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What is Pooping in His Crate?

If your dog has been pooping in his crate, it may be a cause for alarm. The instinct to keep the den clean is natural in wild dogs, and the crate often becomes this den for domestic pet dogs. To understand why your dog may be inappropriately eliminating in his crate, take a look at some factors surrounding the behavior. The consistency of the stool can be a reflection of your dog’s health. Diarrhea can be a common symptom of many medical conditions. If your dog shows anxious behaviors in his crate, there may be behavioral issues that are causing the inappropriate elimination. Any symptoms concurrent with your dog pooping in his crate can give you and your vet important clues as to the cause of your dog’s behavior. While there are many reasons why your dog may be pooping in his crate, common ones include:

  • Potty training 
  • Crate is too big
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammatory bowel disease 
  • Infections
  • Muscle and nerve disease
  • Incontinence 
  • Trauma 
  • Medications

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Why Pooping in His Crate Occurs in Dogs

Reasons why your dog may be pooping in his crate relate to behavioral issues, physical limitations, or medical reasons that can cause your dog to be unable to hold it until he is let out of his crate. Often, conditions that cause diarrhea or a loss of bowel control can result in crate soiling.

Potty Training 

If your dog is still a puppy, he may not be completely potty trained. He may also be too young to be able to hold it for too long of a time. Puppies will need to relieve themselves much more often than adult dogs, and can even need to have a bathroom break as soon as every hour. On average, a two month old puppy can only hold it for about two hours at the most. As your puppy grows older, he will be able to extend that time, but it may be slow. Know that even an adult dog can have limitations, and may not be able to hold it through an eight to ten hour work day.

Crate is Too Big

Ensuring you have the proper size crate can also make a big difference. When choosing a crate, only allow enough room for your dog to be able to turn around in and lay with his legs out. This important detail will ensure that there isn’t enough room for him to poop and not lay in it. Dogs have a natural instinct not to soil where they rest, so use this instinct to your advantage, especially when training puppies, or retraining adults. 

Anxiety

A dog who suffers from separation anxiety may become quite anxious when you leave, a common time when he may be crated. He may whine, pant, and pace, but more importantly, he may become so distraught that he may poop right where he is. Your dog might also suffer from confinement anxiety, which could cause anxious behaviors when he is trapped in a confined space. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

This is a chronic condition that affects the intestinal tract in some dogs. Due to several reasons, the intestinal lining is invaded by inflammatory cells, resulting in an allergic response that interferes with the ability to process and absorb nutrients from food. Common symptoms include episodes of diarrhea or vomiting, and sometimes, weight loss. Diet and bacterial proteins have both been identified as possible causes. 

Infections

Various infections can lead to digestive problems that can cause uncontrollable diarrhea. Parvovirus is a highly infectious virus that can cause severe abdominal pain, bloating, decreased appetite, vomiting, and often, bloody diarrhea. Many types of internal parasites and worms can also cause digestive disruptions, and can result in chronic diarrhea that can damage the muscles in the rectum. This can lead to a loss of full control in that area. Some of the infecting parasites can include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, giardia, and coccidia. 

Muscle and Nerve Disease

There are various diseases that can affect the muscles or nerves, causing weakness and debilitation that can affect rectum function. Degenerative myelopathy involves a degeneration of the axons within the spinal cord, resulting in arthritic-like symptoms specifically seen in the hind end. Peripheral myopathy is a condition which causes nerve damage that inhibits sensations, thereby stopping your dog from knowing when he needs to defecate. Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disease that is inherited or immune-mediated. This condition stops the muscles from being able to contract.

Incontinence

There are many medical conditions that can cause incontinence in dogs, especially those that involve a partial or complete paralysis of the hind end. Elderly dogs may also experience incontinence as a consequence of aging. 

Trauma

 

Injury can occur from accidents, or from tumors that may have formed near the rectum. These kinds of trauma may damage sphincter control and make it difficult for your dog to control his elimination.

Medications

 

Certain medications can cause disturbances in elimination. If you have noticed the behavior since your dog has been taking a specific drug, talk with your veterinarian about the possible side effects and if that may be causing problems in your dog.

