I have a towel wrapped around the crate tray, one between the crate tray and the crate and one under the crate. Why so many??? I have hardwood floors and every time he moved during the night you could hear his nails (it's amazing how much noise it makes in the middle of the night with well groomed ones) against the crate tray and the metal against the hardwood floors.
The one in the family room area has nothing because it's used during the door for much shorter periods of time and for naps.
I'm mean; my foster pups have to earn the right to have a bed in their crate. I usually start with a towel folded up into a puppy-sized square in the back of the crate and empty plastic at the front. Once they start holding it and get more crate-trained (i.e. letting me know at night when they need to pee), then they get a blanket.
Accidents happen and it's a lot easier washing a towel than a dog bed or blanket.
Nothing! Our dogs prefer to sleep on the plastic. I've tried crate beds for all of them at different times and they try to bunch them up into the corner of the crate. Kira actually whined until we took it out....she definitely didn't want it in there! And Jack will whine if there's a bed in his crate....he just doesn't like it. But they'll happily sleep and lay in their big dogs beds out of the crate. Go figure.
I have a mat for Cookie - it is kind of like a thick towel. If I spread it out in her crate, it will be all pushed to one corner in about 15 seconds. Sometimes she uses it as a pillow though, so I keep in in there.
For my dogs who like beds, I use Bully Pads--they are thick fleece in several layers, sewn though--no stuffing to pull out! For my cool sleepers and destructo-dogs I use rubber stall-matting cut to fit the bottom of the crate. It stands up to horses and dairy cattle, but provides just a bit more flex than the hard crate plastic does--I also have one girl who managed to pull up and gnaw on her crate pan as if it were a chewy--she cannot do that with the stall-matting!
In the summer I don't use anything, in the winter it varies from a crate pad to a horse saddle pad. As a puppy, Dakota had towels until she was reliable. As someone said, easier to throw in the wash and clean.
My pup does not like anything in her crate. When we first got her we tried putting a blanket in with her but she would push it out of the way. When we had to go out if I left a blanket in the crate every time I came home she peed on it!
If its a plastic crate then nothing...although most of the pups Ive had enjoyed having a towel in the crate with them until they were about 3-4 months old ( I prefer towels since they're easier to clean then a dog bed). With the metal crate I did line it with a towel.