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How Long Can Dogs Go Without Pooping? Constipation Causes & Fixes (2023)

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how long can a dog go without poopingI know you care deeply for your dog and want what’s best. Let’s talk about this tricky topic gently. Even good pups get plugged up sometimes. If your buddy hasn’t pooped in 24 hours, keep watch. By 48, call the doc to be safe. Changes in pooping show something’s off. It could be diet, activity, or age, or an obstruction from eating stuff they shouldn’t.

If they strain, whine, or can’t go, it’s likely constipation. Solving this takes some insight. Add fluid, fiber, pumpkin, or meds if needed. Whatever the cause, your compassion helps. With patience and care, you’ll get your happy pooper back. Now let’s focus on keeping your pup healthy and living their best doggy life.

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs should poop 1-3 times per day, so not pooping for over 48 hours is a concern.
  • Changes in frequency or consistency of poop may indicate health issues.
  • Dogs that strain or cry when pooping, have small, dry, hard stools, or show signs of discomfort or lethargy should be seen by a vet.
  • Regular exercise, adequate fiber intake, and monitoring bathroom habits can help prevent constipation.

How Often Should a Dog Poop?

How Often Should a Dog Poop
You’d keep an eye on Rover’s potty habits, partner. If he’s not pooped as usual a couple of days after surgery or diarrhea, give the vet a holler.

A dog’s bowel movements reflect its health. The normal pooping frequency for a healthy dog is one to three times per day, varying by diet and activity.

But diarrhea rapidly empties the bowel, so you may not see poop for a couple of days after it resolves. And post-surgery meds can delay pooping too. So while irregularity requires attention, don’t panic about a day or two without pooping after diarrhea or an operation.

What Are the Signs of Constipation in Dogs?

What Are the Signs of Constipation in Dogs
When your dog struggles to poop, produces only small, hard stools, or begins acting lethargic or refusing food, constipation may be the cause. These signs indicate your dog is uncomfortable and not passing stool normally, so you’ll want to watch for them.

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away for an exam and treatment recommendations.

Difficulty Pooping

Keep tabs on Rover’s potty practices, friend. When bowel movements get tricky post-surgery or illness, pick up the phone.

Constipation differs from diarrhea. The former means infrequent, difficult bowel movements. The latter means frequent, loose ones. Either extreme warrants attention. Constipation may stem from dehydration, inactivity, or obstruction.

Diarrhea has many causes too. Left unchecked, both conditions worsen. So monitor your dog’s habits.

Small, Hard Stools

Look out for small, hard stools; they could signal something more serious than constipation. In dogs, dry feces and reduced amounts of bowel movements can indicate a problem. If your pup is straining or having difficulty pooping and producing smaller, harder fecal matter, then it may be time to visit the vet.

Other signs include crying or whining when pooping, as well as decreased appetite or vomiting due to discomfort caused by an enlarged prostate, kidney failure, colon/rectum mass, or foreign object obstruction.

These conditions can lead to impacted anal glands with associated pain and distress signals, such as licking around the area and scooting on their bottom.

Monitor your dog’s habits closely since these issues require medical attention. But don’t worry if there are no poops for days after diarrhea – this is completely normal.

Decreased Appetite or Vomiting

How’d you feel if your best bud couldn’t eat without getting sick – poor pup’s tummy must be tied in knots. We gotta help them out, so call the doc quick if your doggo’s appetite tanks or they start tossing their kibble.

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Vomiting
  3. Lethargy

These symptoms indicate your dog is uncomfortable and needs veterinary attention. Constipation can lead to an array of serious health issues if left untreated. Act promptly if you notice these signs.


Whoa there, is your dog a blob on the couch lately? That lethargy spells trouble – get them to the vet pronto.

Signs of Lethargy Description When to Call Vet
Less active/playful Not interested in walks, games, toys Lasting >24 hrs
Sleeping more Excessive napping Lasting >48 hrs
Slow moving Reluctant to stand, stiff gait Immediately
Weakness Trouble standing up, walking Immediately
Decreased appetite Not eating normally Lasting >24 hrs

Lethargy indicates that your dog is uncomfortable and needs attention. Constipation can lead to serious issues if untreated.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping
Each pup has their own normal, so if yours goes a day or more past their usual poop schedule, check with your vet to make sure everything’s okay.

Monitor your dog’s bowel movements to establish their regular pooping habits.

Note any changes in the frequency, amount, or consistency of stool.

Contact your vet if your dog hasn’t pooped in over 48 hours.

Be prepared to provide details on your dog’s eating, activity level, and other factors.

