As I’ve mentioned before, Kona is crate trained and we intend to keep her crated when left alone for now and the forseeable future. When we first brought her home we collected some old towels and used them to cushion the inside of her crate. This worked well (especially during the housetraining months) until the end of summer when we discovered this:
We quickly put a stop to leaving the towels in her crate. Of course this meant that she had nothing to sleep on when she was crated, which we felt bad about. Although, not so bad that we rushed to put anything in there – we heard too many firsthand accounts of dog owners spending thousands on emergency surgery after their dogs ate rags and other textiles.
In December Petsmart had a sale on dog beds and crate mats. I debated picking one up but even on sale it was still pricey. When I took a good look at it I decided it was something that I could make myself – a removable fabric pillowcase surrounding a thin layer of foam. I called up my sewing guru (aka Mom) to find out where to buy the foam, and to see if she had any leftover flannel or fleece I could use for the project. Not only did she have the fabric but she volunteered to make it!
Mom improved on my initial concept – she ended up creating a quilted mat, sized to fit our crate. The quilting is on the bottom side only, as stitching is something that Kona seems to be attracted to. And the best part is that we can toss the mat into the washing machine when it needs a good cleaning.
The minute we presented it to Kona, she walked right on top of it, spent 30 minutes sniffing it, and then settled down on top of it.
So far we are just using it as a second “dog bed”, outside of the crate. Our plan is to monitor her using it to make sure there are no chewing moments (in which case we’ll take it away). This is the strategy we used after we repaired her dog bed, and so far the dog bed remains undamaged.
For now, it spends most of the time in the kitchen – tucked away in a corner where she can settle and watch us while we cook or clean. It’s been 3 weeks and she hasn’t made a move to chew it so we’re pretty happy about that. Eventually we will start leaving it in the crate at night, and after that is successful we will leave it in during the work day as well. Fingers crossed that it all goes well!