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Should You Cover a Dog’s Crate? Exploring the Pros and Cons

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

should you cover a dog's crate

Deciding whether to cover your dog’s crate or not is a topic that has many dog owners curious. Covering a dog’s crate can provide your pet with a cozy, den-like environment, which may help with anxiety and restlessness. Just like humans, dogs also appreciate having a private space where they can retreat to relax and feel safe. However, it’s important to consider your dog’s breed, behavior, and the climate of your environment before deciding to cover their crate.

Crate training is a widely used method to provide dogs with a sense of security, aid in house training, and prevent destructive behavior when they’re unsupervised. If done properly, a crate can be a positive and comfortable space for your dog. When you think about covering the crate, the goal is to enhance that secure feeling, not to make your dog feel trapped or isolated. It’s crucial to monitor your dog’s reaction to the crate being covered to ensure that it brings comfort rather than stress.

Temperature regulation is an essential factor in this decision. If your home is prone to fluctuations in temperature, or if your dog has a particularly thick coat, covering the crate might create an overly warm environment. Conversely, for dogs who are jittery or who tend to get cold easily, a covered wire crate could be the perfect solution for a peaceful rest. Observing your dog’s comfort and behavior is key when you introduce a cover to their crate training routine.

However, not all dogs prefer their crates covered. Some may feel trapped or anxious if they can’t see out, or they might get too warm. It’s important to observe your dog’s behavior when you first cover the crate to ensure they are comfortable and relaxed. If you notice signs of distress, such as scratching or whining, the covered crate might not be ideal for them.

Remember, crate time should be a positive experience. How long can dogs stay in a crate is crucial to consider. Keeping your dog crated too long can induce anxiety and develop unwelcome behaviors.

If your dog becomes restless or tries to escape the crate, covering it might not solve the issue. Indeed, there could be underlying concerns such as separation anxiety or boredom. A crate that’s properly sized, allowing your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down, along with proper crate training, found on resources about dog crate training, is essential for a good crating experience.

In case your dog tries to escape or damages the crate, particularly when covered, it’s important to address these behaviors perhaps by consulting advice on destructive behaviors rather than just concealing the crate.

Ultimately, whether or not to cover your dog’s crate comes down to your dog’s personal preference and their response to being crated, both when covered and uncovered. Each dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another.

Understanding the Purpose of Crate Covering

chocolate Labrador puppy in crate with blue wall in background

Crate covers serve both practical and psychological functions in a dog’s life, enhancing comfort and security while aiding in effective crate training.

The Role of Crate Covers in Crate Training

Utilizing a crate cover can streamline the crate training process by minimizing distractions. This helps your dog associate the covered crate with a space of their own, reinforcing training.

Safeguarding Your Dog’s Well-Being

Covers provide a sense of security and safety for dogs, crucial for reducing anxiety especially when you cannot be with them.

Creating a Relaxing Den-like Environment

By mimicking a den-like environment, a dog crate cover fosters a calming space where your dog can relax and feel comfortable.

Balancing Airflow and Privacy

Choosing the right crate cover ensures proper airflow and ventilation while maintaining privacy, giving your dog a balance of breathability and seclusion.

Cover and Distractions: Managing Stimuli

Effective use of a crate cover shields your dog from excessive visual stimuli, which is essential for a calming experience during quiet time.

Encouraging Restful Sleep

A covered crate can signal that it’s bedtime, helping your dog settle down for a restful sleep by creating a darker, more secluded space.

Safety Considerations for Puppies and Chewers

When covering a crate for puppies or dogs that chew, it’s important to ensure that the cover is not a chewing hazard. Always consult a veterinarian for advice on pica and teething.

Practical Advice for Crate Covering

French Bulldog lying a crate with cover on top

Covering your dog’s crate can provide a cozy, den-like atmosphere for your pet. It helps them calm down and feel secure, especially during bedtime or travel. This section will guide you on how to achieve that safe haven for your furry friend effectively.

Choosing the Right Crate Cover

The material of your crate cover should be breathable fabric to ensure proper airflow. Look for covers specifically designed for crates or use lightweight blankets that don’t retain too much heat. A proper fit is essential to maintain a comfortable and safe environment.

When to Cover Your Dog’s Crate

Cover your dog crate at night to signal the bedtime routine, helping your dog wind down and relax. When it’s time to calm down during the day or if your pet is nervous, the covered crate offers a retreat.

Implementing Bedding and Treats

Inside the crate, provide comfortable bedding for your dog to lie on. Add treats and praise as rewards when your dog enters the crate calmly, further associating the space with positive experiences.