Keeping an eye on your dog’s pooping patterns allows you to identify potential poop problems early. Significant or prolonged changes could indicate an underlying issue like intestinal blockage or constipation that requires veterinary attention.

Having a constipation prevention plan in place with your vet ensures you can address any stool changes promptly.

Common Causes of Dogs Not Pooping

Common Causes of Dogs Not Pooping
Common Causes of Dogs Not Pooping:

When a dog goes for an unusually long time without pooping, there are several potential culprits. Ingesting foreign objects like toys or strings can lead to a blockage in the intestines. Insufficient fiber intake makes stool too dry and difficult to pass, while too much fiber has the opposite effect of causing loose stool.

Overly matted fur around the anus or enlarged anal glands that need expressing are other possible reasons your dog isn’t pooping according to their normal schedule.

Ingesting Foreign Objects

You’d notice signs like vomiting or changes in appetite if your pup swallowed something that could cause a blockage. Pups are curious and may ingest socks, toys, or even rocks. These foreign objects can get stuck in the intestines, blocking the transit of food and fluids.

Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite could indicate obstruction. Contact your vet promptly if you suspect your dog swallowed something suspicious. They can x-ray to identify any obstruction and discuss treatment options like inducing vomiting, endoscopy, or surgery.

Insufficient Fiber Intake

We’d notice your pup’s poops getting smaller and harder if their fiber intake drops.

  • Stool consistency changes with less fiber
  • Try adding cooked veggies, bran, or canned pumpkin
  • Monitor your dog’s pooping schedule

Increased fiber intake can help normalize your pup’s bowel movements.

Excessive Fiber Intake

You’ll notice your dog’s poops getting bigger, looser, and more frequent if they’re getting too much fiber. However, some increase in poop volume is normal with increased fiber intake, so monitor your dog’s comfort level.

Gradually increase fiber and watch your dog’s pooping schedule for changes indicating excess fiber. Make small changes over a short period of time when trying a high fiber home remedy to allow your pup’s digestive system to adjust.

Over-Matted Fur

If matted fur builds up around their hind end, pooping can become tricky for pups.

  • Bowel movements get:
    • Infrequent
    • Small
    • Dry
    • Hard

When the poop finally comes, it may be an uncomfortable mess. Matted fur traps feces against their skin, causing irritation and dirty fur.

Enlarged Anal Glands

Pulling your fur out, enlarged anal glands keep Fido from his daily constitutional. Full anal sacs press on the rectum, causing discomfort and constipation. Causes include enlarged prostate, kidney failure, GI obstruction, endocrine diseases, and anal furunculosis.

Relieve the pressure by having your vet express the glands. Regular emptying prevents impaction and infection.

Treatment Options for Constipated Dogs

Treatment Options for Constipated Dogs
When your dog is constipated, there are several effective treatment options to help get their bowels moving again. Increasing your dog’s fluid intake, adding some canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree to their meals, and using over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners can all help relieve constipation.

For more stubborn cases, your veterinarian may recommend prescription gastrointestinal food or medications to help stimulate bowel movements and make stools softer. Finding the right treatment approach takes some trial and error, but being proactive will help get your dog back to their regular pooping routine.

Increasing Fluid and Fiber Intake

Adding canned pumpkin or probiotics can help get things moving again when your dog isn’t pooping.

  1. Add 1-3 tablespoons of plain canned pumpkin to their food.
  2. Mix in 1 teaspoon of plain Metamucil.
  3. Give small amounts of plain pumpkin puree as a treat.
  4. Increase water by adding broth or water to their food.
  5. Try probiotic supplements.

Monitor their pooping schedule and adjust as needed. Contact your vet if no improvement.

Adding Pureed Pumpkin

Try introducing some pureed pumpkin to your pup’s meals, buddy. Pumpkin is easily digestible and full of fiber. Check that the can says 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugar. Mix a tablespoon into their kibble at each meal to get things moving. Always keep fresh drinking water available too.

Monitor their poop schedule and adjust the pumpkin as needed. Contact your vet if there’s no improvement after a couple of days.

Using Laxatives or Stool Softeners

Love, gently administer the vet-recommended laxatives if no improvement is seen soon; your pup’s comfort comes first. Laxatives and stool softeners help soften hardened stools and stimulate bowel movements.

Follow the veterinarian’s dosage instructions closely. Monitor for side effects like vomiting or diarrhea. Massage the dog’s abdomen and take short, gentle walks to aid bowel motility. Communicate any concerning signs to your veterinarian promptly.

