Why Doesn’t Your Dog Eat In Its Crate? [Do These 5 Things]

Why Doesn't Your Dog Eat In Its Crate

As a dog parent, managing your dog’s eating habits can be challenging. One such issue is when your dog refuses to eat in their crate. Let’s take a closer look at this problem.

Here’s the quick answer:

Dogs may refuse to eat in their crates due to mental issues, lack of training, dislike of the crate, uncleanliness, and lack of space. However, they can be trained to eat in their crates through positive reinforcement, increasing the crate size, placing the food bowl inside, and positioning the crate in a dog-friendly area.

Regardless of the reason, if you need to train your dog to eat in their crate, read this article to find solutions for the issue.

Why doesn’t your dog eat in his crate?

As a dog parent, your effort in managing the eating issues of your dog is not something easy peasy. One such problem is your dog does not eat in his crate. Well, let’s dive right into this issue.

Generally, dogs refuse to eat in their crate due to mental conditions such as loneliness, separation anxiety, or any anxious condition, and perhaps it may be because he is not properly trained to eat inside the crate or it is simply their unlikeness without any specific reason.

So, no matter the reason, if you need to train him to eat inside the crate, read the article, and find solutions for the issue.

Generally, as mentioned above, dogs refuse to eat any food or favorite treat in their crate might be due to several reasons that vary from one to another.

But, basically, they come across with some reasons which are common with every dog. Let’s discuss those reasons.

1 . Mental illness

Typically, many of the dogs refuse to eat anything inside their crates due to mental illness such as loneliness or anxious conditions.

Out of the anxious conditions, separation anxiety is the most common reason they are attacked.

Since dogs are quite sensitive towards emotions and feelings, they get easily hit by loneliness and separation anxiety. As a result, they might refuse to eat when they are in the crate even though you are at home with them.

Then it is obvious that they do not even think about eating inside the crate when you are not at home all day.

1 . Not trained

If you are a person who is out of the house from morning till evening, of course, you will have to use a crate until your pooch gets accustomed to staying within the house without causing any accidents.

So, in such situations, you should train your doggy to eat in the crate, and it is a really important step in dog training.

You can follow the tips and tricks mentioned in the latter part of this article and train your pooch to have their favorite treats and foods while staying inside the crate.

Training is quite possible and much needed for your doggy.

3 . Unlikeness

Well, sometimes your doggy refuses to have food inside the crate just because he or she does not like it much. Dogs are weirdos!

So you must be able to identify such conditions and consult the vet for advice regarding the issue. DO NOT ever try to train him or her by force if they show great unlikeness to eat while being inside the crate.

Your dog might have its own reasons, and perhaps they will let you change those opinions. But, do it with a consultation of a vet.

By the way, here is why do some dogs don’t eat all of their food at once.

4 . Uncleanliness

Sometimes your dog might refuse to eat anything inside the crate as a result of its uncleanliness of it. So, be attentive about cleaning the crater when it is filled with dirt and dust.

Make your doggy safe and happy inside the crate automatically; they will start eating in the crate.

5 . No space

The size of the crate you’ve selected for your doggy affects much in creating a likeness in his or her mind towards it. If it does not have enough space, your doggy will not stay in the crate, and obviously, they refuse to eat being jam-packed.

So, consider the size of your doggy when selecting a crate and make him like it. Then automatically, they will get accustomed to eating their food inside the crate.

Keep on reading; you will find solutions to overcome the issues mentioned above regarding the problem of your doggy not eating inside the crate.

By the way, here is why does your dog not eat all of its food at once.

Should your dog eat in his crate?

Frankly, the answer to the above question depends on you and your pooch’s behavior. Some of you really prefer to give your dog good crate training, including eating inside the crate as one step in the whole procedure.

You may have your own reasons to train your dog to eat inside the crate, and it does not matter if you teach him or her well without letting them feel that they are separated from you.

