- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
If you’re lucky enough to have a dog in your life, you’ll know that poop (literally) happens. That’s a fact. But how often should dogs and puppies poop?
Whereas it’s normal for puppies to poop up to five times a day (possibly more, the younger they are), adult dogs need to go number two less frequently. Read on for tips on how many times a day dogs poop, when they are most likely to poop, and what to do if your dog or puppy is experiencing health issues around poop.
How Often Do Puppies Poop? What About Adult Dogs?
Times Per Day
There are some basic rules of thumb about poop frequency. In general, a dog should move their bowels at least once a day. Many will go two or three times a day on the regular, but if you’re wondering how often do puppies poop, it’s closer to five times a day.
But if your dog is pooping more than that, don’t panic! As long as your dog’s stool is solid, of an even consistency, and doesn’t contain blood—that’s probably normal for them. In fact, young dogs like puppies, poop more than three times a day due to a high metabolism, a large intake of food, and squeaky clean intestines.
If you find that your dog or puppy is pooping multiple times a day and their poop is runny, unformed, or contains blood, keep an eye on things and check in with your vet if the issue is not resolving within 48 hours.
How Often Do Puppies Poop: Potty Training
Whether pooping or peeing, expect to take your puppy out frequently. In fact, you will start your day, end the evening, and go out often in between, for potty breaks in the beginning.
And while taking your pup out after waking up and before going to bed is pretty standard, what about those in between times? When they’re quite young, going outside for a potty break is good to plan for after meals, naps, playtimes, and before you head out.
It’s important to develop a schedule when you start to potty train, and to reward your puppy when they go outside, so that they connect waiting with something positive for doing their business in the correct place. It can also be helpful to return to the same outdoor spot to develop routine. Additionally, you may also want to consider crate training your puppy as they learn to get the hang of bathroom etiquette.
Time of Day
As mentioned above, whether your puppy is going number one or number two, you’ll both be going outside often during the day. As a general rule of thumb, up until they’re 8 months old puppies can hold their urine about one hour per month of age plus one. So, a 3-month-old puppy can go four hours before they’ll really need a pee break.
However, for adults, you could set a clock by the regularity of some dog’s bowels. In general, expect that they will need to poop 8-12 hours after digesting their previous meal. For many dogs, that works out to be mornings and evenings. The truth is, though, that every dog poops a little differently. Whatever time of day they regularly go is what’s normal for them.
If your dog is slow to get down to business, try taking them for a walk. Most dogs poop more easily on a walk because exercise makes food move faster through the large intestine. You could also attempt to encourage their bowel movements by pairing them with a cue like “Go poop!”
Just like humans, it’s not unusual for your dog to occasionally have to poop at random or unexpected times. This may be stress-related or it may simply come down to how much food they got at their last meal (yeah, we saw you slip your pup a table scrap or two at dinner!). If your dog has eaten more food than normal, or foods that are not part of their regular diet, expect that they’ll need an extra walk to take care of business.
Health Issue #1: Diarrhea
Diarrhea is one pooping behavior, especially in puppies, that you are bound to encounter as a dog parent. (Sorry!)
Diarrhea can not only dehydrate your pup but, chances are that if their poop is irregular, they aren’t feeling well either. Remember that your puppy going potty more frequently than an adult dog, and passing formed stools, is likely normal—and this is different than a puppy needing frequent outings due to loose or watery stools. If your dog is otherwise happy and energetic after experiencing a bout of diarrhea, then this occurrence is likely a one-off.
However, if appetite and energy are affected, and the diarrhea continues, then it’s time to take next steps: try binding things up by switching your dog to a temporary bland diet of chicken and rice or cottage cheese and rice. If excessive pooping goes on for more than 24-48 hours, check in with your vet.
Health Issue #2: Constipation
While doggy pooping behavior often tends towards diarrhea or excessive pooping, the opposite is also common. Dogs who are constipated may need a little extra help from the humans to get the plumbing working again.
If your dog is constipated, try adding extra fiber to their diet either temporarily or permanently. Canned pumpkin, wheat bran or Metamucil (which is safe for pups) can be easily mixed with either dry kibble or wet food. Another way to grease the gears is increasing exercise. Physical activity gets food moving through the digestive system more quickly.
If neither of these adjustments solve the problem, there may be something more serious going on. Dogs are prone to inflammation of the ducts of the anal sacs which can make it difficult and painful for them to poop. If you’ve noticed your dog scooting on their rear, their anal sacs may need to be cleared. Both vets and groomers can “express” the anal glands to unblock them.
A vet can also provide other care—including dog-safe laxatives, enemas, suppositories or a prescription diet—to relieve either chronic or acute constipation. If your dog still hasn’t pooped after increasing fiber and exercise, check in with your vet to find out what they recommend.
How Often Do Puppies Poop (and Adult Dogs) Bottom Line
For new puppy parents, expect your puppy to poop around five times a day. As your puppy grows and becomes an adult doggy, with the help of a schedule and routine, frequency will taper off to one to three times a day, depending on your dog.
However, it’s not just quantity that matters, it’s also quality! Being regular is as important for dogs as it is for their people, and solid, even consistency poops are the goal. Be sure to contact your veterinarian if your puppy or dog has blood in their stool, diarrhea beyond 24-48 hours, or inability to poop after adding fiber and increasing exercise.