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August 31, 2016

Is it a Good Idea to Crate Your Dog While You’re at Work?

By: Critter-Sitters

People who work from home have the luxury of constant access to their pets.  But for those who go to work in an office, daytime pet care can be a bit of a puzzler.  One of the most common questions dog owners ask is whether they should crate their dogs while they’re away during the day.  So what are the pros and cons of crating?  Does crating reduce stress, or create it?  These are good questions — and our Atlanta dog sitters have the answers.

Should I Crate My Dog While I’m Gone During the Day?

If your workplace is like most, animals probably aren’t allowed.  That likely means you’ll have to leave your dog at home, which presents you with two options: you can let your dog roam freely around the house, or you can crate them until you get home.  So which should you choose?

Frankly, there’s no “right” or “best” method, because the answer to that question ultimately depends on your dog’s unique needs, habits, and personality.  However, once you understand some of the advantages, drawbacks, and intended purposes of crating, you’ll have the tools you need to make a more informed decision about what’s best for your dog’s health and happiness. 

Of course, when making any major decision about your dog’s daily care routine, you should consult with your with your veterinarian (and dog trainer, if you have one).  Only your vet will be able to give you personalized expert advice that takes your pet’s full medical history into account.

What is the Purpose of Crating Dogs?

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Dogs need plenty of socialization, affection, and exercise, which means excessive crate use can have terrible physical and mental consequences.  Some people even use crates as a way to abuse or neglect their dogs, cruelly leaving them locked up for days at a time.  However, when crates are used appropriately and in moderation, they can actually enhance a dog’s wellbeing.

The idea behind crating is to tap into dogs’ natural instinct to “den,” or retreat to a safe, comfortable space in order to sleep and relax.  In short, a den is like a little house: a secure place to escape and recharge.  For puppies, crates can also be used to help with housetraining.

When used correctly, a crate can be a dog’s safe haven, a place he or she goes to get away from loud noises or other stressors.  When a dog gets anxious or scared, he or she may want to enter a crate in order to feel comforted and safe.  If your dog tends to get a little nervous or antsy when left alone, a crate can be a calming, reassuring space.  

On the other hand, some dogs strongly dislike crates and can become more agitated by enclosure.  If your dog is a rescue who was abused by a previous owner, he or she may have a negative association with being put into a crate. 

How to Set Up a Comfortable Crate for Your Dog or Puppy

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In order to avoid causing any stress or fear, it’s important to go slow and take baby steps when determining how your dog responds to a crate.  Never force your dog to get inside.  Instead, try placing a treat inside of a chewtoy and placing the toy into the crate.  The dog may be naturally enticed by the smell of the food, and become accustomed to the crate that way. 

To make a crate comfortable and appealing, make sure it contains:

  • A soft, comfortable floor for the dog to lie down. You can try using a dog bed, or laying an old comforter down over foam pads.
  • A steady supply of fresh water.
  • Familiar scents, like a favorite blanket.
  • Food, if feeding will occur in the crate.
  • Plenty of room to stand up, turn around, and take a few paces.
  • Toys to keep mentally stimulated, like a rope or ball.

Before you use the crate, test different spots around your house for light and temperature.  A spot that gets constant sunlight will be too bright and hot, but a shady corner near the air conditioner will be too dark and cold.  Look for a place that stays a comfortable temperature while letting in a little bit of sunshine. 

If you can, consider positioning the crate on the floor in such a way that your dog can look out the window and watch the street for some extra mental stimulation.  You could also try putting the crate in front of your TV or fish tank, if you own one, so that he or she has something to watch.

Need to Book a Dog Sitter in Atlanta, Georgia Today?

Regardless of whether they’re crated or free-roaming, dogs are social animals who thrive on human interaction.  Whether you crate your dog or give them full access to the house, you can bet they’d love to see a visitor or two while you’re gone for the day!

Whenever you need dependable, last-minute pet sitting or dog walking services in Atlanta, turn to the experienced professionals at Critter Sitters for high quality pet care in locations throughout Georgia.  We have years of experience providing flexible and affordable sitting services for dogs and puppies of all breeds. 

To book your dog sitting appointment with Critter Sitters, give us a call at (404) 973-2541 today.