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How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop? 10 Quick Facts

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop

It’s frustrating to want to go to the toilet desperately…

If the need isn’t answered, it can be very uncomfortable.

Well, your pooch can relate to that feeling.

But, how? 

And how long will it take for them to sympathize with the experience?

You’re about to discover:

  • Signs that your dog needs to go potty.
  • How many times should a dog poop per day.
  • How long can adult dogs and puppies hold their poop.
  • What will happen if your dog holds their poop for too long.
  • And many more…

How long can dogs hold their poop?

Dogs can hold their poop for an average of 8 hours if they’re a healthy adult. For puppies, the general rule is 1 hour per 1 month of their age. Then, you’d add another hour to that amount. So, a 2-month old puppy can hold their poop for about 2 to 3 hours.

What happens if a dog holds his poop too long?

If a dog holds his poop too long, it could be uncomfortable for him. It’ll also bother you as he’ll be whining and scratching the door. When that happens, it means that he can no longer hold his poop and might consider going inside the house.

First, how long does it take to consider it a ‘long time’ to be holding poop in dogs?

There are many factors to consider.

Factors that affect a dog’s ability to hold poop


A healthy adult dog can hold his poop for an average of 8 hours. Sometimes, that can extend up to 10 hours.

For a puppy, the guideline is 1 hour per month of their age. Then, you need to add another hour to the number.

So, for example, a 3-month old puppy can hold his poop for at least 3 to 4 hours.


Think of it this way…

Your dog’s size influences how long he’s able to hold poop. 

So, the smaller the size, the more compact their storage for food is.

And if Fido’s a large dog, they have a lot of space for food in their tummy.

With that, it’s logical to say that smaller dogs can’t always hold it for 8 hours. For them, it’ll be less than the average.

Then, larger dogs can hold their poop for up to 8 hours.


Health Affects A Dog's Ability To Hold Poop

It’ll also depend on your dog’s current health status.

That’s because medical conditions cause your dog to poop more than usual.

Moreover, most cases are shown through diarrhea.

Some examples from AKC are:

  • Allergies.
  • Change in diet.
  • Intestinal parasites.
  • Garbage toxicosis or eating garbage.
  • Food intolerance (ex. lactose intolerance).

Consequences of letting your dog hold his poop

Now, what happens if your pooch holds his poop longer than average?

First of all, you must know how uncomfortable that is.

It hurts to hold your need to go to the toilet. And every moment that passes is like torture.

Your pooch can relate to that feeling.

When he holds his poop for too long, the discomfort might be unbearable for him.

With that, he’ll show behaviors that hope to tell you that he really needs to go.

Signs that a dog needs to poop

Be mindful of your dog’s signals when he needs a potty break.

I’m talking about these signs:

  • Pacing.
  • Whining.
  • Fidgeting.
  • Sniffing around.
  • Circling before squatting.
  • Coming up to you then looking at the door.

When your dog can no longer hold it

If you overlook the signals that Fido has been giving…


He might result in making his last choice.

And what’s that?

It’ll be going potty inside the house.

“But my pooch is housetrained…”

This is still bound to happen.

Dog parents report cases such as this.

When this occurs, it’s best not to scold your pup so much.

That’s because he might already know that what he did was wrong. However, he can no longer stand it and just goes without a choice.

And don’t worry, your pooch is still housetrained. This could be an isolated case.

But, you have to make sure that this never happens again. 

You must guarantee that Fido won’t have to hold his poop for long. Immediately give them a potty break when they need it.

You might also ask: Why does my dog suddenly poop in the house?

How long can a dog hold its poop after eating?

A dog can hold their poop after eating for at least 8 hours. However, a dog would feel compelled to go potty minutes after eating already. Then, the food they just ate will take at least hours to come out.

It’s a little complicated, isn’t it?

That’s because digestion is a complex process. The food doesn’t simply travel in your dog’s intestines and then come out…

The process of digestion in dogs

Let’s follow the Merck Veterinary Manual’s explanation of a dog’s digestive system.

According to the manual, the process starts when your dog picks up the food with their mouth.

And when your pooch starts chewing, their teeth physically break down the food. Then, saliva assists chemically.

Then, 4 more stages occur. Namely:

StageWhat happens 
DigestionIt starts when your dog swallows their food. Food is continually broken down in the stomach.
Absorption of nutrientsIntestines absorb the nutrients that the food brings.
MotilityThe food that has been broken down moves through the digestive tract.
EliminationThe final stage of digestion is the elimination of feces.

Now, how long does this process take?

PetMD tells us that food moves through a dog’s GI tract 3 times faster.

In humans, those stages can take up to 20 or 30 hours.

But for our canine friends, GI transit only takes 6 to 8 hours. 

When will a dog poop after eating

As I said at the start of this section, dogs can be compelled to poop a few minutes after eating.

However, GI transit takes 6 to 8 hours.

So, I understand if there might be confusion going on right now.

With that, let me explain this complex procedure even more…

The poop your pooch expels after eating isn’t always from the food they just ate.

It could be something from a while ago or even yesterday’s food.

Think of it this way:

Inside your dog’s GI tract is a line.

