20 answers

What Time to Pull Dog Food to Avoid Middle of the Night Pooping?

Hi Moms,

I have two Chihuahuas that make poopie art (in their crate) in the middle of the night. Do any of you have any recommendations as to what time I should pull food away from them or have other suggestions?
- I do 'free feed' to ensure both dogs get fed. I have tried to feed by the scoop but found that one of them was eating for both. By free feeding I see that both girls get properly fed.
- The girls sleep in a crate for bed time because they are potty artists by night.
- They do have a 'litter tray' (I put newspaper in the tray not litter) in their crate but it doesn't help at all. Sometimes they use it and other times they don't. Even when they use the litter box they still play with their poop or sleep on it.
- The girls used to have blankets in the crate but I got tired of picking poop out of them and washing dog blankets everyday. So now I only use newspaper. I place a blanket over the crate but that doesn't prevent the girls from sleeping in the litter tray. I suspected the temperature on some nights moved them to sleep in the 'litter' tray.
- Currently I need to give my girls a bath nearly every morning because they poop at night and either play in it, sleep on it, eat it, etc. By the way I better mention that I do use a special shampoo recommended by the vet that allows me to wash nearly each day without affecting their coat and skin.
All the above has been a problem long before my son arrived and I am still hoping to correct it. Yesterday I pulled the food bowl at 6pm, at 11:30pm I let the girls out for potty (they always go out before bed) then directly put them to bed in their crate, by 4am when my son woke up they had already pooped. I just don't get it...should I only feed them in the morning??? By the way I did try that idea some time ago but felt so guilty with how hungry they looking in the evening. Maybe it's just a matter of sticking it out and forcing them change their schedule to eat only in the morning so they get their poopies out before night time.
Suggestions PLEEEEASE! Thank you!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi Moms,

Thank you for the advice you have provided! I used a mixture of your advice about when to feed and when to pull food and water. The last couple of mornings I have woken up to a clean cage, YAAAAAHHHH! I will keep an eye on their progress and will consult an animal behaviorist if needed. I have used a behaviorist in the past for one of our girls who was having potty training issues.
Thanks again!!!

Some Q & A:
- Dog's ages: 1.5 & 2.5
- Food: Solid Gold Hund-N-Flocken
- Consulted Vet: Yes - No major concerns. They changed their food which caused a 1 lbs weight gain in one...I switched back to Solid Gold.
- Size of crate: ~ 32" x 20" x 20"

Featured Answers

I have two beagles that I feed at the same time, twice a day. I was having the night "poop" problem also. I now feed them at 6:30 a.m. and at 3:30 p.m. Then, they seem to have all their business done by bedtime (which is about 9:30 p.m.). I hope this helps!!

1 mom found this helpful

I would talk to the vet, but he will probably tell you not to free feed. It sounds like they're getting too much food. Their bodies can't hold on to the extra you're giving them so they are eliminating in thier crate. I have two dogs as well and although it's sometimes difficult at feeding time, I would never free feed. I don't think it's good for them. Is there a reason you don't separate them at feeding time?

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi A.! I just completed intermediate puppy training at PetSmart, my chocolate lab thought the chihuahuas were "lunch", but at 70 lbs, I guess that was to be expected! However... I experienced, and got confirmation about feeding and crates, poops, etc. The rule seems to be feed 3 times a day for puppies, twice for adult dogs, (check the daily recommendation for your dog's age and weight) and DO NOT free feed, especially if you crate. That just invites the problem of messing their sleeping area. I also learned not to water at night... it invites pee pee mixed with the poo poo. Having said that, you might also want to get up once or twice in the night to take the dogs outside to see if they will poop. I only had to do this for a week or so before my lab realized if she didn't have to piddle, she also didn't have to poop. Eating and feeding are directly connected, as the digestion of food instantly signals bowel movement. So it is to be expected that they would foul their nest shortly after eating. NOW, don't get caught up in feeling sorry for your tiny muts. Stay the Alpha Dog, and let them know you expect them to conform to a new schedule of eating only at certain times, and no food or water in the crate. They will come along; its not much different than potty training your child, mostly it is the mom who has to watch for the signals! You're the Boss, Applesauce! Good luck,
Gramma K. in Lakewood

2 moms found this helpful

5 PM. that's what our vet says. but it sounds more like a behavioral issue than an actual pooping problem. they should be able to hold it for longer than 5 hrs... try feeding them half of what you normally feed them at 5P, and give them bigger breakfasts. that should help a little.

good luck! if that doesn't work, you may want to contact a behaviorist. this doesn't sound to me like an emergency pooping situation; it sounds like stubborn doggies.


