We are supported by commissions earned for purchases made through the links in our articles. Learn more.

Is It Cruel to Leave Your Dog In A Crate While At Work?

Key Takeaways

  • In general, leaving your dog in a crate while working is cruel.
  • However, there are several important factors that go into whether or not it’s appropriate to leave a dog in their crate without supervision. Whether or not you go to work at night when they’re asleep, for example.
  • If circumstances align, it may be possible to crate your dog while at work. Otherwise, your only real option would be to get somebody to watch them.

Yes. Generally, it’s cruel to crate your dog while at work, because of the effect this can have on their mental and physical health. But it does get a bit deeper than that. How much time you keep them in their crate, as well as when, are key factors. You also have to take into account their age, your working hours, and your household situation. But the general rule is that you can only put an adult dog in a crate for 8 hours max (5 for puppies). To stay on the safe side, I usually cut that time down to half if crating them during their waking hours.

Training your pet to use their dog crate is an excellent way to get them accustomed to a schedule at home. However, it’s usually not the best way to leave them while you’re at work. But when your schedule simply won’t allow you to do it any other way, it may be advantageous to use the time you’re away at work as crate training time. Because of my busy schedule, I’ve had to implement this setup a few times with a few different dogs over the years. It’s awkward at first, but you can get accustomed to it fairly quickly. As long as the training hours line up with your work schedule, or you have someone to watch your dog, you should be fine.

CLICK HERE: Get your FREE crate training manual →

Leaving Your Dog In Their Crate While You’re At Work

A man doing paperwork. | The Pampered Pup

Can you leave a dog in a crate while you’re at work for the day? Usually, the answer is no. Though, it is possible to leave them crated for short amounts of time depending on your work schedule.

As we’ll discuss in more detail later, the longest you can leave an adult dog in their crate is 8 hours— and that’s when they’re sleeping overnight. During the day time, your dog will want to be at least somewhat active, and more importantly, you won’t be around to hear if your dog needs anything while you’re at work.

Therefore if you have a fairly fluid workday and can check on your dog every couple of hours at a minimum, then you’re probably OK. The exact amount of time you can leave them in there will depend on your dog and their temperament, but the maximum is probably somewhere in the range of 2-4 hours during the day (less for puppies). With that in mind, if you have a puppy or you will be gone from the house for several hours, you generally can’t leave them in the crate.

Should I Get A Dog If I Work All Day? 

First, define “all day”. If you work from home, that’s absolutely no problem, because at any time you can just get up from your desk and check on your dog. But if you don’t work remotely, you can still pull it off if you have someone to watch your dog at least until you get home, such as a neighbor or roommate that has an opposite shift from you. Otherwise, you might want to look into a dog sitting service. Keep in mind though that this does not work with puppies, but it could work when crate training an older dog that has some experience. 

No adult dog should have to stay in a crate all day. At most, they should only stay in their dog crates for a few hours at a time outside of sleeping, if you absolutely must keep them crated.

However, you will inevitably have to do so if you’re crate-training them and your work schedule doesn’t allow you to watch over them for hours. But in that case, you should look for someone to look after them like a dog walker or sitter. Otherwise, you’ll have to look into crate-training alternatives such as potty training on pads or using a DoggieLawn.

But if you have a job that allows you to come home for lunch or at other times. In that case, you can simply let your dog out of the crate when you come home. You may want to make sure they’ve gotten a handle on their toilet schedule first, to prevent any accidents in the dog crate. This also only really works if you’re okay with your dog’s toilet time being the same time as the time you get to go home. You’ll also have to find someone to look after your dog once you have to get back to work, as it wouldn’t be good to crate him for hours again.

If you plan to leave your dog crated in the morning and just come home to let him out, you can just hire a dog sitting service for half of the day. Or you could let your dog play in the yard in the mornings and have the sitter come in by noon to put them in the crate as part of their crate training.

