Can Crating a Dog Stunt Growth? [MYTHS DISPELLED]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

As a dog owner, you might have come across some fellow dog parents talking about applying crate training for their dogs.

Naturally, we are all concerned: can crating a dog stunt growth and cause any permanent damage to them?

The short answer is no, dog crating will not stunt growth, but it has to be done with certain conditions.

In this post, we will share with you more about dog crating, its benefits, and how to do it the right way.

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Dear Dog Owner

Can crating a dog create growth issues?

Keeping your dog in a crate will not cause any growth problems.

In addition, there are no documented situations in which crating a dog prevented it from growing.

In reality, whether or not it’s in a crate, your dog will grow.

Over time, it can assist your dog in becoming a well-mannered and disciplined member of the family. You’re teaching your dog that trust must be earned when you leave the house with him in a crate. It’s entirely up to you whether or not to do this.

Occasionally, a puppy must be crated for an extended period, such as when traveling, but on the whole, I believe 4-hour stretches are the absolute maximum.

Crate training can be phased out when your dog expresses a desire to slumber while you’re away.

The time and work it takes to crate-train your dog will pay off in the long run.

Do you know if you should put two dog crates side by side?

What is dog crating?

Crate training is the method of training your pet to accept and feel safe and secure in his or her kennel, cage, or another confinement area.

If introduced appropriately, crate training can be tolerated by the majority of puppies or even adult dogs.

After repeated exposure to the box, the initial tension that comes with being confined might give way to increasing emotions of safety, and comfort.

Crate training, on the other hand, can also be quite helpful in house training a dog as quickly as possible if done correctly.

Ordinarily, dog collars and muzzles are considered cruel punishments since they limit the mobility and independence of a dog.

In the meantime, crate training can assist dogs in gaining full control over their bowel and bladder while still allowing them to enjoy goodies and their favorite comforts.

Your dog may start soiling the house if crate training isn’t addressed seriously, further leading to stunted dog growth.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: What if My Dog Ate A Toilet Paper Roll?

Benefits of dog crating

benefits of dog crate training

Crate training is generally recommended by veterinarians, dog trainers, and breeders for puppies as early as possible.

When it comes to housebreaking pups, crate training is a must because dogs don’t appreciate soiling their sleeping quarters.

Instead of cleaning up accidents, they learn to hold their bladders while they’re confined to their crates.

Crate training can also mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.

The faster your dog gets into the cage, the more time you save when evacuating your pet.

By securing dogs during evacuations, the risk of them becoming lost or wounded is significantly reduced.

The following are some terrific benefits of crating your dog:

  • When the dog is feeling worried, fatigued, or unwell, it can withdraw to its den, which provides her with seclusion and security.
  • Your response to problem behavior can cause your dog a lot of dread, confusion, and distress, which they can avoid.
  • Their isolation from their indoor family settings when she needs to be prohibited from some things will be spared, so they won’t feel lonely or frustrated.

Furthermore, you as the dog owner may have other benefits like:

  • It’s a relief to know that when you leave your dog home alone, nothing will be damaged or ruined and that she’ll be safe, secure, and not pick up any bad habits.
  • This can help you develop a regular schedule for your dog’s outdoor acitivities and avoid accidents at night.
  • At times when the dog may be underfoot, aroused, or bothered by a lot of confusion and bustle, you can successfully restrict her.

These benefits eliminate the notion that crating a dog may stunt growth because in actual fact, it promotes the growth and proper behavior of your dog or puppy.

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Tips for Successful Crate Training

  • To begin, set up the dog box in a room and leave the door open. Make sure your dog is securely out of the room when you do this to avoid frightening them.
  • Place the crate in a dark, out-of-the-way spot so your dog won’t be distracted by noise or clutter. To make the crate more enticing and comfier for your dog, place their bed or blankets inside.
  • Permit the dog to explore the room at their own pace by allowing them to enter. Reward your dog with goodies if they show any interest in exploring the crate. To avoid upsetting the dog, do not immediately shut the door on the crate after he enters.
  • Keep the door ajar so they can come and go as they choose. The crate can be made more enticing by putting goodies and toys inside or even giving them their meals thereafter this initial introduction.
  • Close the door gently when your dog has settled in the open crate, but do not lock it. Continue this for a few days, being sure to stay relaxed the whole time.

When your dog is comfortable and happy in his crate, you can start locking the door while you are still in the room to keep him safe. Eventually, you’ll be able to lock the door and leave the room without having to worry about someone coming in. 

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How large should a dog crate be?

The crate’s size is an important factor that needs to be taken into account.

Bedding must fit in the crate, and it must be big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around comfortably.

Add 2-4 inches to the length of your dog’s nose to the base of their tail if you plan on measuring it.

That said, there is still room for improvement.

You should acquire an adult-sized kennel for your puppy and utilize a divider to make it bigger as they grow. This does not take up a lot of room.

Dog crates should be large enough for your dog to move about freely in his box.

The following may help you measure a dog crate for your dog:

  • XS – 19″ – <20 lbs.
  • S – 24″ – 20-30 lbs. 
  • M – 30″ – 30-40 lbs. 
  • L – 36″ – 40-70 lbs. 
  • XL – 42″ – 70-90 lbs.
  • 2XL – 48″ – 90 lbs.

Suitable dog crates for your canine

There are a number of options out there, and we have identified a few that we feel are well-built, sturdy, and suitable for most homes.

Can stunted growth be reversed in dogs?

Stunted growth cannot be reversed but its effects can be mitigated and your dog can still live a long and healthy life.

To be sure, crating when done the right way does not cause stunted growth.

There are several factors that can cause stunted growth, most commonly:

  • The presence of worm infection
  • Malnutrition

Getting your dog back on the right track depends on the breed of your dog and its diet and nutrition.

Nutrition will play a huge role in managing the stunted growth of your dog or puppy.

However, some factors like height and weight might be severely affected due to stunted growth, making it irreversible.

Other factors key to stunting prevention include regular health checks, proper sanitation of the dogs, and vaccination. 

Is it cruel to crate a dog while at work?

Crating your pet while you’re at work is not suggested, but if you absolutely must, make sure it’s not for more than 8 hours at the most.

If you can’t crate your puppy while you’re at work, dog-proof the room you’ll be keeping it in so it won’t be hurt.

Dog crating is a widely accepted practice in the United States, and most owners plan to do so for most of the day.

It is widely agreed by dog owners and veterinarians that crate training is an effective way to discipline dogs while also ensuring their well-being.

When your dog is not in its crate, you should introduce exercise and lots of attention to it to keep it stimulated.

If you still feel worried, you should arrange for someone to drop by your place to take your dog out for a short toilet break or a short walk.

When should you stop using a dog crate?

Around the age of two, you can stop putting your dog in his crate.

There is a greater chance of them getting into trouble before that period ends.

Most small dogs cannot behave themselves when left alone until they’ve fully matured.

Take note that larger dogs will take a longer time to reach maturity.

I recommend that you leave treats and chew toys in the crate to keep it occupied too.

In Conclusion: Can Crating a Dog Stunt Growth?

Dog crates are an excellent tool that you should have in your home.

It provides your dog with a safe and calm space to rest and relax, and prevents it from getting into trouble when you are away for short periods of time.

And that is the key message too: Do not leave your dog in one for too long. If you have to be away, get someone to come in or simply send your dog to doggy daycare.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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