Puppy's Place: What to Put In a Crate For a Puppy

chocolate labrador puppy in wire crate with paw on door 7 weeks old

Introducing your young puppy to crate training can be a rewarding experience that fosters a sense of security and comfort for your furry companion. The key to a successful crate training journey lies in creating a welcoming, cozy, and stimulating environment by knowing what to put in the dog crate. In this article, we'll share what to put in a crate with a puppy, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable training experience for both you and your new four-legged friend.

From selecting appropriately-sized dog crates to providing bedding, dog toys, and other amenities, we will guide you through the process of transforming an ordinary dog's crate into a comforting and inviting sanctuary for your new puppy. By considering your pup's unique needs and preferences, you will be well on your way to creating a space that not only prevents separation anxiety, but also promotes positive crate training experiences and supports overall well-being and happiness for your new puppies or even adult dogs.

Choosing the Right Dog Crate Size

Before you embark on the journey of personalizing your puppy's crate, it is of paramount importance to choose the right size. Well-fitting dog crates ensure your pup can comfortably lie down, turn around, and stand up with ease. Selecting an undersized dog crate can result in discomfort and heightened anxiety for your furry friend, while an excessively large dog crate may inadvertently encourage them to designate a section as their bathroom. Striking the right balance between ample space and coziness is crucial in order to successfully crate train your puppy or even adult dogs.

To cater to your puppy's ever-changing needs as they grow and develop, consider investing in an adjustable dog crate equipped with a divider. This versatile solution allows you to modify the dog's crate's size in accordance with your pup's growth, ensuring their comfort throughout the first few years of your puppy's life. By prioritizing the appropriate crate size from the outset, you will lay the foundation for a positive and nurturing environment that supports your puppy's well-being and fosters a harmonious crate training experience.

Bedding for Comfort and Warmth

Incorporating soft and comfortable bedding into your puppy's crate is essential for creating a cozy environment that promotes feelings of security and relaxation. By providing a snug resting place, you help your puppy acclimate to their new surroundings with greater ease. When selecting bedding, opt for durable, washable, and chew-proof dog beds or mats that can withstand your puppy's natural tendencies to chew and play. This way, you can be confident that their crate bedding will remain a comfortable and safe fixture in the crate.

Adding a soft blanket or towel to the dog's crate can further enhance your pup's sense of warmth and comfort in the dog bed, allowing them to snuggle up and feel secure. However, it is essential to keep a close eye on your pup's chewing habits, as bedding materials can pose a choking hazard if ingested. Monitoring your puppy's behavior and promptly removing any potentially dangerous bedding items will ensure their safety while maintaining a comfortable and inviting environment.

female golden retriever lies in her dog crate looks out of frame

Dog Toys for Entertainment and Mental Stimulation

To maintain your puppy's engagement and mental stimulation while they spend time in their crate, it's essential to provide a variety of toys tailored to their preferences and requirements. Chew toys and puzzle toys are excellent choices for keeping your puppy entertained, while also promoting healthy chewing habits. These dog toys can help alleviate boredom and prevent destructive behavior that may arise from a lack of stimulation.

In addition to puzzle feeders and chew toys, consider introducing durable toys, (squeaky toys, stuffed toys, and rope toys) into your dog's crate. These options can cater to puppies who are drawn to different textures and sounds, offering them a diverse range of interactions and keeping their minds active. To maintain your pup's interest and stave off boredom, regularly rotate the toys within the crate, ensuring a continually fresh and engaging environment that supports your puppy's mental well-being and overall happiness.

Food and Water

Ensuring your puppy has access to water is vital for their overall health and well-being, particularly when they are spending extended periods inside their crate. To maintain proper hydration without creating a mess, consider attaching a water bottle or a spill-proof bowl to your dog's crate. This way, your pup can easily quench their thirst without accidentally spilling water on their crate bedding or other crate contents, keeping their space clean and comfortable.

If you choose to leave food for your puppy within their crate, it's important to use a separate, durable food bowl that can be effortlessly removed and cleaned. Providing a designated area for mealtimes within the crate can help reinforce good eating habits and prevent the spread of food debris throughout the crate. By ensuring your pup has free access to water and food in a clean and organized manner, you are supporting their overall health and well-being while making their crate a more enjoyable and hygienic environment.

cute dog in crate

Crate Covers for a Sense of Security

For many dogs, the sense of security that comes from covering a crate is invaluable, as it simulates the natural feeling of a den-like environment. Utilizing a crate covering can help alleviate anxiety, minimize external distractions, and create a more tranquil atmosphere for your puppy to relax in. By providing this additional layer of comfort, you are fostering an environment that promotes a positive crate training experience.

When selecting a crate cover, opt for a breathable and washable fabric that enables sufficient airflow while effectively blocking out excessive light and noise. This balance ensures your puppy remains comfortable and undisturbed while inside their crate. Additionally, it is crucial to make certain that your pup can easily enter and exit their crate when the cover is in place, maintaining their freedom of movement and reinforcing the crate as a safe and inviting space.

