Dogs have a natural instinct to keep their dens clean. So, if you notice your puppy pooping in its crate frequently, it may be a matter of concern. The cause of this could be a medical condition like diarrhea or a behavioral issue.
Let’s take a look at some way you can address the problems before getting into the root cause that leads to the inappropriate behavior in the first place.
How to Train a Puppy Not to Poop in a Crate. See the course here.
If you have already potty-trained your puppy, there could be a variety of reasons behind this – which we’ll discuss in a bit.
However, there are ways in which you can stop your puppy’s inappropriate behavior.
Crate Train Your Puppy
- Give your puppy time to get used to the crate. When it enters, don’t lock it. Instead, make it a pleasant experience for it by providing it with treats and toys to play with.
- Leave your puppy inside the crate for short intervals of time at first. Start with locking it inside for 10-15 minutes and then gradually increase the span.
- Once your puppy gets used to staying inside the crate for long intervals, make sure you don’t drag your departure by saying long goodbyes. This can trigger separation anxiety in your canine friend.
Keep Track of Your Puppy’s Walk Schedule
An inconsistent walk schedule can also mess up your puppy’s poop routine. Make sure you walk your dog at regular intervals, so it has plenty of time to do its business outside.
You can use the following tips to potty train your puppy:
- Praise your dog when it poops in an appropriate spot. If you don’t do this, it will not know it’s done something right and might consider outdoors to be its playground.
- Don’t forget to take your puppy for a walk every 2 to 3 hours, especially if it’s less than 12 weeks old. As it gets older, you can increase the time interval to every 6-7 hours a day or at least 3 times a day and once at night.
- Make sure to keep the schedule consistent. Take your dog out around the same time every day to adapt to a set timetable.
Keep a Consistent Feeding Schedule
Like walking, feeding should also have a set time table. The bowel gets stimulated about 20 minutes after eating. Make sure not to crate your puppy immediately after you feed them.
Give it a chance to go outside for half an hour and also limit its treats and snacks between meals.
Here are some additional tips.
- Talk to your vet about the serving size ideal for your puppy as the size of the meal varies according to breed, size, age, and other factors.
- Don’t give your dog food or water 3 hours before you crate it at night. And if you are not available to take your dog out for a walk during the day, take it on a long morning walk before leaving.
Use Reward and Punish Method
- Praise your puppy when it poops outside. You can hug or pet it or say kind words and give it a treat.
- Condition your dog to not poop in its crate. When you notice your dog is getting ready to poop inside its crate, say no and make a hand gesture to direct it outside the crate to poop.
- You can show your puppy that you’re angry with them in gentle ways, but scolding or punishing them can lead to anxiety and can make the issue worse.
Get a Crate Of the Appropriate Size. See Crates on Amazon
As discussed above, sometimes puppies defecate in their crates because it’s too big and they feel they can do so without it dirtying their living area.
Here’s what you can do:
- Crates are expensive, so don’t buy a small one thinking you’ll replace it later with a large one as your dog grows older. Instead, buy a large one and block the excess space with styrofoam, cardboard, or any other material that is safe for your puppy.
- Make sure there is just enough room for your dog to stand and turn around and lie down with its legs straight – and that’s it.
Make the Crate Clean and Comfortable
- Add a nice bed or blankets in the crate to make it comfortable for your puppy. Your dog is less likely to poop in the area it uses to rest or play.
- Make sure to keep checking under the bedding to ensure your dog doesn’t hide its feces under it.
- In case you find poop, clean it thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate the odor. If the crate smells nice, it will discourage your puppy to poop in it again.
Be Watchful About Changing Your Puppy’s Food
If you have made changes to your dog’s diet, it can have bowel control issues. Changing the brand or food type at short intervals can cause trouble in your dog’s digestive system.
It is possible that your dog might not adapt to the new food, resulting in inappropriate pooping habits. Make sure to transition with a small amount of the new food and mix it with food that your dog is used to. You can keep increasing the proportions and finally remove the older food from the equation.
Schedule an Appointment with a Vet
If none of these tips work, go to your vet to rule out any medical conditions. A routine exam can help find the potential cause of your puppy’s behavior.
If your dog has diarrhea, your vet may perform x-rays and blood tests to determine treatment. However, if your dog is old, it could also have age-related bowel-control issues. In this case, too, your vet can give you suggestions for treatment options.
A lot of the solutions we’ve presented work, and they work better if you know the cause behind the bad habit. Knowing is half the battle, so let’s find out why your dog might be pooping in its crate.
Why Your Puppy is Pooping in Its Crate
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Your puppy may be suffering from a chronic condition that affects its intestinal tract. When this happens, the intestinal lining is invaded by inflammatory cells that cause an allergic reaction. The reaction obstructs the lining’s ability to process and absorb nutrients from food.
Recurring episodes of diarrhea and vomiting are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. The most common identified cause of this condition is bacterial proteins.
Parvovirus is a virus that causes a severe infection leading to abdominal pain, decreased appetite, vomiting, bloating, and bloody diarrhea in puppies. Many parasites and worms can also cause disruptions in the digestive systems that can result in chronic diarrhea, which damages the muscles in the rectum. This results in losing control of the rectum area and causes the puppy to poop in the crate.
Puppies become nervous because of separation anxiety when you leave them or put them in their crates. They may pant or whine as a reaction, and if they are distraught, they might poop in their crate.
On the other hand, your puppy might be suffering from confinement anxiety. Meaning, it could get anxious because of being trapped in a confined space.
Muscle and Nervous Disorders
They are various disorders that can affect the nerves and muscles, causing a rectum malfunction. Two such conditions are degenerative myelopathy and peripheral myopathy.
In the first one, the axons degenerate within the spinal cord. In the latter one, the nerve damage hinders the sensations stopping your puppy from knowing when it needs to defecate.
Your puppy can get injuries that cause tumor formation near the rectum that damage the sphincter control. This results in making it harder for your dog to control its bowel movements.
Several medications can also cause a disturbance in bowel movements as a side effect. If you notice a change in your puppy’s elimination habits since it has been taking a specific drug, speak to your vet about it immediately.
If your puppy’s crate has enough room for it to lie down and turn around easily and there is still a vast empty space left, the chances are that it will poop inside. Dogs have an instinct to not soil their resting place, but if their crate has unused space, they will utilize it and relieve themselves.
Potty Training. Get the course here.
Your puppy might be too small to control its poop for a long time, as you may have not potty trained it as yet. Puppies generally poop more than adult dogs. On average, a newborn puppy can only hold its poop for two hours at the most. However, you need to potty train your puppy as it is getting older because even adult dogs have their limitations to control their poop for a long time.