Should I Put Water In A Dog Crate During Daytime?

Should I put water in a dog crate during day time? Did you try putting a water bowl in your dog’s crate only for him to knock it over and make a big mess?

Are you worried about dehydrating your dog if you don’t give him access to water while he’s crated?

What is the best way to provide water to your dog in a crate without him making a mess?

An adult dog in good health doesn’t need water when crated for 1 to 2 hours. When crated for 3 hours or more, especially in hot weather, you should leave water in the crate for healthy adult dogs that are housetrained.

You’ll want to compare a variety of options before selecting which bowl to put in your dog’s crate.

Each dog will have different needs based on his size, age, and if he has any special medical needs.

Read on for a guide on how to best select the right water bowl for your dog’s crate! 

Why You Should Trust Me?

I’ve raised three puppies.

Personally, I’ve picked the brains of numerous vets, breeders, and a variety of other dog owners.

I’ve been a part of many conversations on all things dog-related, including how to best take care of them while they are crated.

I know what works in a crate (water bowls that attach to the crate) and what doesn’t work in a crate (water bowls placed on the floor where your dog can knock them over).

As someone who has also been working full-time for those fifteen years, I’ve raised dogs successfully despite needing to be gone from 9-5 each day, which means they’ve had to spend a fair amount of time in a crate.

First-hand experience tells me what has worked for my dogs in a crate and what you’ll want to avoid while your dog is crated!

Should I Put Water in a Dog Crate During Daytime?

The answer is, most of the time, but it depends on your dog’s needs.

How old is your dog?

Are they a puppy or an adult?

How many hours will they be in the crate at one time?

Do they require any medication that might cause increased thirst? 

Adult Dogs

If you are crating a healthy adult dog (who is house-trained) for less than 3 hours, you don’t have to leave water in their crate.

If you’re in a situation where, like me, you will be gone for extended periods of time for work or other commitments (more than 3 hours), it’s advisable to leave water in your dog’s crate if they will be crated for longer than a couple of hours.

This is especially true during hot weather spells.

You can select ways to dispense the water so it won’t be knocked over or spilt inside the crate.

We’ll talk about these options later in the article.

If your adult dog is not healthy, ask your vet for the best advice on whether to put water in dog crate during the day.


However, if your dog is a puppy, that’s another story.

Puppies don’t have the same bladder control that adult dogs have, and if they have regular access to water, they’re very likely to have an accident in their crate.

I know my puppies always have had to go outside for the bathroom immediately after drinking or eating. It was amazing how quickly intake of fluids turned into a bathroom urge!

Until your pup can go more than a few minutes in between drinking and needing the bathroom, you should not put water in the puppy’s crate.

After you get out of the initial stages of training your little puppy, you should consider adding a water bowl to your dog’s crate.

Adult dogs are less likely to spill water, and they are more able to hold their bladders and not have an accident immediately after drinking water. They will appreciate access to a fresh drink while they are crated.

If Your Dog Drinks too Much Water in His Crate 

It’s important your dog is able to stay hydrated.

Hydration is the key to health for humans and for dogs.

With that said, how often should you change the water?

And, what happens if he drinks too much water in his crate?

If your dog drinks too much water and is in his crate for a little too long, he could have an accident in his crate.

There are a few things you can do to be prepared for an accident.

Keep a tray in the crate

Preferably the tray would be metal as dogs can chew through plastic.

A metal tray on the bottom of his crate will be easy to clean up and ensure no moisture seeps through to your floor. 

Ensure you have a waterproof crate

Most crates are waterproof in that they are made of metal or plastic, which can be easily wiped down and cleaned. 

Have the right bedding

Use a product like this one from Amazon – Mixjoy bedding.

This is a great bedding option for your dog’s crate.

If he has an accident on it, it’s no big deal, as you can throw it right in the washing machine

You can also cover your dog’s bed with a liner like this one from Amazon – Pet Pillow Cover Liner.

Bed liners are usually washable, and you can easily clean up a mess.

Keep cleaning products in stock

You’ll find a routine for what works for you to clean up accidents.

For me, it’s paper towels and a good anti-bacterial spray. I make sure I’ve always got those on hand.

A mess in your dog’s crate is not the end of the world. There are many products available now to put in your dog’s crate that will make cleanup a breeze. 

How Often Should You Change the Water in Your Dog’s Crate?

My dog is usually pretty happy with fresh water daily.

I find that even if he doesn’t drink a full bowl, I change it out and give him fresh water every morning before I go to work.

You don’t want to risk mold or mildew by leaving stale water in the same bowl for long periods of time.

It’s best to change out the water daily, and give the bowl a cleaning at least once a week.

Should You Leave Food in Your Dog’s Crate in the Daytime?

If you’re leaving water in your dog’s crate in the daytime, should you also leave food for him?

This is really depending on what type of dog you have.

For example, I have a friend Susan with two Vizslas.

Vizslas aren’t known to be food aggressive, and those dogs free feed, meaning they eat when they want to.

Susan doesn’t ever have to worry about her dogs over-eating.

Therefore, she likes her dogs to have access to food whenever they want it.

On the flip side, some breeds are known to demand food.

If food is in front of them, they eat it, no matter if they are actually hungry or not. For example, Beagles and Golden Retrievers are known to eat a lot of food.

