Puppies are known to get themselves into all sorts of trouble, the silly wee things.
Stress, dehydration, sedentary lifestyles and internal obstruction are a few of the reasons as to why your puppy doesn’t poop after eating.
Puppies generally defecate several times a day as they cannot control their bowels effectively. For most owners, they should see their puppy pooping around 30 minutes after they have finished eating.
In general, puppies can hold their poop for the same number of hours equal to their age in months. This means a 4-month-old puppy may be able to hold their poop for up to 4 hours.
If they haven’t had a bowel movement for an unusually long period of time, there are several methods you can use to promote defecation such as physical stimulation, medical stimulants, and dietary supplements.
While you shouldn’t be too worried if your puppy doesn’t poop immediately after they’ve finished eating, a lack of bowel movements for a day or two definitely warrants veterinary attention.
- How Long Does It Take For A Puppy To Poop After Eating?
- Do Puppies Poop After Every Meal?
- Is It Normal For My Puppy Not To Poop?
- My Puppy Won’t Poop Before Bed…
- How Do You Stimulate A Puppy To Poop?
- In Summary
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For the average puppy, it can take around 30 minutes after they’ve eaten before they begin pooping.
This is because their digestive system is still developing, and as a result foods will be processed faster- but less efficiently- than adult dogs.
The type of food your dog eats will also determine how long it takes for your puppy to poop.
Some factors include:
- Water content: Foods with higher water content will make your dog poop faster than if your dog ate dry foods only.
- Rate of Breakdown: Foods such as grains and wheat are more difficult to break down in immature digestive systems. This means it will take more time before your puppy poops compared to foods that are high in protein.
Not all puppies will poop after every meal as puppies can have specific poop schedules.
You may need to take your dog to poop at its usual spot every so often so you gain a better idea of when your puppy is likely to go.
Whether your dog poops after every meal will also depend on the food it just ate. Switching foods may lead to temporary constipation or diarrhea as their body adjusts to dietary changes.
Foods with higher digestibility tend to produce less stool than foods with lower digestibility.
Digestibility is the percentage of food that is digested and absorbed into the body. Foods with higher digestibility such as chicken and fish may not immediately cause your puppy to poop after their meal.
Other factors that will influence whether your dog poops after a meal include:
- An Irregular meal routine
- Poor diet
- Too little fiber
A combination of these factors can make your dog’s poop dry and crumbly.
Not long at all. Puppies typically defecate within 30 minutes after a meal. Some may hold it in longer and take up to 1 hour before they poop.
Puppies generally can hold their poop for the same number of hours as their age in months-plus-one at most. So, a 4-month-old puppy is likely to be able to hold their poop for up to 5 hours.
The maximum number of hours a puppy can hold their poop for is around 8 hours.
Other factors influencing how long your puppy can hold their poop for include:
- Health (or sickness)
It is not normal for your puppy when it is unable to poop at all.
In some cases, this could be due to matted hair covering their rectal region, causing the poop to become stuck and preventing your pup from defecating properly.
In other cases, your dog may not poop due to intestinal blockage, dehydration, a sedentary lifestyle, emotional stress, other medical issues, or even personal preferences!
Your puppy may have become constipated if it has not pooped for several hours or days.
Constipation can be a result of:
- Ingesting inappropriate objects such as pacifiers
- Medical issues
- Diet problems such as a lack of fiber
- A sedentary lifestyle.
Symptoms of constipation include:
- Absence of bowel movements for 2+ days
- Straining or crying when trying to poop
- Licking and/or dragging their anal region
- Darker, dry and/or smaller stool
- Distended belly and bloating
- Blood with or without stool
Severe symptoms of constipation include:
- Complete loss of appetite
It is a good idea to have your dog be examined by your vet when it has become constipated for a day or two. If possible, bring a stool sample or take a photo so the vet can see the quality of the stool.
Constipation can lead to obstipation, which in simple terms means that your dog is physically unable to defecate.
This will lead to problems such as a loss of appetite, lethargy, and an intestinal blockage from waste.
In severe cases, sepsis can occur due to the buildup of bacteria from the feces. Sepsis involves an inflammatory reaction which can eventually cause the failure of multiple organ systems.
Dogs are known to consume anything that seems even remotely edible. This can lead to an internal obstruction, which can quickly become a serious- even life-threatening- condition.
Signs of obstruction include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, stomach pain, and inability to produce stool.
Insufficient water intake causes water retention from the feces, making your pup’s poop hard and dry. It will then be more difficult for the poop to pass through the digestive tract.
If your dog exercises for only short periods and/or irregularly, it will be more difficult for your dog to defecate since physical exercise promotes healthy bowel movement.
In stressful or novel environments, your puppy might not be able to relax and poop.
Places which are too noisy or have too many people can make your puppy stressed, as they do not know how to deal with the situation. This might explain why some puppies won’t poop outside.
In these cases, it is important to promote defecating in various places where appropriate and increase socialization with people, dogs, and new environments.
Your dog may not poop because they have been punished previously for pooping somewhere inappropriate. Your dog can become too afraid to poop whenever someone is around.
You can help recondition your dog by treating or praising it whenever it poops appropriately.
