Consider the needs of your dog. Is he still housetraining or does he have health issues that cause him to have accidents in his crate? Is he anxious and nervous about being left alone in his crate? You want to be sure that the pad fits the inside of the crate, will hold up to his claws (especially if he likes to scratch and ruffle his bedding before lying down for a nap!) and that it is not made of anything toxic in the event he chews it up while in the crate. Dogs with separation anxiety should not be crated with toys, pads, or blankets as they will almost always destroy them.
Even if your dog is not overly destructive you will still want to find a crate pad that will hold up over time but is still comfortable. Most crates are hard with metal or plastic floors or even grates. Enhancing the crate with a pad will help your dog stay warmer in cooler temperatures and help him feel cozy and safe.
Our categories for dog crate pads include:
Mat Style– flat with less padding, tufting, bolsters
- Offer less support
- Usually less absorbent
Bed Style-Usually have more substantial padding and cushioning, or bolsters
- Can be more absorbent and require frequent cleaning
- Usually less durable and easier for dog to chew and destroy
Cushion Style- Between the bed and mat style, no bolsters, light padding
- Usually comes in more sizes to fit more crate types and sizes
- Often more difficult to destroy
Finding the right dog crate pad will likely be a trial and error process as you find out what works best for you and your dog. There are compromises to be made here- Cheaper crate pads that you can throw in the wash all at once will often have little to no support for your dog but thicker pads will often be more absorbent and harder to keep clean.
In a confined space your dog will sweat, pant, and sometimes have accidents. It’s important that you are able to keep his crate pad clean and sanitary. In warmer weather, it’s important to have a crate pad that is not going to make your dog warmer, and many of the crate pads on the market today are synthetic fleece, velour or sherpa and these materials can make your dog hot and sweaty.
You may find that the best solution is a combination of products such as a washable absorbent pad with a softer bed on top of it or a thick supportive foam mattress with a reinforced cover to protect it.