What is your dog like?

Do they scarf down any food you put down, or can they walk away from their dish for hours with food left behind?

Don’t give your dog free access to food if he has an insatiable appetite.

If your dog can free feed, and responsibly eat when they want to, it’s ok to leave food for them in their crate.

On the plus side, if they spill their food in their crate, it’s a lot easier to clean up than a water spill.

When You Shouldn’t Put Water in Your Dog’s Crate?

While it’s usually a good idea to provide water to your adult dog in his crate in the daytime, there are a few exceptions when it wouldn’t be wise. 

When your dog is Ill

Some illnesses will cause an increase in thirst, which could lead to an increase in accidents in his crate. 


My dog Max had diabetes. Canine diabetes can cause an increase in thirst and urination. He would drink in excess compared to the average dog.

The high blood sugar in your dog will cause more frequent urination.

Your dog might require more frequent bathroom breaks and less time in their crate.

It would be inadvisable to put a dog with diabetes in a crate for longer than a couple of hours at a time.

While your dog is in the crate, it’s not a good idea to put water in there as they will be likely to drink it all and possibly urinate in his crate.

Cushing’s disease

My dog Lucy developed Cushings disease.

Increased thirst and urination with Lucy was one of the first tell-tale signs that something was wrong with her.

Cushing affects the adrenal glands, which impacts the need for your dog to urinate often.

For the same reasons as diabetes, it wouldn’t be a good idea to put your dog in a crate for long periods of time with access to water if they have Cushings disease.


Who among us hasn’t been prescribed a pack of prednisone at least once in our lives? I know for me, it makes me incredibly thirsty.

Dogs, like humans, are prescribed steroids (prednisone) for a variety of illnesses, from UTIs to more serious illnesses.

If your dog is on prednisone, they may drink water more often, which will make them need to urinate more.

I would be careful with how much time your dog spends in his crate with access to water if they are on prednisone.

Other medical conditions

If your dog has any medical issues requiring any medication, make sure you talk to the vet about his water needs. Ask the question “Will my dog be drinking more water?” or “Should I put water in dog crate during daytime?”.

When your dog is a puppy

Little puppies shouldn’t have access to water in their crates for a couple of reasons. 

Bladder control

Puppies have very limited control of their bladders.

They’ll need to urinate a lot.

Until they get a little bigger and can old themselves a little longer, it’s best to not have to worry about frequent urination while they are in the crate.

Wait until you’ve had the puppy for a couple of months before introducing water to his crate.


Puppied are also more excitable than an adult dog.

Even with a properly mounted water bottle on the side of a crate, they might be able to spill it.

I’ve heard stories of an excitable puppy who jumped around so much in their crate that he almost catapulted himself and his crate down a staircase!

Until your dog is used to his crate and doesn’t bounce around a lot in there, it’s best to hold off on offering him water. 

I can tell you from experience that it’s best to wait to introduce water to your dog’s crate until he advances past the puppy stage.

You’ll have a lot fewer messes to worry about cleaning up!

My Favorite Water Dishes For Crates

There are many different types of dog crate water bowls.

Not all are created equal, and some are going to be more effective at not spilling than others.

Options include hook water bowls that attach to the crate, stainless steel bowls, plastic bowls, no splash and no spill options.

You can also use an actual water bottle that will come out in slow drips.

Hook on Water Bowls for Dog Crates 

Bowls that hook on or attach to the side of the dog crate can be great options.

One of the problems with putting water in a dog’s crate is that he will likely kick it over and spill it if it is on the floor. Attaching it to the side of the crate would alleviate the problem of having your pet step on it and spill it.

Stainless steel bowls are good options because of how durable they are. If your dog is a chewer, these are a great option because they can’t be chewed up as easily as plastic can be destroyed. They’re also easy to clean, making them a good option.

My favorite hook-on stainless steel water bowl option is the Ethical Pet Stainless Steel Coop Cup. You can also use this bowl to hold food.

Freestanding Stainless Steel Dog Bowl 

My favorite stainless steel bowl that doesn’t hook onto your dog’s crate is made by Midwest Homes, and available on

Water Bowl for Small Dogs 

Your small dog would not need a water bowl as large as a big dog would need.

A small dog will have a smaller crate than a large dog. So they should have a smaller bowl.

For a small dog, you might want to consider an option that is a water bottle that dispenses water when he licks it. My favorite water bottle for toy dogs is the Lixit Dog Water Bottle, also available on Amazon.

For a more detailed look at my favorite water dishes for your dog’s crate, head over to this page.

Wrapping Up

Under most circumstances, you should leave water in your adult dog’s crate during the day time. There are a few special circumstances in which you would want to avoid putting water in the crate, like if it’s a small puppy or if it’s an adult dog that has certain medical conditions. You also want to make sure you have the right bowl purchased, most likely a bowl that connects directly to the crate would be a better option than one that rests on the ground and can be easily spilled.


Michelle loves enjoying the outdoors with her dogs. She grew in a big house near the beach with German Shepherds. Nowadays, Michelle has down-sized her dogs to poodles, proving small dogs can enjoy the outdoors too! Her dogs enjoy playing fetch, swimming, and long walks. Michelle and her dogs enjoy escaping the city limits to hike, camp, and swim.

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