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How Long Can dogs hold their poop?

How Long Can dogs hold their poop?

Dog poop is one of the biggest problems that dog owners must deal with daily. No one wants to step in it, smell it, or clean up after their pet. It’s also no fun for our dogs when they need to go but can’t get to where they need to relieve themselves.

Luckily, there are some simple ways you can help your dog learn how long they can hold their poop and help them go to the bathroom when they need to.

How long can dogs hold their poop?

On average, adult dogs can usually last about 8 hours before needing to find relief. You can also help your dog last longer by feeding them small meals throughout the day instead of bigger ones that they might not be able to fully digest before needing to go.

Don’t worry if your dog does not have a bowel movement for 24 hours. However, if the dog goes two to three days without a bowel movement, it is constipated and you may need to consult your vet.

For owners that often keep the dog in a crate, make sure the pup has enough room to lay down comfortably and stretch out. If your dog is having a difficult time holding it when in the crate, try giving it something more comfortable to lay on, like an old towel or blanket with some padding underneath. You may need to wash this often if your pet is struggling with retaining eliminations. At least it will allow the dog to feel more relaxed when in the cage, so its body isn’t tense when trying to hold it.

If you are trying to train your dog how long they can hold their poop, then mark the time that they eliminate with a special phrase or word that lets them know that it’s time to go to the bathroom. When they do have an accident, simply clean it up without being loud or drawing attention to what has happened.

How long can dogs hold their poop at night?

If you have a dog that wakes you up in the middle of the night to go outside, then it might not be fully housebroken yet. Some dogs will hold it all night until they wake up and take them outside for their morning walk. If your dog constantly goes to the bathroom inside at night, this may be a sign that there are health problems.

It can also be a little more difficult for senior dogs or those with mobility issues to get around at night. Therefore, they might not be able to hold it all night long and may even need to get up several times throughout the night. If this is the case, you can set up potty pads nearby.

Dogs that are more independent and think for themselves will be more difficult to housebreak than those that need constant attention and direction from their owner. For this reason, you may need to take your dog out for frequent walks throughout the day so they don’t make any mistakes inside the home at night.

You can help your dog last longer by feeding them smaller meals throughout the day instead of one big meal that takes too much energy to digest. If you feed them less food, then there isn’t as much poop for them to release once it’s time to go.

Try to feed your dog its evening meal at least two hours before bedtime so that they have time to digest it fully by the time they are ready to go to sleep. This will help to eliminate having accidents overnight.

What happens if a dog holds their poop for too long?

A dog that is holding its poop for a very long time will eventually get sick because of the bacteria building up inside its intestines. If they have an accident inside, then you need to clean the mess right away. Otherwise, the smell will linger around to entice your pup into making another mistake.

If a dog goes too long without making a bowel movement, it means they need more fiber in their diet. Some dogs may start to get constipated if they don’t eat enough high-fiber foods, so you must find something that agrees with them and helps them go regularly. This can be especially true for senior dogs who are starting to lose their teeth and have trouble chewing hard dog food.

Ideally, our furry friends should be allowed out about 3 times a day if possible. Make sure when they relieve themselves outside that you mark it with an action like saying “go potty” or whatever works best for you and try not to get mad when there are accidents inside.

How long does it take for dogs to digest food?

Dogs typically need 4 to 12 hours to digest one meal of food. The breed and type of food eaten also affect digestion time.

If you feed your canine three meals daily instead of one big bowl of food, their digestion can be spread out over 12 hours instead of 4. As a result, they won’t need to poop for another 6-8 hours after their last meal if it was small enough.

How often should I take my dog out to poop?

Feed your dog several smaller meals throughout the day instead of one big bowl so they aren’t as hungry and don’t need to poop as often. If you limit their food to 3 small meals during the day, then chances are good that they will only eliminate it once every 12-18 hours. It may be even less than that if their meal is very small or high in fiber, like fruits or vegetables that make them feel full longer.

Some people take their dogs out every 2-3 hours because this is what makes them comfortable. Realistically, a dog can hold their poop for 1-2 days without issues as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation during the day.

What are signs that your dog has to go poop?

Your dog will often make it obvious that they can no longer hold out on going to the bathroom. Symptoms that can indicate a dog needs to poop include:

  • Circling
  • Sniffing around the floor with their nose low to the ground
  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Laying down and getting up repeatedly
  • Following you from room to room as if they are looking for an escape route
  • Panting even though they aren’t hot
  • Restlessness and possibly pooping or peeing inside

Of course, this is not always the case because some dogs will hold it no matter what.

Make sure they have a regular schedule of going outside at certain times during the day and also give them a chance to go on their own without waiting too long or rushing things.

If you live in a house, consider installing a doggy door so your dog can go outside whenever it pleases, not just when you take it out.

Otherwise, your dog may not go and will start to feel uncomfortable and even desperate.

When you take them out, make sure they have adequate time to do their business without feeling rushed. If they aren’t able to go then try it again 10-15 minutes later.

Why does my dog poop so often?

Some dogs poop more than others, regardless if they are inside or outside the home with regularity.

It’s important to take notice of how often your dog poops because holding its poop for too long could lead to health issues like impacted bowels which contain poop that has dried out and hardened inside. This doesn’t mean you should rush them outside every time they drink some water or move around while standing up.

If you have more than one dog, then chances are good that your dog who poops frequently will get into the habit of your other dog’s relief. Being made to go outside before they are ready is a form of punishment according to canine psychology, so don’t let it happen on accident by not watching what you’re doing.

Normal fecal matter for most dogs is about the size of a grape and dark brown or black. If your dog’s poop is much larger, then it could be a sign that there is an obstruction in its intestinal tract and they need immediate help.


A canine’s diet also plays a role in how often your dog has to go, so watch their food intake if you suspect it could be the cause of a problem.

An active dog who is getting plenty of exercise will poop less than an indoor or inactive dog, but this doesn’t mean they can hold their poop indefinitely either.

Foods such as cheese, milk, and bread that cause gas need to be avoided if they are causing your dog distress. On the other hand, a small amount of canned pumpkin or bran does help calm an upset stomach and intestines.

Canned foods contain plenty of moisture, so they can help prevent accidents.


Sickness can also affect how often your dog has to go to the bathroom. If your dog is ill, it will probably need to poop more frequently because they aren’t absorbing all the nutrients from their food as usual. So they will defecate more often until they start to recover or improve significantly.

Any condition of the rectum that prevents stool from being held or stored in a normal manner is referred to as reservoir incontinence.

Sphincter incontinence is the inability of the anal sphincter (the muscle that closes the anal opening) to keep its position. As a result, feces will leak out.


Puppies love to play, so they will naturally rush outside when it’s time for them to poop. You should know that puppies usually have bowel movements after every single meal until they reach about four months of age. They have a fast metabolism and super clean bowels, so food passes quickly.

You need to take your puppy out quickly after each feeding session because they won’t hold it in very long even if they are playing or something else is distracting them. This is normal behavior for a young puppy who hasn’t yet learned how to hold its bowels and bladder. However, older healthy dogs can do this without any problems.

Elderly dogs find it harder to hold their poop since they usually deal with problems associated with old age such as incontinence. Make sure you watch out for this as the years pass by and adjust accordingly.