My Dog Poops a Lot More Than Usual
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For first time dog guardians, the amount a dog will defecate each day can seem to be a lot. Especially when they are a puppy, needing to go up to 5 times a day is considered normal. Once we have trained our dog to defecate and urinate outside the home, we are able to both able to monitor the state of their feces and its frequency. When a dog defecates more than 5 times a day, especially if they cannot wait to be outside to do so, it should be a cause for concern.
At AnimalWised, we explain why my dog poops a lot more than usual. We discuss the causes of why a dog is pooping excessively and what action should be taken to remedy the problem.
How many times a day should a dog poop?
If you suspect your dog is pooping a lot more than usual, it is important to know what to expect in the first place. While we can give a general amount of defecations as up to 5 times per day, this can vary according to certain factors. Age, weight, amount of daily food intake, degree of hydration, amount of exercise and other factors contribute to a dog's bowel movements.
An increase in the frequency of a dog's pooping often coincides with diarrhea. For this reason, the appearance of the stools needs to be taken into account. We need to look for signs of parasites, blood in their feces, changes in consistency and even the smell of the dog's feces will help us to know why they are pooping more.
If the stool has become soft to the pint it is almost liquid, this means they have diarrhea. Diarrhea is a symptom of various pathologies, some more serious than others. While a dog may have diarrhea every once in a while, if the problem persists for more than 24 hours, you should take them to a veterinarian for a checkup. A dog has diarrhea because there is excess water in their stool, increasing frequency and changing its consistency.
Diarrhea in dogs can derive from both the large or small intestine. An increase in bowel movements can occur with both types, but it is generally more common with large intestine diarrhea. This can result in different types of dog diarrhea.
How many times a day does a puppy poop?
Young dogs tend to defecate more than adults due to their small size, their greater energy needs, their high activity and their faster metabolism. All these combine to increase intestinal transit. For this reason, if you wonder if it is normal for your puppy to defecate 6 times a day, it can be normal. However, diarrhea is not normal and if the puppy shows any other signs of illness, they need to be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
Why does my dog poop a lot?
We have stated that the increase in the frequency of defecation of a dog can be due to many factors. Some of these can be due to the amount of fiber in their diet, increased water consumption or exercising more. In these cases, the dog should still not defecate more than 5 times a day.
Age can affect how much a dog poops, but this usually decreases their frequency. Senior dogs have a reduced movement and, therefore, do not have the same intestinal transit. Senior dogs, however, have a weaker immune system than younger dogs, so diarrhea can be more common.
Color changes can also indicate the dog is suffering from large intestine diarrhea. Take a look at our article on why your dog's poop is yellow to learn more.
Large intestine diarrhea in dogs: causes and symptoms
Large intestine diarrhea occurs when the absorption of the volume of water from the stool of the colon is decreased. This results in stools not forming properly. It can even cause mucus or traces of blood to appear in the bowel movement. These may be due to:
- Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis)
- Hookworm colitis
- Salmonella, Campylobacter and Costridium enterocolitis
- Lymphoplasmacytic colitis
- Granulomatous colitis
- Eosinophilic colitis
- Ulcerative-histiocytic colitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
- Colorectal polyp
- Colonic cancer
- Colitis secondary to kidney, liver, biliary, or thyroid disease
- Abrasive colitis (from intoxication)
- Perineal hernia
- Perianal tumor
Unlike small intestine diarrhea, dogs do not usually have significant changes to their appearance. They do not tend to lose weight as they have already absorbed nutrients from the food in the small intestine. However, if a dog does suffer frequent cases of large intestine diarrhea, they may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain when defecating (disquecia)
- Difficulty defecation (tenesmus)
- Mucus in stool
- Fresh blood in the stool (hematochezia)
- Abdominal pain
- Small stools in the home
- Increased stool volume
Take a look at our article on chronic malabsorption in dogs to better understand what can happen when a dog's intestines do not function properly.
Why does my dog poop a lot at night?
Unfortunately, if a dog experiences increases their bowel movement frequency, but does not have access to the outside, it means they will have to defecate inside the home. This can make diagnosis tricky as we often are asleep at this time and unable to observe their behavior. If you wonder why your dog poops a lot at night, it may correspond to these 4 main reasons:
- Age: puppies can defecate and urinate around the house if they have not been educated properly. You have to be patient because each dog is different and they have different rates of learning.
- Fecal incontinence: various conditions can affect the external anal sphincter that controls defecation. These include cauda equina or other spinal and nerve disorders, as well as muscle damage, perianal fistula, certain drugs and parasites.
- Stress or insecurity: if your dog detects something that makes them stressed at night or is insecure because they were just separated from the mother, it can cause them to defecate a lot at night.
- Large intestine diarrhea: as we have seen, large intestine diarrhea causes an increase of more than 5 bowel movements a day.
If your dog has trouble peeing and pooping inside the home, you can take a look at our video below for information on causes and treatment:
What to do if my dog is pooping excessively?
If we have a very active puppy, it is normal for them to defecate several times a day. However, if these stools become liquid and indicate diarrhea of the puppy's large intestine, we should know this will need treatment. Excessive pooping is even more dangerous for puppies than adult dogs. This is because their immunity is lower and they are at greater risk of infection. If the dog has not been vaccinated and dewormed, this is even more concerning.
When the cause of excessive pooping has been diagnosed in a dog of any age, we will see a treatment based on this underlying cause. Sometimes this will require lifestyle changes. For example, if a dog poops a lot because of an inadequate diet, drinking too much water or exercising too much, we can make changes to their diet and routine. Our veterinarian may suggest a soft food diet for dogs with diarrhea.
When an adult dog suffers from a sudden increase in bowel movements, we need to take the dog to a veterinarian. They will carry out the appropriate diagnostic tests. Since the problem may be with the bowel, this could include an ultrasound, MRI or CT scan. They may even need to carry out an endoscopy, whereby a camera is inserted into the bowl to look for clues to the cause. Blood tests will also likely be administered.
Once the cause of the dog's increased pooping is determined, the veterinarian will recommend a course of treatment. They may also encourage lifestyle changes in conjunction with drugs or other interventions as a way to prevent this problem in the future.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Poops a Lot More Than Usual, we recommend you visit our Intestinal problems category.
- Cerón, J., Fernández, M. J., García, C., Hervera, Angulo, S. M., Pérez, D., Pérez, C., & Santamarina, G.. (2016). Small Animal Internal Medicine Clinical Manual I. ESVPS, Ed. SM Publishing Ltd. Sheffield, UK.