How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop? – 5 Tips and Information

Do you leave your dog alone for long periods? Are you worried you will not get home in time to take your pet out? And end up cleaning the mess indoors?

If you have the answers to the questions like how long can dogs hold their poop and how frequently does dog poop, then these scenarios can be avoided. You can look after the dog’s health and also plan your day better.

Let us get straight into the post to learn all about dog poop.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop?

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop
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Typically, dogs can hold their poop for 8 to 10 hours. The hours mentioned are for your benefit. The actual time may differ depending on the dog’s health, age, metabolism, and what it has eaten.

You will have to spend time with the dog to understand its pooping cycle. The dog can poop anywhere from one to five times a day. And yes, that is normal.

There might arise emergencies wherein you have to leave the dog on its own. If the pet is house-trained, it will do its best to hold the poop for as long as possible. But once the pressure becomes unmanageable, do not be surprised if the pet relieves itself inside the home.

Getting angry with the dog or punishing them will not help the situation. Understand that 8 to 10 hours is the limit. Your dog will be uncomfortable if it holds the poop in any longer.

If the dog does attend to nature’s call indoors, reassure them. Then, take them outdoors so that they can complete their pooping business.

How Long Can Puppies Hold Their Poop?

How Long Can Puppies Hold Their Poop
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If you own a puppy, it will require more attention than an adult dog. This means more frequent bathroom breaks.

A puppy can typically hold its poop equivalent to its age. For example, if the puppy is one month old, it can hold its poop for an hour or so. If the puppy is four months old, it should be able to hold its poop for about four hours and so on.

Once the puppy reaches the age of 8 months, its poop holding capacity will remain more or less consistent throughout adulthood.

Your puppy can take four to 6 months to get house trained. In smaller dog breeds, the training period can extend to a year. It is best not to leave puppies alone for over two hours. Apart from the pooping mess, they are likely to develop behavioral problems.

How Long Can Senior Dogs Hold Their Poop?

How Long Can Senior Dogs Hold Their Poop
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If your dog is aging or dealing with a health condition, it will not be able to hold its poop for long. In some cases, they will lose their capability to control bowel movements. More on this later.

Even healthy senior dogs will have to be taken outside to poop multiple times in a day. The frequency will increase in case of sick dogs. They might have to poop soon after they finish their meals.

Have a family member or friend watch your pet when you are unavailable. If that is not possible, find a place indoors where the pet can relieve itself. 

Can Holding the Poop too Long Make the Dog Sick?

Can Holding the Poop too Long Make the Dog Sick
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How long can dogs hold their poop? Eight hours, but the question to ask is whether they should be holding their poop?

We all are well aware of how difficult it is to hold poop. It can make people extremely uncomfortable. The same goes for your dog.

House-trained dogs will avoid pooping inside the house. However, some dog breeds will do their best to please their human parents. So, your dog will do its best to hold the poop till you arrive home. But this can cause them discomfort. It can lead to abdominal pain as well.

Understand that the situation can be stressful for the pet. When the pressure builds up, they will poop inside the house. A house-trained dog will not purposely indulge in this behavior to annoy you.

The dog should be fine if this were a one-off issue. But, if your pet has developed the habit of holding its poop for longer periods, it can affect the veins in the anus and rectum.

There is also the possibility of the poop being reabsorbed in the body. The poop travels back from the rectum to the colon. The water in the poop can get reabsorbed in the body.

Is It Bad If the Dog Has Not Pooped for 24 Hours?

Ideally, dogs should poop at least once a day. If they do not meet this requirement once in a while, it should be fine. If the pet has not pooped for 24 hours, there is no need to panic.

If your dog has gone about 48 to 72 hours without any sign of poop, it may be a cause of concern. Your dog could be constipated or suffering from a health condition. It is best to call the vet for further diagnosis and treatment.

5 Tips to Make a Dog Poop Healthy

If you take care of your dog’s diet and exercise, its poop cycle will fall into a predictable routine. You can then plan your day better around the dog.

Here are five tips that can help your dog poop healthy.

1. Diet That Promotes Good Digestion

Diet That Promotes Good Digestion
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Give the pet a healthy and balanced diet. Their meals should include nutrients like proteins, fiber, healthy fats, carbohydrates, calcium, and other minerals.

When selecting the dog food brand or product, choose according to your pet’s nutritional needs. For example, the food requirements for puppies, small and large dog breeds, are different. Therefore, brands will specially curate the food to meet these requirements.

If your dog is prone to constipation, including dietary fiber supplements can help. Always discuss supplements with the vets before giving them to your dog.

2. Access to Fresh Water

Water can help ensure your dog’s poop effectively moves through its system. Ideally, the dog should have one ounce of water daily for each pound of their weight. So ensure you keep their water bowl always filled.

