Should you Put your Dog in a Crate at Night? Is it Cruel?

dog in a crate at night

One of the most common questions that new dog owners ask is, “should I put my dog in a crate at night?”

I’ve owned and raised dogs all my life. And in my own experience, kenneling my dogs has been the best form of training I could do for them especially early on in their life.

For some reason, my dogs just behave better when I have done this. But this is somethingI have never really researched. Putting my dogs in a crate is just something I was always taught to do.

So I was curious, should I be kenneling my dogs at night? What are the benefits and is it cruel to do so?

After doing a lot of my own research, I found out that it’s much healthier for dogs to sleep in their own crates at night.

Here’s what I found out through research and my own experience, and how it can help you too:


When you get a new dog, you have a whole lot of training ahead of you! The first and one of the most important things dogs have to learn is not to create mess inside the home.

By confining your dog to a crate or kennel, they will quickly learn not to pee or poop inside the home. Progressively, they’ll learn the value of leaving a space clean and tidy. After all, it will be their own space to look after!

Putting your dog in a crate at night also teaches them to relax and not fret as much. In a small space, there isn’t any room for running in circles!

Progressively, they’ll get used to moving less at nighttime which is also very beneficial for them. After just a few weeks, expect to see a noticeable improvement in your dog’s attitude.

Every single one of my dogs have been much calmer as puppies just weeks after putting them in a crate at night.

Personal space for your Dog

It’s important for your dog to have his or her own personal space, and it’s important for you too. At first, putting your dog in a crate can be difficult, as they may resent this limitation of their freedom.

But after just a few days, dogs usually start enjoying the crate. They associate them with their own safe space, a little home inside your home.

Not to mention, the crate also lets you have your own personal space. You know that your dog won’t bother you at night, which makes you feel more in control of your bedroom space.

Peace of Mind

As soon as I start putting my puppies in a crate, my nights start to get a LOT more quiet. My australian shepherd puppies aren’t running around the room, falling off the bed and knocking off everything in their way!

I’ve heard scary stories from friends who don’t crate their dogs at night. Waking up to destroyed furniture and a few hours of sleep per night is something that happens pretty often to them.

Putting your dog in a crate will give you peace of mind, especially in their formative years when they have the most energy and the least discipline!

The crate can be a place where you leave your dog at night, but also at times when you don’t want to be disturbed: when cleaning the house or hosting a dinner party for example.

Crates for Adult Dogs vs Puppies

Keeping your dog in a crate is more common when they are very young (still puppies) or recently rescued. This is because being in a crate is part of their training, teaching them to respect the space, stay calm, and be away from you without worry. With time, crate-time won’t be an obligation.

My dog Daisy still sleeps in a crate at night, but I don’t have to put her there. She simply gravitates towards this space because, well, it’s hers!

I wouldn’t recommend confining adult dogs to a crate for hours at a time. Once they’ve been trained, leave them to make their own choices and keep the crate for exceptional occasions. But be aware that they’ll likely get so used to the crate and will simply refuse to sleep anywhere else.

How Long can You Leave a Dog in a Crate?

There is no hard and fast rule for how long you can leave a dog in a crate. It really depends on their own need for movement.

Keeping your dog in a crate or kennel at night for 6 to 10 hours is perfectly okay, as they will be sleeping most of the time.

The problems start when your dog is awake and gets restless. During the day, you should never crate a dog for more than 7 or 8 hours. And if you do so, make sure that they get plenty of exercise before and after, in the form of a long walk or playtime.

Of course, this is only after you’ve trained your dog to feel comfortable in a crate. At first, you’ll want to leave your dog in the kennel for no more than a few minutes or a few seconds while they get used to the space.

I know my puppies are pretty anxious about me leaving them alone in the crate at first. If I’d left them in the crate for a few hours right away, I’m sure they would have started associating that space with fear of abandonment!

So go slow, be patient, and slowly work your way up to these 8 hours of crate-time.

Isn’t Putting your Dog in a Crate Animal Abuse?

Some people are very reluctant about putting their dog in a crate or kennel, thinking that it’s cruel and unnecessary. Of course, kenneling can be misused and abused.

Some dog owners put their dogs in a crate to avoid dealing with them. But if you respect certain principles, then putting your dog in a crate is an act of love, not neglect.

One of these principles is that putting your dog in a crate or kennel should serve them, not you.

Don’t leave your dog in a crate the whole day while you go off to work.

This would make them anxious and restless.

Dogs need plenty of exercise and movement throughout the day, so try to restrict crate-time to just a few hours—not the majority of the day!


Hi, I'm the owner of Juniper Pets! You can often find me playing fetch with my dogs, working out or cooking up something legendary in the kitchen. Hope you enjoy my blog!

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