What are people here using to line their crates? Any materials that should not be used? I noticed the cedar plank stuff at Ray Allen, I thought I remembered somebody here saying that was tough on skin. Maybe not.
Generally my answer is "I don't". If I have a dog (pup) that still has an occasional accident in the crate I will put shavings in there, just in case. Or if we are going somewhere that I expect the dogs to get wet (swimming, herding, it's raining out, whatever) then I'll put shavings in there to help dry them off once they are back in their crate. Otherwise I generally don't put anything in crates. I've had dogs that were great with bedding for a long time, then one day decided to chew it up. Only needed to come home once to a dog who had chewed a hole in it, put their leg through it, then turned in circles making a nice tourniquet on their leg. Luckily it wasn't like that to long, the foot was VERY swollen but once circulation was restored no permanent damage was done.
If I do put any sort of bedding in, it's something they can't chew dangerous holes in. Hay, shavings, newspaper, fabric (old towels or blankets) cut up into approx 4 inch squares, etc.
I use heavy-duty stall mats that I buy from Tractor Supply. You can buy one and cut it up for multiple crates. For my adult dogs, I've pulled the tray out of their wire crates and put the mats in instead. You can cut them to fit each crate exactly. One of my Malinois had eaten/shred everything I ever put in his crate, but hasn't ever touched the stall mat.
When I was a groomer in a former life another girl that worked where I did had these awesome plastic coated metal grates that came in sizes to fit standard vari-type kennels. They left a considerable gap between dog and the bottom of the crate, were very lightweight, easy to get in and out and no toes could get stuck in them. I have no idea where she got them but I have never seen them again. In fairness, I have'nt really looked because I bought several from her. They are great for dog's that I dont think can stand long car trips, foster dogs, etc because theres no way they are getting anything on them (unlike towels or newspaper), likewise, I use them when I take my pack swimming and they dry much faster. I'll look around for them online.
For the most part, however, I don't use anything in crates.
I tried shavings and I find them great for chronic crate-poopers (kinda like kitty litter, the poop gets coated if you get the really fine shavings). The pain with it is how much clean up you have to do around your crates from the stray shavings and the dust that results.
the tractor supply mats are excellent. I didn't get the big ones, just the smaller ones - they leave about four or five inches on the side, but it's not a big deal. The grooves in the top help with accidents. They're heavy as all get out, so when you do have to take them out of the crate, they're a bit of a pain. But I still love it, esp. because the rubber kinda dulls the noise of the dog moving around on the crate bottom.
I did use the cedar kennel inserts for awhile, and the dogs didn't have a health problem. I know cedar shavings can cause irritation with some animals because of the aromatic oils, but I didn't have a problem with the kennel inserts. They did seem pretty uncomfortable for the dogs, though, and all in all, I've done better with the rubber mats.