It is true that dogs are naturally bound to places like dens or covered areas where they feel safe. But, sometimes you may doubt that your dog should eat in that same place all the time. That is why I happened to mention that it is dependable.

Eating means not only the major courses but also eating treats inside the crate might be the problem.

If he or she shows any preference to have their food and treats inside the crate, you don’t have to bother about it.

But, you should stay alert whether there’s any change in their behavior or if they show any boredom as a result of continuing with the same routine.

If your dog used to stay inside the crate during the hours when you are home as well, you should know that the crate isn’t the place to feed them.

In such situations, your dog needs to be taken out of the crate and fed with food and treats wherever they prefer without letting them reach the restricted places in your home. 

The decision is all in your hands whether to train your dog to eat inside their crate or give his bowl of food to a separate place in your home.

But, training your dog to eat inside the crate brings you more benefits for you and the dog, both if your dog is mentally in good condition.

One such benefit of training your dog to eat inside his or her crate is, creating a happy place to enjoy their meal time separately.

At first, it might be a little hard, but when they become familiar with the feeling of enjoying the meal without any distractions, trust me, they will run into the crate when you fill the food bowl inside it.

As a plus point, you can use this method as a strategy to make them accustomed to the crate.

Training a dog to eat in the crate will be a good solution for their general food aggression as well. Sometimes, when your doggy is given a full bowl of food, they might try to bark or bite if they are petted.

This is because of food aggression, and they try to protect their bowl of food, supposing that you or your children might drag it away from them.

So, feeding your dog inside the crate is safe for you and the doggy both, and it won’t lead your dog to any aggressive behavior as well.

So, considering all these facts, you can go for a wise decision and think about whether your dog really wants to eat in his or her crate. 

Suggested reading: How to get a scared dog to eat?

When should your dog eat in his crate?

As mentioned above, you are the decision-maker of your dog when it comes to the matter of feeding your dog inside the crate.

So, then it is obviously you who has to decide the time period of feeding your dog inside the crate.

If your doggy is mentally strong and in good condition without any worries or anxious conditions, you can let him or her enjoy the mealtime inside the crate.

Let them feel that they have a happy time enjoying their meals inside the crate rather than having it in another place out of the crate.

When you have more than one doggy, you must feed them separately in order to stop them from quarreling, and a crate is the best solution since they have separate crates.

You can also start to make your dog familiar with the procedure of eating inside the crate when he or she begins to show aggressive behaviors when having food.

You can take it as a safety precaution if you have little ones in your home since doggy fellows sometimes become weird, especially when there’s food around.

According to the above-explained facts, now you have knowledge about when to feed your dog with food and treats inside the crate and when to stop and take him out.

When to stop feeding your dog in his crate?

When to stop feeding your doggy in his crate might be the next question that comes in line when it is regarding the matter of giving him food and treats inside the crate.

The answer this question can be obtained by observing your doggy’s behavior in a close manner.

They give little hints and clues if they like to eat inside the crate or not. All you have to do is first observe them very well and then go for a decision.

Well, sometimes your doggy is busy thinking about a way to escape from the crate unless they are not used to staying calm entirely in it.

In these situations, they stop chewing their favorite toy or particular bone inside the crate and show boredom.

This is one of the stages you have to stop giving their bowl of food inside the crate. Your doggy might need a slight change in his or her day-to-day routine and respect it without blaming or harming him.

If your doggy is still staying inside the crate even when you are around and not coming out to play or walk with you, the crate is no longer the best place to feed them.

In such conditions, you should consider taking them out and feeding their favorite treats or foods in an open place with some fresh air.

Another situation where your dog needs to stop feeding inside the crate is when they start to drink more water after having meals.

This is because drinking more water means they might need to pee several times. If you are not at home, they might pee inside the crate, which will result in wetting inside the crate, and your doggy might also have rashes after some time.

Apart from all the above situations, sometimes your pooch needs more attention and care with love from you.