But if your intention behind keeping your dog in a crate is to make sure that they don’t make a mess, it would be better to hire the sitter for the whole day, and invest in behavior training. Alternatively, if you’re going with a walking service, you can ask the dog walker to open your dog’s crate and have him do his business before taking them out on a walk — pay the dog walker extra and coordinate with their other clients if you have to. Caging your dog for upwards of 8 hours while they’re awake and need to be active is absolutely cruel and no respectable dog owner should do it.

CLICK HERE: Get your FREE crate training manual →


Fully-grown adult dogs can stay in a crate for up to 8 hours, but that only applies at night when they’re asleep. During the day time, I tend to make 4 hours the maximum for my adult dogs. If you absolutely must crate your dog, you’ll have to learn what works for them. Keep in mind that puppies need to get out of the crate more frequently.

Many dog owners do not realize that there are growing pains they must go through as they try to get their dog crate trained. You cannot adopt a puppy and expect to crate train them over the weekend before going back to work. Plus, your dog has to be trained to do a lot of things around the crate. You will need to help your dog feel comfortable with being in a crate every day, and some dog experts advise starting with as little as 10 minutes in the crate at a time.

Young chihuahua in business man | The Pampered Pup's arms.
The best thing you can do is bring your dog to work with you but unfortunately not everyone has that luxury
CLICK HERE: Get your FREE crate training manual →


While dog experts advise that the best time to start crate training a pup is as young as 8 weeks, puppies really hate being restricted in a small space when they don’t want to, much more than adult dogs do. That’s why outside of crate training, you shouldn’t even crate your puppy at all. They will inevitably pee and poop in their crate.

If you continually force them to stay in their dog crate, they may also develop separation anxiety, as well as a general unease about the crate, as they will end up viewing it as a punishment. Worse yet, the restlessness they develop will make them even more anxious and hyperactive once let out, thus making them more likely to make messes around the house. This defeats the purpose of crating them to preserve the integrity of the home in the first place.

Caging puppies at a young age also increases the likelihood of caged dog syndrome setting in, which could irreparably alter the attitude and demeanor of puppies as they grow into adult dogs. 

Adorable rottweiler puppy. | The Pampered Pup
You have to take special care with puppies Their first years are formative for their personalities

You have to take special care with puppies as their first years are formative for their personalities. You cannot leave a small dog up to about 2 years old in a crate all day because they are not in the frame of mind to rest all day. The only exception is if you have to enforce that they rest in a crate when recovering from serious surgery or injury.


If the main reason you want to crate your dog isn’t crate training, but rather you simply want them to behave while you’re away, there are other ways to ensure that they don’t get into trouble without inducing separation anxiety or caged dog syndrome.


Woman with dog. | The Pampered Pup

If you have a job that allow you to take your dog to work, it’s much better to take advantage of that policy rather than keep your dog caged all day. This is especially useful for dogs with separation anxiety, as it lets them keep close to you while you’re still trying to train it out of them.

If that’s not the case, perhaps you might find a doggy daycare place that’s close by, or otherwise drop your dog off with someone who is on the way. 

CLICK HERE: Get your FREE crate training manual →

Leave Your Dog Activities 

If you’re worried about your dog making a mess while you’re away, an effective alternative to crating them would be to leave them things to keep them occupied.

You need to leave your dog some activities while they are in the crate during the day. There are some toys that your dog will want to play with, and you need to be sure that you have given them a toy they cannot swallow. This is a very important part of their training because you are turning the crate into a safe space that they will like to visit during the day. 

Young black labrador chewing on a knot ball. | The Pampered Pup
Leaving your dog with activities will ensure that they are entertained while youre away


There are special dog cameras that you can install in your house or a dog room to check in on your pup and give them little activities that would be fun for them to do. They essentially let you FaceTime your dog, so you can talk to them and reassure them if they have separation anxiety. You can also tell them off if they behave poorly, and they may be more discouraged from behaving that way even more if they can see your face as well as hear your voice.

A lot of these cameras are built in to automatic feeders, but it’s best to have a network of cameras as well as multiple devices to video call your dog with if you can afford it. If not, just set one up at a central location within sight and earshot of most of the house.

