Do Dogs Need a Bed in Their Crate?

Pet lovers have different views when it comes to dog crates. While there are some loyal devotees, others can’t embrace the idea. As we’re about to answer the question, “do dogs need a bed in their crate,” we’ll also touch on the times when your pup (and you) might benefit from some personal space. And that extends to nap time and bedtime.

  • Reasons for Using a Dog Crate
  • When Do Dogs Need a Bed in Their Crate?
  • Sometimes It’s Better Without a Dog Bed in the Crate
  • Alternatives to Dog Beds
Dog in their crate

Why Use a Dog Crate?

Before we address whether or not to turn a drab dog crate into a luxurious bedroom, we want to touch on a critical point about pet confinement.  It should never be used as a form of punishment.

Training? Yes. Anxiety-relief? Yes. But discipline? No.

When a Dog Crate is a Good Idea

There are five primary reasons veterinarians recommend dog crates, and they don’t always equate to long-term use.

  1. Training
  2. Healing
  3. Security
  4. Travel
  5. Sleeping

Training – Dog crates can be beneficial for puppies or a new dog in the home as they’ll help you train without having your home destroyed. They can be a good idea, whether for potty training with a pad in the crate or stopping them from chewing on your furniture as you gradually ease up on their confinement.

Healing – If your dog has surgery or is recovering from another ailment, a crate can be a safe, comfortable alternative. That’s particularly so if you have other pets in the house. You don’t have to worry about another doggo or kitty scratching at them or irritating their wounds.

Security – Even without mandatory recovery, some dogs appreciate a spot of their own that’s cozy and calming. Pups with anxiety might prefer some time alone in their little room. In this case, you could leave the door open so they can come and go at will.

Travel – If your dog is used to a crate, travel is so much easier. Even a car trip is more relaxing for your pet if they have a piece of home on the road.

Sleeping – Most of our furry friends prefer consistency with their bedtime rituals. While some dogs sleep in beds with their favorite people, others have dog beds or a designated spot. A crate can act as that designated spot, prompting better sleep habits.

Kuranda slimline dog crate bed, Kuranda kennel bed

When Do Dogs Need a Bed in Their Crate?

Now that we’ve talked about why dogs sometimes use crates, it’s easier to figure out whether they need a bed as well.

Sometimes a Dog Bed is a Good Idea

Unfortunately, we still can’t give you one definitive answer, though, as it depends on the situation.

For example, your dog would benefit from a bed in their crate if its primary purpose is for sleep. But you also have to consider the dog breed. Some pets prefer a very hard, supportive surface. That’s why they might choose the floor over their bed or even carpeting.

So, answering two questions will help you figure out when dogs need a bed in their crate.

  1. What are your dog’s breed and sleeping preferences?
  2. Is the purpose of the crate for sleep or something else?

Reasons Why You Should Provide a Dog Bed in a Crate

  • You have a dog who prefers sleeping on a softer surface
  • The dog crate is primarily used for naps and bedtime
  • Your baby is healing from an injury, illness, or surgery
  • The area keeps your pet feeling safe and secure, and a bed enhances it

As a general rule, if you’d provide a dog bed without the crate, it’s probably a good idea to use one with it.

K & H crate bed, K & H odor control crate bed, K & H Pet Products kennel bed

Times When a Bed in Their Crate Isn’t a Good idea

It seems like a no-brainer that you want to create a calming, comfortable environment where your beautiful doggo spends time. However, there are situations where a dog bed in a crate isn’t warranted.

  • Potty training
  • Too warm
  • Not enough room
  • Your dog prefers the floor

Potty Training

A rule of thumb to keep in mind is to go for one crate addition. So, if your dog needs a bed in the crate for sleeping, don’t use it for training as well.

But, if your primary purpose is to train your pup by using potty pads in the cage, then keep a bed out of the equation (and the crate!).


Pets are as different as we are with preferences. Some like to be warm at night, while others could sleep on a block of ice. If you’ve got a doggie who runs hot, a bed in the crate could generate even more heat and make them incredibly uncomfortable.

Space Matters

Whether or not you opt to use a dog bed can depend on how much space you have. Smaller dogs tend to appreciate little warm and cozy beds. But even then, if the bed takes up the entire crate, you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons.

Soft Doesn’t Always Mean More Comfortable

You might look at your dog’s designated space and want to do everything to make it more comfortable. But what works for us doesn’t necessarily translate for our canine friends. Some dog breeds prefer to sleep cool and appreciate bare floors. Their bodies feel better on a hard, supportive surface.

Alternatives to Putting a Dog Bed in Their Crate

Just because a dog bed isn’t the best choice doesn’t mean you need to keep your dog’s special space bare-boned.

Again, if you’re potty training, stick to waterproof pads for easy clean-up. Adding a bed or anything else to a crate with a dog in training is just asking for problems. Give it a few weeks, and then do some redecorating!

Substitutes for Dog Beds in Crates

In other situations, like when your dog runs warm, or there’s not enough room for a dog bed, you can still cozy up the place.

Adding a blanket that’s just theirs is one idea. Your pup can scrunch it up to create a comfy place to rest. Another idea is to buy a cooling pad, as it’ll provide a one-two punch. Not only is a cooling pad ideal for dogs that like lower temps, but it’s more restful than the bottom of the crate, as it provides just the right amount of cushioning.

Like everything else with dogs, you have to play it by ear and pay attention to the signs and signals they provide. If they’re not sleeping well, add a bed to the crate (or take one away) and see how it goes.

Dogs don’t necessarily need a bed in their crate unless they have medical conditions. But that doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate one.