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How often should my dog poo?

Jun 19, 2023

Duncan Houston

The frequency and consistency of your dog's bowel movements can provide valuable insights into their health. A healthy adult dog typically has a bowel movement once or twice a day, but puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with health problems might deviate from this pattern. It's essential to know what's normal for your dog and to stay alert for any changes, as they could indicate health issues that need a veterinarian's attention.

If your dog starts to defecate more frequently, there are several potential causes:

1. **Dietary Changes**: If you've recently changed your dog's diet, this could be the reason. Some foods, particularly those high in fiber, can result in more frequent defecation.

2. **Dietary Indiscretion**: Sometimes dogs consume things they shouldn't, and this can irritate their digestive system, leading to increased defecation.

3. **Parasites**: Intestinal parasites like worms can cause your dog to defecate more frequently.

4. **Infections**: Bacterial or viral infections in the gastrointestinal tract can also trigger increased bowel movements.

5. **Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)**: This chronic condition inflames the intestines and can lead to frequent bowel movements.

6. **Hyperthyroidism**: Although rare in dogs, it can result in the thyroid gland producing too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms can include increased appetite, weight loss, and frequent bowel movements.

7. **Food Allergies or Intolerances**: Some dogs are allergic or intolerant to certain ingredients in their food, leading to increased defecation.

8. **Colitis**: Inflammation of the colon can lead to frequent, small amounts of feces, sometimes with mucus or blood.

Conversely, if your dog is pooping less often than usual, it could be due to:

1. **Constipation**: This common issue in dogs can be caused by dehydration, a low-fiber diet, lack of exercise, or the ingestion of hair or foreign material.

2. **Obstruction**: Obstructions in the digestive tract, caused by foreign objects, tumors, or severe constipation, can reduce or stop bowel movements. This is a serious condition requiring immediate veterinary attention.

3. **Dietary Changes**: Just like certain dietary changes can lead to increased defecation, others can result in less frequent bowel movements.

4. **Medications**: Some medications can affect the frequency of bowel movements.

5. **Illness or Disease**: Certain illnesses or diseases can decrease a dog's appetite and, consequently, the frequency of their bowel movements.

6. **Stress or Behavioral Issues**: Changes in a dog's environment can lead to stress, which can affect their bowel habits.

7. **Dehydration**: Without sufficient water intake, stool can harden and make defecation less frequent.

Any significant changes in your dog's bowel movements - whether an increase or decrease - warrant attention. If you notice such changes, especially if accompanied by other signs of illness like changes in appetite or behavior, weight loss, or vomiting, it's crucial to consult a veterinarian promptly. Your dog's health and wellbeing may depend on it.