Potty Pads for Accidents

During the initial stages of crate training, accidents are not uncommon as your puppy adjusts to their new environment, routine, and potty training. Including a pee pad or potty pad in a designated area within the dog's crate can assist in maintaining cleanliness and controlling odors. This precautionary measure helps ensure that your pups’ crate remains a comfortable and hygienic space, contributing to a more successful crate training experience.

However, it is essential to be aware that some puppies may feel tempted to play with or chew on puppy pads, turning them into potential hazards. To prevent any mishaps, closely monitor your pup's behavior and interaction with the puppy pad, especially for the first few nights. If you notice any signs of playfulness or chewing, promptly remove the puppy pad to ensure your puppy's safety. By keeping a watchful eye on your puppy and adjusting its environment accordingly, you can create a secure and inviting crate that supports its well-being and training progress.

french bulldog puppy resting inside a metal crate

Calming Aids to Reduce Stress

Introducing a puppy to its crate for the first time may be a stressful experience for some, leading to feelings of anxiety and unease. To help alleviate these emotions and foster a more relaxed environment, consider utilizing calming aids such as pheromone diffusers, calming sprays, or a snuggle puppy with a simulated heartbeat. These soothing tools can provide your pup with a sense of comfort and security, ultimately contributing to a smoother crate training experience.

Before implementing any calming aids, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian to determine which products may be most suitable and effective for your pup's individual needs. By seeking professional guidance, you can ensure that you are providing the best support for your puppy as they adjust to its new crate environment. With patience, understanding, and the right calming aids in place, your pup will soon come to appreciate its crate as a safe and comforting haven.

Personal Touches for Familiarity

Incorporating familiar scents and items into your puppy's crate can greatly contribute to their sense of comfort and ease as they adjust to their new space. Placing an article of clothing or an item carrying your scent within the crate can provide your pup with a reassuring presence, helping them feel more secure and connected to you. Familiar scents can serve as a comforting reminder of their bond with you, making their crate feel more like a home away from home.

Adding a familiar toy or blanket from their previous living environment can further ease the transition for your pup. These cherished items carry memories and associations with their past surroundings, offering a sense of continuity and familiarity as they navigate their new environment. By thoughtfully incorporating familiar scents and items into your puppy's crate, you are actively supporting their emotional well-being and fostering a smooth and positive crate training experience.

pug dog in a travel crate

Positive Reinforcement Tools

Knowing what to put in a dog's crate is one thing, but it doesn't mean much if you're not following up with positive reinforcement. Incorporating positive reinforcement into your puppy's crate training process can significantly enhance their experience, making it both more enjoyable and effective. By rewarding your pup with treats, praise, and affection, you help them form positive associations with their crate, reinforcing the idea that it is a safe and comfortable space. This approach promotes good behavior and encourages your puppy to view the crate as a welcoming environment.

To facilitate easy and consistent reinforcement, consider storing a supply of small, healthy treats near the dog's crate, allowing you to promptly reward your pup for their good behavior. However, it is important to avoid leaving treats inside the crate unsupervised, as they may pose a choking hazard or attract unwanted pests. By striking the right balance between positive reinforcement and safety, you can successfully support your puppy's crate training journey and foster a nurturing environment for their growth and development.

Safety Precautions

Knowing what to put in a crate with a puppy means also ensuring your puppy's safety is of the utmost importance when setting up and maintaining its environment. Regularly inspect the crate for any potential hazards, such as sharp edges, broken wires, or damaged latches that could cause injury to your beloved pup. By being proactive and addressing any issues promptly, you can create a secure and protected space for your puppy to enjoy.

In addition to crate maintenance, make certain your puppy's crate is securely fastened and that your puppy cannot escape when left unsupervised. Choosing an appropriate location for the crate is also crucial for your pup's safety and comfort. Place the dog's crate in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, drafts, and potential hazards such as electrical cords or toxic houseplants. By prioritizing your puppy's safety and well-being, you can establish an environment that supports their overall health, growth, and development throughout their crate training journey.

pet carrier dog inside feeding watering supply red pomeranian spitz ready long range transportation


It’s not uncommon for first time pet owners to wonder what to put in a crate for a puppy. Generally speaking, every good vet recommends crating your dogs because it helps get them potty trained, alleviates separation anxiety, protects them during the night or when you're out of the home, and helps their overall health and well-being. Leaving your dog in a crate at night can help a new puppy learn about its environment, and even an adult dog who has not yet been potty trained.

Knowing what to put in your puppy’s crate and creating a comfortable and inviting crate for your puppy is crucial to their crate training success. By providing a properly sized crate with a dog bed or soft bedding, entertaining toys, access to food and water, and a sense of security, you can help your puppy feel at home in their new space. Remember to monitor your puppy's behavior and adjust the contents as needed to ensure their safety and well-being. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, your new puppy will soon be successfully crate trained, and come to see their crate as a cozy and secure haven.

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