How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping? All You Need To Know!

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Author: Jacob Kay

If you observe that your dog hasn’t pooped in a while it’s not a big issue. But, if this behaviour is consistent with some health issues or symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, or not eating the food, then you need to address the situation immediately. So, How long can a dog go without pooping at all? Let’s find out.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

Generally, dogs can go up to 24 hours without pooping. So, if you are concerned about why your dog hasn’t pooped in 24 hours don’t worry, it’s normal for dogs to go days without pooping. In fact, if the dog maintains a healthy shape and has a proper routine set in place, it can go up to 2-4 days without pooping.

While you don’t need to panic in such a situation, you do need to keep an eye on how your dog’s pooping behaviour. So, if your dog goes more than 3-4 days without pooping, then you need to get a vet’s opinion on this anomaly. Doing so will ensure that it’s not suffering from a medical condition.

So, how often do dogs poop?

Normally, dogs poop about two to three times a day. There is variance in this range, meaning it can differ according to the dog’s type, behaviour, routine, and other factors. Now you’re probably thinking- what factors suggest normal bowel movements in dogs?

Signs of abnormal bowel movements in dogs

While there are ample reasons for abnormal bowel movements. Here are some of the signs suggesting irregular bowel movements in dogs:

#1 Pooping after eating or exercise

You may often observe that your dog poops after eating. This is normal behaviour. Their bowel movement after eating a meal or exercising is a sign of regular bowel movement. So, if your dog eats twice a day, it’s likely you’ll see it poop twice.

In addition, when you take your dog for a stroll, it may poop after some time. While some dogs will poop during walks and some won’t. So, it’s crucial to figure out these habits as a dog owner and see what’s normal for your dog.

Further, changing the food or the frequency of offering meals can have a significant impact on their bowel movements. This can cause them to not poop much and they may even start to eat less.

#2 Constipation

If your furry friend is having issues pooping then it’s probably suffering from constipation. But, what are the signs indicating constipation:

  • Low appetite (not eating as usual)
  • Passing small, hard and dry faeces
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Yells while pooping

While constipation is not necessarily a medical emergency or a critical health problem, if ignored it can transform into one. Because at times it’s possible that the faeces can get stuck in the digestive tract because of their solidity.

The poop is so hard and dry that your dog cannot get rid of it. This situation is often referred to as obstipation and is a chronic medical condition. Your canine friend may completely stop eating in such cases.

Preventing constipation

To control the issue of constipation in your dog you can consider the following tips:

  • Use pureed pumpkin, as it retains high fibre content. The pureed pumpkin helps with hydration and facilitates easy pooping for your canine friend.
  • As per the vet’s instructions, you can give your dog’s stool a softener. This will make the stool softer and it can easily pass through.
  • Adding a slight proportion of can food can also help in controlling constipation.
  • Using fresh water on a regular basis.
  • Preparing an exercise routine which involves activities such as running, and fetching, can help deal with constipation without having to use any medication.

#3 Diarrhoea

When dogs have diarrhoea, owners tend to confuse the symptoms and think it’s constipation. So, how to identify whether your dog is suffering from diarrhoea or constipation? The common distinction here is that if your dog is willing to poop and nothing comes out, it has diarrhoea.

You can take your dog outside and observe for how long they are not being able to poop. If they go hours without pooping then they have diarrhoea.

Preventing diarrhoea

If your furry friend is suffering from diarrhoea, you can use these preventive measures:

  • Give less food and increase the time gap to improve the dog’s condition.
  • Use probiotics, they provide the dog with useful postbiotics such as lactic acid.
  • Feed them soup instead of their regular diet, it will help them with digestion.
  • Provide fresh water regularly and ensure the dog stays hydrated.
  • Consult a vet if the symptoms are serious, for instance, bleeding from mucus or continuous vomiting.

#4 Post-surgery

When a dog is recovering post-surgery the abnormal pooping behaviour is actually quite normal. As the dog is recovering, you will see fewer bowel movements for the next few days. Certain pain medications or anaesthesia can also cause slow down faecal discharge.

Further, while recovering after a surgery procedure, dogs have a tendency to sleep more. This restricts their exercise and if your dog has a habit of pooping while walking or exercising then it may take some time to come back to the normal pooping routine.

How To Make Your Dog Poop?

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After the irregularity in the pooping activity, getting your dog to poop can get tough. Also, if your dog is still recovering or is in bad health condition it gets more challenging. So, you have to carefully think about the approach. Here are some of the ways you can consider:

  • Make an exercise routine

It will get easy for you if you formulate an exercise routine for your dog. Many dogs respond to exercises quite well. So, when you particularly associate pooping with their exercising routine you can get them to poop.

However, you may need to do some massaging on their bellies to make them poop. Once your dog poops, you can simply use a phrase and set it as a command, using treats to appreciate them. This makes the job much easier and the next time they will follow the command and poop without any hassle.

