As dutiful pet parents, we’re used to paying attention to every aspect of our dogs’ well-being. And, whether we like it or not, that usually requires plenty of focus on our pet’s fecal habits…even more so if our dog isn’t pooping as regularly as they should be.
A dog may have issues with defecating for several reasons. Figuring out how to make a dog poop quickly can get them back on track so they feel better faster, and it may even help them avoid further complications. Here’s what you should know.
Why Won’t My Dog Poop?
A dog may not defecate for several reasons, ranging from medical or behavioral in nature. According to Michelle Lugones, DVM, a veterinarian with Best Friends Animal Society, “If a dog is constipated, not eating, has ingested a foreign body, is in pain, is on certain medications, has changed diets, or is very stressed, they may not defecate,”
“With certain conditions, like constipation or intestinal tumors, they may strain to defecate, or not be able to produce normal amounts of stool,” she adds
Besides medical issues, “stress constipation” — or constipation caused by a change in your dog’s environment or routine — may also cause them to have poop problems.
Regardless of what’s causing a dog not to poop, it’s important to address the problem. “You may not be able to guess if your dog isn’t defecating because of stress or a medical issue,” says Lugones. However, “Over time, if your dog doesn’t defecate normally, it can cause discomfort, damage the intestines, and an underlying medical concern could be missed,” she warns.
Dog Not Pooping: When to Worry
Typically, dogs poop about once a day, says Lugones. However, some dogs may go a little more frequently, while some may take up to two days to defecate. Paying attention to your dog’s regular patterns can help you recognize when your pup has gone too long without pooping.
Your dog’s age may also factor into their pooping behavior. “Young puppies defecate more often and should defecate after each meal,” says Lugones. “If there’s an underlying issue, a dog could go for a few days without defecating. But that’s not normal and would require your veterinarian to examine your dog to find out why that’s happening.”
If your dog hasn’t defecated within their normal amount of time, if they aren’t producing a normal amount of stool, or if the stool is very hard and/or dry, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. This is essential to make sure that any medical conditions aren’t overlooked.
“A dog could have a medical conditional without having any serious signs of illness because it’s early on in its development,” says Lugones. “The only sign may be a dog not defecating as often as they normally would. Pet parents know their dog best, and by bringing that to your veterinarian’s attention, a disease might be detected early on.” In some cases, early treatment may help prevent an illness from becoming more serious.
Even if the issue ends up being behavioral versus medical, your veterinarian can work with you to try to address the cause and suggest how to make a dog poop quickly.
6 Ways to Help Your Dog Poop Quickly
Although a veterinarian should always be consulted if you are concerned about the health of a pet that hasn’t pooped in a while, there are some things you can do at home to promote healthy pooping habits.
Here are six safe methods that could help prevent defecation issues from developing and could even help relieve pups who aren’t pooping properly.
1. Promote healthy drinking habits
Providing adequate hydration is one of the most important things pet parents can do for their dogs to promote overall health and normal defecation. “Dogs should always have access to fresh water,” recommends Lugones. “Dog bowls should be washed with soap and warm water daily. Encourage dogs to take in water by offering canned foods, as well, because they’re made up mostly of water.” If it’s a warm day or you’ll be out with your dog for a couple of hours, take a collapsible dog bowl and water with you to promote healthy hydration habits on-the-go.
2. Make movement a priority
Exercise is always a good idea for maintaining your dog’s good health. But it’s also beneficial for keeping your dog’s bowel movements regular. And it may even help “move things along” if your dog isn’t defecating as usual. So strap on that leash and hit the pavement for a nice, long walk. This can help get your dog’s bowels moving to stimulate their digestive tract and, hopefully, lead to poop.
3. Focus on fiber-filled foods
For some dogs, a diet filled with healthy sources of fiber, such as fiber-rich vegetables like carrots and pumpkin, may help promote normal bowel movements. Just be sure not to add too many high-fiber snacks, Lugones cautions. Not only could the extra calories lead to weight gain, but they could also disrupt the nutritional balance of your dog’s diet.
“Make sure you’re feeding your dog a balanced, high-quality diet that’s appropriate for your dog’s age and any medical conditions they have,” advises Lugones.
If you are looking for recommendations on healthy, high-fiber diets or dog food brands, ask your veterinarian for help. But Lugones also suggests looking for dog foods that have the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on their packaging. That means that the pet food has met the organization’s standards of being complete and balanced for a particular life stage.
4. Use manual massage
Gently massaging your pup’s stomach could help ease their constipation, if that’s the issue. If your dog is having trouble pooping, they’re likely already feeling uncomfortable, so keep that in mind and be as gentle as you can when trying this method.
5. Start some supplements
There are many supplements designed to help dogs deal with poop issues, from those loaded with fiber and live bacteria for a healthier gut to stool softeners or laxatives, like psyllium powder. But these should only be given to your dog after consulting with your veterinarian about whether they’re appropriate for your dog, as well as what the proper dose would be.
Lugones cautions pet parents against trying at-home enema products, as they often contain sodium phosphate, which can be toxic in pets. “If an enema is warranted, a veterinarian will perform this to make sure safe fluids are used and the intestines aren’t damaged,” she adds.
6. Ask about apple cider vinegar
In some cases, adding very small doses of apple cider vinegar to your pet’s water can help ease tummy troubles. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before doing this to get the all-clear and confirm exactly how much to add.
Dog Won’t Poop: Tips and Tricks
If you want to avoid having to worry about how to make a dog poop quickly, prevention is key. Establishing a daily routine including walks outside, exercise, play, and consistent mealtimes can help promote regular bowel movements. If you start to notice changes in your dog’s poop routine, you may also want to introduce some of the above solutions, such as canned food or high-fiber treats. But it is best not to introduce too many changes at the same time.
Routines and training can also help to decrease stress, which can have a positive impact on your dog’s digestion. It can also be a nice way to bond with your pet and a good way to provide mental stimulation. “Science-based forms of training should only be used, and punishment should never be a part of training,” Lugones says. “Your family veterinarian can provide some tips on basic training, or you can consult with certified trainers and veterinary behaviorists.”
Keeping up with your dog’s veterinary medical care is also an easy way to promote normal defecation. Regular checkups can help catch issues early, so you can get ahead of them before they get out of hand.