Should I Lock My Dog In His Crate At Night

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Crate training has many benefits for both dogs and owners. Traveling when crated is much safer for your dog than riding loose. Potty training is much easier when a crate is used, and destructive dogs are better controlled if crated while you’re not around.

But many owners wonder, “Should I lock my dog in his crate at night?”

Read this guide to find out whether crating your dog overnight is good or bad.

Should You Close A Dog Crate At Night?

Chocolate Labrador Puppy lying down in a wire crate 7 weeks old

If you opt to crate train your dog, then he should sleep in his crate overnight with the door closed. 

Here’s why:

  • Your dog regards his crate set up as a place where he’s safe and comfortable. The crate is your dog’s den. When confined to his crate overnight, your dog should feel safe, secure, and comfy.
  • A warm, cozy bed will keep your dog warm at night.
  • If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, he’ll be happier if he’s snoozing in a closed crate beside his owner’s bed.
  • Confining your dog to his crate overnight helps with potty training your pet. The dog learns to hold his bladder for longer and waits to be let outside to relieve himself. If the crate is beside your bed, you’ll hear your dog if he asks to go out, avoiding toileting accidents in the crate.
  • Dogs can be destructive, especially when teething. Keeping your dog in his crate overnight can effectively prevent destructive behaviors.
  • Dogs frequently decide to go walkabout during the night. That’s going to wake you if you’re a light sleeper. If your dog is safely contained in his crate, you’ll get a good night’s rest.
  • In an emergency, such as a natural disaster or fire, it’s much easier to rescue your dog if he’s contained in his crate. A frightened dog will bolt, making it almost impossible to find and catch him. Your pet is less likely to panic if he’s safely contained in the secure environment of his locked crate.

We stress here that you should always ensure your dog is properly crate trained before you lock him in his crate. Before crating your pet overnight, your dog should be accustomed to spending longer periods in his crate with the door closed while you’re around to watch him.

How Long Can My Dog Be Shut In A Crate At Night?

dogs in crate

Generally, a puppy, or dogs with continence issues, should not be expected to spend more than two hours confined to a crate during the daytime. Since a healthy adult dog can hold his bladder for longer, a mature dog can stay in his crate for up to eight hours.

Adults and puppies can spend eight or nine hours overnight in their crates at night. If you have a very young puppy, you’ll need to get up a couple of times during the night to let your puppy outside for a potty break.

To ensure that your canine companion settles down for the night, give him plenty of exercise and a potty stop before you shut him in his crate.

Should I Cover My Dog’s Crate At Night?

In most cases, you don’t need to cover your dog’s crate during the night. However, that depends on where you put the crate and the environment around it.

If the crate is in a location where your dog is likely to be disturbed by activities happening outside the crate, it’s better for your dog to cover the crate so that he won’t be disturbed. 

We recommend using a regular crate cover rather than a blanket to cover your dog’s crate. A blanket can make the crate too hot, and your dog could drag the blanket into the crate and chew it, potentially creating a choking hazard. 

Can I Put An Open Dog Crate In A Playpen At Night?

Beagle relaxing on the crate

Although using a combination of an open dog crate inside a playpen can be an excellent idea for dogs and puppies during the daytime, that setup doesn’t work so well at night.

During the day, your furry friend can enjoy the freedom of the playpen with the option to take a nap in his crate if he wants to.

However, at night you don’t want your dog to have too much space at his disposal in case he decides to use one part of the playpen as a toileting area. That could seriously set your potty training project back.

What Happens If I Don’t Crate My Dog At Night?

There are a few downsides to not keeping your dog in a closed crate overnight.

Potty Accidents

Even potty-trained dogs can have accidents sometimes, especially if you’re not on hand to let your dog out when he needs to go. 

If your dog is running loose around your home at night, or you lock him in one room in a part of your property that’s too far away from you to hear him, potty accidents are inevitable. When your dog whines or barks because he needs to go outside for a potty break, you probably won’t hear him. That means a mess for you to clean up in the morning and a setback to your crate training program.

It’s essential that puppies are kept confined to a puppy crate at night. If you let your furbaby wander around the house at night, you’re asking for trouble. Remember that dogs use scent to leave messages for themselves and other dogs. So, when your puppy urinates in a particular spot, that will become a habit over time, and your pup will keep returning to that same place when he needs to relieve himself. 

Your Dog Could Get Hurt

Funny Dog and Its Dirty Trails on Carpet

Dogs and puppies are very adept at finding trouble and getting themselves into tricky situations that they can’t always get out of. If your furry friend has the freedom to roam around the house at night, he could easily eat something poisonous or get himself stuck somewhere.

In an emergency, your dog could run away and hide, making it impossible for you or the emergency services to find and rescue him.

A Not So Silent Night!

If your dog is not confined to a crate at night, he might decide to spend the night on your bed. Snuggling up with your dog is undoubtedly a lovely feeling but having a wriggling, snoring, drooling dog sleeping next to you is not a recipe for a good night’s rest.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide on whether you should lock your dog in his crate overnight? If you found the article helpful, please share it.

We recommend that every dog or puppy should spend the night confined to his crate. There are many benefits to keeping your canine companion contained during the night. You’ll both enjoy a sound, undisturbed night’s sleep, you won’t have any potty accidents to clean up in the morning, and you can rest assured that your dog is safe and secure.

Do you lock your dog in his crate every night? 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.

2 thoughts on “Should I Lock My Dog In His Crate At Night”

  1. Yes I do lock my dog in his cage And he seems to giant sometimes when I walk into his room he’s sitting in his cage without me asking him to. I’ll also say to Go open your dog Cave and he opens and enters (only because he’s expecting a treat of cause) but I still think it’s cute

  2. I crate my dog at night because I have to. If I just leave the door open, he will get my attention through various means until I get up and lock his crate. Then he rests all night. He will just walk, walk, walk until I get up and lock it. Why is that?


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