How Often Should A Dog Poop? Dog Training Basics 101

how often should a dog poop

How often should a dog poop?  This depends on many factors.  Everything from the type of diet to the size and breed of your animal play a factor in their overall bathroom frequency and whats regular for them.  How active is your dog?  Are they sick or on any medication that can interfere with regularity?  All come into play when asking this question.

In order to get a more accurate answer, I’m going to dive into some of the key factors around your dog and how this can play a role in bathroom frequency.  I know this isn’t the most delightful thing to discuss but it is important.  Good gut health is a great sign of the overall health of your furry friend.  If they are having problems pooping either by going too much or not enough, this needs to be addressed.  Sometimes this problem can be easily remedied by diet but other times may require vet intervention.

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How Many Times A Day Should My Pup Poop?

Most dogs have a normal range of 1-5 times per day.  As stated above, this depends on a lot of different factors.  The main ones that come into play are:

  1.  Diet:  How often and what are you feeding your dog?  Are they on a raw diet?  Meat only?  Do they take any fiber supplements or vitamins?  Did you give them human food and they can’t handle it?
  2. Activity:  What kind of exercise does your dog get?  Are they an outdoors dog?  Do they get enough walks?  How often do you play with them and keep them active?
  3. Pet Age:  How old is your dog?  Older dogs tend to go more frequently.  Puppies may need to urinate a lot but generally poop stays pretty regular once they get into a routine.
  4. Health:  Is your dog on medication?  Are they diabetic?  Do they have any chronic conditions or are they suffering from any other ailments?

These are all good questions you should be tracking and able to answer yourself about your dog.  Dogs are creatures of habit and repetition.  Once they establish their bathroom routine, it doesn’t really change.  The nice thing about this is that its easier to monitor for issues because of the habits they establish.  For example, my dog poops 2-3 times a day and has done so for the past 9 years unless he was unwell in some way.  As mentioned before, gut health and poop frequency can be a great way to catch health conditions before they become major issues.

Is My Dog’s Poop Healthy?

How Often a dog poops is not the only concern.  There are several different factors that come into play when checking to see if your dog’s poop is healthy.  Vets actually have a poop chart that they may show you in the office should you have these concerns.  The health of the dog poop itself is broken down into several different markers.  They are:

Shape

Dog Poop should be formed in long logs very similar to healthy human poop.  If you are getting rounded shapes your dog may be dehydrated.  They should also be smooth and solid.

Size

The size of your dog’s poops should be in line with how much they eat.  The more fiber in their diet, the more volume when they poop and thus the more frequency of poops in the day.  Changes in diet or sickness can also effect size and frequency.

Consistency

Dog poop should be moist and firm.  Easy to pick up without falling apart.  If its watery, this could be a sign of digestive upset.  If nothing else appears wrong with your dog, you could try adding a bit more fiber to their diet and see if this helps.

Color

Dog poop should be the color of milk chocolate brown.  If its too dark or too light this could either be related to the colors of foods they are eating or perhaps some extra grass or plants in the diet.  If its excess grass, the color will be greener.  As long as this goes away in a day or so there’s no need to panic.  If it persists longer than that, contact your vet.  This could be a sign of liver or gal bladder dysfunction.

Dog Constipated

My Dog Hasn’t Pooped All Day

First off, don’t panic.  Dogs can get constipated too and on occasion might not go for a day or so.  If this happens, its important to monitor the situation and check for other warning signs that something might be amiss.  Is your dog in pain?  Are they acting “off”?  Remember that dogs are creatures of habit and repetition.  Once you are familiar with their habits, when something is off you will definitely notice.  A great example would be if a dog stays in bed when you get up for the day.  If they usually getup with you and are full of energy, whats stopping them now?

Changes in diet or medications can also cause these kinds of issues and I will go into more of each below.  The main takeaway here is to keep an eye on your pup.  If they haven’t gone for a while but are still in good spirits, don’t stress too much until you hit the 48 – 72 hour mark.  At this point, I would strongly suggest contacting your vet.

What Can Affect How Often My Dog Should Poop?

