Can a crate be too big for a dog or puppy?

Dogs are den animals and feel most comfortable when they have a small, enclosed space to call their own. This is why crates make such great training tools-they provide your dog with a place where they can relax and feel secure. But if the crate is too big, your dog may not see it as a confined space at all, defeating the entire purpose of using one in the first place.

Table of Contents

  1. Why does crate size matter?
  2. Ways to understand that crate is too big for a puppy
  3. Tips to understand that crate is too big for an older dog
  4. Signs you have the right size crate
  5. What to do if the crate is bigger than your dog need?
  6. What if your puppy outgrows his crate?
  7. Choosing a crate for a growing puppy
  8. Conclusion
  9. FAQ

Why does crate size matter?

Many owners prefer getting the smallest or biggest size possible for their dogs, assuming that it would be more comfortable for them. However, this isn’t always true. In fact, many experts recommend choosing a slightly larger size when buying a dog crate because it determines how comfortable your dog will be in their crate. 

Here are some reasons why having an appropriately sized crate matters:

  1. A crate that that is too large will not feel like a confined space to your dog, which will make it difficult for them to relax and focus on their training.  It’s defeating the entire purpose of using one in the first place.
  2. Crates that are either too big or too small can cause discomfort for your dog, leading to stress and anxiety. And no matter how well-behaved and calm your pet may be, he/she will still feel unsettled in a crate that is not properly sized for him/her.
  3. If the crate is too small, it might force your pup to do things that he/she would otherwise never do inside the home – like eliminate at one corner of the kennel instead of on a pad you set out. This can lead to an unwanted mess inside the crate!
  4. A crated dog should also have enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably while sleeping. A spacious crate allows your pet to rest and sleep without feeling cramped for space. This way, he/she can spend plenty of time in the crate without getting bored or restless!

Finding the right size crate is essential for making sure your dog views their crate as a comfortable and relaxing place. Make sure to measure your dog correctly and choose a crate that is appropriately sized for its body. 

Ways to understand that crate is too big for a puppy

There are a few ways to tell if the crate you have is too big for your puppy. One way is to measure your puppy and find a crate that is the appropriate size for its body. Another way to tell is by watching your puppy’s behavior. If your puppy seems restless and constantly walks around the crate, this may be a sign that the crate is too large. Similarly, if your puppy whines or barks constantly, it may be uncomfortable in its current environment. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to invest in a smaller crate for your pup!

Tips to understand that crate is too big for an older dog

Older dogs may also struggle with crate training if the crate is too big. There are a few ways to tell if the crate you have is too big for your older dog. 

  1. Crates are typically designed for small dogs and puppies, since they’re the most likely to be in a crate on a regular basis. Older dogs may feel insecure or uncomfortable if they don’t have enough space.
  2. If an older dog is confined to a too-large crate, he may not get adequate exercise or relief from relieving himself. This can lead to a host of physical health problems, as well as behavioral issues like anxiety and depression.
  3. Some older dogs may have difficulty adjusting to the space constraints of a crate, especially if they are used to having more room to move around and stretch out. If your dog seems restless or uncomfortable when confined to a crate, it may be time to find a larger one.
  4. If you’re having trouble getting your older dog used to his new crate, try slowly introducing him to it over time and building up the amount of time he spends in it. Some dogs take longer than others to adjust, so be patient and consistent as you help your dog feel comfortable and safe in his new space.
  5. Ultimately, the best way to understand if an older dog’s crate is too big is to watch his behavior. If he seems anxious or stressed when you leave him in the crate, it might be a sign that he needs a larger one. By paying close attention to your dog’s behavior and needs, you can ensure he has a safe and comfortable place to rest.​

Signs you have the right size crate

  • A good indicator that you have the right size crate is if your dog can comfortably stand up and turn around inside of it. If they can’t do either of those things, then the crate might be too small and could cause discomfort.
  • Another way to tell if you have the right size crate is by its weight limit. A good rule of thumb is that the crate should be able to hold at least double your dog’s weight. This ensures that your dog will have plenty of room to move around and won’t feel cramped inside.
  • Lastly, another sign that you have selected the correct-sized crate is if your dog takes to it immediately and seems content spending time inside. If your pup seems happy and relaxed in their new home away from home, then you’ve nailed it!

What to do if the crate is bigger than your dog need?

One possible option is to use a crate divider in order to make the crate more comfortable for your dog. This will make it easier for him or her to adjust to the new living situation and ensure that he or she does not feel overwhelmed by the large space. You can typically find them at most pet stores, and they are usually very affordable.

Another option is simply to purchase a smaller crate. If you know that your dog will only be spending short periods of time inside the crate, then purchasing a smaller one may be enough to meet his or her needs. Just be sure that there is still some room left over so that your pup doesn’t feel too cramped while he or she is inside!

If possible, try to let your dog spend some time in and around the crate before you actually need to use it. This will help your dog get used to the space so that he or she feels more comfortable when being confined inside. You can also try placing some familiar items like toys, blankets, or treats inside the crate as a way to encourage him or her to explore it further.

Whatever you do, be sure to keep things positive for your pup and make sure that he or she is always feeling safe and confident while spending time in the crate. This will ensure that his or her adjustment period goes as smoothly as possible!​

What if your puppy outgrows his crate?

If your puppy outgrows his crate, you have a few options. 

  • Buy a crate that is the next size up. This will give your pup more room to grow and will make them more comfortable in their space.
  • Use a dog bed or mat inside the crate instead of using the entire space. This will help your dog feel more snug and secure in their surroundings because the crate will feel smaller. When your puppy outgrows its crate, you can take the bed out.
  • You can also try using a baby gate to section off part of the crate, which will make your pet feel that the crate is smaller.

Choosing a crate for a growing puppy

If you have a growing puppy, it’s important to choose a crate that will accommodate their size. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a crate that is one size larger than your pup currently is. This will give them plenty of room to grow and will make them more comfortable in their space.

It’s important to make sure that the crate is comfortable for your pup. You can do this by putting a dog bed or mat inside the crate. This will give your pup a cozy place to relax and will help them feel more at home.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the right size crate for your dog, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Make sure you get a crate that is big enough for your pooch to move around in, but not so large that they don’t feel confined. Additionally, be sure to check the weight limit of the crate to make sure it can hold at least double your dog’s weight. And finally, see if your pup takes to the crate immediately and seems content spending time inside – this is a good indicator that you’ve selected the correct size! If your pup has already outgrown its current crate, don’t worry – there are plenty of solutions available to make them more comfortable. 

FAQ

How big should your dog’s crate be?

Measuring your dog’s height and length (from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail) while it is standing can help you choose the right size. The ideal dog cage size is then calculated by adding 4 inches to the dog’s dimensions.

How much bigger than my dog should the crate be?

The height and length of the crate should be compared to your dog’s dimensions of height (from the top of the head or the top of the ears to the ground) and length (from the nose to the end of the tail). For determining the crate size, we advise adding 2 to 4 inches (2 inches for smaller dogs, 4 inches for larger dogs).

How much room should dog have in crate?

Measuring your dog’s height and length (from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail) while it is standing can help you choose the right size. The ideal dog cage size is then calculated by adding 4 inches to the dog’s dimensions.

Should my dog be able to stretch out in his crate?

Your dog should, in theory, be able to relax in the crate in any posture he chooses without having a lot of excess room around him. Lying on his side, he should be able to spread out entirely.