In such instances as well, you can try to take them out and feed them near you or try having a dinner night with them together while feeding them near your dinner table.

Suggested reading: Why does your dog drool in its crate?

How do you get your dog to eat in his crate?

If you feel the need to train your dog to eat inside their crate if they are in a good mental condition, you can try following tips and tricks to make them familiar with the procedure of eating inside the crate.

But, first and foremost, you have to consider their health condition mentally and physically both before giving it a go.

1. Size of the crate

Well, before training your dog to eat inside the crate, you should choose a suitable crate with enough space in it.

Since your dog starts to spend more time in it for the whole day, you should be more attentive regarding the comfort inside the crate.

If this step is completed wisely and satisfiable for your dog only, you can go for training him or her to have their meals and treats inside it.

2. Location of the crate

It is crucial to place the crate in a place where your pooch can engage more with the outside environment.

It may be near a window or a glass where your dog can see other people and surroundings. The intention of placing the crate in such a place is to avoid getting your dog feeling lonely when you are not at home. Then only they will show an appetite for eating.

So, the crate’s location is one of the most effective factors in training your dog to eat inside the crate. Once it is all set, gradually, you can go to the stage of introducing the crate for your pooch.

Since location is really matters, consider reading this article that explains whether you need to keep the crate upstairs or downstairs.

3. Make your dog like the crate

After completing the above stages, you can try making your doggy like the crate from dropping food inside the crate. Introduce the crate to your dog without being in a rush or giving them pressure.

First, open the door in the crate, put a small treat or food they prefer inside, and let your dog go inside the crate.

If he does, give him a clap or praise him for what he did and let him come out without a rush.

Keep practicing this strategy until your doggy goes inside the crate happily to have the treat or the food you dropped. Remember not to close the door of the crate as this is for the first time.

4. Use toys

Once your dog starts getting familiar with having his treats inside the crate, throw their favorite toy stuffed with butter, cheese, or wet dog food into the corner of the crate.

Then when they enter the crate, close the door a little and let them enjoy chewing the toy inside the crate.

Next, you can gradually increase your dog’s time inside the crate while the door is closed.

5. Put the food bowl inside

Go for the main course when your dog gets somewhat familiar with the procedure. Put their bowl of food in one corner of the crate and let them go inside calmly.

If they hesitate to go at first, be patient. They will go for the food for sure when they get hungry to the utmost level.

Make it the only option to get their tummy filled. Do not take the food bowl out since they are not going inside.

Then close the door while your dog is eating, and do not let them feel that the door of the crate will open once they finish eating.

This step should not be done all at once. You should increase the time your dog spends inside the crate little by little without poisoning them inside it. So, be careful.

Let your doggo friend feel that the crate is a wonderful place to enjoy meals and a comfy nap. Take time and do not rush your pooch, and let them practice it gradually.

Things to be aware of

Don’t even think of using the crate as a punishment for your doggy since they will have a scary feeling towards the crate and refuse to spend time in it.

If they have done a mischievous thing, do not put them in the crate all at once. Because there’s a tendency for them to develop a negative perspective towards the crate.

If you are dealing with a bit of a puppy, you should make arrangements to pee since puppies won’t hold urine for more than 8 hours.

Clean the crate at least once per day because your doggy has meals inside it. So, it should be kept hygienic and clean.

Be alert when you give them treats or food bowls inside the crate as there might be a tendency to have food allergies to your doggy.

Be patient and train your pooch to stay calm inside the crate and have meals while enjoying the private place they have got.


As we have come to an end with much more details and information about the issue of your doggy not eating inside the crate, now you should have a thorough idea regarding the matter, and you can make a good training plan if you want to get them familiar with eating inside the crate. And also I suppose the article has answered all your questions regarding the issue as well. So, make your doggy fellow happy and comfortable, and then you will automatically become happy.

Cheers until next time!

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