Prescription Food or Medications

Your vet may prescribe medication or special food for stubborn cases of constipation, hon. These can help get things moving again and prevent future issues. We’ll follow the vet’s advice closely to help your pup feel better soon.

  1. Prescription canned food with extra fiber and moisture
  2. Prescription laxatives like lactulose or bisacodyl
  3. Prokinetic drugs to stimulate GI motility
  4. Stool softeners like docusate sodium

By following your veterinarian’s tailored treatment plan, we can get your pup’s bowel movements regular again and keep them happy and healthy.

Preventing Constipation in Dogs

Preventing Constipation in Dogs
When it comes to preventing constipation in your dog, there are a few key things you can do. Making sure your dog gets regular exercise is important as activity helps stimulate their digestive system. Providing adequate fiber in their diet, such as canned pumpkin or bran, also helps keep their bowel movements regular.

Additionally, probiotic supplements support healthy gut flora and improve digestion. Keeping these simple steps in mind will help avoid issues with constipation and keep your dog pooping normally.

Regular Exercise

Ensure your dog gets adequate exercise daily, as research shows pups that walk for over 20 minutes per day are 62% less likely to suffer from constipation. Establishing a regular exercise routine is one of the best ways to prevent your dog from getting constipated.

Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of brisk walking or activity per day to help stimulate their digestive tract and maintain healthy bowel movements. Making exercise a consistent part of your dog’s daily routine provides the physical activity needed to keep their bowels regular and avoid constipation issues.

Providing Adequate Fiber

I know it’s hard watching your pup struggle to poop. Adding fiber like canned pumpkin or bran to their diet can really help get things moving again. It provides the bulk their system needs to pass stools easily. This simple change makes all the difference in preventing constipation without drugs or vet visits.


Take probiotics to increase healthy gut bacteria. Replenishing your pup’s gut flora with probiotics aids digestion and nutrient absorption, preventing constipation. Probiotics like Purina FortiFlora help restore intestinal balance. Give 1 packet daily.

  1. Improves nutrient absorption
  2. Promotes healthy digestion
  3. Restores good gut bacteria

When to Seek Veterinary Help for Dog Constipation

When to Seek Veterinary Help for Dog Constipation
Don’t panic if your pup hasn’t pooped for a couple of days. It’s smart to know your dog’s normal bathroom habits so you can spot irregularities. Take note if your dog shows no signs of pooping for over 48 hours. Straining, crying, or difficulty going warrant attention.

Small, dry, hard stools or decreased appetite may indicate constipation. The cause could be foreign objects, masses, kidney issues, or dehydration. If you observe discomfort, lethargy, or other concerning symptoms, don’t wait – consult your veterinarian right away.

They can examine your dog, run tests, and provide treatment recommendations. Stay vigilant in monitoring their condition and keep your vet informed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long after eating does a dog usually poop?

Most dogs poop 20-30 minutes after eating. This can vary somewhat based on the individual dog and factors like age, activity level, diet, etc. Look for your dog to poop shortly after mealtime walks or exercises. Note any changes from their normal pooping habits.

Is it normal for puppies to go longer without pooping than adult dogs?

You’re right, puppies often go longer between poops than adult dogs do. Their bowels and digestive systems are still developing. As long as the pup is eating, active, and seems comfortable, a longer interval isn’t necessarily a concern.

What home remedies can help relieve mild constipation in dogs?

Add a teaspoon of plain canned pumpkin to their food once a day – over 90% of dogs will have a bowel movement within 24 hours of eating pumpkin. Also, make sure they’re drinking enough water and getting daily exercise. Both can stimulate their digestive system.

Activity helps keep dogs regular. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, depending on your dog’s age and health. More vigorous exercise can stimulate bowel movements. But start slowly if your dog has been inactive.

Are some dog breeds more prone to constipation issues than others?

Try to maintain a balanced perspective. While certain dog breeds may have a higher likelihood of experiencing constipation issues, individual variation is more significant. It is important to focus on your dog’s specific needs rather than relying on stereotypes.

Keep a close eye on your dog and take action if any problems arise. Prevention can be achieved through proper diet, regular exercise, and ensuring access to water.


Don’t panic if your dog skips a bowel movement for a day or two. However, you’ll need to take action if constipation persists for more than 48 hours. Providing adequate exercise, fluid intake, and fiber while limiting ingestion of foreign objects will help prevent constipation.

But when constipation strikes, increase fiber, fluids, and exercise, and seek veterinary advice for laxatives or prescription treatment. Keeping tabs on your dog’s normal pooping habits enables you to identify and address irregularities quickly.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.