Is It Good Or Bad Practice To Feed A Dog In Their Crate?

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Is feeding your dog in his crate ever appropriate? And is feeding a puppy in a crate a good idea to help your pet when you’re crate training him? 

Those are questions many new dog owners ask when wondering whether to put food and water in the dog crate.

Read this guide to find out if it’s good or bad practice to feed your dog in his crate.

Crate Training – Good or Bad?

Golden Retriever inside the crate

Many dog owners choose to crate train their dogs. There are plenty of advantages to be gained from crate training for both the dog and the pet parents.

  • Dogs instinctively seek a quiet den-like space where they can feel safe and secure.
  • Destructive dogs can be confined to a crate when you’re not around to watch them.
  • Crating your dog overnight means you’ll get a quiet night’s sleep.
  • Traveling by car with your dog is much safer and more relaxing for both parties if your pet is contained in a crate.
  • Crating your dog can help treat anxiety-related behaviors, such as separation anxiety.

So, as long as you never use your dog’s crate as a punishment tool, crate training can be advantageous.

The crate should be set up for comfort and safety with a warm, cozy, chew-proof bed, a water bottle, and a selection of interactive toys to keep your dog entertained and content.

Should You Be Feeding Your Dog In His Crate?

Should You Be Feeding Your Dog In His Crate

But should you feed your dog in his crate?

There are circumstances where it can be appropriate to feed your dog in his crate.

Crate Training

Some dogs find the idea of entering a crate quite daunting. In those cases, feeding your dog in his crate can be an essential part of the crate training process.

Start by offering your dog his dinner just inside the crate, leaving the door open so your pet can come out if he wants to. Once your dog is comfortable with that, you can move the bowl further toward the back of the crate. Ultimately, you want to be able to close the door while your dog is eating.

Eventually, your dog will head into his crate when he sees you filling his food bowl. So, feeding your dog in his crate can help your pet view the crate as a happy place where he can enjoy a reward for his good behavior.

Eliminate Feeding Aggression

Aggressive Behavior of Dogs and Social Pets Relationships

In multi-dog households, feeding times can provoke aggression in some dogs. By feeding both dogs in separate crates, you can eliminate problematic feeding aggression behaviors.

You can leave the dogs to enjoy their meals without worrying that fighting could break out. Also, the dogs will be less likely to bolt their food, reducing the risk of digestive problems.

Privacy During Mealtimes

Doggy dinner time can be fraught with problems in a household with small children. Little kids often want to pet the dog while eating or even try to take the dog’s dinner dish away from him. That can cause issues with snapping or even biting.

Rescue dogs that were starved of regular meals can be very likely to guard their food, so feeding these pups in a crate removes threats, enables the dog to relax and enjoy his food and helps to prevent accidents.

When To Stop Feeding Your Puppy in Crate

Sometimes, it’s not a good idea to feed your dog in his crate.

Too Much Crate Time

Many dogs are accustomed to spending most of the day confined to their crates while their owners are out at work. So, it’s not fair to shut your dog in his crate at dinner time, too.

Instead, pick a quiet spot in a peaceful area of your home where your dog can enjoy his meals without being hassled or disturbed. 

Messy Pups!

Beagle puppy sleeping in the cage

Most dogs prefer to enjoy a good slurp of water immediately after meals. Although you can include a special crate water bottle in your pet’s crate, it’s bad to put a regular water bowl in a dog crate. The water bowl is almost bound to be knocked over or slopped onto the dog’s bed, making a soggy mess that the dog won’t want to sleep in.

If your dog falls into that thirsty pup category but wants to feed him in his crate, remember to let your dog out and give him a drink outside the crate when he’s finished eating.

Is Your Dog A Grazer?

Some dogs prefer to nibble on their kibble throughout the day rather than wolfing it all down.

For those dogs that like to graze, leaving food in their crate is not the best plan. Instead, you’ll need to leave the food in one spot that the dog passes by often. However, that will only work in a household with one dog.

Crate Hygiene

Your dog’s crate should be a clean, safe place for him to spend his downtime. Leaving a bowl of food in the crate will attract flies and vermin, creating an unhygienic environment for your pet.

Puppies and dogs are happiest with a regular daily routine including eating, going for walks, playtime, potty stops, and bedtime. If you leave food in your dog’s crate overnight, you risk upsetting that potty routine, resulting in an accident and a soiled crate and pup!

Leaving Dog in Crate While At Work

Can you leave food in your dog’s cage while you’re at work?. The answer is – Yes if it is not too hot. If it is too hot, you should probably just feed him before you leave. 

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our article discussing whether or not you should feed your dog in his crate? If you found the article helpful, please take a few moments to share it!

There are occasions when feeding your dog in his crate is a good idea. For example, when crate training a puppy or adult dog, offering him his meals in his crate can provide an excellent incentive for the pup to go into the crate. Crating your dog at feeding times can also prevent aggressive behavior in multi-dog households and give your dog some valuable peace and quiet in a hectic home.

Do you feed your dog in his crate? Why does that work for your pet? Tell us in the comments box below!

Meet our writer

Alison Page was brought up with dogs and various other pets! For a few years, Alison worked as a Practice Manager in a small animal veterinary clinic. Alison is now a full-time writer, specializing in creating articles on the care and training of dogs, cats, and fish.

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