How To Keep A Puppy Warm In A Crate

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As the proud owner of a gorgeous new puppy, you want to know that your furry friend is happy and comfortable. But If your puppy is shivering in his crate, he might be cold and miserable.

So, what temperature should a puppy’s room be? How can you keep your puppy warm without using electricity? And how do you insulate a dog crate?

Read this guide to find out how to keep a puppy cozy, warm, and happy in his crate.

Why Does Your Puppy’s Crate Need To Be Warm

Dealing With Dog Separation Anxiety - Using Crates As A Safe Space

Just like human babies, puppies are at the most vulnerable stage of their lives. So, you need to keep your furbaby as comfortable, healthy, and happy as you can from day one.

The Effects Of Cold On Young Puppies

Very young puppies that don’t have their adult coats are extremely vulnerable to the effects of cold, especially during their first year.

Living in a perpetually cold environment will hinder the pup’s ability to fight off diseases and prevents healthy development. To keep your puppy happy and healthy, you need to make sure that he’s warm and snug.

If your puppy is cold, he could be affected by a range of health problems, including:

  • Lack of energy and lethargy
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Decreased alertness
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • General discomfort and increased anxiety
  • Heart irregularities
  • Poor oxygen saturation
  • Compromised immune system
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Slow wound healing
  • Poor digestive function and gastric upsets
  • Increased metabolic rate, leading to weight loss
  • Hypothermia
  • Skin dehydration, potentially leading to allergies and infections

So, you can see that keeping your puppy in a cold environment for extended periods is not good for the little guy’s wellbeing.

Small dogs are more vulnerable to the effects of cold than larger pooches, and thin-coated breeds, such as greyhounds are especially susceptible to chills. That said, even a Siberian Husky puppy that loves the snow won’t appreciate being kept in a cold room for extended periods.

What Temperature Should My Puppy’s Crate Room Be?

So, what’s the perfect room temperature for your puppy? Well, that depends on the age of your furbaby.

Newborn To One Week

If you have a newborn puppy, it must be kept at a temperature of between 85°  to 90°F for the first week of life.

That first week is when the puppy is most susceptible and vulnerable to infections and diseases, and it’s critical that you keep the pup warm enough.

Seven to Ten Days

In your puppy’s second week, you can decrease the room temperature to around 80°F. That temperature should be maintained until the puppy is around four weeks old. 

Four Weeks Onward

From the age of four weeks, provided that your puppy is well and in good health, you can safely assume that if the room temperature feels comfortable to you, then it’s most likely fine for your puppy, too.

Generally, people’s homes have an average temperature of 68-72°F, which is comfortable for your puppy.

What Type Of Crate Is Warmest?

Female Golden Retriever Lies in Her Dog Crate

When you’re out crate shopping, you’ll notice that there are several different kinds of dog crates to choose from.

So, which type of crate is the warmest for your puppy?

Metal Crates

Metal mesh material and wire dog crates are the most popular. Metal crates are easy to clean, cheap to buy, portable, excellent for potty training, and fold flat for easy storage. You can also buy metal crates with divider panels, so you can enlarge the crate as your puppy grows.

However, metal feels colder to the touch than other materials since metal is an excellent thermal conductor. The mesh used to make most metal crates also makes for a somewhat drafty environment.

Plastic Crates

Plastic dog crates are most commonly used as travel crates, and some are even approved by airlines for airplane travel.

A plastic type of crate is generally warmer than a metal one and can make a good option for a crate at night. However, plastic crates tend not to be especially spacious and are vulnerable to chewers.

You can also buy puppy crates made from a combination of plastic and metal mesh, such as the Diggs Revol dog crate, which also comes with a free divider panel. Provided you fit a cozy crate bed, the Revol dog crate can make a good choice for your puppy.

Wooden Furniture Crates

Wooden furniture dog crates that double as end tables or media consoles can make a warm option for your puppy.

However, a wooden crate is not easy to keep clean in the event of accidents, isn’t readily portable, and is vulnerable to nibbling puppy teeth.

Fabric Crates

Fabric soft-sided crates are probably the warmest types of crate options for puppies. These crates are most suitable for small breeds and are often used for travel purposes.

A fabric crate can make a good choice for a cold climate, as the puppy’s body heat helps to keep the crate warmer, and the fabric itself is warmer than most other materials.

How To Keep A Puppy Warm In A Crate

Dog inside a wire crate

In this section of our guide, we discuss several effective, practical ways to keep your puppy warm and cozy in his crate.

Add A Heat Source To The Puppy’s Room

The most practical way of keeping your puppy’s crate warm is to heat the room.

You should heat the whole room, not just the area immediately adjacent to the crate. Although you don’t want your pup to be cold, you don’t want him to get too hot either. 

Basically, the ideal room temperature should be stable, comfortable, and not extreme.

Proper Crate Placement

When positioning your puppy’s crate in a room, proper crate placement is critical.