Ensuring Secure and Safe Crate Covering

The crate cover should be secure but not restrictive. Make sure there’s enough space for your dog to move around and that the cover doesn’t present any safety hazards like loose fabric your dog could chew on or get tangled in.

Crate Covering During Travel

For travel, such as a car ride or road trip, crate covering can help make the enclosed space feel safer and less intimidating. Ensure the cover is well-ventilated and secured against sudden movements.

Addressing Special Needs: Anxiety and Breed-Specific Concerns

If your dog has separation anxiety or is inherently more fearful, a crate cover can help alleviate stress. However, for brachycephalic breeds with breathing difficulties, ensure the crate is well-ventilated and the cover does not exacerbate the problem.

Customizing Your Approach

Innovative Ways to Use Partial Covers

A partially covered crate can give your dog a den-like area that feels safe and private. Think about using a cover that can be easily adjusted; so, you can create either a cozy, enclosed space or allow more visibility and airflow. For example, draping a breathable fabric over half the crate might give your dog the perfect balance between comfort and privacy.

Integrating Crate Covering into a Consistent Training Routine

Adding a cover to your dog’s crate should be a part of your crate training strategy. Ensure that you introduce the cover as a positive element of the crate. Maybe drape the cover over the crate during potty training or when rewarding calm behavior to build strong positive associations. Consistency is key, so try to uncover and cover the crate at similar times each day.

Adapting to Your Home’s Décor

Your dog’s crate doesn’t have to stick out like a sore thumb. There are plenty of options to match the crate cover with your décor, turning it into an attractive piece of your home. Look for covers in colors and patterns that complement your style, and your dog’s crate will blend in seamlessly.

Ensuring Adequate Heat and Light Conditions

It’s crucial to place your dog’s crate away from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent overheating. If you’re using a cover, choose materials that won’t trap heat and ensure the crate is in a spot where your dog will stay comfy. On chilly days, a cover can help keep the crate warm, but always keep an eye out for your dog’s comfort.

Incorporating Toys and Puzzles

Place a favorite toy or a puzzle toy inside the crate to up the excitement factor for your dog. The crate should be a place where enjoyable things happen, so the right toys can help make the covered crate an inviting space. Add in toys that provide rewards, like treat-dispensing puzzles, for an extra layer of fun.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When it comes to your dog’s crate, you might have a few questions about using covers. Here’s a quick look at what you need to know.

Is it a good idea to put a cover over my dog’s crate during bedtime?

Yes, covering your dog’s crate at night can help create a cozy and dark environment, signaling that it’s time for sleep. Dogs often feel more secure when their crate mimics a den-like atmosphere.

Does giving my puppy’s crate a cover during the day affect them positively?

Yes, using a crate cover during the day can provide a sense of security and reduce stress, especially in busy households or during times when the puppy needs to rest.

Can covering my dog’s crate help in reducing its barking habit?

Covering the crate might reduce barking if it’s stress-related, as it provides a calming environment. However, dog behavior is complex, and barking can have many causes, so it’s not a guaranteed solution.

Will my dog still get enough air if I cover the crate with a blanket?

When you cover the crate, ensure the material is breathable, and leave some part uncovered to allow proper airflow. The goal is to create a comfortable space without restricting ventilation.

Does a crate cover assist in managing my dog’s separation anxiety issues?

A crate cover can help with separation anxiety by providing a safe space that feels protected. This might slightly ease the stress your dog feels when you’re away.

Is it okay to leave my dog covered in the crate for the whole day?

No, it’s not advisable to leave your dog covered in the crate all day. Dogs need time to move, interact, and be stimulated. Prolonged confinement can lead to physical and psychological issues.

Final Thoughts

When deciding to cover your dog’s crate, consider your pet’s individual needs and preferences. Some dogs feel safer and more relaxed with a covered crate, giving them a cozy, den-like space for rest.

Reasons to cover a crate:

  • Security: Covered crates can help reduce anxiety for some dogs.
  • Sleep: It can create a darker environment for better sleep.
  • Distraction: It helps limit visual stimuli that might cause excitement or stress.

However, monitor your dog’s reaction to a covered crate. If they seem more anxious or attempt to remove the cover, they might prefer an uncovered crate.

Remember: Always use breathable material and ensure proper ventilation to keep your dog comfortable and safe.

Tips for crate covering:

  • Start gradually to acclimate your dog.
  • Use lightweight and breathable fabrics.
  • Leave one side uncovered for airflow and to let your dog see you.

Lastly, never use covering as a punishment. Your dog’s crate should always be their safe and happy place. If in doubt, consult a veterinarian or a dog behavior specialist for guidance.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.