  • Improve their diet

At times, it’s possible you don’t know what your dog has eaten. In your absence, they may have ingested something that has created a blockage inside the gastrointestinal tract. Make sure they don’t intake solid items and increase the amount of fibre. Fibre will help with the digestion process and also clear out the stuck food.

However, make sure that your dog doesn’t intake excessive fibre. This can lead to constipation.

  • Leverage squirting water technique

This method is messy but, it’s worth a shot. Here you need to gently apply cool water on your dog’s back. Remember, the dog may resist so, you will need some assistance. Move their tail up and apply the water.

The water will help relieve the dog and the squirting motion will make it easier for them to poop. While leveraging this method it’s crucial to remain patient.

  • Ice cube method

Using the ice cube method for encouraging your dog to poop demands lots of patience. Here, you have to put some ice cubes on your dog’s bum and hold it there for some time. The dog will resist at first but, seeing that these cubes pose no significant threat or harm, they get used to it.

Once your god is accustomed to this method you’ll see them cramping out their tummy and pushing the faeces out.

  • Normal bowel movement

Stimulating a normal bowel movement is the safest way to make your dog poop. Yes, this method involve you touching their undercarriage, because if you don’t, it’s likely they’ll poop. So, to avoid any messy situation, you can use wipes and facilitate bowel movement.

In order to do so, you’ll have circularly rub your dog’s bum. Apply slight pressure while rubbing. If your dog is about to poop then this method will work instantly. To prevent any possible infection, make sure you are using biodegradable wipes with no scent.

Further, you can also use some simple techniques which don’t require you to touch their organs.

  1. Give more water: you can simply increase the water intake to encourage pooping. Because it’s possible that your dog is having a tough time pooping because of less water.
  2. Boost fibre intake: increasing fibre ingestion can easily facilitate bowel movement. Fibre content in their diet will absorb excess water and help in producing firm stools. Overdose of the fibre can cause diarrhoea so, make sure you serve them in small amounts.

When To Consult a Vet if The Dog is Not Pooping?

Till now we saw different prospects as to why the dog is not pooping and how one can address the situation. However, if your dog hasn’t pooped in 72 hours, even after using different techniques, or if you notice any symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, or blood in mucus then you need to take your dog to the vet.

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Vet treatment

A vet will examine the dog, and run different tests to figure out the underlying issue as to why your dog hasn’t pooped. A vet will look to outline the cause, meaning what is stopping a dog from pooping. For example, whether it was the intake of an indigestible food item, dehydration, constipation or diarrhoea.

Further, a vet also looks for causes related to underlying medical conditions. For instance, neurological disease, pelvic injury, tumour, hormonal disease and so on.

The common practice for a vet to determine any such cause involves conducting a faecal exam and observing the radiographs.

  • Faecal test

Your vet will use a solution and place a small amount in it to observe. They will see if the dog has faecal material in their intestine. They will see whether it is dry or hard. Vets also look for hidden intestinal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, coccidia etc. for better assessment.

  • Radiograph

If necessary, the vet will also take a look at the X-rays to determine whether there is n obstruction in the intestinal tract of your dog.

Once the vet identifies the cause, your dog will receive the treatment accordingly. For instance, if the diagnosis is constipation, then they may suggest using an enema. This fluid is injected into the dog’s rectum into the lower bowel during this treatment. You can give an enema at home, but, vets strongly advise not to as you may end up hurting your furry friend.


My dog hasn’t pooped in 4 days, what should I do?

If you think your dog is suffering from constipation or diarrhoea, it needs medical attention. Consult your vet and have him examine your dog. It’s possible that your dog may have ingested something that is blocking the tract and not allowing the faeces to pass through.

How many days can a dog go without pooping?

In general, dogs can go for 48 hours without pooping. While this is not a medical emergency, vets do opine that one should get their dog examined if it goes 72 hours without pooping. Because the underlying cause may create some serious health issues which may require extensive treatment.

How long after diarrhoea will the dog poop again?

Vets suggest that it takes roughly about 3-4 days to see dog poop again after recovering from diarrhoea. However, in some cases, you may need to wait about a week. This is mainly because the digestive system is blocked and it takes time to clear out the area.

How long can a dog hold poop?

The majority of adult dogs poop about after an hour or so after having their meal. But, if required they can hold their poop for longer periods. Generally, a dog who is in healthy shape can hold poop for about 12 hours, sometimes even more.

Final Remarks on – How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

If your dog hasn’t pooped for 24 hours or more, don’t panic. Assess the situation, this means, if the symptoms are severe then the best course of action is to consult a vet. Otherwise, you can consider using different methods that are mentioned throughout the article.

Before you use any of the methods remember, you need to have a clear idea whether your dog is suffering from diarrhoea, constipation or just not willing to poop. Because if you use a particular method without knowing the cause it may have severe repercussions. For instance, feeding excessive fibre to resolve the no poop issue may end up in a constipation issue.

You may find it difficult to use these methods but, if there are no major health issues with the dog, you will get results as well.

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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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