Oops. Your dog did it again. Pooped in their crate. This isn’t normal because your pooch shouldn’t do their business in their crate. A crate is your dog’s private area where they go to be alone and where you place them when you leave home for a few hours.
If you’ve potty trained your dog, then why does Rufus defecate in his crate? And how can you stop this behavior?
To stop your dog from pooping in their crate, make sure your pooch has been properly house trained, the crate isn’t too big, and you don’t leave them in the crate for too long. You should also take your dog to the vet for a health checkup or put them on a low-fiber diet.
Let’s dive into the reasons why your dog is using their crate as a bathroom and the steps you can take to stop your dog from pottying in their crate.
Why Is Your Dog Pooping in Its Crate?
To answer the question of why your dog is pooping in the crate, you need to ask yourself two questions:
- Has your puppy always pooped in their crate?
- Is this new behavior that just started, seemingly out of the blue?
If you answered yes to the first question, then you need to potty train your puppy.
If you answered yes to the second question, then read on. We look at several possible underlying causes of why your dog is suddenly using the crate as a bathroom area.
Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Poops in the Crate
Here are 5 possible reasons your dog uses the crate for number 2:
Inflammatory bowel disease is one health issue that may cause your dog to poop in the crate. It’s a chronic health problem that affects the intestinal tract. Your dog may not be able to absorb the nutrients from its food.
As such, diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting are common symptoms, so you will find that your dog poops and vomits in their crate because of this disease.
Infections, like the parvovirus, and intestinal worms and parasites cause diarrhea.
Older dogs may also experience incontinence where they don’t have control over their bladder or defecation.
Other health issues of concern are colitis, bad dietary choices where your dog eats trash or other unsanitary “snacks,” and pancreatitis.
Your pooch may be suffering from separation anxiety if you leave them on their own. Usually, if you are leaving the house for a few hours, then you might want to put your pooch in a crate while house training them.
If your dog starts pacing, whining, or panting, it’s a sign that they may poop in their crate.
And if your pooch is especially agitated, they could have an on-the-spot bowel movement, which may happen in their crate.
Another type of anxiety your dog may suffer from is confinement anxiety. So in this case, they might poop in their crate (or any other area) where they feel confined.
Lack of Exercise and Stimulation
If your pooch doesn’t get enough exercise every day and mental stimulation, they will get bored. The result? They act out, and pooping in the crate is one of these behaviors.
If your dog is eating a high-fiber diet or you’ve changed their diet recently, their bowel movements will be disrupted. As a result, they may poop in their crate.
If you bring a new pooch home, they may not be potty trained. And if it is a puppy, then they will require potty training.
Young puppies relieve themselves more often than adult dogs, and your new best friend needs bathroom breaks at least every hour. For example, a two-month-old puppy needs to go potty every two hours on average.
So if you don’t train your puppy where to go potty and take them out regularly, they will poop in their crate or wherever they are in your home if they’ve got to do their business.
Crate Is too Big
If the crate is too big for your pooch, then there is enough space for them to sleep and poop. Dogs naturally won’t soil the area they sleep in, but if there is space for them to potty in the corner of the crate, then they’ll poop there.
What to Do to Stop Your Dog From Pooping in the Crate?
There are several steps you can take to stop your dog from doing their business in the crate:
Step 1: Visit a Vet
The first step when your pooch is pooping where it shouldn’t is to rule out any medical conditions that cause your dog to defecate. See if they have diarrhea or if there is blood in their stool.
Call your vet and set up an appointment so your pooch can get the treatment they need.
Step 2: Proper Crate Training and the Right Size Crate
Your pooch should see their crate as their den. If your dog sees the crate as their home within a home, they won’t poop there.
Part of crate training is ensuring your dog has the right size crate that isn’t too big or small. Measure their length from shoulder to tail and add 2-4 inches, and measure their height – paw to shoulder – and also add 2-4 inches to get the crate size correct.
Then, you can place your dog in the crate and give them their food inside the crate. Or opt for a safe chew toy. When your dog willingly goes inside the crate, praise them or give them the treat to reward positive behavior.
Check out our guide to crate training for more information.
Part of potty training your dog – if they need it – is to be consistent. Feed them at set times each day, and take them out to potty outside when it is time. Reward them for good behavior.
Step 3: Stimulate Your Dog
Ensure your pooch gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation with puzzle toys and the like. Make it a habit of when you exercise or play with your dog so they can further connect the dots when it is meal time and bathroom time.
Step 4: Check Your Dog’s Diet
Ask yourself if you recently changed your dog’s diet. If they used to eat kibbles and now eat mostly wet dog food, then their tummy might be upset.
The same goes for the treats you give your pooch.
Any food and treats should agree with your dog’s tummy, and if you are planning to make changes, then introduce new food slowly.
Other Things You Can Consider Doing
Other things you can do to stop your dog pooping in the crate or help you manage the situation are to consider:
Pet diapers are useful if your older dog suffers from incontinence, and they can also help you while you train your new puppy. As a bonus, pet diapers will eliminate any smells soaking into bedding and the crate walls, which could cause a dog to mark their territory inside their crate.
This is a temporary solution. You could place some training pads, which are intended to soak up dog urine, in the crate. These will help contain the poop and lock in the smell too. This makes cleaning up easy.
If you are out long hours due to work and commuting, then consider doggy daycare for your furry bestie instead of leaving them in a crate all day.
Get a Professional Helper
Another option if you aren’t winning to get your pooch to stop pooping in their crate is to hire a professional dog trainer.
Trainers can give you some pointers and help you train your dog to discourage unwanted behavior. A trainer may also identify some issues your dog may have that you are unaware of such as dominance and submission issues if you have more than one dog.
Instead of dog daycare, you could also opt for a dog sitter who spends time with your pooch while you are away. A dog sitter will take your dog for bathroom breaks.
Alternatively, opt for a dog walker who takes your pooch on daily walks, which also provides an opportunity for your dog to relieve themself while out and about.
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to teach a puppy how to use their crate and when to potty. If your dog is suddenly pooping in its crate, then you should find the underlying cause and address it correctly. There is little benefit in getting angry and physically punishing your dog.
If your pooch isn’t getting enough exercise and stimulation, then make sure your pup goes for daily walks and has plenty of puzzle toys and playtime. You can also hire a dog sitter or walker to help you out.
However, there could be other reasons your dog is pooping where it shouldn’t, so rule out medical conditions, ensure the crate is the right size, train your dog well, and slowly introduce new food.
With perseverance, your dog will soon learn to potty in the right place.