This article was updated on October 21st, 2023
As a practicing veterinarian, I encounter dogs with constipation issues at least once a week. There are many different factors causing dogs not to poop. So how long can a dog go without pooping – and then get back to normal as if nothing happened?
Dogs can often go for 1 or 2 days without pooping and it may not be a cause for concern. Most of the time, giving your dog a little time and following our recommendations in this article will help your dog quickly get back to a normal pooping schedule.
If your dog has not pooped for 3 days or more, we recommend a vet visit.
How Long Is It OK for a Dog NOT to Poop?
It is fairly common for dogs to become constipated for a day or two. A change in your dog’s diet, physical activity, or water intake could lead to constipation but it is generally not a cause for concern.
If your dog does not eat like they should or skips a meal either because they are just a little under the weather it can delay their normal pooping schedule.
Some older dogs will have issues pooping after they start on arthritis medications. Usually after a few weeks their GI system returns to normal and their pooping schedule will also be back on track.
When Does Constipation Become a Cause for Concern?
There is no standard answer because a dog’s frequency of bowel movements will vary based on his diet, activity level, metabolism and age. What’s important for you to know is your dog’s normal, and if drastic changes take place.
It becomes a cause for concern when your dog has not pooped for 3-4 days. There are other signs of illness that can occur with constipation that should also be a concern such as :
- Not eating
- Abdominal pain
- Blood around rectum
All of these would warrant a vet visit even if it has not been 3 days since your dog last pooped.
How Often Should Dogs Poop?
Most dogs will poop at least once a day. Younger dogs, active dogs, and dogs eating diets with a lot of fiber will typically poop more often. The time that it takes for food to go from your dog eatting it to when it passes out is 6 to 8 hours. So most dogs will poop once to twice a day. If your dog is not eating this will effect them pooping. If nothing is going in, nothing is going to come out.
We Have Easy Solutions for You! 5 Tips to Help Your Dog Poop
If your dog is constipated, try the following strategies (most can be done at home) that have proven to work very well with my patients:
- Take them for a walk
- Massage their stomach
- Add fiber to their diet
- Give them a small amount of MiraLax
- Entice them to drink more by giving them ice cubes
Read our article on tips to help your dog poop faster.
Why Did My Dog Stop Pooping for So Long?
These are some of the most common reasons that your dog is not pooping.
- Dehydration: If your dog is not drinking the proper amount of water they can quickly become constipated.
- Issues with their environment: Some dogs do not like to poop in severe weather. This is something that is very commonly seen with my dogs. When we do get the rare snow day, my little dog refuses to go outside and poop on the snow.
- Foreign body obstruction
- Painful disease around their rectum such as anal gland issues or perianal hernias
- Painful orthopedic issues such as broken pelvis or hip dysplasia can cause your dog not to be able to get into a normal position to poop.
- Muscular disfunction to the hind limbs making it harder to get into a normal pooping position.
- Colon obstruction such as a mass in the colon
- Many prescriptions pain medications: Opioids are commonly given to dog for pain during surgery or to go home with after orthopedic or other very painful procedures. These medications include Tramadol and Morphine. They will cause your dog to be constipated.
There are many reasons that your dog may not be pooping, going a few days can be normal and usually, your dog will start to poop. If you notice that your dog has not pooped in a day, trying some of these tips and tricks can help stimulate your dog to want to poop and allow them to return to a normal poop schedule.
Read More About Dog Pooping Issues:
Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.