Should You Cover Your Dog’s Crate?

Crate training is an important step in pet ownership and covering your dog’s crate at night is recommended for many dogs, but not for every dog. Some dogs may love the security provided by a darkened, enclosed space, while others can feel anxious in a confined area. How should you introduce a crate cover to your puppy or adult dog, and what options are the safest? We explore the advantages and drawbacks so you can decide what works for your furry best friend.

Should a dog’s crate be covered?

Dogs are den animals who prefer the security of a secluded area—it’s instinctive for our canine friends to search out an enclosed, dark space when they’re scared or need rest. A crate cover, like a blanket or crate-specific covering, can be beneficial to many dogs and can help reduce anxiety and soothe dogs by limiting visual stimuli, which in turn can prevent excitement and barking. Easily excitable dogs are less likely to react to movement outside windows or in other areas of the building if they’re in a covered crate. A closed cover at night can signal bedtime, and an open one may indicate that it’s okay to play. A covered crate can be especially helpful on a road trip for a dog who is stressed by car rides, or while she’s in an unfamiliar place with new distractions.

How do you get a dog used to a covered crate?

As with crate training, a gradual introduction is the best way to get your best friend used to a covered crate. And because a properly trained dog considers her crate a safe and happy space, you should never place a blanket or cover over it to punish her. Instead, offer a covered crate as an opportunity to wind down.

Follow these steps to introduce your puppy or adult dog to a covered crate:

  1. Use a blanket or fitted cover over the top of the crate, and tuck up the draped material to leave the sides uncovered.
  2. Allow your dog to enter the partially covered crate on her own, and progressively increase the time she is expected to spend inside.
  3. After a couple of days, lower the cover on one side.
  4. When your dog has accepted one side of the crate being covered, lower the material over a second side.
  5. After she has grown accustomed to two covered sides, let the cover hang over a third side.

Offer plenty of praise and rewards for good behavior. Consistency is important, as with all aspects of dog training. Do not leave your dog unattended until she has adjusted to a covered crate, to ensure she is content and will not chew or tear the cover.

Is it safe to cover a dog’s crate?

When you observe a few important guidelines, covering your dog’s crate is very safe. You should never completely cover your dog’s crate as it can block airflow. Keep blankets away from heat sources, ensure the fabric is breathable, and avoid using knit blankets that may snag or unravel. Monitor the conditions inside the crate in humid summer weather to ensure it doesn’t get too hot. Brachycephalic breeds may be more susceptible to overheating, which makes airflow particularly important for them.

Puppies go through a natural chewing phase. Between the ages of four and eight months, puppies may chew more than usual because they are teething—they may shred bedding and any blankets or covers within reach. If your dog is likely to chew, secure the cover to prevent her from pulling it into the crate and chewing or ingesting it. An airline-style plastic crate can provide similar comfort, without shreddable materials in your dog’s reach.

What type of cover is best for a dog crate?

Breathable, easy-clean material is best for a dog crate cover. If you live in a cold climate or your dog spends most of her time outdoors, an insulated cover may be beneficial—but it may be too warm otherwise. A dedicated crate cover that matches your décor can disguise an unattractive wire crate. Carefully tucked sheets or blankets can also do in a pinch—if you take precautions to avoid creating tripping hazards for yourself, as well as chewing or tearing hazards for your dog. Consider proper airflow to prevent overheating in the summer. And for a fitted crate cover, for any size crate, choose material that’s easy to fit and remove as necessary.

If your dog is sensitive to sounds, covering her crate with moving blankets or furniture pads may help reduce the noise within her sanctuary. Moving blankets are constructed with padding between layers of fabric, so they may dampen unwelcome sounds from household appliances, outdoor traffic, and to a lesser degree, storms. Though you can’t fully soundproof a dog crate, you can still use sound dampening blankets when you anticipate distressing noise.

What if my dog doesn’t like her crate covered?

Observe your dog for signs of anxiety when using a crate cover. Not every dog appreciates a blanket over their crate—for some, a cover may cause more fear than relief. Some dogs may accept a partly covered crate, while others prefer no cover at all. If your dog shows obvious signs of discontent or becomes aggressive, a covered crate may not be suitable. In short, if a covered crate isn’t benefiting your dog, leave it uncovered.

While not every dog appreciates the solitude of a covered crate, it can help anxious or excitable pets. When you properly introduce a crate cover, your dog may relish the opportunity to unwind inside her personal retreat. With consistency, your companion can learn that a covered crate signals bedtime and offers a space to relax.

11 thoughts on “Should You Cover Your Dog’s Crate?”

    1. It is basically up to the dog, if he likes his crate covered, you should cover it slowly in steps which it shows in the paragraphs above. If he doesn’t like it, he could be fearful or scared or even become aggressive, you should not cover it in that case. As I previously said, it’s up to the dog.

  1. In red lake falls mn a person has 2 big dogs a husky and and a german shepherd and are in cages all day fed in cages with heavy blanket’s . They are out side too pee every six hours if need it or not . Also hot in home with trash and a iguana . Is this illigal vet in red lake falls mn says as long as they have food and shelter it’s ok .. I disagree and alot of people complain

    1. You need to turn that over to humane investigation
      I googled Hoe to report animal cruelty in MN
      It gives lots of information Also says call local police about abuse are neglect
      http://Www.animalhumanesociety.org humane investigation needs to be done
      To me that is cruelty there is also a phone # 612-772-9999 I truly hope this gets to you in time

    2. You need to turn that over to humane investigation
      I googled How to report animal cruelty in MN
      It gives lots of information Also says call local police about abuse are neglect
      http://Www.animalhumanesociety.org humane investigation needs to be done
      To me that is cruelty there is also a phone # 612-772-9999 I truly hope this gets to you in time

  2. I have a 7 week old pitbull puppy. She is crate trained when I go to work (Chef), I do come home after 3.5 hours and during the night but how do I get her to stay in the crate even when someone is home without whinning. She eats, sleep and I give her treats in the crate. Where did I go wrong
    This is my 1st puppy.

  3. I share similar comments to Chris Jones. I would love to know what I’m doing wrong too, this is my first puppy as well.

    Maybe I need to get a bigger crate? Does changing crates cause problems? Thank you!

  4. The dog may be lonely and need interaction. It shouldn’t be crated for too long. Try a dog pen if you need to contain it during the day when you are gone. Also, dogs should be able to stand up and turn around in a crate with ease. If they can’t do this the crate is too small and should be replaced. Also, a trainer cautioned against a metal cage-like crate, although I know many people that use these, because the animal can become frustrated and if they are a biter can cut their mouths on the metal or get a paw caught on it. Good luck and seek the advice of a vet if you need help.

  5. My dachshund sleeps in a crate at night and also eats in there. Most of the time she’s pretty comfortable and just whines once in awhile, but when I introduced her to the crate I thought I was supposed to cover it. At first I had a blanket, but she would pull it into the crate and shred it (I’ve always kept a blanket inside for her to lay on and nothing has ever happened to that one), and she’ll also pull in clothing or papers that she can reach. At one point I switched to an actual crate cover which fastened to the bottom, and that seemed fine for a few weeks until the day I forgot to zip it all the way and she chewed it. She’s been without a cover and been fine. However, I’m pregnant–should she have a cover again by the time the baby is born?

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