How many times a day should a dog poop? Uncomfortable question? Here we delve into to the pooping habits of dogs. Too much or too little? Too hard or too soft? Let’s investigate.
If your dog eats a consistent, healthy diet, it will poop (generally speaking) between a half hour and an hour after feeding. Some dogs will defecate once a day, others 5 times a day. How often your dog poops, depends on a variety of factors.
The most important thing to remember though, is the regularity of your dog’s toilet trips. If it poops 3 times a day every day, and suddenly poops less often or more often, it could be cause for concern.
Make yourself aware of your dog’s normal toilet habits, so that you know what is ‘normal’: Predictable (normal) habits that change, can be a signal that it’s time to see the Vet.
It’s not unusual for some dogs to poop 5 times a day, but we’ll keep this article to a dog that has a ‘normal’ habit of pooping 3 times a day as it will be easier to monitor upward or downward patterns. We’ll also assume that ‘our’ dog is fed twice daily and taken out for exercise or a walk twice a day.
What Should My Dog’s Poop Look Like?
As a dog parent, you’ll be more acquainted with your dog’s poop than you’d think; well, you are the one clearing it up every day! You’ll be familiar with the fluctuations in your dog’s faecal matter, especially in the case of the sudden onset of a case of diarrhoea.
Normal dog poop in a healthy pooch:
- Colour – Dog poop should be dark/chocolate brown in colour. Food colouring in its food will change the poop’s colour
- Shape – Dog poop should be log / sausage shaped and easy to pick up. Round droppings could indicate your dog is dehydrated
- Consistency – Poop should be compact, moist and easy to pick up – rather like Play Doh when squished
- Size – This depends on the quantity and quality of the food you feed your furry friend – particularly the fibre content. The more food consumed; the more poop will be generated
How Hard is Too Hard?
As you can see above, the consistency of normal, healthy poop should be like that of ‘Play Doh’. Harder than that and the poop will separate into rounded, pebble-like shapes that are difficult for your dog to pass (commonly known as constipation).
What makes dog poop hard?
- There is too much fibre in the diet
- Your pooch isn’t getting enough exercise
- Anal glands are infected or blocked
- Blockages in the intestinal tract such as hair, bones, plants, plastic
- Possible side-effects of medication
- Dehydration – make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water throughout the day.
How Soft is Too Soft?
Anything softer than the normal consistency of healthy poop is an indication that something is amiss. When you go to pick up your dog’s poop, you’ll notice straight away if it’s too soft. It can vary in consistency from just being softer than normal to the point of being liquid (commonly called diarrhoea).
What makes dog poop soft?
- Change of diet to one with less fibre and more fat
- Intestinal infestation such as Giardiasis or worms (see the video below)
- Stressful events
- New medication
- Drinking dirty/stagnant water
If your dog has diarrhoea or constipation for a prolonged period of time, speak to your vet.
How Often is Too Often?
How often is too often for a dog to poop? Anything more than what is ‘normal’ for your dog to poop in a day is generally considered ‘too often’. So, if your pooch produces its poop 3 times a day, anything in excess of that is too often.
What’s causing my dog to poop so often?
If you’ve been keeping a note of the normal toilet habits of your dog and see that it’s pooping more often than usual, you’ll more than likely have noticed that the poop is softer than normal – anything from sticky to runny (diarrheal). In most cases this can be due several factors, or a combination of one or more.
- Dietary recklessness – eating spoiled food, eat too much, eating rubbish
- Food intolerances / Allergies
- Rapid change in diet – it can take several days for a dog to adjust to a new brand of food
- Viral infections – Parvovirus and Distemper
- Bacterial infections – Campylobacter / Helicobacter / Salmonella
- Poison – household chemicals / human medications / plants
- Stress and/or emotional upset
How Often is Not Enough?
How often is not often enough for a dog to poop? Anything less than what is ‘normal’ for your dog to poop in a day is generally considered ‘not often enough’. So, if your pooch predictably produces its poop 3 times a day, anything less than that is not often enough.
What’s causing my dog to poop not often enough?
If you’ve been keeping a note of the normal toilet habits of your dog and see that it’s pooping less often, you’ll more than likely have noticed that the poop is harder, drier and more broken up than normal (constipation/faecal retention). Your dog may also be off its food. In most cases this can be due several factors, or a combination.
- Lack of water intake – dehydration
- Too much fibre in the diet
- Medication side-effects
- Obstruction of the intestines
- Stress and/or emotional upset
- Inadequate exercise/activity
To ensure your dog does not become dehydrated, make sure it has access to clean, fresh water at all times. A good-sized drinking bowl which is regularly topped up throughout the day, or a drinking fountain will deal with that. If your dog doesn’t like water – and some don’t – try mixing food flavouring powder in its water.
How to Make a Dog Poop Quickly
Does your pooch mooch around to find the perfect spot to poop? Giving everywhere a good sniff before choosing the right place? Listening to life going on around it?
There are occasions when you just don’t have the time to wait until your dog decides that ‘now’ is the perfect place and time. Training your dog to poop to ‘command’ can be time consuming. However, it’s time well spent. If you have to leave your four-legged friend alone for any length of time, pooping on command is a really, really useful trick.
Having made yourself aware of your dog’s normal toilet habits, such as how long it poops after eating, use this time to set up a poop on command timetable.
Start off by taking your dog to the same place, every day. It should be a quiet spot with no distractions. Your pooch will quickly learn that this is right place to do its business.
Before setting out to the regular toilet place with your dog, give it a soft and gentle belly rub. This not only stimulates the digestive tract; it will also relax your pooch. Gently massage the lower belly in a clock-wise direction.
Once at the toilet area, play with your pup; this will also stimulate its bowels and helps speed things along. Lack of exercise often leads to your dog’s bowels becoming sluggish; a regular playtime, walk, or other moving activity will keep your dog’s digestive tract healthy and moving correctly.
The major part of this training is scheduling. You know that once you’ve fed your dog, it’s going to want to poop within an hour; taking it out after ten minutes expecting it to produce, for instance, is not the best routine. Take your pooch out when you know it’s most likely to happen.
As with all training, using ‘cue’ words (such as ‘poop time’) and praising / rewarding, will teach your furry friend what’s expected of it.
As soon as your pooch squats to poop, use your cue word and once it’s finished, use praise and rewards/treats to let your dog learn to associate the cue word with its action.
Products you may wish to consider after reading this article:
Conclusion – How Many Times a Day Should a Dog Poop?
As you will have read, answering the question of ‘how many times a day should a dog poop?’, has no definitive answer. Varying factors come into play, such as age, diet, and even breed of dog.
However, being a caring pet parent, you will be monitoring your dog’s toilet habits as well as the consistency of its poop, so that you are aware that any deviation from its ‘normal’ habits and can take any necessary action.
Ensure your dog has a good-quality diet, access to water at all times, has a good exercise regime and is wormed regularly.
You may like to also read our article: How Much Water Should a Puppy Drink in a Day?
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