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What to do if your Dog is Pooping in His Crate

To correctly diagnose why your dog is pooping in his crate, your vet will first look at the age of your dog, and ask pointed questions about his potty training and any concurrent symptoms. It is important to determine if the inappropriate elimination is a behavioral or medical issue. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam, which will include checking the sphincter muscles, and run many tests to determine if there is a medical reason behind the behavior. Bring a fresh stool sample for testing if you can. Blood tests, a urinalysis and fecal testing can provide valuable information that can lead to a diagnosis. These tests can often diagnose various infections, and evaluate your dog’s internal health. X-rays, MRIs, or a myelography can detect tumors, muscle and nerve diseases, and evidence of any other serious trauma. Inflammatory bowel disease may need an intestinal biopsy for a definitive diagnosis. 

If medical reasons are ruled out, then behavioral issues will be examined. Does your dog become anxious in confined places? Does he get nervous and vocal when you get ready to leave the house? Often, separation anxiety can be diagnosed if your dog only poops in his crate when you are gone. Monitoring his behavior can give you important clues as to why he may be anxious in his crate.

Once the reason has been determined, a treatment plan will be discussed with your vet that is specific to your dog’s condition. Infections can be treated with appropriate antibiotics and anti-parasitics. Any medications that may be causing elimination problems will be immediately discontinued. Trauma will be evaluated and corrected as needed, such as tumor removal or reconstructive surgery. If incontinence in your older dog is the issue, diapers and more frequent trips outside may help. Dietary changes can sometimes decrease the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. While there are not any drugs that can specifically treat a parvovirus infection, supportive care is given to aid in the body’s natural recovery. Physical therapy exercises and pain medication is often prescribed to manage diseases such as degenerative myelopathy that have no cure. 

If your dog is still a puppy, or just needs re-training, use positive training techniques to teach your dog the appropriate place to eliminate. Use patience, consistency, and compassion to ensure that your dog receives the correct message and learns that the crate is not his bathroom. Anxiety can be treated through behavioral modification and counterconditioning. Try leaving toys and treats with your dog when you lock him in his crate so that he will associate good things with time in his crate, thereby lessening his anxiety. Be sure you have an appropriately sized crate that discourages elimination. Always remember that not all dogs are physically the same, and while some can hold their stool for a very long time, other dogs may need to go out more often.

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Prevention of Pooping in His Crate

It may be impossible to predict when accidents, tumors, or certain medical conditions can occur, but there are other ways you can prevent this behavior. Be sure to keep your dog on a monthly preventative treatment to protect him from parasitic infections. Use positive reinforcement right away with your puppy to teach potty training, and expose him to lots of new people, animals, and places to encourage confidence and lessen the chance of anxious tendencies. Use crate training techniques to teach your dog that the crate is a safe place to be. 

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Cost of Pooping in His Crate

The cost of treating inappropriate defecation in the crate can range considerably, and will depend on the reason behind the behavior. The loss of bowel control can be rather expensive, ranging up to $5000. Inflammatory bowel disease can average $2800, while degenerative myelopathy can be slightly less at $1800. Infections can range up to $1000, with parvovirus averaging $700 and intestinal parasites around $300. Behavioral issues involving anxiety can range from $200 to $1500.

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Pooping in His Crate Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Silky Cocker

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One Year

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Blood In Stool

I left my dog in his crate for the night when I went out and I came home and immediately took it outside and as he was pooping is watery but then there is red after he got it out

Dec. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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Blood in the stool can occur due to irritation of the gut, especially if there is diarrhoea. There can be many causes including an infection, parasites or a dietary indiscretion (eating something he shouldn't have). If it is a very small amount (a teaspoon or less) and he remains well (active and eating with pink and wet gums), I would monitor closely and feed a bland diet of chicken and rice for 24 hours. Do also ensure he is up to date with a good quality wormer. If the issue persists or you are concerned, a vet check would be for the best and they may analyse his stool.

Dec. 5, 2020

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Yorkie poo

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24 weeks

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2 found helpful

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Tarry Stool

After he come I about 2am

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Young dogs are prone to eating things that they shouldn't, especially if they are outside unattended. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them and see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 12, 2020

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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Five Years

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Diarrhea

My dog is 5 years old and was told she was potty trained. All of a sudden she has pooped in the house once and now she refuses to go outside for some reason. She gets a LOT of exercise, she's been on the same food for a while now so I'm confused on what's going on with her. She's also extremely itchy on her back end too. I haven't noticed parasites, but her diarrhea has been almost a mucus texture if that makes sense.

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I would not consider having diarrhea a break in potty training, as she likely could not help it, and had to go. If she is still having this problem, there are many possible causes for it, and It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment.

Oct. 12, 2020

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Sheepadoodle

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1 year 2 month

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Pooping In Crate Over Night

We went through this months ago then we thought we fixed the problem- recently Leopold has started pooping in his crate again every night. His crate is long enough for him to lay down that’s it.

