Dog Crate Vs. Bed (Which Is Best For Your Dog)

Choosing between a dog bed and a crate can be a difficult decision. Some people swear by a dog crate, others say you should only ever get them a dog bed. But which is the best choice for your dog and how can you be sure you’re making the right choice?

When looking at dog crates vs. dog beds the right choice will depend heavily on the dog as well as your parenting preferences. However, training your dog to be comfortable with both a crate and a bed will prove to be much more beneficial in the long term.

Having a dog bed can seem appealing and using a crate might feel like additional work. Without knowing the real reasons why you might get one over the other, or even both, it can be challenging to know what decision to make.

We’ll be covering all this and more to make sure you know exactly what is best for your special pup.

dog crate vs bed

Why Choose a Crate Over a Dog Bed?

A crate properly used will make your dog feel protected, safe, and comfortable in their environment. By using a crate, your dog can learn to control their bladder and not go number 1 & 2 around themselves as long as you don’t keep them inside for too long of a time and the crate is the right size.

Keeping your dog in a crate is an effective way of protecting your room from chaos and wreckage while teaching them discipline. Inside a crate, your dog is also safe from harmful and potentially toxic items that they can chew on or swallow.

Why Choose a Dog Bed Over a Crate?

A dog bed can be a great alternative if you feel bad for using a crate for a long time. Using a good quality bed can bring many health benefits to your dog. A hard surface can hurt their joints but a soft bed helps prevent aches and pains from persisting.

Because of the soft surface, comfort, and warmth a bed brings, your dog is bound to get quality sleep and the nap they deserve. A bed gives your dog much more freedom of space, the ability to stretch, come and go as they please, and rest without restrictions.

Complete Pros And Cons List Of Dog Crates


Discipline & Bladder Control

Inside a crate, dogs will instinctively hold their bladder to keep their surroundings clean. Proper use of it will discipline your dog and house train them quicker if a puppy.

Easier Traveling And Handling in Emergency Situations

Traveling with your pet is much easier if your dog is comfortable being inside a crate. Also, being able to easily put your dog inside a crate in emergency situations will make things as smooth as possible as well as make them feel more calm if properly trained.

Safe From Harmful Substances

There are items in your home that your dog may find and start chewing on that can be harmful and even poisonous. By using a crate and providing safe toys, your dog will learn what is okay to chew on and stay protected from potentially harmful objects.

Cleaner House

By keeping your dog inside a crate, you limit their ability to eat anything they shouldn’t, break your valuables and/or make a mess of your home.


Can Cause Emotional And Physical Distress

A crate that is not the right fit and is too small for a dog can bring physical distress to them. Keeping your dog inside a crate for a long time can harm them emotionally.

While a crate is a valuable tool, if used improperly by the owner, it can have negative effects on your dog that are easily avoidable.

Hazardous if Not Properly Ventilated And Assembled

Depending on the quality of the crate you’ve purchased, the way it’s structured could be hazardous.

If it’s not properly assembled or isn’t a sturdy, good quality crate, it could fall apart with your dog in it (not very likely to happen). Also, some crates don’t have a whole lot of places for air to circulate which can be stressful for a dog as well as dangerous.

Complete Pros And Cons List Of Dog Beds


Improved Bone & Joint Health

Sleeping on soft surfaces puts less pressure on your dog’s joints and keeps them younger and healthier.

Better Quality Sleep

Using a dog bed enhances the quality and comfort of your dog’s sleep. A soft bed with memory foam will mean they stay comfortable without having to adjust their position and in term give them a more restless sleep.

Increased Well-Being of You And Your Dog

Having your dog roaming around freely reduces stress levels and increases oxytocin levels which results in improved well-being of you and your furry friend.

Certain Beds Help With Warmth Or Cooling Off

Plush, memory foam beds are great at keeping your dog warm if you live in a place where the temperature gets really cool.

Also, elevated dog beds are great for dogs that have troubles cooling off as they help with air circulation.


More Cleaning To Do

A dog bed that’s frequently used will need to be frequently washed as well in order to keep it from smelling unpleasant. Not only smell, but lots of loose fur will collect on their bed that can easily be moved around creating a mess throughout your home.

Increased Risk of Transmission of Diseases/Allergies

Allergies and diseases can get attached to the fur of your dog when they come back from their walks. As they spend many hours lying on their bed, this is where potential allergies or diseases can start spreading from.

This can not only trigger your previous or suppressed allergies but can also increase the risk of transmitting new diseases/allergies.

Toxins in The Bed Could Harm Your Dog

Some beds are cheaply made with certain toxins that may harm your dog. If you don’t do enough research when buying a bed for your furry friend you could buy them a potentially toxic bed.

When Does a Dog Bed Make More Sense For a Dog?

Dog beds are commonly used for sleeping and napping for dogs. The soft and cozy surface keeps them warm and enhances their sleep.

Dog beds are more suitable for older dogs who spend most of their time asleep. The soft surface doesn’t bring much pressure to their joints and they can sleep peacefully with warmth.

If your dog’s trained well and you trust them, giving them the liberty of their bed makes more sense than a crate. That’ll keep your dog from making your room a mess as well.

Eventually, it comes to personal choice, and if you are inclined towards keeping a bed and can tolerate the cons then a dog bed makes more sense.

When Does a Crate Make More Sense For a Dog?

Often you’ll be in situations where using a crate for your dog would be the more sensible thing to do. 

If your pet is not house trained and makes a mess frequently on their bed or around the house, leaving them unattended might cause more problems for you. 

Crates are more advisable for puppies undergoing training as they help in potty training and disciplining.

If you’re away for a while, the better option would be to use a crate if you want to be certain your house will be clean when you get home.

Keeping your dog inside a crate when you have guests around who aren’t super comfortable with dogs is also more practical for keeping them away than just a bed.

Always make sure you’re not sending your dog to their crate as a form of punishment. It should act as a comfortable and safe place.

Should a Dog Sleep In A Crate At Night Or a Dog Bed?

Several factors help determine where your dog should sleep. This decision can get simplified by your dog’s age, size, type, and preference.

Crates are generally used for pups and smaller breed dogs. They’re also a great way to not worry about any trouble or mess at night while teaching them discipline.

If your dog is older and feels more comfortable in his bed, then you should let it curl up in a bed of his own. It’ll keep the joints from being damaged while acting as a space that the dog may consider as his den.

Where your dog ends up sleeping is determined by habit and early training but being comfortable in both situations will come in handy down the road.

Should You Have a Dog Crate AND a Bed?

Dogs can be trained to sleep in either a crate or a bed. Early training develops a habit making them feel comfortable in either place.

Whether you get both for your dog is a personal choice. You should definitely have one or the other.

There’s absolutely no harm in having a dog bed as well as a crate. Both serve different purposes and can be thoroughly enjoyed by your pup.

If you’ve been crating your dog at night and want to start allowing them out, a dog bed is a good idea to show them this is their new place at night time.

Final Thoughts

If your pup isn’t quite house trained yet, a crate will help them learn the boundaries of your home as well as where and when to go to the bathroom.

A bed can be introduced early as well, you just have to be prepared for the occasional accident and make sure the bed you’re getting has a removable & washable cover.

Both crates and beds have their pros and cons. Having your doggo accustomed to both environments is a good idea and will be helpful in many situations.

Trying new sleeping arrangements as your dog ages is a good idea also as your dog can change their resting preferences over time.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Elevated Dog Beds Vs. Memory Foam (Which Is Best?)

Are Dog Beds Toxic? (6 Important Facts)

Are Dog Crates Humane? (Important Facts)

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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