You may not give much thought to your dog’s poop, but from a medical standpoint, it can provide valuable insight into their overall health. Keeping track of what your dog’s stool looks like, how frequently they defecate, and their specific habits can quickly alert you to potential health issues. How often, on the other hand, should your dog poop?
Most adult dogs poop once daily on average, though some dogs poop twice or three times per day. On the other hand, Puppies may require more frequent bathroom breaks, up to five times per day or more.
In general, the frequency with which their life stage determines dogs’ poop:
While your dog may have their patterns, any change in consistency should be noted. If your dog is used to pooping once a day and suddenly starts pooping three or four times a day, there’s a reason for it. It could be as simple as changing your dog’s diet or exercise routine, but it could also indicate a health issue that needs to be addressed.
According to experts, your dog’s doctor will examine their stool sample for the four C’s:
Your veterinarian will expect a healthy brown stool resembling a tootsie roll. The bile used by your puppy’s digestive system to break down the food they eat gives healthy stool its brown color. The color may vary depending on your pup’s food and how well hydrated they are. Suppose your veterinarian notices black stool, possible upper GI tract bleeding, stool with red streaks, likely lower GI tract bleeding, or stool that is gray or yellow like clay, pancreas or gallbladder issues. In that case, they may express concern and order additional tests to determine the exact cause.
Vets use a similar scale to the Bristol stool scale for humans for our pups. The scale ranges from 1 small hard pellets to 7 large hard pellets or loose runny unformed stool. Ironically, the best poop consistency for your dog is number 2! While having super hard or soft stool now and then is not a major cause for concern if everything else is normal, you should have your pup checked out if their stool is consistently hard or soft or if you notice other symptoms.
While your veterinarian may not expect you to dig in your dog’s poop, someone on their staff will! They are looking for fur, foreign materials, and parasites such as worms. Because your dog poops outside, it is critical to obtain a fresh sample that is not contaminated by outdoor pests or other contaminants.
Your dog’s poop should be free of any coating. You should be able to easily pick it up off the ground or grass without making too much of a mess. A mucous coating on your dog’s poop could indicate large bowel inflammation or diarrhea. If you notice a small amount of blood in your dog’s poop, it could be due to straining. If you see it more than once, contact your veterinarian!
Most dogs poop about 30 minutes after eating or as soon as they wake up. These are both excellent times to schedule walks or exercise for your dog. Of course, every dog has a different schedule, so you’ll have to figure out what works best for yours.
Most dogs require 8-12 hours to fully digest a meal, with puppies digesting food faster than older dogs. A smaller meal will also be digested faster by your dog than a larger meal. So, if you feed your dog twice a day, it will most likely have to defecate twice a day.
Going several times a day may be expected if your dog is always a frequent pooper. However, if they suddenly need to go more frequently, or if the need appears to be urgent, there may be an underlying medical issue.
Similar to pooping too frequently, not pooping frequently enough can indicate a health problem. It’s not as concerning if your dog skips poop but isn’t straining. However, if your dog is straining to poop and not producing any stool, or if the stool is firmer than usual, it may be constipated.
A variety of factors, including dehydration, can cause constipation. Consult your veterinarian to see if there is an underlying cause. Unless your veterinarian recommends it, do not try to treat constipation in your dog with a laxative. Even dog-safe laxatives can have unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea.
Extra or missed poop is usually not a cause for concern. Several factors influence your dog’s elimination habits, including their diet, how frequently they eat, getting extra snacks, raiding the trash, how much exercise they get, stress, and the household schedule.
Any deviation from the norm that lasts more than a day or two should be investigated. The same is true for the stool: any change in color, odor, or consistency may indicate something is wrong.
When unsure whether something is normal, take careful notes, even keeping a diary may be beneficial and consult with your veterinarian.
If your dog appears to be suffering from constipation or diarrhea, you should first consult your veterinarian. They will assist you in diagnosing the problem and determining a solution.
You can try some home remedies for dogs who have diarrhea. This is not meant to starve your dog, but denying them food for 12 hours should allow their tract to settle and their stool to firm up. Another option is to switch them to sensitive stomach dog food to help alleviate any issues with their digestive health.
If your dog appears to be constipated, you should look for high-fiber food and encourage them to drink more fluids; fluids help to keep things moving. This should help things return to normal and restore a healthy balance. Exercise is also a great way to help food move through the intestine more quickly, so going for a walk or playing in the garden can help.
Walking your dog too frequently is nearly impossible unless you have a medical reason, such as arthritis or mobility issues. If you want to time walks or let your dog out for when they are most likely to poop, you should do so at least twice daily, about 30 minutes after meals.
Following that, it’s always a good idea to look for and pick up the poop. This keeps the yard or street clean and allows you to detect changes in smell, color, and consistency.
The most important thing is to understand what is normal for your dog and watch for any changes. If you notice any changes, keep track of them and notify your veterinarian.