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. . A few things that might help would be to make sure that he is walked before bed, and have timed meals for that he isn't eating right before bed, either. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 17, 2020

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Boxer, pitbull and whippet mix

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Two Years

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Sudden Pooping And Peeing In Crate. What Should I Do?

I adopted my dog from the shelter almost a year ago, and I have another shelter rescue plus 2 smaller dogs. We recently got one of the smaller dogs and my dog has started peeing and pooping in the cage every night despite being let out several times before bed. It seems as though he is purposely hold his poop so that he may go in the cage, and he has now began peeing in the cage despite going several times before bed. He didn't used to do this before and he seems to really love the new addition to the family. However he has no medical issues and the only reason I can come up with is the puppy.

Aug. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It is hard to say why he suddenly has changed habits since getting the new dog, but there are a couple of things that you may be able to do to help. One thing that can help is to have set feeding times, so that you know when he will need to defecate, as it is normally about 30-60 minutes after eating. Also, taking him for actual walks rather than just having him stay outside can help, as that can stimulate dogs to urinate and defecate. Praising him when he defecates and urinates outside will help reinforce that behavior. Ihope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 29, 2020

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Lexi

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Golden Retriever

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10 Weeks

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Fair severity

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None

We have a puppy she is 10 weeks old we are crate training her. For the 1st 2weeks she did brilliant & only peeed on her puppy training mat but the last 4 mornings we've woke up to her barking & her crate being dirty.

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Anabel

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Labrador Retriever

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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Poop In Crate
Pee In Crate Occasionally
Walking Pooper

I have had Anabel since she was 8 weeks old. Shet has been crate trained o the best of my ability and will still poop and pee in her crate. She was the runt of her litter, now weighs 45 lbs and stands maybe a foot to a foot and a half from foot to shoulder. She won't poop or pee in the house (unless left out of crate) but will in the crate overnight every other night or more and during the day occasionally. Mostly it's at night even though we let her out after 6-8 hours. I feel like this isn't normal for a 2 year old lab as my other one was fully potty trained and can hold her poop for longer than 10 hours (work day). I'm pregnant now and am getting to where I cannot bend over that much to clean that kind of mess up anymore and am in desperate need of help. Her poop isn't abnormal in any way that I know of, still solid and has never had diarrhea, UTD on shots, not spayed yet, mother and father have no medical conditions. I know it's not the crate size because she walks and poops so it wouldn't matter if I got her a smaller crate, I find her standing and waiting to be let out every time.

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Kashi

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English Bulldog

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12 Weeks

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Pooping In Crate
Peeing

I need help! We have a 12 week old English Bulldog Puppy. We have a two-year old, (Had her since 9-weeks) and she was nothing like this. I know every dog is different, but the puppy bulldog is so difficult. We first had a small crate, realized it was too big for her. So, we went out and bought one with a divider, that she can grow into. We cut off her feeding time at 7:30pm. We take her out at night before we crate her, and she still pee's and poop's. She's healthy, she's been to the vet. She will do her buesiness outside, but come inside and still pee or poop in her crate. Also, she will not hold her pee no matter what. She won't even sniff to poop, she's so entertained into playing or distracted that when it comes, it comes. Anyone have any tips? :( My first English Bulldog, was nothing like this. We struggled for a week, but after a week she got the hang of it.

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Bailey

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Border Collie

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Poop

My dog is two years old and was crate trained for potty control reasons. All went well and I gained trust in her to be out of her kennel as she grew up when I left for work. She began pooping in our spare room. We kept the room closed off. She began pooping in our living room then in front of my bedroom door! She was created today and went to the bathroom 4 times today poop and pee. I left for class and was gone for 5 hours and she pooped in it! It's not too big for her. She stands, turn around, and lay down in it.

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hades

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Pit bull

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3 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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Potty Training

my 3 month old pit bull puppy is constantly relieving himself in the house. we let him go and do his business outside and sometimes he goes poop twice even, but the moment we let him back in he poops and pees on the floor. so we put him in his kennel so that we can teach him that this behaviour is not tolerated (and to clean his poop/pee up), but he just goes to the washroom in there too. we are trying to train him that outside is the right place to do that, but we've had no luck and he's been with us for a month now. even if we have constant eyes on him he still decides that it doesn't matter and goes to the bathroom. we have an older pit bull mix and we thought that she would be a little bit of a guide when it comes to this, but he has quite the attitude when it comes to rules. I don't know what to do about him.

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