It’s far from the most glamorous topic, but it’s one dog owners should understand. Knowing how your dog’s digestive system operates can help you know what to expect in potty training and beyond.
How long after eating does a dog poop?
There are many factors that influence when a dog poops. Some are on a schedule, and will poop once or twice a day at the same time. Young puppies will need to poop after each meal. It’s also difficult to determine how long it takes for a meal to make its way through the digestive tract.
How Long Does It Take to Go From Food to Poop?
A dog’s small intestine makes up 25% of their gastrointestinal tract, which is similar in proportion to people’s. Food moves through the stomach slower for dogs than humans, but it moves through the intestines faster.
Food moves through the digestive tract in 6 to 8 hours for most dogs. However, there are many factors that affect how quickly food moves through the digestive system. It can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours. This is three times as fast as a human, which takes 20 to 30 hours.
This means that 6 to 8 hours after your dog eats a meal, they will need to pass the waste from the meal.
Factors That Influence Digestion Time
You probably aren’t timing your dogs meals to determine when they might poop, but it can still be helpful to have an idea of how long it takes them to digest a meal.
Size is one of the biggest factors in digestion time. Larger dogs take longer to digest food, perhaps because they require larger amounts. Large breed dogs can require 8 to 12 hours to digest a meal and poop.
Small dogs, on the other hand, can digest a meal in just 4 hours. Puppies also digest their food in about 4 hours.
Exercise also affects digestion. If your dog is active, they will digest food faster because they need the calories it offers.
The last factor to consider is what your dog is eating. Grains and high fiber foods take longer to digest than protein. Wet food is digested faster than dry food, because it has a high water content.
You may find that your dog actually craves certain foods at different times, depending on the needs of their digestive system.
Do dogs poop after every meal?
There’s not a concrete answer to this question. Some dogs do poop after every meal, while others may only poop once a day. It depends on the age of your dog, their size, activity level, and how many meals they eat each day.
Puppies require 3 to 4 small meals a day. Since they poop about 4 hours after eating, it’s possible for them to poop after each meal.
It’s also possible for large dogs to poop after each meal. If you feed a large dog twice a day, 10 to 12 hours apart, they may naturally need to poop after each meal.
Why do Dogs Poop After Meals?
It may seem as if your dog poops within thirty minutes of eating a meal, leaving you wondering how they can digest it so fast. However, this isn’t actually the case.
Think of your dog’s digestive system like an assembly line. Food goes in. The digestion process starts in the stomach. Then it moves to the small intestines.
At this point, your dog may eat their next meal. This meal makes its way to the stomach. Soon after, the meal that was in the intestines is ready to come out as poop. The second meal goes into the intestines, and the process repeats.
Another factor in how long it takes your dog to poop is digestibility. Most commercial foods are at least 75% digestibility. This means that 25% of the food they consume will come out as waste. High quality foods have about 82% digestibility. This means 18% will eventually come out as poop.
This may seem trivial, but high quality dog food results in approximately 30% less poop. This means they may have to poop less often, and will have lower overall volume. If you are poop scooping piles, it’s something to be aware of.
How long to wait to take a dog out after pooping?
It depends on your dog’s size, breed, activity level, and their habits. The way that a dog’s digestive system works means that they may need to poop a few hours after their last poop or many hours.
If your dog poops in the morning, you can expect them to poop again 4-8 hours after breakfast. A general rule of thumb is to take them out first thing in the morning and before bed. However, many dogs also need a midday poop.
How Long After Eating Do Dogs Poop?
Puppies should be taken out between 5 and 30 minutes after they eat. The younger the puppy, the quicker they should be taken outside. If your adult dog prefers to poop after meals, take them out 20 to 30 minutes after they’ve eaten.
What is the longest a dog can wait to poop after eating?
This varies by age, breed, and size as well. There’s also a huge difference between how long a dog can hold their poop, and how long they should hold their poop. Just like humans, dogs can experience constipation.
The Rule of Thumb
Poop scheduling varies greatly from dog to dog, just like the rituals involved in pooping. However, there is a basic rule of thumb.
Puppies can be expected to hold pee and poop for one hour for every month of age. To get the maximum length of time, add one to this.
So a 3-month-old puppy would ideally get a bathroom break at least every 3 hours. They should not be expected to hold their poop for more than 4 hours.
As dogs mature, they reach a maximum hold time of 8 hours at 8 months of age. Senior dogs are similar to puppies. They can’t hold it as long as an adult dog. How long they can hold it is highly individual, but it’s best to assume they can’t hold it more than 4 to 5 hours.
What if They Didn’t Poop?
You are getting ready for work, and take your dog out to potty. You realize they didn’t poop, but you have to get to work. You’ll be gone for 8 hours. Will your dog be able to hold it? Is it safe for them?
Dogs can hold their poop much longer than their pee. As long as an adult dog is pooping once every 24 hours, OK. Of course, it isn’t ideal, but it shouldn’t cause any harm. So if your dog pees but doesn’t poop, it is still OK to leave them alone.
What if your dog hasn’t pooped in over 24 hours. Should you be concerned?
There’s no need to be concerned if your dog hasn’t pooped for over 24 hours, but you do need to monitor them. If they haven’t pooped in 48 hours, they are constipated.
If your dog strains or whines while pooping, this is a sign of constipation as well. You’ve likely experienced the same thing at some point.
Your dog may also squat to poop and then start walking again. If you’ve ever raced in the bathroom only to be unable to make anything happen, you know the feeling.
Take a good look at your dog’s poop when they do manage it. If it is very hard and compact, this is also a sign of constipation.
Consistency Over Quanity
As long as your dog is pooping once a day, they are within the normal range. However, it’s important to know how often your dog typically poops. If they normally poop 4 times a day, but are suddenly pooping once a day, they may be constipated.
If they typically poop twice a day and suddenly begin pooping 5 times a day, this also warrants investigation.
You can expect your dog’s poop habits to change as they age, particularly from puppyhood to adult and from adult to senior. However, any time your dog has a major change in the frequency of their poop, it’s a good idea to check in with your vet.
Getting Your Dog to Poop
If your dog is constipated, you may be able to handle the issue yourself. Canned pumpkin contains lots of fiber, which may be all they need to get things moving again. Be sure to get plain pumpkin, and not pie filling. Add a few tablespoons to each meal with your dog’s food.
You may also need to increase your dog’s activity level. Exercise helps food move through the digestive tract, which can help them poop.
If you try these methods and your dog is still struggling to poop, you’ll need to take them to the vet. There are potential medical causes including enlarged anal glands and tumors. You may also need to change your dog’s diet.