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Why does my dog yelp when he poops?

If your dog has ever yelped when he pooped, then you know how heartbreaking it can be to watch him suffer.  The term for the condition of painful, difficult defecation is dyschezia.

Many reasons can explain why dogs yelp in pain when pooping, some benign, some more serious. But what you want to know is, what’s going on with your dog?

Why does my dog yelp when he poops?

The bottom line is this: a dog yelps when he’s pooping because he’s in pain, and any number of things can cause that pain. Whatever is causing your dog’s pooping to be painful most likely originates in the colon or rectum, and some of the likely causes include:

  • Colon or rectum disorder
  • Anus Issues
  • Constipation
  • Knots or mats around the anus
  • Prostate issue
  • Pelvic injury or mass
  • Parasites
  • Diarrhea

Here’s a closer look at each one.

Colon or Rectum Disorder

Any obstruction, such as a tumor or polyp, may make it difficult for your dog to pass his stool. The more he tries, the more his effort becomes painful, and he will likely yelp while trying. You will need to bring him to the vet to diagnose and treat the source of his pain.

Anus Issues

Various issues involving the anus can cause painful pooping and yelping. The first thing to consider is if your dog has a polyp or tumor on his anus. Either one of these can make it difficult for him to push the stool out, therefore causing pain. It’s also possible there is a narrowing of the anal opening itself, also making defecation painful. Anal gland abscesses and infections are painful in and of themselves, but add the pushing to poop and it can be agonizing for your dog. These, plus some others, are all issues for your vet to treat.


Although not a common affliction for most dogs, constipation can be tortuous for dogs as they strain to push out the poop. Several things can cause constipation, including less water intake, changes in diet, certain medications (antihistamines and opioids), and changes in the household schedule. A serious cause of constipation is when the dog has swallowed something that has caused a blockage somewhere in his intestinal tract. If this is the case, surgical intervention will probably be necessary. On the other hand, he may have swallowed something that passes all the way through, but because of its shape, size or possible sharp edges, it may be painful when the dog tries to pass it.

Knots or Mat Around the Anus

A potential problem with non-shedding dogs is the development of knotted or matted hair around the anal area, which can cause the area to become sore and infected. In fact, this can become so horrific that it becomes impossible for the dog to push any feces out at all, causing stool to back up into his colon. This is a serious condition that needs immediate treatment.

Prostate Issue

A problem only in male dogs: infection, tumor or abscess of the prostate gland can make it painful when they try to poop.

Mass or Injury in the Pelvic Region

Any mass or injury in the pelvic area is probably going to cause the dog pain when he tries to defecate. This can include conditions such as hip dysplasia and arthritis.


A bout of diarrhea can make the dog’s anal area sore, causing him to yelp in pain in subsequent episodes. A visit to the vet is warranted if your dog still has diarrhea after you’ve introduced a bland diet.

What to do about my dog crying when pooping?

Listed below are things you can do if your dog cries while pooping.

  1. Review his drinking habits and make sure he is getting enough fluid.
  2. Make sure he eats high quality food.
  3. Keep him on a consistent schedule.
  4. Pay close attention to his behavior during his attempts to poop.
  5. If he passes stool, collect a sample to take to your vet.
  6. If he vomits, passes blood or mucous in the stool, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible, or take him to an emergency clinic.

How to collect your dog’s stool sample:

  1. Collect a teaspoon or more of stool.
  2. Put the stool into a clean container.
  3. Refrigerate the stool.
  4. Be sure not to freeze the sample.
  5. Get the sample to the vet within 24 hours.
  6. Try to get an appointment for your dog at the same time as you bring in the stool sample.

At the vet

Your poor dog needs help and relief and hopefully he will get it at his vet visit. You should be prepared to discuss details about your dog’s condition, such as: when he poops, how loud he cries or yelps, any changes in his diet, other behavior changes you’ve noticed, how much he drinks, whether he has vomited, if he’s lethargic, or anything else out of the ordinary for your dog. Then, you can expect that the vet will examine and test the stool sample and perform other diagnostic tests including blood work and possibly ultrasound if a blockage is suspected. If the issue appears to be a blockage, surgery would be necessary. In simpler cases, medication may be all that is necessary.

Why does my dog cry when he needs to poop?

Dogs are smarter than most of us give them credit for. I have a dog who occasionally gets a muscle cramp, and she will hold her head sideways all day to prevent any pain from happening again. Dogs who have had pain when they poop may yelp before they actually begin to poop. This is because they have come to associate pain with pooping.

Also, whatever is causing the pain during defecation may be painful in and by itself. An anal abscess is extremely painful. Tumors or masses may also be painful. If the dog’s issue is due to illness or a blockage, he probably doesn’t feel well, which could also cause him to cry.

Prevention of Painful Pooping

The best cure is prevention and there are things you can do to keep your dog’s bowel movements pain free from constipation. Some of these include:

  • Feed him high-fiber, high-quality food.
  • Include protein in his diet.
  • Avoid feeding table scraps.
  • Keep smaller items he could get hold of and chew out of reach.
  • Always keep a bowl of fresh water available.
  • Be aware of any changes in his poop and poop habits.