If the dog is dehydrated, you will see symptoms like dry mount, sunken eyes, loss of appetite, and low energy. Regular water can help keep diarrhea at bay.

3. Active Lifestyle

Active Lifestyle
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The simple exercise of walking can help move things along in the digestive system. Even in cases of constipation, walking can make the dog poop. Depending on the dog breed, ensure they get the required amount of exercise.

Invest in chew toys and puzzles, so the dog remains active and busy. Do not let them turn into couch potatoes, as weight gain can bring other problems.

4. Be Consistent with Routine and Training

When you are house-training the dog, be consistent and patient with the process. According to AKC, the cue, praise, and treat routine works best.

Consistency is the major way you can get the dog to poop on cue—dogs like routine. So, make one and ensure you stick to it.

5. Do Not Leave the Dog Alone

If it is a puppy or a senior dog, there is no leaving it alone for extended periods.

If you have to leave your adult dog home alone when you go to work, see if you can make alternative arrangements. Can a family member or a friend watch the pet? Can you hire a dog sitter? Can you enroll the dog in doggy daycare?

If none of this is possible, ensure the dog has gotten the chance to poop before you leave for work. Take the dog for a walk in the morning so it can take care of its business.

What to Do When the Dog Has Held the Poop For Too Long?

What to Do When the Dog Has Held the Poop For Too Long
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Some dogs are picky about where they go to poop. The dog feels vulnerable when they poop. Some may not prefer to take care of their business in ‘public’ places. The dog might be nervous, distracted, or thrown off by the smell of other dogs.

They will take their time to choose a pooping spot. And once chosen, they will prefer to poop in the same location. But, till then, they will try to hold their poop.

Or, if you have got yourself an eager to please dog, they will wait to poop until you let them out.

However, there is a limit to how long dogs can hold the poop. If the dog has not pooped for 24 hours, it is unlikely it is holding the poop voluntarily. There can be an underlying condition that the vet will have to examine.

The vet can manually remove the poop or use medications or enemas.

Why Can Dogs Not Hold Their Poop?

Why Can Dogs Not Hold Their Poop
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The different reasons why dogs cannot hold their poop are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bowel Incontinence – Reservoir and Sphincter
  • Spinal Issues
  • Neurological Issues

If your dog has diarrhea, the food will pass through its system quickly. The resulting poop will be loose and watery.

In case of reservoir incontinence, the dog’s rectum loses the ability to hold poop as it would normally. In sphincter incontinence, the muscles around the anus lose their ability to stay close.

Dogs can develop spinal and neurological issues as they age. For example, the dog’s spine starts to narrow as they age. The nerves between the brain and the rectum can get affected. So, your dog does not realize it has to poop.

If the dog suffers from any of these issues, seek proper treatment from the vet for the same. It is best to keep them in the company of other people when you are not around. Consider containing the pet in a room or an area indoors, where they can poop minus the stress.

What Does Healthy Dog Poop Look Like?

What Does Healthy Dog Poop Look Like
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Poop is like a window to your dog’s health. We understand you may want to throw away the bag as soon as you pick the poop up. But a quick peek can help identify potential health issues.

If you have changed the dog’s diet or made a big change like moving houses, your dog’s system, like yours, will take some time to adjust. So it is normal to see variations in its poop.

Here is what to look for in ideal dog poop.

1. Consistency

The poop should be moist but firm. The piece should hold its shape when you pick it up. If the poop is runny or hard like pellets, it could point to an issue. For example, runny poop could be a symptom of an upset digestive system. On the other hand, hard poop could indicate your dog is dehydrated.

2. Structure

The poop should be shaped like a log. The amount of poop should be in proportion to the amount of food the pet consumes. If the poop is log-like but broken into smaller pieces, your dog might be facing difficulties pushing the poop out. If the poop is lumpy or has blood or mucus in it, then contact your vet.

3. Color

Chocolate brown – that is what the color of dog poop should be. If you see any other color, a call to the vet it is. For example, if the poop is green, it could indicate a gall bladder issue. Or, if the poop is white or chalky, it could be an overload of minerals in the dog’s diet.

4. Frequency

Your dog may poop once, twice, or four times a day, depending on their health and lifestyle. Ensure your dog follows more or less the same routine. See a vet if the frequency drastically changes or it becomes difficult to predict when the dog may poop.


How long can dogs hold their poop? An adult dog can hold its poop for about 8 to 10 hours. In puppies, poop holding capacity is equal to their age. For example, a month-old puppy can hold its poop for an hour.

When it comes to senior or sick dogs, the 8 hours limit may not hold true. They might have to relieve themselves often.

A dog can poop one to five times a day. To avoid coming home to a poop mess, understand your dog’s eating and pooping cycle. If the dog has not pooped for over 48 hours, do not hesitate to contact the vet.

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