Your dog may prefer to poop according to a routine, only poop in certain areas, or have a preferred surface to poop on. (Just like how you may have a favorite toilet!)
They may feel uncomfortable if they have to poop elsewhere, or on surfaces contaminated by smells of other dogs.
Certain opioid medications and over the counter medications such as Imodium, diuretics and antacids can prevent pooping.
Your dog could also be suffering from orthopedic pain in the abdominal, hip or back region which will hinder your dog from defecating properly. Other signs of pain can include restlessness, loss of appetite and lethargy.
There are many other issues which can prevent your pup from pooping including:
- Anatomical irregularities
- Enlarged prostate or prostatitis, which is more common in unneutered male dogs
- Infected anal glands
- Kidney disease
- Neurological problems causing the inability to control the nerves that manipulate bowel movement
- Tumors developed in the prostate, perianal area or rectum
- Urinary tract infection
If your puppy doesn’t poop before bed, it could be due to an altered routine or something in the area preventing your dog from pooping comfortably.
Otherwise, a refusal to poop can be caused by any of the reasons mentioned in the previous section, such as dehydration or a lack of exercise.
Puppies can also be smart, sly creatures.
If you take it outside to poop before bed, your puppy may choose not to poop as it may have realized that it will be taken inside again immediately after going to the toilet.
Since it may want to play around and stay outside longer, it may purposefully delay the time before it poops.
If your puppy does not poop before bed, take them outside and move around for roughly 30-60 minutes. Exercise will help promote bowel movement and defecation.
You can either do this in one sitting, or at 10 minute intervals where you rotate time indoors and out.
When poop is stuck in your puppy’s digestive system, there are a few general methods that can be applied to help with defecation.
These can include physical stimulation, medical stimulants and dietary supplements.
For the methods mentioned below, it would be best to consult with a vet first before proceeding.
Here are a few tips when it comes to physically stimulating your puppy to poop:
- Massage and wipe the puppy’s anal region with a warm wet cloth or baby wipes. The wet material mimics a mother dog’s tongue, which will help to stimulate bowel movement.
- Gently rub the tummy in a circular clockwise motion. This will help to move internal substances along the digestive tract.
- Spray the anal region with room temperature water or solution containing disinfectant and water. Gently stroke the area with a moist cloth.
- Put on a glove and rub lotion around the anal area for a few minutes.
- Insert an ice cube gently but directly into the anus. Once it is pushed out, your puppy should begin pooping as a natural reflex.
- Gently insert a lubricated finger or a cotton swab dipped in a little bit of Vaseline into the rectum and massage the surrounding area.
Always ensure there is newspaper or paper towels available to collect the mess after physical stimulation.
Before you give any medical products to your dog, ensure it is xylitol-free as xylitol is toxic to dogs.
Also, make sure that you have consulted with a vet first before administering any treatment. Try to avoid products aimed for human use unless advised to do so by a vet.
Some stimulants you can consider using include:
- Oral laxatives such as Milk of Magnesia, Laxatone, Colace (docusate sodium) or Lactulose.
- Enemas such as tap water or isotonic saline solutions. The water or solution will need to be warm and you can add soap as an irritant. The typical dose of water or solution is around 5 to 10 milliliters per kilogram of bodyweight.
- Suppositories such as bisacodyl, glycerin and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate.
- Make sure your dog is always sufficiently hydrated by providing easy access to drinking water. In severe cases of dehydration, your pup may need to undergo fluid or IV therapy.
- High fiber foods and supplements such as figs, leafy vegetables, cooked pumpkin, Metamucil, Benefiber can be given more frequently to your dog. 1-2 teaspoons of fiber product per 10 pounds of bodyweight can be added to daily meals. Fiber should make up around 10 percent of your dog’s daily diet.
- Feeding oils such as olive oil or mineral oil can promote bowel movements and lubricate your puppy’s intestines. Oils can be administered for up to 3 days and with 1-2 teaspoons added into every meal.
- Milk can cause diarrhea as dogs do not digest the lactose sugar in milk. Though not completely recommended, in serious cases you can provide around ¼-1/2 cup of milk per day for a few days to help to loosen the stool.
- Natural remedies such as Only Natural Pet Laxa-Herb Herbal Formula is a laxative herbal formula which may be able to provide overnight relief for constipation. Aloe Ferox or Aloe Vera juice can also act as a laxative.
- Trim away the long hair around your puppy’s rectal area, as long, intertwined hair can prevent your dog from defecating properly.
You may need to sedate your dog for this process if it tends to become a bit nervous so that you can avoid accidentally cutting your dog’s skin by accident.
- Try praising and rewarding your dog whenever it goes to the bathroom. Conditioning your dog to associate pooping with rewards promotes defecation.
While puppies should poop around 30 minutes after eating, it is not unusual for your puppy to hold their poop for a few hours more. Usually, their ability to hold it in will be equal to their age in months, plus one.
Food and routine can also greatly influence when your puppy poops after meals.
However, it becomes concerning if your puppy doesn’t poop for several hours or days. Causes may include emotional stress, dehydration, a sedentary lifestyle, and internal obstruction among other medical causes.
Although physical stimulation, medical stimulants and dietary supplements can help with poop issues, you should always consult with a vet to properly identify the actual cause so that an appropriate treatment can be administered.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.