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While your dog’s pooping frequency might not be first (or even in the top 100) on your list of things to think about, it’s one of the most important insights into your dog’s health. Dogs tend to poop at specific frequencies depending on their age, size, and diet, and if this frequency drastically changes, it can often indicate underlying health or dietary issues.
Generally speaking, adult dogs can poop anywhere from one to three times per day, depending on their dietary habits and potty training schedule. Puppies need to poop more frequently, as much as five times per day, while elderly dogs may gradually need to poop less often. You can usually assume your dog’s routine pooping habits are normal. Still, if you notice any drastic or abrupt changes, you should investigate as soon as possible to ensure an underlying health issue isn’t causing them.
How Often Do Dogs Poop?
On average, an adult dog poops once or twice every day. Up to three times per day is considered normal, though — it all depends on your dog’s potty training habits. Puppies, meanwhile, need to poop much more often. Particularly young puppies can poop as often as five times per day, with the frequency reducing as they age and their digestive system matures.
While the frequency of your dog’s pooping can provide essential insights into their health, there’s generally nothing to be worried about as long as their routine remains consistent. Likewise, if their routine only changes to become less frequent as they grow from a puppy to an adult, you don’t need to stress about their stool habits. But if you notice abrupt changes in your dog’s potty routine, it might be time to call your veterinarian.
What Does Normal Dog Poop Look Like?
While you may be curious how many times per day are normal for your dog’s stool habits, you may wonder what a healthy dog poop looks like. Adult dog poop is solid, a little squishy, in one long piece – usually in proportion to what they just ate for breakfast or dinner. Puppies poop, on the other hand, should also be relatively firm but will come out in segments. In normal circumstances, you will notice that a dog’s stool will be chocolate brown in color. Any other color, such as green or black, may indicate internal issues.
The 5 Most Important Factors That Affect How Often Dogs Poop
1. How Frequently Your Dog Eats
The most significant factor determining how often your dog will poop is how often you feed them! It generally takes your dog between 6 to 8 hours to digest a meal, but if the portion is particularly large or small, they may digest dog food much faster or slower. As a rule of thumb, you should expect to take your dog to poop shortly after they’ve had breakfast and once for each meal they’re given afterward, assuming you offer your dog a reasonable two or three meals per day.
2. How Old Your Dog Is
Aside from the frequency at which they eat, their age is another crucial factor in how often your dog needs to poop. Puppies don’t have the same large, developed digestive systems as adults, so they often need bowel movements more frequently than adult dogs. Tiny puppies may need to poop as often as five times per day! As they age, you can expect their routine to gradually adjust to a normal one to three times per day. And as your dog grows elderly, you may notice their pooping habits become less frequent due to their sedentary behavior and slowed digestion.
3. Whether or Not Your Dog Is Potty Trained
While dogs tend to have a routine for when they need to pee and poop, if they aren’t potty trained, they may feel comfortable relieving themselves as soon as needed — resulting in significant messes around the home. When you potty train your dog, you teach them to ignore these physical urges in exchange for positive reinforcement like treats and praise.
Gradually, their body learns to wait for potty breaks instead of immediately urging them to go. If you’re worried about your untrained dog’s potty habits, starting them on a consistent potty break habit as soon as possible is one of the best things you can do to address it. While the process might initially be complicated, your dog will quickly adjust — and you’ll soon come to love the ease of having a potty-trained dog.
4. What Time of Day It Is
If your dog is potty trained on a strict schedule, you may find that they seem to automatically need to go potty at a specific time — almost like clockwork. This isn’t a coincidence. While your dog might not be consciously aware of the time of day, their internal clock can predict when the next potty break is, which allows them to hold everything in and wait for you to take them outside. If you’re unhappy with the times your dog needs to poop, you can gradually adjust their feeding and potty break times to resolve the issue directly.
5. Potential Health Issues
Lastly, one of the most decisive factors in how often a dog needs to poop is any health issues they might be experiencing. If you notice that your dog suddenly has an abrupt change in their pooping routine, it’s worth investigating whether the development of a health issue may have caused the problem. While consulting a veterinarian can be expensive, it will ensure your furry friend has the opportunity to stay happy and healthy for years to come.
There are lots of issues that can potentially cause problems with pooping, such as diarrhea. In some instances, symptoms like diarrhea can even cause other problems, like dehydration. Constipation can also be a significant issue, especially if they cannot pass the stools over several days. If left untreated for too long, it can cause serious health complications. For this reason, it’s important to investigate symptoms as soon as you notice them — especially if they abruptly develop and don’t go away.
The Bottom Line
If you have concerns that your dog is consistently going to the bathroom too much or too little, make an appointment with a veterinarian to follow up. Several factors contribute to how often your dog relieves their stool, and a dog with several normal poops per day is usually not a cause for concern.
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