There, the meals that your pup has eaten are lined up. They’re all waiting for their turn to come out…

And when Fido eats another meal, that goes into their tract. The recent food pushes down the food that’s already there.

Then, that causes a bowel movement on your dog.

What comes next is the elimination of waste. 

Note: There isn’t always a long line in your dog’s digestive system. But when there is one, then it could be a cause of concern…

Fermentation in a dog’s digestive tract

Fermentation In Dog's Digestive Tract

There are some human foods that your pupper can’t digest properly.

Their stomach will be having a hard time breaking down those types of food. 

While those are waiting to be broken down, it sits on your dog’s guts. With that, it starts to ferment inside your dog’s body.

That might cause your pooch to let out stinky farts suddenly. They’ll also have trouble eliminating it.

So, avoid feeding your dog these:

  • Soybeans.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Steamed vegetables.
  • Beans, especially when it’s uncooked or eaten in large amounts.

Read also: Help, My Dog Has Loose Stools And Smelly Gas! 7 Tips

How long can puppies hold their poop?

How long can puppies hold their poop depends on their age. Per 1 month of a puppy’s age is an hour of how long they can hold their potty. Then, add another hour to the first number.

So, when your puppy is 2-months old, they can hold their poop for 2 to 3 hours.

That rule lasts until 8 months of a dog’s age. From then, you can expect your dog to hold their poop for 8 hours.

However, don’t take advantage of this time frame.

You must immediately give your pup a potty break after eating or drinking.

That’s because puppies have smaller bladders and stomachs. They have less space in their body and tend to go more.

Puppies are also likely to go after they wake up from a nap.

Timely potty breaks are crucial practice as you don’t want to cause discomfort to your pupper.

And if you let them hold it for too long…

Oh no…

It could cause your fur baby to poop inside the house.

Moreover, it could mean trouble regarding their housetraining

So, taking them out frequently for potty breaks will teach them. It’ll let them know that they should poop outside at given times.

How long can a puppy hold its poop at night?

How long a puppy can hold their poop at night is influenced by their age. It can also depend if your pupper ate any meals before bedtime. 

As I said, a puppy’s month-age is equivalent to how long they can hold their poop. Then, add another hour to that age.

For example, your 1-month old pupper can hold their poop for 1 to 2 hours.

It also depends on whether your puppy has recently eaten any meals.

As much as possible, you must take your dog for a potty break after feeding them.

It’s a common mistake new dog parents make.

A lot of guardians report this scenario:

In the morning, they check how their puppy’s doing. 

Not only are they greeted by their excited pupper…

They reveal that their puppy’s poop and smell also welcome them.

How can you avoid such an experience?

Stop your puppy from pooping at night

Method #1: Avoid feeding your puppy too close to their bedtime.

There are many consequences of feeding your puppy late at night.

First of all, puppies already have so much energy to start with. Feeding them near their bedtime will recharge their energy.

With that, they might end up restless or hyperactive at night.

Moreover, late-night feedings can contribute to weight gain. That’s what research tells us.

And most of all, an input means there’ll be an output.

So, if you feed your pup late at night, expect a potty during that time.

Method #2: After feeding your puppy at night, immediately take them out for a potty break.

Consistently do this as this is among the crucial parts of housetraining your puppy.

AKC says that 5 to 30 minutes after a meal is a great window to take your pooch out.

Method #3: To establish proper potty behavior, encourage your puppy.

Every time they poop outside, reward them. 

Yes, you must bring treats on their next potty break.

When they’re finished, praise them and give them the treat as a reward.

Considerations in housetraining your puppy

Potty training your puppy isn’t an easy task.

There’s more to remember when you’re teaching this process to your puppy.

Reminder #1: Feeding and housetraining go hand in hand.

Providing a consistent feeding schedule will make potty training easier.

How so?

It’ll be trouble-free for you to predict your puppy’s need for a bathroom break.

Reminder #2: Provide your puppy with a big enough crate.

Dogs don’t like sleeping in the area where they poop.

So, a small crate might make your puppy uncomfortable. In that little space, they might go potty and sleep…

It’s a repulsive setup. That’s why you must understand your puppy on this one.

Reminder #3: Monitor your puppy’s health.

Say that you’re sure that your puppy is improving their training. And that everything’s properly set for them…

The crate’s big, and their feeding schedule is timely.

Yet, they continue to poop at night in their crate.

Such a case could be a little concerning.

That’s because it might be a medical issue that causes your puppy to poop at night.

An example condition would be intestinal parasites. Namely:

  • Giardia.
  • Coccidia.
  • Tapeworms. 

Note: Research says it’s a misconception that only puppies can get intestinal worms. 

The truth is any dog of any age can be affected.

However, most cases are severe in puppies because they have weaker immune systems.

How long can a sick or senior dog hold its poop?

How long a sick or senior dog holds their poop depends on their condition. And since they’re sick or old, the time they can hold it is less than the average 8 hours. That’s because they might be having trouble with their bowel movements.

Sick or senior dogs might have struggles in passing their stools.

How so?

