Can Crate Training Cause Diarrhea?

Are you in the middle of crate training your puppy and he suddenly has a bout of diarrhea? You might wonder if it was indeed the crate training itself that caused the diarrhea or if there is any other explanation. The quick answer is that crating on its own does not cause diarrhea in dogs – however, dogs will get diarrhea if they are stressed. If your dog is nervous and anxious in the crate, chances are that this might lead to an upset digestive system.

Let’s look in detail at why dogs and puppies get diarrhea and how to know if the crate is causing it!

Table of Contents

brown boxer in crate

Causes of diarrhea

Diarrhea is an extremely common symptom in dogs. It can have a variety of different causes ranging from benign to very dangerous. Here are the most prevalent ones:


Upset digestion

Just like humans, dogs can get an upset stomach and bowel if they eat the wrong things. Especially puppies who like to take everything into their mouths are likely to suffer from diarrhea every now and then. Your puppy could chew a stick in the yard, and when you crate him a few hours later this chewed stick results in diarrhea.

In addition, the younger your puppy, the more sensitive his digestion is. You should introduce any kind of novel foods gradually. If you give your pup large quantities of a new kibble or treat, he is likely to get diarrhea.

Intestinal parasites

The most common parasites in dogs are worms and giardia. While these lead to at times intense diarrhea, they are luckily easily treatable. 

Because prolonged suffering from intestinal parasites can cause weight loss and stunted growth, you should take your dog to the vet if he has diarrhea for more than 1-2 days.



Any kind of stress and excitement – both positive and negative – can lead to diarrhea in dogs and puppies. 

This could be a new experience such as going to a training class for the first time or visiting a dog park. Of course, scary situations can also cause stress and lead to diarrhea. If your puppy is afraid of a thunderstorm or got spooked by a large truck, he could have loose stools in response. This is also how diarrhea relates to crate training:

puppy in crate

When crate training causes diarrhea

If you do not get your dog used to being in a crate slowly and carefully, he is likely to be scared and stressed. You should never simply shove your dog into a crate, close the door and leave. This could cause him extreme stress and subsequent diarrhea. 

Your crate should have the right size for your dog. Do not pick a crate that is too small – if your dog cannot move comfortably this will also increase the amount of stress and anxiety he feels while crated.

If you notice that your dog is crying for prolonged periods of time, check on him. Crying is a sign of distress and if you do not take it seriously, your dog could become more and more worked up. This anxiety will – again – lead to loose stools (at times even in the crate).

My puppy poops in the crate and lays in it

Does your pup poop in the crate and then lay in it? This is not a normal behavior and you need to intervene asap to address it.

Pups that came from unsanitary breeders are more likely to show this behavior – if they grew up without having their pen cleaned and their feces removed, they simply never got used to the concept of keeping their surroundings clean.

The cleaner your puppy’s environment was during his first two months of life, the higher the chance that he will always avoid to poop in the crate.

If your puppy poops in the crate and then lays in it, you should:


  1. Bathe your puppy and wash the crate
  2. Take your puppy outside much more frequently, especially after meals
  3. Stay outside with him to make sure he really went poop (it is not enough to simply put your pup in the yard and hope for the best – you need to watch him poop to know that he went)
  4. Provide your puppy with plenty of mental and physical activities – most dogs go poop when they have been moving around for a bit, so walking and playing can encourage your puppy to poop outside
  5. Keep a diary on the times of the day that your puppy poops in his crate. Most puppies poop to similar times every day. If you can predict when he will go poop, you can take him out then
  6. Check if the stool is loose – if so, your pup may suffer from intestinal parasites and require to be seen by a vet

Many puppies poop in their crate at night. If this happens, you can try to feed your puppy earlier in the afternoon. A meal takes about 6 hours to pass through a pup’s digestive system. If you feed your puppy dinner at 8pm, chances are he will poop in his crate at 2am.

If you can move the dinner to an earlier time, your puppy can poop before going to bed. If you feed dinner at 4pm, you can take your pup out to potty at 10pm (he can poop out his dinner then) and he is much more likely to keep his crate clean during the night!

Of course, if your pup has uncontrollable diarrhea in his crate, you should always have him checked out by a vet. He may require medicine to feel better.

The Bottom Line

Having your dog sleep and rest calmly in a crate does not cause diarrhea. However, stress can absolutely lead to loose stools in dogs. If your pup is afraid of the crate and cries and whines in there, he may experience bouts of diarrhea that are directly caused by his distress. In this case, you need to make a better crate training plan: Crate your puppy for shorter periods of time, make sure he is tired when you crate him or move the crate to a place where he can still hear and see you. 

If your puppy has diarrhea for more than a day or two, take him to the vet. He may suffer from intestinal parasites. Giardia for example is very common in young puppies and easily treated.

sleeping young dog