2 moms found this helpful

Hi A....that's a real problem all right. I have been a dog owner for ages and work with a number of groups that focus on the human-animal bond. It is usually quite rare for a dog to soil its den (the crate) so something else could be going on.
How old are the dogs? Have you taken them to a vet to make sure there is not something psyiological going on? If so, then I would recommend that you see an animal behaviorist.You can find one at this website: http://www.animalbehavior.org/
You might also try feeding them separately. I have friends with two Bichons who feed the dogs in their crates (each has one) so the more food aggressive one doesn't eat the others. Then I would restrict food after 6pm or so. I feed my dog her big meal in the morning and a much smaller one in the evening (just so she gets to eat when the rest of the "pack" eats).
Also...do you discipline the dogs when they poop in the crate? I am not talking about physical punishment, but a firm "No" and a scowl can help. If you're giving them a lot of attention (baths, fussing) it may be counterproductive. An animal behaviorist could really help with all this.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I have two beagles that I feed at the same time, twice a day. I was having the night "poop" problem also. I now feed them at 6:30 a.m. and at 3:30 p.m. Then, they seem to have all their business done by bedtime (which is about 9:30 p.m.). I hope this helps!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

I'm with everyone else who said that it is definately not normal that these dogs mess in their crates.

Years ago, we had a dog in behavioral classes, and the trainer said that a dog would not mess where it sleeps. If a dog does, the crate is either too big, or the dog has behavioral issues. Well, that dog did. He messed his crate over and over again, and would not stop, and his crate was very small. Unbeknownst to us, he had come from a puppy mill(she told us she was a "breeder". We were really naive then), and had serious mental issues from inbreeding. Anyway, my point is, with him, it was behavioral and extremely abnormal.

We have a chi mix right now, and aside from the issues *she* has from the way she was raised, she does NOT mess her crate. She has a really small crate, and one of the few things the people we got her from did right, was that they crate trained her.

So, I don't think that this messing their crate thing is a chi issue, or even a food issue, since you're stopping at 6. I think your dogs need a behavioral eval very soon.

We have always been told by our vets to never feed after 8, and only twice a day. Our dogs get their food in the morning, and then again around our dinner time between 6:30 and 7.

I agree that you should limit how much they eat, and definately have them on a very strict diet of only one food. No table scraps, no mixing foods. Get a good premium food, and only feed a small amount each time. Pick it up as soon as they're done eating, but definately leave their water.

Working on the amount and when you feed, changing to a very small crate, and addressing the behavioral issue hopefully should help these dogs.

Best of luck to you that it gets better. I know it has to be very hard on you taking care of an infant and having to go through these challenges with not just one, but two dogs.

K. W

1 mom found this helpful


These are animals and will be trained according to you....

I would only feed your dogs twice a day at the exact same time (don't be late) with the exact same amount and stand there when you feed them. I would give them a dog treat (just at night) that is good for their teeth afterwards, but if your greedy dog tries to eat the others food that dog does not get the treat. After your doggies check up you should be given some options for how much and what your doggies should eat and this can be your guide to proper nutrition. Make sure they have fresh water everyday as well. All of this will ensure good doggie manners as well as good balanced diet.

As far as sleeping at night, what about a room that you control the temp? If this isn't going to work ask your doctor or pet supply store for more options for controling temp. and/or bed options that might be more appropiate. I really hope you can feel much easier about your doggies so everyone won't have things so RUFF RUFF...

Have a great day!

1 mom found this helpful

First off, How old are the dogs? What kind of food are you feeding them?

It seems you are doing everything right. How long have you been pulling their food at 6pm? Do they poop outside before the 11:30pm and are they pooping at 11:30pm before bed? it may mean work, but if they are pooping outside (or desired area) at 11:30pm praise them lots. Let them play a bit or love them and then put them in their crates. They may be associating potty outside bad if you are bringing them in and putting them right to bed. On the other hand, if they are not pooping at 11:30pm at their desired time then no praise. Stay out with them until they go and then bring them in. Reinforce the good behavior instead of punishing for good behavior.

I am a certified vet tech and have crate raised all of my dogs. They will go hours in a crate without any problems. We have a 1 year old cockapoo and he thinks it is cool. When he poos he comes running in sits in his kennel and gets a treat. If he does not go, we go out and not play with him, but tell him go poo and he does then he comes in sits and gets a treat. Now we know when he poos because he runs really, really fast and gets all excited. When he just pees we just let him in.

I have many more ideas to try to help.


1 mom found this helpful

We have only fed our dogs ever once a day...of course they were fully trained to go only outside...so if your idea is to feed in the morning, give it a whirl! It might make sense to track how long their digestion takes to work from time you feed until elimination as well...for several days to keep a diary, so you get a sense of what is happening when.

Is there a reason they are not trained to go outside? It sounds like they go outside part of the time. I don't know if Chihuahuas are different than other dogs. I have never heard of a dog being litter trained! I do know that most animals don't want to be in their own waste, so if they are going in their crate, they might consider that the potty. If they have run of the house at other times, and still go into the crate to poo, there's the big clue...they think it's the bathroom.

You could check with your vet or search for an animal trainer who could help you figure out some strategies.

Good luck and have patience!

1 mom found this helpful

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