We’ve gone into a few different factors through the course of this article but here I would like to expand on each a bit further and give some more context.  The factors can be endless and a bit overwhelming.  At the end of the day, if you’re really concerned about something, call your vet and get some perspective.  This goes double if you are a new dog owner.  Don’t be afraid to contact your vet or feel like you’re bothering them.  They are there to help!  Here are some of the more common items that can effect your dog’s regularity:

Dog Poop Due To Stress

Stress always plays a factor.  It affects humans and can mess with dogs just the same.  Your dog may go a little less or a little more frequently if they have a significant change to their stress level.  I find that more often than not, this shows up in the form of loose bowel movements or “the runs”.  Some common stressors for your dog include:

  • Being in a new environment
  • Adding a new dog to your family or having one come to visit for a prolonged period
  • Separation anxiety from you
  • Separation anxiety from their family.  This will only really happen when you first bring a dog home.  Thankfully they have short memories and will adjust to life with you quickly
  • A change in diet
  • A change in routine
  • Traveling

This is a very generalized list and will definitely not be the same for all dogs.  Some pups might not be bothered by any of these while others could stress over all of them.  Paying attention to your pup and getting them into habits and routines will go a long way to rectifying any additional stress and allowing their bowels to settle.

Dog Poop Due To Change In Diet

A change in diet can be one of the most common ways that your dog’s poop frequency will change.  Did you switch their food brand?  Add more wet food to their dry mix?  Did you overdo it on dog treats or maybe give them too much food from your own plate?  All of these things can affect your dog’s poop.  Not only frequency but consistency, smell and color as well.

My current dog can’t have any kind of pork.  It makes him sick and he has the runs for a day or so.  Your dog may have similar intolerance’s.  If you are changing their diet or food sources, they may just need a few days to get acclimated to the new stuff.  A good rule of thumb is to gradually replace the old food with the new.  Create a blend and begin filtering out the old stuff in phases.  In a week or two, everything should be back on schedule.

Dog Poop Due To Sickness

When your dog is sick everything from their daily routine to their bathroom habits can go completely out of wack.  If they picked up some kind of bug or maybe ate some rancid meat out of the trash or in the yard, this may cause digestive distress.  Most of these types of issues can resolve themselves within a day or two at home.  Anything that doesn’t appear to be getting better after 24 hours should be followed up on with your vet.  You may not have to bring your dog for an office visit but at least explaining the symptoms to your doggie doc will help narrow down the problem and determine next steps.

Sometimes dogs can get very sick for a day or two after they get vaccines.  Usually vets will tell you to watch your dog closely during the first 48 hours for any warning signs.  If there’s a loose stool or 2 its probably nothing to worry about but your vet will give you specifics to look for in these cases.

Blockage

Sometimes our dogs swallow things they shouldn’t and cause havoc on their digestive systems.  This is why it is very important to make sure the toys you are giving your dog are appropriate for the size and breed of your pup.  If you do have a situation where your dog is constipated or vomiting because of a suspected blockage, call your vet right away.  This is a very serious issue that may require surgery or other medical interventions to remedy.

Thankfully, blockages are much rarer than any of the other things in this category.  Ideally you will never come across this issue.  I’ve had many dogs over the years and I’ve only had it happen to me once.  It did require surgery but my dog came through it fine and lived a long full life after.

Depressed Dog

My Dog Is Having Diarrhea Can I stop It?

As with many things related to dog health, this depends on what the root cause is.  The best option would be to monitor your dog and see if you can trace a root cause.  Are they still acting normal?  Is it just one loose stool or has it happened more frequently?

As listed above, the most common causes of this will be stress or diet change.  If you just changed something in your dog’s diet or noticed some family or friends giving them things they aren’t supposed to eat, put a stop to it and see how they react.  If it has to do with a full on diet change, maybe scale back on the amount of new food and mix back in some of the older one.  This can take a bit of experimentation but is cheaper than a vet visit if your dog is otherwise ok.

If the dog is not feeling well, I would just make an appointment for the vet if the situation hasn’t improved in 24 hours.  Better safe than sorry in this case as loose bowel movements can lead to dehydration and this is very dangerous for any animal including dogs.

How Often Should A Dog Poop In Conclusion

So now you should be a bit of a dog poop expert.  Gross topic in most aspects but also an important one for gauging your dog’s health in general.  Keeping a dog healthy year after year can be a daunting task.  The gut and bathroom habits of your dog can be one of the most valuable indicators of overall health.  Ideally you will never have to go sorting through your dog’s poop and can just leave the analysis to your vet.  Being able to understand and possibly fix some potential problems before they become real issues is never a bad thing as well.

Seeing as you’re reading this article, maybe you are new to pet ownership or its been a while since your last dog. There’s a great guide I would like you to check out that should help answer some additional questions and build your personal dog training knowledge base even further

 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dog_diseases

https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/6-most-common-dog-health-problems#1

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