Skipping a day without pooping, especially if the poop is and looks normal, is no cause for alarm in dogs, but when they go for more than 72 hours without pooping, that is something.
Most dogs poop daily, while some do it more often with bowel movements varying from dog to dog.
The frequency of the number of times a dog poops lies on the number of meals a dog has per day.
Just how long can a dog go without pooping before raising eyebrows?
Is it normal for a dog not to poop for days?
Once in a while, dogs can go without defecating, but most dogs do it 2-4 times a day.
Dogs naturally can go 12-48 hours without having the urgency of pooping.
Once a dog doesn't poop for hours close to 48 and 72, it poses threats to the dog's health, and one should seek solutions like looking for ways to make it poop or contacting a vet.
Just because the dog doesn't go to the toilet as frequently as they are used to doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong. It could be constipation.
Constipation, when lightly explained, means that a dog can't poop regularly and can pose threats.
It can be signs of the dog's dehydration, symptoms of an underlying condition, or evidence that the dog's digestion is off balance.
If ignored, constipation can become a medical emergency, although it necessarily isn't one and is a lot less common.
Extreme cases give rise to dog poops that become so hard, compacted, and dry, forcing them to stay in the digestive tract because the dog cannot simply get rid of them.
This more severe condition is called obstipation and is often related to a chronic medical condition.
What happens if a dog doesn't poop for a week?
Dogs from all over have a good reputation for not changing their pooping habits drastically.
However, there can be such changes when travelling on cold days or when the dog hasn't eaten well.
While it shouldn't constantly be happening, dogs are allowed the benefit of the doubt to not poop for a whole day. One should seek a veterinarian's opinion because more than one thing can cause it.
Unfortunately, serious health issues (like tumours or heart failure) can affect dogs immediately or take months to build up because a dog has stopped defecating.
Dogs can die days because of untreated intestinal blockages, mostly when other symptoms are missed or ignored.
Vomiting, tiredness, or coughing are just a few symptoms dogs show to seek attention. Still, if it continues for longer and is accompanied by other symptoms, immediate close observation is of prime importance.
Here are some signs to look out for in a dog who has gone without pooping:
- Holding in poop for a long while
- Straining while pooping
- Not defecating for days
- Discomfort (painful and difficult) while pooping
- Panting under normal conditions
- Growling and biting when grooming or picking up
- Hunching up to relieve pain
- Hard and compacted stool
- Passing out none or small amounts of liquid
- Blood in stools
What should I do if my dog hasn't pooped for days?
Normal digestion presents waste full of water and electrolytes pushed through the intestine to the colon by an automatic muscular motion called peristaltic waves.
Whereas the water gets absorbed in the colon, the waste is moved out as stool.
When there are complications with this process, the colon continues absorbing water making the poop drier, harder, and possibly compacted.
The signs are often hard to point out as they are perceived as minor, especially related to daily activities and behaviour.
Below are the common causes for dogs to go without pooping:
- Dehydration; the dog isn't drinking enough water
- Blockages from eating indigestible substances
- Imbalance diet; excess or inadequate fibre in the dog's diet
- Lack of exercise and physical activity for the dog
- Lack of appetite
- Old age
- Too much self-grooming leads to hair collecting in the stool, causing a blockage.
- Negative issues (fear and anxiety) to the dog's environment or drastic changes causing stress for the dog
- Among them are administering drugs that cause constipation, narcotic pain relievers, sucralfate, and diuretics.
Causes related to underlying medical conditions:
- Obstructions either in or outside the colon
- Trauma to the pelvis making it painful for the dog to squat
- Low thyroid hormone production
- Pushed on rectum caused by an enlarged prostate
- Ingested poisons that can stop blood flow to the gut and other organs
- Internal parasites affect the shape and size of the gut, causing it to fold in on itself
- Tumours around or in the digestive tract, anus, or rectum preventing defecation
- The gastric torsion that traps air in the gut causes damage to delicate tissues and, subsequently, cell death
How can I stimulate my dog to poop?
How annoying can your dog be when instead of pooping, it occupies itself with other things like sniffing bushes or isn't able to relieve itself?
It is uncanny for dogs to take a long time pooping, so it can either be your pet is curious about their surroundings and just sniffing for familiarisation, or they are constipated.
Feeding the dog canned pumpkin encourages excretion as it is high in water and fibre. Never feed dogs pumpkin puree or feel as if they contain sugar.
Canned foods help with constipation by adding natural moisture to the dog's body, helping digestion and excretion.
Adding fibre (such as spinach, broccoli, carrots, green beans, apples, and papaya) and probiotics to your dog's diet helps encourage regular bowel movements and recover healthy gut bacteria, respectively.
Chew treats that help regulate the dog's mortality and gut health, probiotic formulations, and adding goat's milk to the dog's diet work wonders.
Coconut and olive oil offer natural laxative effects and enhance a dog's metabolism assisting in healthy digestion.
Since they are calorie-dense, one can go with a tablespoon for puppies and two for big dogs.
Crucial remedies for dogs not pooping include:
Increase fibre intake: Without fibre, toxins and waste materials that should be collected and passed out through the gut are compromised, and the gut stops moving effectively.
Access to fresh water: Encouraging your dog to drink plenty of water ensures they are well hydrated.
Increase exercise: Lack of activity is a common cause of constipation. Increasing moderate exercise helps dogs in restarting their gut transit.
Ice cube: While lifting your dog's tail, place an ice cube directly on the sphincter and hold it there. Once the ice cube gets pushed out of the way, your dog can poop. Ensure to put on gloves.
Squirting stimulation: Squirting water into the anus while taking into account its pressure level and temperature helps bowel movement quickly relieve a constipated dog.
Regular deworming: This helps keep the gut healthy by ensuring no room for worms that could affect the shape of the gut and the dog.
Laxatives: A vet's opinion is required before giving a laxative solution to a dog, as other conditions like dehydration can make it unsafe.
Enema: this is an injection of fluid into the lower bowel through the rectum administered by a veterinarian to relieve constipation. This should never be done at home to avoid severe injuries.
Regular vet checkups help identify and treat other health issues that may be causing your dog not to poop before they get to the gut.
Damages to the gut wall during dangerous intestinal blockage can easily lead to something permanent.
If left untreated, a dog not pooping can create serious issues, leading to multiple procedures at high costs causing greater risks for your dog's health.
Light cases may be resolved within a few weeks with changes to diet and lifestyle, while severe cases will need a combination of treatments.
A balanced nutritious diet based on whole foods and regular exercise is a fantastic way to maintain a dog's health and gastrointestinal tract.