Let’s break it down into 2 to be clear:

A sick dog’s pooping habits

Increased pooping frequency often comes with diarrhea.

And when your dog is sick, they’ll tend to poop more. Then, their stool will be unusual.

“Then, what’s considered usual?”

AKC gives us a guideline on the perfect dog poop:

ColorIt must be chocolate brown. If your dog eats food with color, it’ll affect the poop, too.
ShapeThe perfect dog poop is shaped like a log.
ConsistencyIt should be moist yet compact. Picking it up should be easy.
SizeThe size should match the volume of food that you feed your dog.

That’s how your dog’s stool should be.

Also, any foreign objects shouldn’t be present in your dog’s poop. Along with others like:

  • Blood.
  • Mucus.
  • White bits (which are worms).

Now, if your dog has loose stools, they’ll tend to go potty more.

And to be honest, there’s no definite number on how long they can hold it. Almost everything will be random.

When your pooch has the need to go, then they gotta go…

That’s the rule applicable to this scenario.

Then, when your ill dog goes potty, the amount of poop varies. Sometimes it’s in small amounts. Other times, its volume is more than usual.

According to vets, diarrhea results from feces moving faster in your dog’s intestine. 

Moreover, it can be caused by the following:

  • Stress.
  • Allergies.
  • Eating garbage.
  • Organ dysfunction.
  • Consuming spoiled food.
  • Viral or bacterial infections.
  • Sudden change in their diet.
  • Inflammatory intestinal disease.

A senior dog’s pooping habits

Senior Dog's  Pooping Habits

An aging dog struggles to control their bowel movements.

Like in dogs facing an illness, senior canines have to go when they feel the need to.

Experts say that old dogs can’t hold it the way they used to.

With that, the 8-hour average is out of the window.

What’s sure is the uncertainty, which is what your old dog might be feeling.

With old age, they’ll start being confused. Now, your senior pooch might not practice what they learned from their housetraining.

That’s why older dogs are more prone to random house-soiling.

Can a dog get sick from holding in poop?

A dog can get sick from holding poop. However, frequent practice of holding poop can’t do any harm. But if it’s a regular habit, then your pooch can be sick from it.

Nothing is highly alarming if poop is held from time to time.

Some dogs practice that sometimes. That’s because some canines don’t immediately let go of their poop.

For those dogs, they gotta pick the right place to poop first.

However, that’s only in a few cases. And it’s not that those dogs hold their poop for such a long time. They’re just delaying it a little bit.

Now, what happens if that’s always practiced?

Let me explain first what occurs when your dog holds their poop in.

The stool is ready to be extracted. However, your pooch isn’t ready to do so…

So, the poop comes back to the colon. There, the water from the poop gets reabsorbed.

And let me tell you, that reabsorbed water is an unwelcome guest in your doggo’s body.

Moreover, the poop has lost its moisture. With that, it becomes harder.

And because of that, your pooch will have trouble expelling the hardened stool the next time.

Now, your pup will feel constipated.

It’s a condition where they’ll have a difficult time passing stool.

According to PetMD, here are the symptoms of constipation in dogs:

How many times should a dog poop a day?

A dog should poop at least once a day. Majority of dogs poop 1 to 3 times a day. Moreover, it’s still healthy if a canine goes potty up to 5 times per day.

Vets say that a dog would normally go after a meal.

So, if you feed Fido twice a day, they’re likely to go poop twice, too.

However, the most important thing is consistency.

Don’t fret if your pooch only goes potty once a day…

As long as they’re consistent with their habits, then everything’s fine.

With that, any changes in the frequency and duration of their potty breaks are of concern.

People also ask:

Can a dog hold it for 10 hours?

Dogs can sometimes hold their poop for 10 hours. However, this is mostly observed overnight. If it’s the light of day, this could be unintentional, and your dog’s constipated.

On average, a healthy adult dog can hold their poop for 8 hours.

Some dogs can hold it more than that.

However, that’s not always a good sign.

Little do you know…

It isn’t your fur baby’s intention to hold delay their poop.

That’s because holding a poop that long can be a symptom of constipation.

The key to knowing if this is the case is to monitor your pooch.

While you monitor them, you can also help them…


You can try massaging your pup for them to poop. Such activity can relieve them and help Fido pass stool.

Continue observing them for the next 24 hours. Note if they’re having trouble pooping or showing signs of constipation.

Reading tip: 19 Simple Tips To Make A Dog Poop Quickly (#7 Works Instantly)

Can dogs hold poop for 24 hours?

Dogs can’t hold their poop for 24 hours intentionally. Holding poop for a day can be a sign of constipation. It means that your dog can’t go no matter what they do.

If your pooch has been holding it for a day, don’t panic just yet.

However, remain watchful of your dog for the next 24 hours.

Moreover, observe if they’re showing any signs of constipation. If they are, you must take them to the vet.

That’s because your pooch might be experiencing constipation.

If you decide to continue to observe after 24 hours and they still haven’t pooped yet…


Your pooch really has to see the vet. In total, they haven’t pooped for 48 hours. Such is a medical concern now. And like I said, the sooner Fido can see the vet, the better.