.
9. Ensure Your Dog Is Getting Exercise And Socialisation + Your Attention
Crates should really only be used as a training tool, for safety (for your dog and others), or for transport.
Some people’s dog’s love their crate with a bed inside and don’t mind staying in the crate over night.
But, dogs should be left in a crate for no reason.
To feel comfortable and not like a prisoner they need exercise and regular socialisation with you.
10. Car Trips and Plane Travel
For car trips longer than a few hours, let them out of the car for water and food and a walk around
Plane travel and extended travel is completely different. You can read more about dog plane travel in this guide.
But, do your own research and follow specific laws, regulations and guidelines on in your area for car, plane and vehicle travel with a crate.
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