When Should I Expand My Puppy’s Crate?

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Every dog needs her crate space to relax and unwind privately. This includes your little fur baby, who is growing up so fast. She now requires more space in her little haven. It’s the only best way to make her more comfortable as she continues to familiarize herself with her family.

While your young friend has been enjoying her ideal crate space for some me-time, she needs extra room, especially now that she’s growing in size from puppy to adult. Since she already loves her current crate, it won’t be too hard to adjust to another one if you plan to introduce her to a new, bigger cage.  

 So when exactly should you expand your fur buddy’s crate to accommodate her new size? Let’s find out here.

How to Tell When My Puppy Needs a Larger Crate

Sad dog in crate

It’s not new that a puppy outgrows her cage after a few months. You’ll notice a few changes in size and other reactions to cage discomfort, including:

  • The regular whining at night and lack of proper sleeping. The whining could be because she isn’t comfortable sleeping in the small crate.
  • Her rear end or nose touches the crate edges at the same time, making her feel uneasy due to the small space. 
  • The cage becomes tighter around her. She now fills it to the edge, with no remaining room to turn, stand or stretch properly. When standing or sitting, you’ll notice that she lowers her head below the shoulder blade or appear hunched. If that’s the case, she needs a bigger space.
  • Her head reaches the top of the cage, leaving no space to stretch her neck. A spacious, comfortable cage should enable the dog to stand straight, lie down, stretch out, and turn around effortlessly without getting cramped.

If your dog cannot comfortably turn around in her cage, the awkward position can cause physical concerns like soreness and more. Her body should be outstretched and not curved. 

What is the Appropriate Crate Size for Puppies?

puppy in crate

It can be challenging to determine the exact crate size for your canine buddy. To get her size right, you’ll need to consider her current size, and how much longer you intend to crate her.

Do you plan to crate your puppy for most of her life or just while she’s still young? Or are you doing this for a while before you set her free to roam around the house?

Knowing your puppy’s current weight and height and how much more you anticipate her to grow will help you determine the best crate. There are a lot of sizes of crates out there. It’s only by getting the right measurements that you’ll find a fitting crate with the correct dimensions for your puppy.

The breed of the puppy matters too. Some breeds grow faster and bigger, but others grow slowly with lean builds.

Weighing Your Puppy

Use the regular weighing scale to get your puppy’s weight. If she is shy or nervous about being on the scale alone, weigh yourself together, then get her weight by subtracting ours. Depending on the breed of puppy and familiarity with the environment, some can give you a hard time stepping on the scale. 

Measuring Your Puppy’s Height

Height Measurment Dog

Whether you’re crating your canine friend all her life or not, you should know her weight, height, and other characteristics.

To measure her height, stand your little friend against the door or wall so she’s in a fixed upright position. Use a string or tape measure to take measurements from the head to her paws.

Note that some of the measurements published on the web don’t account for your puppy’s head upwards. If you decide to use them, you may not get the accurate height to guarantee a fitting cage.

For the length, measure from the end of her tail to the tip of her nose. Add a few inches, about 2-5, for extra room. If you add a bed or pad, you‘ll have to increase the length to more than the 2-5 inches we mentioned earlier.

These measurements will offer a rough estimate of your puppy’s size to ensure she fits comfortably in her new home. She can freely lie down, sit and stand when crated.

Choosing a Crate that Grows with Your Puppy

Dog laying down on a crate bed

Your puppy is still growing, so you’ll keep expanding her crate to make her comfortable. To avoid purchasing kennels after periods when the puppy outgrows her previous crate Couture™, look for one with a divider panel for adjusting the interior space. 

A crate with a divider is the best way to accommodate your puppy as it grows without incurring extra costs on a new cage.

The situation that is causing you to crate your puppy matters when planning to expand your puppy’s crate. If you want to confine her for the better part of the day, she needs ample room to lay down, stretch, stand, and even play.

If your little fur friend is still crate training and you’re looking for a way to contain her temporarily, you can use an exercise pen with a litter box and pee pads. This is good, especially if the puppy still has negative feelings towards crating.

However, if your puppy has mastered house training and you want to save on the costs of future crates, you can always purchase a larger one with a crate divider panel to restrict size.

Another solution to consider instead of purchasing a larger xxl crate or using dividers is the expandable crate. These types allow you to contract or expand your puppy’s crate according to her size. Seems easier and more cost-effective than getting a new cage. 

Crate Size for Transporting a Puppy

dog in travelling crate

When selecting a crate for air travel, it should be large enough to offer comfort to your puppy yet small enough to prevent it from being thrown around.

Regulations for air travel state that your puppy’s cage should be tall enough for her to stand up straight in a natural position. It should also be wide and long enough to allow her to lie down, sit, and turn around without struggling.

 There are other crate alternatives in the market to provide convenience for your best friend when traveling.

Similar size recommendations apply to road travel. You want the kennel to be safe from the turns and sudden stops you’ll make while road travel.

When is the Appropriate Time to Stop Crating My Puppy?

There isn’t a specific moment when you have to stop confining your puppy in an enclosure. Whether or not to stop crating depends if she’s mastered her potty training skills. This is when she can be left alone in a room without destroying or chewing on things.

To test her, you can start leaving her in a room regularly during the day until you are sure she’s safe and well behaved to run around the house without leaving a trail of destruction.

If she’s stubborn, you’ll have no choice but to confine her using enclosures like an exercise pen and tethers. These will help control her environment and prevent her from accessing dangerous objects.

That being said, crating can only stop when you no longer have use for the crate.

What Age Should I Let My Puppy Out of the Cage at Night

Dog Hates His Crate

There’s no set age or period for a puppy to be free from the crate at night. Timing depends on your puppy and her experiences.

If she is a quick learner who isn’t a destructive chewer, she can likely sleep throughout the night outside the crate.

But if she is the mischievous type, I highly doubt she will give you any peace outside her cage for even a minimal time.

To know the right time to let your puppy unsupervised at night, look for signs that she’s ready. This is when she can meet several set conditions and master her routine. For instance, space restrictions can ease the burden of potty training and safety, allowing her only the places she’s allowed to reach.

Only consider having an unsupervised puppy at night when you’re no longer concerned about accidents. If she isn’t ready, don’t let her out at night.

There’s no problem if your puppy prefers to sleep in her crate. As long as it’s the right size and comfortable, it’s alright to let things stay. 

My puppy prefers to sleep in her crate for periods at night so long as the door is open. She likes it, and that’s all that matters.


 I hope you enjoyed our read on expanding your puppy’s crate. In this section, we covered important topics on:

 How to tell when your puppy needs a larger crate

  • The appropriate crate size for your best friend
  • Weighing your puppy
  • Measuring the height and length
  • Choosing a crate that grows your puppy
  • The right crate size for traveling
  • The right time to stop crating your puppy
  • When to let the canine friend out of the cage at night

Overall, the ideal time to upgrade your crate from a puppy to a grown dog is when she starts showing discomfort using her current cage.

Do you have any questions about expanding your puppy’s crate or crating? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Meet our writer

Jen Clifford is an animal behaviorist and veterinary technician with more than a decade of hands-on experience working in small animal and specialty veterinary clinics.

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