Your dog destroys your belongings if you leave it alone in the house. Therefore, you may be thinking about putting it in a crate while you are gone. How long can a dog stay in a crate comfortably and safely?
The main factor which must be taken into account when determining how long a dong can stay in a crate is how old the dog is. When it comes to fully grown dogs that have been potty trained and are used to being alone for certain periods of time, they can be crated for up to 9 hours at a time, at the most.
However, the important consideration here is for dogs under 1 year. Puppies are not yet used to being alone and due to their small size, they’ll need to go for potty breaks fairly often. As a rule of thumb, puppies under 14 weeks of age should not be left alone in crates.
For puppies older than 4 months, you can keep them alone in a crate for 3 to 5 hours. For 5 month old puppies, 4 to 6 hours is the limit. The older the dog gets, the longer it can stay alone in a crate. An 8 month old puppy could be kept alone in a crate for up to 7 hours.
Keep in mind that even for adult dogs which are well-trained, well behaved, and have timid temperaments, the limit is 9 hours.
Factors to Consider
Age is indeed the most important factor to consider when determining how long a dog can be left in a crate for by itself. However, there are other factors to consider as well.
Temperament and Mental State
Another factor that needs to be considered when determining how long your dog can stay in a crate is what kind of temperament and mental state it has.
If you have an energetic puppy that is not used to being alone at all, one that may suffer from separation anxiety, leaving it alone for too long is never a good idea.
The more anxious your puppy is, the less time it should spend alone in the crate. If you have an anxious puppy, leaving it alone for too long may increase separation anxiety issues and just make things worse. Keep in mind that young dogs are more prone to developing separation anxiety than adults.
However, adult dogs can suffer from separation anxiety as well. If you are looking to keep an older dog alone in a crate, one with such issues, you want to start off with very short periods of time. As the dog grows used to the crate, you can then increase the amount of time which it spends alone.
The health of your dog is another consideration that needs to be taken into account. If you have an older or ill dog, keeping it alone in a crate may not be a good idea.
It really depends on the specific health concerns, but generally speaking, an ill animal should not be confined to a small space where it cannot get out. For example, there are medical conditions which cause some dogs to have to use the bathroom more frequently than others.
This is a factor which many people many not consider, but the temperature in your home is important to take into account. Dogs are susceptible to heat, so if your house is too hot, keeping it in a crate for a long time is not a good idea.
Dogs may become dehydrated or suffer from complications such as heat stroke when left in the sun for too long. The hotter your house is, the less time a dog should spend locked in a crate. If possible, try putting the crate somewhere in your home that does not see too much sunlight.
The breed of the dog is also very important to consider. Some dogs can handle being alone for much longer than others. It is a good idea to do some research on the specific breed of dog you have to figure out how well they do on their own.
Crating a Dog – Some Tips
Let’s quickly go over a few tips on how you can make the crate for your dog more comfortable and appealing.
First, you need to crate train your dog. This is really the only way that your dog is going to feel comfortable in a crate.
Always leave enough food and water for the dog to stay alive and be satisfied. However, be aware that dogs may resort to drinking water out of pure boredom, so don’t leave too much, as too much water will lead to requiring potty breaks.
Always leave a nice blanket and some good toys in the crate. Anything you can do to make the dog feel at home should be done.
Make sure the crate is large enough so the dog can fully stand up, extend itself, and turn around.
Although 9 hours is the recommended maximum amount of time to leave an adult dog in a crate, remember that age is not the only factor that needs to be considered.