How Long Can a Dog Stay in a Crate

How Long Can a Dog Stay in a Crate?
Crate training is essential for both puppies and adult dogs when they first move into their new home.

A crate will provide a place for them to feel secure and keep them safe and out of trouble.

Eventually, when a dog becomes trustworthy, they can be given more freedom.

When Daisy was a puppy, I crated her until she was six months old.

However, most dogs are crate trained until at least 12 months old; it all depends on your dog.

There’s no age limit as to how old your dog should be crated for. However, there are limits for the length of time that you should keep your dog crated.

Every dog is different as to how many hours they can comfortably stay in a crate.

Several factors need to be taken into consideration when determining a healthy amount of time your dog can be left in their kennel.

Considerations to take into account when leaving your dog in its crate include:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Breed
  • Frequency
  • Location of crate

tl;dr: Don’t crate a dog for longer than they can hold their bladder!

How Long Can You Keep a Puppy in a Crate?

According to the SPCA of Texas, puppies six months old and younger shouldn’t be crated more than four hours at a time[1].How long can puppy stay in dog crate how much time is too many minutes hours

However, remember all that dogs are different, and some puppies may need to build up to four hours.

When Daisy was a puppy, I was working full-time outside of the home. Because she wasn’t old enough to go to daycare, and I wasn’t close enough to come home over lunch, Daisy would have been in her kennel for at least 9.5 hours a day.

My solution to this problem was to hire a dog walker to come in three days a week and my mom came over two days a week to get Daisy out for lunch and a midday walk.

If you don’t have a family member who can help you out, there are a lot of different dog walking services available.

Professional dog walkers can help get your dog out of the crate for a walk or to play and stretch their legs.How long can puppy stay in crate up to 4 hours walk potty break

Dog walkers are an excellent solution for getting your puppy out of its kennel halfway through the day.

There are several benefits of your puppy getting out of its crate halfway through your workday:

  • Exercise – Puppies are essentially fluffy balls of energy on legs.
  • Bathroom Breaks – Puppies don’t have the same bladder control as an adult dog and this will also aid in housetraining.
  • Lunch – It is best if puppies have an opportunity to eat 3-4 times a day.
  • Mental stimulation – As puppies grow physically, they also are developing mentally and require more stimulation than eight hours in a kennel can provide.

QUICK TIP

Have a backup plan.

When I was a sales manager, sometimes unexpected things would come up extending my day. I always had a few people I could call who had access to my home so they could let Daisy out if I were running late.

Even if you have a strict nine to five job, you might get stuck in horrible traffic or have a flat tire.

You may never need to use your backup plan, but if you do, you will be happy you had one in place.

How Long Can You Keep a Senior Dog in a Crate?

Senior dog crate time limited by bladder need to pee arthritis

Doggy diapers can help if necessary but shouldn’t be considered a full solution

Senior dogs cannot be in their crate as long as they once could.

Most seniors need to go to the bathroom more frequently, whether from incontinence or just age.

Seniors are a lot like puppies this way and can be in their crate for about 4 hours at a time.

Not only do seniors need to use the bathroom more frequently, but some seniors have arthritis[2].

Extended time in a crate can cause your dog’s joints to become too stiff, resulting in an uncomfortable maybe even painful situation for your dog.

A couple of solutions for keeping your senior comfortable:

  • Bring in a dog sitter to give them some midday relief, either from being cramped or from bladder pressure.
  • Bring them to daycare. My daycare has special areas for seniors. Some of the seniors are in the office, and the more mobile seniors are in a group for quieter, less active dogs.
  • Provide them with a bigger crate or dog-proof a room in the house, so they have room to stretch their legs.

Other Considerations

Does the Your Dog’s Breed Matter?

Absolutely, your dog’s breed does matter.

Some dogs are more active, like Border Collies, where other dogs like Great Danes are less active, especially once they grow out of puppyhood.

It is far more difficult for active high energy breeds to be content staying in a kennel for long periods.Does dog breed matter for crate length of time great dane low energy breed

A dog’s breed can help determine the duration in which your dog can comfortably stay in its kennel[3].

If you are thinking of getting a dog, this is an essential factor to consider. If you work long hours or have a long commute, finding a less energetic breed would be better.

Even with all the best planning in the world, things change, especially jobs.

I have a friend, Shanna, that has as a Vizsla.

She recently changed jobs resulting in a longer commute and longer hours, so her pup, Jasmine, is stuck in her kennel way too long.

At first, Jasmine was fine, but after about a week, she started to show unfavorable behaviors, such as having accidents in the kennel and shredding her bedding.

Shanna called me, we brainstormed on it for a bit, and here’s what we came up with.Hungarian Vizsla high energy dog breed cannot be crated for too long at work

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Shanna gets up an hour earlier to get Jasmine out for a long run. Then, the neighbor kid comes over and lets her out midday.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jasmine goes to daycare.

Not only did it solve the behavior issues, but Jasmine is pretty tired by the end of each day, especially daycare days.

Not everyone has a neighbor kid that’s able to come over or daycare, but there’s usually always a solution. It just might require a little creativity.

