Does your dog tend to get into mischief when you’re away? Do you worry that they’ll get into something dangerous when they’re not under supervision? Crating isn’t just for nighttime, and it’s not just for puppies. Crating your dog during the day is safe and appropriate, as long as they get plenty of freedom and attention when you are home. 

Is Crating During The Day Appropriate For Dogs With Separation Anxiety?

When used properly, a crate becomes your dog’s “happy place” and being inside it will make them  relax. Crating your dog can help prevent behaviours like pacing, looking out windows, and barking at passersby. 

When separation anxiety manifests in  destroying furniture, scratching at doors, and chewing up various items, crating can keep your dog from getting hurt. 

But if your dog isn’t accustomed to being in a crate, being confined while you’re away can be all the more distressing for them. You can crate your dog for a few minutes at a time while you’re home, perhaps while you’re busy cooking or cleaning, to help them get used to it. 

A good alternative to a crate is a baby gate used to keep your dog in a quiet room, away from dangerous places like the kitchen or bathroom where you might keep cleaning chemicals and other unsafe objects.

How Long Should You Crate Your Dog During The Day?

A full eight-hour workday, not counting travel time, is a long time for a dog to be in a crate without access to water or a way to eliminate. Though many adult dogs can handle this schedule, others cannot. 

Keep in mind that while your dog may be able to successfully go without water or going potty for eight hours or more, over time this schedule can lead to health issues like kidney stones and urinary tract infections. 

Ideally, you have other family members who have a work or school schedule that differs from yours so your dog is never alone for a full day. It’s also ideal to have a few emergency contacts with spare keys who can visit your dog in the event that you are not able to get home in time. 

Typically, dog owners do not leave water bowls in crates because they can make a mess. Limiting access to water can help prevent accidents, but if you’ll be gone for more than just a few hours at a time, it’s a good idea to make sure your dog has water. You can get a drip-free water bottle for your dog’s crate that works similarly to a hamster bottle. 

Make Crating During The Day More Comfortable For Your Dog

With time, your dog’s sleep schedule can adjust to include a long nap during your work hours. You can help make this happen by making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and opportunities to eliminate before and after they are crated. 

Crate your dog about ten minutes before you leave home in the morning. If they are able to watch you put your shoes on and grab your keys, they’ll develop anxiety surrounding your morning routine. It’s better for them to feel safe and settled in when you make your exit. 

Music therapy is an effective way to promote calmness and help relieve separation anxiety. You can also use calming aromas like lavender essential oil. 

You can put some tasty treats in a Kong to keep your dog occupied when you leave. However, as many dogs need to eliminate right after they eat, it may be better to limit it to just a few snacks, rather than their whole breakfast. You can serve breakfast as soon as you wake up to ensure that your dog has time to go potty before you leave.

Need more training help?

Healthy Houndz offers private, in-home dog training for Toronto and North York dog parents, as well as remote training via Zoom for dog parents around the world. 

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