Should I Put A Dog Bed In The Crate For My Puppy?

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You’ve just ordered the perfect crate for your puppy. It has all the features you need; it’s a perfect size, it looks fantastic, and it’s easy to clean.

However, just as you’re setting it up, a question creeps in. Are you even supposed to put a bed in it?

This stumped me when I was setting up my dog’s crate. I thought that although it seems cruel to subject your dog to a hard floor, putting a bed in it seems like a recipe for a (messy) disaster.

In short, yes. You do need a crate bed. This article discusses why you need this and what else you’re supposed to place in the crate.

Why Do You Need a Bed?

Cute puppy looking out from his dog bed

At first, using a crate bed seems unhygienic and hard to clean, particularly if your puppy isn’t potty trained yet. However, there are many benefits to adding in a bed.

Increased Comfort

Most crates, especially metal and plastic crates, have a very hard floor. While you could buy a fabric crate, these are often not suitable for larger dogs or pups who love to chew.

So, placing a soft, warm bed in the crate at night will help make it more appealing for your pooch.

This is very important for older dogs to prevent joint pain, and in the winter months when the crate floor can get very cold. 

Positive Association

Since your puppy views his crate as his personal den & safe space, you should try to make it very welcoming.

If you use the crate solely as a punishment tool, your pup will end up resenting being placed in there. So, use a bed and a blanket crate cover to make it as homely as possible for your pet.

Then, your puppy will readily hop in the crate whenever it wants, making transportation and bedtime a lot easier!

Pleasant Travels

If your lifestyle demands long flights or car rides, then a crate bed is a must. Sleeping on the plastic floor can lead to long-term issues like knee or hip pain.

Easy Clean-Up

Cute Dog Lying on a Dog Bed at Home

This definitely seems counter-intuitive at first because cleaning up a floor is a lot easier than cleaning up a cloth bed. However, most beds come with a machine-washable outer cover.

This makes clean-up a breeze if your pup is still having bladder control issues.

If this still seems like a lot of work, you can use a waterproof crate mat, which is extremely easy to clean up.

Easy Transition

If you add a crate bed, your pup will be more comfortable with the idea of sleeping on a bed. Therefore, when the time comes to transition from a crate to just a bed, your dog will have less anxiety.

Promotes Potty Training

Since crates invoke the den instinct in dogs, they are more likely to keep it clean, just like they would for a real den in the wild. Due to this, they will likely make mental boundaries between clean and unclean areas.

This promotes bladder control and potty training because your dog will not want to pee or poop on the bed, which they view as a “clean” area.

Of course, this is only possible if your dog has adequate bladder control for this. 

What Type of Bed Should I buy?

An important question to answer is what type of bed should you put in the crate. There are some features that should be common in all beds, but some that are specific to your dog’s needs.

For example, all beds should be waterproof and easy to clean. They should have a removable cover that you can toss in the washing machine. We recommend this K9 Ballistics Dog Bed because the outer layer is highly absorptive, and is also very easy to clean.

Also, crate beds must be portable. Often, they are just a layer of orthopedic foam, which makes them very easy to roll up for travel. You can then use it for your car, outdoors, or on the floor. This BomGaroto roll-up crate pad is a fantastic option. 

For Puppies

Cute Funny Puppy in Dog Bed at Home

The most important factor to consider while buying a crate bed for a puppy is to ensure that the bed is chew-proof. Bored puppies usually turn to chewing as a fun activity. 

This can pose a major health risk because beds with threads that unravel can easily become lodged in the intestines. You may even need surgery to save your puppy! Thus, look for beds with a crate bed casing of thick, dense fabric.

A good test is to scratch your fingernail on it. If it seems plasticky and makes a vinyl sound, then it should be safe.

Also, observe the outer cover carefully. If you notice any pilling, then this likely means a stubborn puppy will be able to rip right through it.

If you want to make the bed more comfortable for your pup, consider a bed with raised edges. Not only does it provide a sort of pillow for your dog, but it also makes the crate cozier.

For Incontinent Dogs

For dogs that have little bladder control, washability is a must. This BarkBox bed is a great, affordable option because the outer cover zips off, so it makes removal & cleaning extremely easy.

For Elderly Dogs

Elderly dogs often have issues like hip pain and arthritis. So, a bed with orthopedic foam provides them with more stability and support while sleeping. This reduces the pain and any other symptoms of these illnesses.

Crate Tips

Dog laying down on a crate bed

Here are some tips to make the crate as comfortable as possible for your pooch

Firstly, the crate bed must be a perfect fit in the crate. It should not be too big because it can fold up, which creates an irritating bump, making it hard for your pooch to fall asleep.

Since crates come in standard sizes, it’s easy to find a perfect fit online. Make sure to look for rectangular beds, so they are flush with the sides of the crate.

Do not add any food or water, especially if you have a young puppy that is still not potty-trained. This can disrupt their digestive routine and may also promote overeating and obesity.

If you are keeping your dog in the crate for a long time, then try adding a bottle to the side of the cage, so it only drinks when it’s thirsty. Also,  your dog can’t knock over the bottle, so there are fewer messes for you to clean up!

If you have a puppy, add chew-proof toys and food puzzles to bust boredom.

Also, add a familiar blanket in the crate to make them more comfortable.¬†You might have a blanket with the scent of your puppy’s litter or mom. This is a great addition to the crate because it reminds your pet of home.

If you want to know the best place to put a dog bed, click here!


Adding a bed to your dog’s crate is a great idea to increase comfort, help train your dog, and make travel easier. However, it’s extremely important to choose a good quality bed that is waterproof, easy to transport, not chewable, and comfortable.

A crate bed helps transform your dog’s crate into a welcoming den. It’s crucial to make it as pleasant as possible.

If you have any questions about crate training, please leave a comment down below. Thanks for reading!

Meet our writer

Karen is a former pet business owner with 17+ years of experience in training and taking care of pets. She currently owns three dogs (a greyhound, saluki, and golden mix) and has gone through several types of programs to further her education in the pet world.

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