Ultimately, if Shanna still had her Great Dane, Brutus, this change would not have bothered him at all.

Being a Great Dane, Brutus was a very laid-back lazy boy who would have been fine being confined for an extended period.

Does the Location of the Crate Matter?

Where should you place dog crate for comfortable dog experience quiet calm

Pictured: A poor location for your dog’s crate when you’re gone for long periods of time

The location of where your dog is crated during the day does matter.

It is best to keep the crate in a quiet area of your house to keep your dog calm.

Also, be sure to keep the crate out of direct sunlight and away from any drafts. This will prevent your pup from becoming too hot or too cold.

Many people like having the crate in the main living area; however, if you live in a busy neighborhood, the noise from the street could cause your dog to become anxious or frustrated.

The optimal location for a crate is in a darker quiet area.

Usually, the bedroom works perfectly.

The bedroom drapes can be drawn, and a radio can be turned on to drown out noises. The thought is to create a relaxing environment so your dog can rest when you are away.

What’s in the Crate?

What you put in the crate makes a difference.

It is always good to include comfortable bedding that is appropriate for the season.

Also, adding toys and items of comfort like stuffed animals can help your dog relax.

You will need to be sure your dog will not destroy the bedding or toys before leaving them in the kennel with them to ensure they don’t choke or eat things they shouldn’t.

Snacks

Kong dog chew toy mental stimulation long crate time boredomeWhen Daisy was a puppy, I would freeze a few Kongs.

Some of the Kongs had peanut butter, and others had canned dog food.

In the morning, before I left, I would put a Kong in the kennel with her.

At lunchtime, when my mom or the sitter would come over, they would use the same Kong, but instead of soft food, they would pop in a hard treat.

I didn’t put a lot of food or PB in the Kong, just enough to give her something to work on in the crate, but not enough that she would need to go to the bathroom or require a drink of water when she was done.

Water

Putting water in a crate isn’t always a good idea.

Free access to water is usually good, but not when your dog doesn’t have free access to the outdoors.

Also, puppies tend to knock over their water bowl, creating a mess and an uncomfortable stay in the crate.

Does the Time of Day Matter?

Taro the Shiba Inu sleeps in crate for long time during night after day is over

Photo By: Taro the Shiba Inu (Must have set up a timer)
(CC BY 2.0)

Dogs can last in their crate for more extended periods at night unless they are puppies or seniors.

Most adult dogs are comfortable being crated overnight.

Dogs are usually awake off and on during the daytime, making sleeping through the night more comfortable.

However, if your dog is crated all day and not given enough exercise, overnight crating may become an issue.

So… How Long Can You Crate Your Dog?

The short answer is 4 hours for puppies and seniors. For healthy adult dogs, 6-7 consecutive hours a day.

An adult dog can last longer than 6-7 hours a day, but anything longer can become very uncomfortable for your pooch.

If your dog is kenneled for long periods during the day, they may start dreading going into their crate.

Remember, your dog should feel relaxed and safe in their crate.

Final Thoughts

Physically, you can keep a dog in a kennel all day.

However, if you leave your dog in a kennel too long, some dogs may become bored, anxious, and frustrated, which is usually a recipe for destruction.how long dog spend in crate is too much all day while working does age matter

All dogs require exercise and socialization, but it’s extra important if your dog spends 75% or more of their time crated.

You must count the hours your dog is in its crate and be sure to include your travel time.

For example, when I was working out of the home, I had a 30-minute commute one way in good weather conditions. In Minnesota, that’s only 8 out of 12 months.

Also, I worked eight and a half hours minimum a day, so on good days, Daisy was home 9.5 hours minimum.

Then when you take into the overnight, it was another 8 hours, which is just shy of 75% of a 24-hour day.

I’m not advocating you not crate your dog when you are absent.

But, we must provide enough physical and mental stimulation to ensure we have a happy and healthy pup.

FAQs

Can I Crate My Dog for 12 Hours?

Technically yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

It would be best to make arrangements for someone to come over and let them out midway through the day

If you are unable to find someone to help you, you may want to consider dog-proofing a small room in your house to give your dog more space.

If you have a puppy or a senior, 12 hours is way too long for them to be left in a kennel.

Should I Crate My Dog While at Work?

Depends.

If your dog is trustworthy enough to have free run of the house then leave them out.

But if they are still too young or new to your home then it is best to crate them until you are confident they won’t put themselves in danger.

Is It Ok for a Dog to Be in a Crate All Day?

Depends on the age, breed, and health of your dog and how long “all day” is.

Typically, no.

Resources

  1. https://www.spca.org/document.doc?id=126
  2. https://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/687-arthritis-in-dogs-aaha
  3. https://www.caninejournal.com/low-energy-dogs-high-energy-dogs/
About the author

Jessica Mabie

Jessica and her husband share their lives with four amazing high energy Brittanys and one very awesome cat. You’ll rarely see her without her 4 pack, they go everywhere with her, including most vacations. So, if you see her out and about with her family don’t hesitate to say “Hi!”, (You’ll know it’s her since few are so daring as to have 4 Britts).