Are Dog Crates Humane? (Important Facts)


are dog crates humane

Crating a dog can be quite a controversial topic. Many people feel strongly that crating a dog is inhumane and if you take part in crating, you are considerably harming your dog.

But, is this entirely true? Can dog crates be humane?

Some people say dog crates are cruel and should never be used, while others swear by them as an essential tool to help train a dog. Ultimately, it comes down to how the owner uses the crate. When used correctly, dog crates are safe, helpful and enjoyable for a dog.

This article dives deep on whether or not crating a dog is humane or harmful to your pup. 

We also look at best practices when it comes to crating a dog, how to determine the best crate size for your dog, how long you should keep a dog in there, and more. 

Continue reading so you can discover once and for all why, when used correctly, dog crates are humane.

Am I Doing More Harm Than Good Crating My Dog?

No, you aren’t, but that depends on the situation. Crates are an essential tool that people use when training their dogs. 

Crate training is a great tool to help your dog feel comfortable and safe when in an overwhelming environment. It also prevents them from chewing up things around your home and house training them. Crates have many other uses, too, such as safety while transporting your pup in your car. 

It only becomes harmful when you crate your canine for too long. A crate isn’t always a magical solution to typical canine behavior. If you misuse it, it can be terrible for your dog, and some dogs will refuse to go in crates entirely. 

It makes them feel like they’re in a trap, and this increases their stress levels. It also steals their opportunity to exercise, eat as well as relieve themselves.

Why Do People Think Crating A Dog Is Inhumane?

Most people believe that crating is depriving your dog of their freedom of movement. Especially if you do it for too long.

PETA suggests that dogs crated for too long can suffer from psychological and physical problems. These include bulimia nervosa, a major depressive disorder with atypical features. There are also obsessive-compulsive disorders like licking or chewing themselves excessively.

These are the results when you leave your dog isolated inside a crate for too long.

Do Dogs Like Being Crated?

Again, this will depend on the circumstances of how you’re crating your canine. If you do it as a mode of punishment or for too long, then they might even refuse to enter. But if you do it in a lighter, more friendly way, they’ll enjoy staying in the crate.

For example, suppose you have guests over, and you keep your pup inside the crate with an interactive toy to keep them busy; that is fine. But if you only wait for them to misbehave, then put them in the crate, they associate it as a dungeon of punishment. Thus, they will grow to hate it.

You can train your dog to like their crate by rewarding them with treats when they enter the crate. Put a treat inside the crate, and then let it stay open for some time. Playing with your pup until they’re comfortable staying inside on their own without any rewards is the best way to do so. 

Once you notice this has become routine behavior, close the door while still giving them one or two more snacks before letting them out of the crate again.

What Size Dog Crate Is Too Small?

Since dogs vary in size depending on their age and breed, here are sure signs that the crate you are using is too small for your furry friend:

They’re unable to sit upright

Your dog should be able to sit up straight inside the kennel with their head held high. Your dog shouldn’t have to hunch or cramp in any way possible, ensuring they have enough room for comfort. If they don’t, the crate is too small.

They’re unable to turn comfortably

Your dog should also be able to turn around quickly in the crate. If they can’t, they’ll start developing health issues over time. If your dog’s crate is too small, they may feel confined and uncomfortable. The only thing touching the cage should be their tail.

If your dog cannot lie down with their paws stretched out 

If a dog can’t lay down and stretch simultaneously, likely, there isn’t enough room in the crate. You can measure your pup by having them lie down as they normally would before putting them inside of their kennel. If the measurement is smaller than the length of the crate (with some wiggle room on both sides) then the size of the crate is just fine.

If your dog is behaving in an uncomfortable way

There are sure signs that your dog is uncomfortable, and they are:

  • Growling
  • Howling
  • Barking
  • Whining 
  • Shivering
  • Pacing

If you notice these signs once you put your dog inside their crate, then they’re utterly uncomfortable, and the crate might be the issue.

Dog crates are popular because they’re the best mode of transporting dogs. It’s easier to control a dog inside a crate than when they have a leash on. It’s easy for your dog to run off with a leash, but that isn’t the case with a crate.

Some people still use a crate throughout their dog’s adulthood to prevent negative behaviors or believe that crates make dogs feel safe. Crate training allows the owner to set boundaries, which results in less anxious dogs.

Is Crate Training A Dog Immoral?

Crate training isn’t immoral as long as you maintain a healthy time for your dog to stay locked. It only becomes inhumane if your dog is trapped in a smaller cage and/or in unfavorable conditions for a more extended period. For instance, placing the crate in the cold or the rain without covering your dog.

Morally, you must first provide a dog with a spacious crate to stretch, rest and turn. Then the crate must be well-ventilated and not a closed cage. Thirdly, you must let your dog out for exercise and allow them to relieve themselves. 

Also, make it a habit to use the crate only when restraining your dog when you’re at work, traveling with them, or when guests are over. If you do it for punishment reasons or for excessively long hours (10-12 hours plus daily), then that is immoral crate training.

Is Crate Training Necessary?

It’s necessary if you want to set healthy boundaries with your pet. Crate training is essential for several reasons. 

For safety, it prevents your pup from getting into things they shouldn’t and causing damage to your home or injuring themselves. And as part of housetraining, the crate also encourages puppies not to soil their den area by keeping them confined in an appropriate place until they can go outside on demand during potty breaks throughout the day.

It’s also extremely helpful when traveling since crates help keep pets safe while protecting belongings inside car trunks and airplanes cabins. A dog will be comfortable enough if you buy one that fits its size once they reach adulthood, so don’t rush out before doing research first-hand. 

Not to mention, in the event of an emergency and your dog needs to go to the vet. If they’re trained to be comfortable in a crate, that will be one less thing they’ll have to be anxious about if they need to stay in a crate at the vet.

How Much Time Can A Dog Spend In A Crate Before It’s Harmful?

If you have a dog that hasn’t been crate trained, it’s crucial to know how long your pet can be left in the crate. Most dogs should only spend 8 hours at a time inside their crates and even less for older or younger puppies. 

It would be best not to leave your pup crated most of the day as this will make them feel abandoned rather than secure. 

This goes against what they’re used for during training sessions.  They’re confined with treats and toys until released by an owner who gives praise after restricting them successfully on command. 

Regardless, if it’s just 30 minutes or slightly longer, depending on individual circumstances, it’s okay. But always consider factors such as age, health, size, etc. before deciding upon anything concerning your pup.

Is It Inhumane to Have A Dog Sleep In Its Crate At Night?

It’s not cruel at all! On the contrary: dogs love their crates because they’re cozy spaces that are just perfect for resting or chilling out after an exhausting day of fun with friends. 

Dogs like to feel safe and secure, so crating your dog is a great way to make them feel comfortable at night. For this reason, if you properly crate train your pup, they will be able to enjoy spending time in the crate. 

It also helps prevent any unwanted behavior during precious sleeping hours.

Final Thoughts

A crate can be a valuable tool for dog owners. Crates are often used to keep dogs safe, secure, and contained when they shouldn’t be roaming free. They also provide an essential sense of security that helps calm some nervous or anxious doggos during storms or other scary events. 

It’s not inhumane to use crates for dogs if you are using them the right way. If you still feel you’d like more information, consult with your veterinarian about how best to care for your pet based on their specific needs and personality traits. This is to make sure you’re doing what’s best for both of you!

Other posts you might find interesting:

Is It Illegal To Crate A Dog? (Fully Explained)

Can I Put 2 Dogs In The Same Crate?

27 Best Dog Crates For Small Dogs And Puppies

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

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