How Long Can a Dog Be Left Inside a Crate or Overnight?

Crate training works wonders for puppies, and adult dogs love having a dog car crate where they can nap and relax away from noise and chaos. However:

  • If you have a destructive pup, is it kind to leave them locked in a car crate for dogs all day?
  • What about how long you can crate a puppy overnight?
  • How many hours of exercise does a dog sleeping in a crate need during the day?

In reality, the answer is likely to be different for different dogs and depend on the crate's size.

Bear in mind that larger breeds need very large dog car crates, and leaving them in for too long could cause problems with their joints - your dog must always be able to stretch and stand, and a crate that is too small is undoubtedly not safe.

Guidelines for Safe Crate Training for Dogs

The best way to use a crate is to leave the door open, with puppy pads, water and dog food within easy reach. It is absolutely fine to lock a dog crate for shorter periods, but the idea is to have a safe, sheltered space, not to use a crate as a cage.

  • Crates are intended to be safe, cosy spaces for a pup to decompress and relax. They must NEVER be used as a punishment! Furnish your car carriers for dogs with toys, soft pillow dog beds (try the AllPetSolutions Alfie Pillow Dog Bed), or move your pup's bed inside their crate.
  • Dogs cannot be crated all day, then walked, then returned to the crate again overnight. If you are working all day, and prefer your dog to sleep in the crate at night, it's best to consider a dog walker or doggie daycare as this can cause havoc with a dog's behaviour and their mental and physical health.
  • Younger puppies can only hold their bladders for three or four hours max. Never leave a tiny pup for extended periods locked in a crate, as they will have an accident!

Choosing a large enough crate for your dog to move, sit, stand and stretch is ideal. Dog mattress beds come in waterproof and washable versions, which are perfect for droolers or house training dogs, as well as snuggly blankets - take a look at options such as:

  • The Charlie Grey Dog Blanket, in a gorgeous chunky cable knit.
  • Our Luxury Soft Rose Pink Throw - ideal for getting that luxury dog bed feel. 

Above all, use your instincts. If you are using a crate overnight and your dog is uncomfortable, it might not be the right solution for you.

Likewise, if your pup prefers to spend all day in their crate, and you're leaving the door open, it's obviously their favourite spot in the house!

See the full range of AllPetSolutions Dog Beds, including mattresses and pillows that slot easily into crates for more ideas.