A healthy dog will be able to go up to 48 hours without pooping.
Most dogs, and pets in general for that matter, poop at least once a day. Exactly how often they go to the bathroom each day varies across breeds, ages, and even individual dogs.
Naturally, how much they eat and what they eat have a lot to do with how often they poop.
Medication, stress, physical activity levels, and other physical conditions also have a hand in the frequency of their bowel movement—know how much exercise a dog needs.
With this many factors, it’s easy to see why dogs will experience irregular bowel movement from time to time. But if something makes your dog go without pooping for more than 3 days, that’s when you should be alarmed.
Signs to Watch for If Your Dog Experiences Infrequent Stools
As long as your dog doesn’t take more than 72 hours between bowel movements, there’s likely nothing serious going on yet.
But your dog could be showing signs that something more serious is starting to ramp up, such as constipation or some other digestive tract issue. Pay attention to the symptoms your pet is exhibiting to determine whether you should be making preventive steps.
How a healthy dog stool should look
Ideally, your dog’s poop would look like play-doh—that is to say, it keeps its shape but is also easily deformed. If the dog poop is too watery or too hard, you might be looking at a potentially serious issue taking shape .
Keep an eye out for mucus or blood on the stool as well, as these are indicative of other digestive tract problems.
Desiccated-looking fecal matter is a classic indicator of constipation due to dehydration. This is especially the case if the stools appear in small pellets. If they pass mucus or blood along with the stool, that will only reaffirm the possibility that constipation is setting in.
One easy fix to this is to simply increase your pet’s water intake and feed it more moist food. Reducing their sodium intake would help a lot as well.
If attempting to hydrate them more doesn’t work, then that could be a sign of kidney problems.
Hair in stool
If your dog is constipated and their stool comes out furry, that usually means that your dog is over-grooming for whatever reason. But it can also mean that they are experiencing the symptoms of skin allergies or other skin disease.
Long-haired pups with heavy, matted dog hair fur can also have difficulty pooping because the hairs would get in the way, thus making their stools appear hairy as well. These dogs should be groomed more regularly in order to help in preventing constipation.
Straining is a common thing seen in dog constipation. But if they’re unable to pass stools regularly despite trying at the usual intervals, that can be a sign of intestinal blockage.
If this is accompanied by bloating, particularly when their abdomen becomes painful to the touch, that could point towards the problem being intestinal obstruction.
Also keep an eye out for restlessness, lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, and stomach upset.
Alternatively, this could be a sign of the damage being caused by internal parasites. Constipation in dogs is one of the symptoms that can manifest due to parasites.
If you suspect that intestinal blockage or parasitic infection may be the issue, it’s best to take your pet to the veterinarian to find out for sure.
Excessive whimpering tells you that their bowel movements are exceedingly painful, and that could point to things like intestinal blockage, damage along the gastrointestinal tract, a urinary tract infection, or less commonly, problems with the prostate or anal glands.
What You Can Do If Your Dog is Taking Too Long to Poop
If your dog is having difficulty pooping, you have a few options you can try to relieve constipation symptoms. As always, a vet’s opinion is valued above all else, so if they think it’s best to get them to the clinic instead of trying home remedies, it would be a better idea to follow their advice. While at it, practice how to dispose of dog poop properly.
Give them foods that encourage digestive health
Ensuring that your dog eats food that can improve their ability to digest food and pass stools is one of the most effective ways to treat constipation.
One of the most effective foods for this purpose is pumpkin. It’s got a high amount of dietary fiber, and is thus a well-known stool softener for dogs and people alike.
Just mixing a little canned pumpkin in your dog’s food would already be a great boost to your dog’s digestive health. If you think the canned pumpkin doesn’t provide enough fiber, you can give them supplementary treats like lettuce or dragon fruit to help raise their fiber intake.
Giving your dog more of a well-balanced diet is all well and good, but keep in mind that dietary changes can sometimes “shock” a dog’s digestive system and thus cause mild constipation . Also remember that dogs aren’t meant to have high-fiber diets.
Too much fiber can also cause constipation in dogs just as much as too little fiber can, so carefully tailor your dog’s fiber consumption.
And of course, make sure they get enough water.
Administer probiotic supplements
Helping out the good bacteria inside of a dog’s gut can be even more effective than adjusting their fiber intake, especially if your dog’s diet is already balanced. Probiotics can help them break down food even further, thus making their feces even easier to pass.
While the side effects of probiotic supplements aren’t usually dangerous, it would still be best to consult your veterinarian before administering anything to your dog.
Deworm your dog
If the parasite infection is severe enough to cause constipation in your dog, you should take them to the vet immediately to get dewormed. If unchecked, parasites at this stage can do more damage than just constipation.
Exercise your dog more
Giving your furry friend more exercise is another way to make sure they pass stools properly. Exercise is a key part of keeping your dog healthy, after all.
Toning their muscles and maintaining their cardio health improves your dog’s metabolism, which is directly linked to digestive efficiency and thus likelihood of constipation in dogs as well as in humans.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can a dog go without pooping?
A healthy dog can go up to 48 hours without pooping because of numerous factors. However, beyond 72 hours without pooping is when it starts to get dangerous.
How often do dogs poop?
Dogs usually poop once a day.
What to do if your dog is constipated?
Depending on the severity of the constipation, you can employ some home remedies such as adding canned food with lots of fiber to their regular food, using probiotics, deworming, and exercise. However if your dog hasn’t pooped for an alarming number of days, you should take it to the vet immediately.