There are also WiFi-triggered crate locks available online if you want to be crate training them while you’re away. If you don’t mind your dog running free around the house, you can start the crate training session as you leave in the morning and then unlock the crate remotely at around noon. It’s still best to get someone to watch your pup if you can, though.


Veterinarian holding a young puppy. | The Pampered Pup
Vets always know best

You need to talk to your vet about the specific breed of dog that you have because certain dogs will not perform well in crates. You need to remember that very large dogs will need a crate that is so massive that you might not even have room for it, and you might want to see if there is someone who can watch your dog. Your vet might also have ideas about how joints in a specific breed of dog will perform in a crate. Some dogs can lie down all day, but others cannot. You have to be sensitive to this information when you are making a plan for your dog. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Crate My Dog For Up To 12 Hours? 

No. You cannot do that to even an adult dog. The upper limit on crating is eight hours at night. You might try to split time because you want your dog to be in the crate for six hours twice a day, but that will probably be too much for most dogs. You can tell if your dog likes it or not, and you can avoid this problem if you use a dog sitter. However, people who cannot afford all these extra services should make sure that they do not get a dog because they cannot give that dog the attention that it needs. 

People who are trying to crate their dogs for long periods of time will find that their dog will do unexpected things. Their dog knows that they have been gone too long, and all your hard work will be for naught. It is better to split time or to make sure you can actually be home because dogs should never be kept in a crate so long they do not want to get out. 

CLICK HERE: Get your FREE crate training manual →

What Goes In My Dog’s Crate? 

The crate that you have created for your dog is a place that should make them feel completely safe. You want your dog to have all their favorite things in there, and you need to build up the crate as you are training them to sleep in the crate. This also means that you can use these things as enticements to get your dog into the crate. You want them to have a pillow that they love, and you want them to have a blanket that they love. You should leave their favorite toys in the crate, and you also have to see if you can put the timed feeder by the crate along with a water bowl. You can make the crate into a little house for your dog that will want to sleep in because they feel so comfortable. If your dog has been having trouble sleeping lately, making their crate as cozy as possible could be just the thing to help them get a good night’s rest.

Dog chewing toy. | The Pampered Pup

The crate that you have built for your pet should be in the quietest place in your house, and you need to make certain that you have turned on music or white noise if that will help them sleep. This is very important because many dogs love to listen to soothing music while they are sleeping, and you will keep them calm because they are in a quiet place with nothing but this music. Some pet owners use dog crate covers too.

The front door of your house should have a sign that either tells people to beware of the dog, or you could leave a note asking people not to knock on the door because you want your dog to sleep. You should take all these precautions because that helps your dog sleep. 

How Will You Know It Works? 

You only know this is working if you have a dog that will rest during the day. This means that you can keep your dog resting, and they are not barking or whining during the day. If you get reports from your neighbors that your dog is barking or whining, you need to change your plan. You also should see if you can upgrade your plan if your dog gets tired of it. 

You have to stick to your plan to give it a chance to work, and you also have to see if there are any special things you can do that you know for a fact would make your pets that much happier and healthier. Anyone who is trying to crate their dog has to check on their plan and upgrade it as needed because it is too hard to keep your dog on the same schedule for a decade at a time. 

CLICK HERE: Get your FREE crate training manual →


While you can crate train your dog while at work, you will have to make sure they’re watched over, either by another person or by you through remote monitoring tech. It’s generally ill-advised to shut them in there just so they won’t make a mess; that’s a behavioral issue that should be corrected through discipline and positive reinforcement. Caging them just makes the problem worse.

The majority of people who want to crate train their dogs do not actually go through the whole process, and that makes it very hard for these dogs to be comfortable during the day. You can have your dogs at work in some cases, and there are other times when there are no dogs at work. Caged dog syndrome sets in if you have done this process incorrectly, and you need to be careful to check that your dog is adjusting well.

Home » Care » Is It Cruel to Leave Your Dog In A Crate While At Work?

Leave a Comment