Avoid putting your puppy’s crate right next to a central heat source or sources of extreme heat, such as radiators or direct sunlight. That could lead to overheating or dehydration, which could be dangerous for your puppy.

Remember that corners trap heat. So, if you put your puppy’s crate in a corner away from windows, air conditioning units, and drafts, you can keep heat loss to a minimum, and your pup could enjoy a constant flow of heat through his crate.

Use A Dog Crate Mattress

A dog crate with a plastic or metal base provides only minimal heat retention and is a pretty cold, uncomfortable surface for your puppy to lie on. So, we recommend using a dog crate mattress or pad to line the crate bottom.

A crate mat or pad makes the crate much more comfortable for your puppy to sleep on and also provides a thick layer of insulation, keeping your pup off the cold floor. For an extra snuggle factor, try adding a couple of fluffy fleece blankets to the setup.

You might also want to use an orthopedic or memory foam crate mattress to support your puppy’s joints. That can help to prevent arthritis and other joint problems later in life.

Even if your puppy is a determined chewer, there are plenty of mats and pads made from chew-resistant materials that you can choose.

Elevate The Crate

French Bulldog puppy resting inside a metal crate

You know that hot air rises and cold air sinks, right? So, one way to keep your puppy’s crate cozy and warm is to lift the crate above ground level.

In winter, when tiles and wooden floors are at their coldest, elevate the dog cage by setting it on a wooden plank or a few bricks.

You might also want to put some microfiber blankets on the floor underneath the crate to keep drafts out and make the environment warmer. A layer of newspaper under the crate works well to stop cold air from transferring to the crate.

Insulate The Crate

As mentioned earlier in this guide, adding a thick mattress or pad to the crate can provide a degree of insulation.

You can bolster that by using a couple of blankets to wrap around the outside of the crate for insulation. A hefty blanket will improve heat retention and make the crate cozier for your pet.

Put The Crate On A Rug Or Carpet

During cold winter weather, it’s a good idea to set your puppy’s crate on a piece of carpet or a rug rather than leaving it sitting on tiles or wooden flooring.

Carpet and rugs work well as an insulator, keeping the heat inside your puppy’s crate and blocking cold coming up from the flooring, through the crate floor, and into the crate.

Use A Heated Mat Or Pad

Heating mats are an increasingly popular crate mat option that many dog owners are choosing. In fact, sales of heating pads have soared in recent years.

You can find heated mats that are effectively electric blankets for dogs. You plug the mat into a mains power source and set the desired temperature. Although that might seem like a cozy option for your dog, there is a risk of overheating, especially if the heating element of the mat malfunctions. There’s also a danger of the mat being damaged by chewing. 

You shouldn’t use a human-intended electric blanket for your puppy’s crate. To fit the blanket inside the crate, you would need to fold it several times, which could present a fire risk.

You can also buy heating mats that work by using your puppy’s body heat to keep him warm. Many of these products are also machine-washable, which is very important for puppies that are being potty trained.

If you’re concerned that your puppy will chew his heated mat, you could try placing the mat underneath the crate instead of inside it.

Keep The Environment Dry

dogs in crate

Extra blankets and towels tend to become damp easily, which is not good for your puppy.

If you decide to go with blanket options for your pup’s crate, you must change them for fresh ones every day and have a supply of spares at the ready in case of toileting accidents.

Cover The Crate

Probably the best way to keep your puppy warm in his crate at night is to cover the entire crate. Dogs are naturally denning animals, and covering the crate helps to create a dark, cozy, safe environment for your pet.

A crate cover will keep drafts out and retain the puppy’s body heat, helping to make the environment inside the crate nice and warm.

We don’t recommend using a blanket to cover the crate. Blankets can easily be dislodged, and puppies have a habit of grabbing a blanket and dragging it into the crate to chew it.

Instead, you should invest in a proper crate cover. Crate covers come in standard sizes of small, medium, large, and extra-large. However, before you buy your cover, it’s a good idea to double-check the cover size to make sure it fits your dog’s crate. 

Use Hot Water Bottles

On cold winter days, you can add some warmth to your puppy’s crate by making up a hot water bottle and placing it under a few fleece blankets inside the crate.

Make sure that the hot water bottles are not too hot! You don’t want your puppy to overheat. You must also be certain that the bottles don’t leak. Of course, a hot water bottle only stays warm for so long. Remember to remove and refresh the hot water bottles when necessary.

If your puppy is a determined chewer, you shouldn’t use hot water bottles.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide on how to keep your puppy warm in his crate? If you found the article helpful, please remember to share it.

Keeping your new puppy warm is absolutely critical for his health and wellbeing. A puppy that is kept in a cold environment will soon develop health issues and will most likely fail to thrive.

Cover your puppy’s crate at night to keep drafts out and retain heat within the crate environment. Fit your pup’s crate with a warm mat or a self-heating pad, and place the crate in a warm room on a rug or blanket.

How do you keep your pup’s crate warm? Share your top tips with other readers 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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