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Crate Training: Can Your Dog Overheat in Their Crate?

By Aviram K.
Published in Training & Behavior
Updated at January 10, 2021
5 min read
Crate Training: Can Your Dog Overheat in Their Crate?
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.
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A dog’s crate is often a warm, safe haven for our furry best friends in the colder months.

But in the warmer seasons, many crates aren’t great at keeping cool. As such, your dog can overheat in their crate if you don’t keep an attentive watch.

If you see your dog panting or drooling excessively, having a fast heart rate, acting lethargic, or having symptoms of dehydration, your dog’s crate is too warm. You can keep a crate cool by strategically placing the crate, using a fan, adding cooling mats and beds, and using a breathable blanket or reflective shade cloth.

In this article, I will tell you all about how to keep your dog’s crate cool in the summer, with helpful tips and tricks that will ensure your pup can keep enjoying their crate!

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents
01
How Do I Know If My Dog’s Crate Is Too Hot?
02
Should a Dog Sleep in a Crate in Hot Weather?
03
How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Their Crate

How Do I Know If My Dog’s Crate Is Too Hot?

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To feel whether the inside of a kennel is too hot or not, you can certainly stick your arm in there and decide. But, what we feel on our skin as humans may not fully indicate whether a crate is too hot or not.

The best way to tell is to be attentive to your dog’s behavior and watch for the signs of a crate being too warm for your pup.

The tell-tale signs of a crate being far too warm an environment include:

  • Excessive panting and drooling. Dogs use their tongues and mouth to moderate their body temperature. When dogs pant, the air rushes over their tongue, mouth, and upper respiratory tract lining, which causes the moisture to evaporate - similar to what sweat does to our skin. If a dog is panting hard and fast or drooling, this means they are way too hot. Especially if you see a dog panting as if they’ve just gone on a mile-long run, but they’re actually just laying down!
  • If you pet your dog and feel their heart rate beating extremely fast (alongside very warm skin), this is another sign of being too hot.
  • Lethargic and “lazy” behavior. If your pup is napping more than normal or having trouble standing up, this can be a key clue in whether or not your dog is too warm.
  • Vomiting and stomach upset (such as diarrhea) are other signs of overheating. Overheating causes dehydration, and dehydration leads to vomiting and belly problems.

You can always put a small temperature monitor in your dog’s crate as well to help determine if it is too hot or not.

Should a Dog Sleep in a Crate in Hot Weather?

Generally speaking, if you’ve committed to having your dog sleep in a crate, then they should sleep in their crate regardless of the circumstances (excluding extreme or life-threatening conditions).

The inconsistency of sometimes making a pup sleep in a crate and sometimes not could be confusing for some dogs, causing behavioral problems if they prefer to not spend the night in a kennel

The crate and kennel are supposed to be their safe havens, comfortable homes, and sleepy dens.

The onus falls on you, the dog parent, to ensure the crate is cool and comfortable for your pup in hot weather!

However, if you are concerned about the temperature in a crate or your ability to ensure the crate remains cold and _don’t _mind a dog sleeping outside of their crate, then that is certainly your prerogative.

But, be aware of the potential implications if a dog becomes too accustomed to not having to be in their crate.

How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Their Crate

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There are a few products and techniques you can implement to ensure that your dog’s crate remains cool and comfortable during the summer heat!

If done correctly, your dog may actually spend more time in the crate of their own free will because of how much cooler the temperature there will be compared to the rest of the environment.

Regardless of the temperature, assuming you got the correct size crate, ensure you let them out after an appropriate amount of time.

Remove Excess Crate Padding

To start, depending on the crate you are using, sometimes there is a lot of extra padding stuffed in there. This makes for excellent coziness in the winter but can hold in a lot of heat in the summertime.

Take out any padding that your pup can live without to further promote airflow inside the crate.

Be Strategic About Crate Placement

This tip does sound obvious at first, but it’s so easy to overlook it!

Be very strategic about placing that dog crate to ensure that Fido doesn’t get the full blast of heat.

If you are setting up the crate indoors, avoid placing it in direct view of a window or in a dingy corner that the AC doesn’t reach. Instead, look for locations in the shade most (if not all) of the day and where the AC airflow can reach it.

A good spot is against a wall in the middle of a lived-in room, such as a family room, living room, kitchen, or bedroom. A big primary room will get excellent air conditioning flow in a home.

Add a Crate Fan

The easiest tried-and-true method to keeping a dog cool in a crate is constant chilly air! Adding a fan is the way to go.

If your crate is in a room, you can add a standing fan or oscillating fan to face the crate and blow nice, comfortable chilly air right at the crate.

You can buy a dedicated crate fan if you are in a vehicle, at a dog show, or at other outdoor events. Many great crate fans are available on the market, all of which clip to the crate door.

A popular brand is the Metro Vacuum Crate Fan. Many of these fans are battery-operated, so make sure the battery is nicely charged before use!

Use a Breathable Blanket

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If you have a dog that enjoys their crate being dark, make sure to use a breathable blanket as a cover instead of many traditional crate fabrics.

Many crate covers are intended to block the light out for your pup but may not factor in airflow. This can be especially problematic for brachycephalic breeds that have trouble breathing, to begin with. Brachycephalic breeds are those with squishy faces, such as pugs and bulldogs.

By using a breathable blanket, you can get the best of both worlds by having the crate covered to appear more den-like while still allowing air to pass through. A good choice is the

Use a Cooling Foam Bed or Cooling Mat

Most dogs don’t like to lay directly on a hard crate bottom and will be begging for some sort of bedding.

Of course, the traditional crate beds may be fluffy and comfortable, but they radiate body heat and cause quite a bit of warmth in more humid and hot climates. Luckily, there is a solution!

Replace the fluffy crate beds with a cooling foam bed or cooling mat.

These cushions are intended to push out coldness rather than warmth. Often made with self-cooling gel, your pet’s weight on the mat activates the cooling sensation in the mat. The Cool Pet Mat is a popular choice.

You’ll frequently find articles suggesting you place damp or wet towels or a frozen water bottle to keep a pup cool in lue of the cooling mats - I don’t suggest this.

Encouraging a damp or wet environment where a dog sleeps can lead to skin infections (such as yeast) and is a breeding ground for bacteria.

If Outside, Use a Reflective Shade Cloth

If you are outside with your pup, whether at a dog show trial or having a picnic with friends, bringing a portable crate is always an excellent idea. If you do, nab a reflective shade cloth to throw on top as well!

You can find these cloths at most stores, and online such as Amazon.com.

This cloth helps reflect the sun’s harmful rays away from the crate, keeping the inside nice and comfortable.

Add a good bucket of cold water, and your pup should be doing great!


Tags
Crate TrainingDog Training
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