You’ve walked and walked and walked, but your dog just isn’t going. Whether this is a one-off situation or habitual, it can be frustrating. What do you do when your dog just won’t poop? 

Let’s take a look at the common reasons a dog won’t use the bathroom–and the best solutions for the chore.

Why does my dog take a long time to poop?

When a dog needs to poop is variable, but most people find that their dogs will poop after a fairly moderate walk. So, if your dog isn’t pooping within the first fifteen to thirty minutes of a walk, you might be wondering what’s up. Here are the most common reasons.

Your Dog Isn’t Being Walked Long Enough

For at least some part, the process of digestion is a physical one. The more activity your dog gets, the more likely it is to need to poop. Most dogs need at least fifteen minutes of walking time every walk and should have at least thirty to forty-five minutes of walking time a day. That’s not just for pooping and peeing but also general health.

It’s possible to lose track of time when walking. If you usually go the same routes over and over, it’s possible that you’ve gotten faster or that you’ve started skipping sections and just aren’t walking your dog long enough anymore. Time your walks and stay out for a decent amount of time to make sure that your dog is getting the time it needs to use the bathroom.

Your Dog Feels Vulnerable

Dogs aren’t going to poop unless they feel safe. That’s why your dog will usually look to you when it’s pooping. It’s trying to make sure someone else is keeping watch. Pooping and eating are the two times when a dog is most vulnerable, aside from sleep. At these times, it usually wants to know that someone else is making sure that it’s safe.

If your dog feels vulnerable, make suer to take it to quiet spots that are out of the way and away from other dogs to poop. Your dog is not likely to poop around other dogs that it doesn’t know unless it really has to. It may not want to poop around areas with a lot of car traffic or a lot of people around, either.

Your Dog is Too Close

Conversely, some dogs are shy poopers. They don’t want to poop too close to another person. Pooping too close means that they don’t feel safe.

If your dog is one of these, a short (six foot) leash might not be a good idea because your dog might not be able to get far enough away from you to feel comfortable. So, your dog will hold off on pooping because it feels like it’s too close to other people.

Getting a longer leash and letting your dog farther out on the leash when in a safe area (such as a park) may encourage your dog to poop. Avoid retractable leashes. While convenient, they actually injure a lot of dogs.

Your Dog is Constipated

If your dog appears to try to go but then can’t go, it’s probably constipated.

Constipation can happen for many reasons. New food, new medications, stress, and more. But constipation is a serious problem. If your dog remains constipated for more than a day, you need to take it to the vet. This can quickly become a bowel blockage which will lead to invasive (and expensive) surgeries.

Also keep in mind that diarrhea can look a lot like constipation because you might not see anything come out of your dog. This is equally dangerous because your dog can become dehydrated quickly.

Your Dog Doesn’t Want to Go Back

If your dog has learned that you go back to your home once your dog has pooped, it’s possible that your dog is actually holding it in! Smarter dogs will lengthen their walks by not pooping until they want to go home, which can mean that you’re going to go on a pretty long walk with them. This usually only happens if you’re in the habit of doubling back once your dog has gone to the bathroom; your dog will notice.

Your Dog Just Doesn’t Need to Go

It’s always possible your dog doesn’t need to go yet or has gone and you didn’t know, which is often the case if you have a doggy door. If you’re concerned that your dog is taking a long time to poop, you should watch your dog between the periods of feeding them and taking them for a walk. It’s possible they actually are pooping fast but you just haven’t noticed.

How can I get my dog to poop faster?

For the most part, your dog is going to poop when it needs to poop. It’s healthy to wait until your dog actually needs to go. While it may be more convenient for you to rush your dog, it’s really not realistic for the dog or helpful to them. Imagine if you only had specific times you were allowed to go to the bathroom. 

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things you can do to make the process easier:

Don’t go back immediately after your dog has pooped

This is a sure-fire way to train your dog to avoid pooping because it knows that the walk is over. While it may seem contrary to your desires, keep walking at least a few minutes after your dog has pooped. And remember, a dog walk isn’t just for bathroom breaks. It’s healthy for your dog’s exercise and mental stimulation.

Have a more rigorous walk.

If you’re walking on the sidewalk sedately, your dog may not be digesting well. Consider picking up the pace a little or going through a challenging hike, that will give your dog a little more movement and make it more likely that your dog will poop. 

Time it right

Usually, dogs need to poop most after they’ve just eaten, as the process of eating stimulates the digestive process. Time when your dog usually poops after a meal and try to get the timing of your walk accurate to this timing.

Get the right food

If your dog appears to be constipated multiple times, it’s possible they have too much fiber in their diet or their food otherwise isn’t working for them. Look for a healthy digestion blend.

How long should I wait for my dog to poop?

Most dogs should poop within half an hour if they need to poop. If they haven’t gone by this time, it could be best to take your dog back to the house and try to walk them again later.

If you’re concerned that your dog is going to use the bathroom in the house later, one thing you can do is teach your dog to ring a bell when it wants to go out. You can pattern this behavior by using its paw to ring a bell on the door every time you leave for a walk. Eventually, most dogs will connect that the ringing bell means a walk, and will start to ring the bell when they need to go out.

Why does my dog watch me when it poops?

Your dog is trying to make sure you’re still there and that you haven’t left.

Dogs can feel nervous when they are pooping because they are vulnerable to other animals. They want to know someone is watching. In the wild, animals like dogs have entire packs, and they watch over each other when they are in danger. 

You are your dog’s pack, so your dog looks to you to make sure you’re paying attention. Watch over your dog and it will be a far less nervous pooper.

Why does my dog poop for a long time?

This can be a dietary issue. If your dog is straining to poop, pooping very frequently, or pooping for a long time, it could be that your dog is constipated or having other problems. Changing your dog’s food with a vet’s advice is advised in this situation.

You can tell a lot about the health of your dog from the amount it poops and how frequently. Any changes in your dog’s pooping habits can also be very serious because it can indicate digestive problems, which can become problematic quite fast.

If you want to make sure your dog remains healthy, you’ll make sure your dog is pooping healthy–and that can take some observation and time.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.