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It is an inescapable truth that being a pet parent means dealing with pee, poop, and other types of natural messes. There is no space for squeamishness.
But what if your dog poops a lot? We aren’t talking about a bout of diarrhea; that is generally a clear sign they are ill or have eaten something that doesn’t agree with them.
We are talking about when you find that you need to pull out the pooper scooper more often, or that your dog seems to be producing excessively large piles of the smelly stuff.
Read on as we go through how much poop your dog should be producing, and the main warning signs that something might not be right with their stool.
We will also look at the main causes of excessive pooping in dogs, and what you can do to correct the problem and get your dog back to normal bathroom habits.
How Much Poop?
It can be difficult to know whether your dog is pooping too much, because how much is normal for a dog (that said, how much is normal for a human)?
What is normal pooping depends on the individual dog, so the main things to look out for are changes in their bathroom habits.
In terms of the number of times your dog should be going each day, every dog should release their bowels at least once a day. And while, for some, once may be enough, it can be normal for others to go up to five times a day. If they are going more than this, speak to your vet.
But dogs tend to be consistent in their bathroom habits. So if they were a once-a-day dog and are suddenly going three times, this can be a sign that something is not quite right and that it’s time to consider what might be causing the problem.
As to the quality of poop that your dog should produce, again, this depends on the dog. You wouldn’t expect a pinscher to produce the same amount of poop as a Labrador retriever.
As a general rule, they should produce poop of about the same mass as the food they eat. So, if they seem to be pooping out much more than they are consuming, this is often a sign that things aren’t quite right.
While it is often pretty obvious when your dog’s poop is unhealthy, not everyone knows what healthy dog poop looks like.
Healthy poop should be compact, moist, and hold its shape when picked up (in a plastic bag or pooper scooper, of course).
Runny and watery poop suggests that something has entered their digestive system and upset it. Dry, hard poop indicates that they might be suffering from dehydration or constipation.
The poop should be a mid-brown “milk chocolate” color, and anything very far from this is usually a cause for concern.
- Green poop can indicate gallbladder problems, stress, or eating too much grass.
- Yellow poop usually points to issues in the liver or the pancreas.
- Any red streaks suggest blood and that they may have a cut around the anus area.
- Black poop suggests internal bleeding, which is a serious problem.
- Grey-colored poop suggests that something might be wrong in the pancreas.
- White poop that looks like grains of rice suggests tapeworms, but if it’s chalky it might be too much calcium.
But with all this considered, what does it mean if your dog’s poop looks healthy, but they just seem to be pooping more than is normal for them?
What Causes An Increase In Poop?
There are a lot of different things that could undermine your dog’s intestinal equilibrium and result in them pooping more voluminously, more often, or both. Let’s take a look at some of the leading causes and potential treatments for each case.
If your dog is eating too much, they may also need to poop too much. Considering the volume of your dog’s poop should more or less match the volume they eat, the math on this one is simple.
Many pet parents overfeed their dogs unintentionally, from a place of love. When your pup looks up at you with hungry eyes even though they have just eaten, it can be hard to say no to a treat or to not put a little extra in their bowl.
If you feed your dog scraps off your plate, this can be a problem, too. Not only does this introduce more calories into their diet, but it might contain things that upset their stomach.
There are plenty of foods, including flavorings that we don’t even consider when mentally checking the ingredients list, that are fine for humans but dangerous for dogs. This is why you should never feed your dog food that has not been specially prepared for them.
Not sure what dogs can and can’t eat? Check out our guide.
Also, watch out for your dog stealing scraps. Many dogs develop this habit, and it is not good for them in terms of the number of calories, and you can’t monitor what exactly they are eating.
If you can manage what and how much they are eating, you should also be able to manage how much they are pooping.
If you suddenly change your dog’s diet, you will probably also see them pooping more. A dog’s stomach becomes accustomed to certain foods, and when you completely change what they are getting in their bowl, it can take a while for the bowels to adjust.
After a maximum of two weeks, they should return to normal, but you can avoid this happening by gradually moving them onto a new diet.
Instead of just switching from one food to another, mix the foods together, starting with 80 percent of their old food and 20 percent of their new food on day one. Over a period of about a week, change the ratio of old to new food, until after about seven days when they are fully on the new diet.
You do also need to be careful which foods you choose to feed your dog. The wrong kind of food can not only lead to unusual bowel movements, but can be detrimental to their overall health.
Choosing a good quality food with lots of proteins from fresh meat, moderate healthy fats, and not too many carbohydrates is a great place to start.
You can find our recommendations for the best dog foods for Labrador retrievers here.
Excessive bowel movements is one of the signs to look out for that shows that your selected food doesn’t have the right nutrient mix for your pup.
While it might be a great quality food, it might not have the right balance for your dog, especially if they are sensitive to any foods or have deficiencies. If your dog continues to poop excessively on a good brand of dog food, speak to your vet about what kind of special dietary needs your dog might have.
Changes In Environment
Dogs are creatures of habit, and changes in their environment can throw their regular, healthy bathroom cycle off-kilter.
Introducing a new member into the household, human or animal, changes in the way the home smells, and the introduction of new noises can all unsettle your dog and lead to changes in their pooping routine.
If this is the cause of your dog’s pooping, it is probably just a matter of waiting it out. When they become accustomed to the changes, they will fall back into a normal habit.
If this takes more than a few weeks, it might be worth considering if there are other underlying causes for the problem.
This is the same reason why you will probably notice that your dog poops a bit more often when on holidays than they do at home.
There are many bacterias that can irritate your dog’s bowels and lead to excessive pooping. But one of the places that they are most likely to pick up that bacteria is dog poop!
One gram of dog poop contains about 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. These can cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal upsets, and kidney disorders in both dogs and humans.
And well … dogs like to eat dog poop, so it is not unusual for them to pick up this bacteria.
The best thing you can do for your dog is limit their exposure to poop (and its availability as a snack). Clean up poop as soon as possible after it is deposited so that it is not lying around.
The result will be a healthy atmosphere for both you and your dog.
Stress & Depression
One of the first signs of stress and depression in dogs is irregular bowel movement. This could manifest as fully blown diarrhea or as just more frequent pooping.
If stress is the root cause, you will probably notice other symptoms as well. This could include more whining and barking than normal, pacing and shaking, excessive shedding and panting. They may also choose to isolate themselves, and they may show aggression toward people and other animals.
If your dog seems like they are suffering from stress, the first thing to do is address their diet and exercise. Just like people, a lack of good nutrition and appropriate exercise can wreak havoc with their emotional health as well as their physical health.
The other thing to do is create a safe place for them in the home that is all theirs and that feels 100 percent secure. This means they will always have a place to go when they need to chill out.
If your dog is pooping a lot, you are going to want environmentally friendly bags for scooping and disposing of that poop!
- Frisco Planet Friendly Dog Poop Bags
- Earth Rated Vegetable-Based PoopBags
- Pet n Pet Compostable Dog Poop Bags
All of these bags will trap in smells and mess when used, but will ensure that your dog’s poop doesn’t sit in the landfill for decades when it could be broken down.
What Causes Excessive Pooping In Dogs?
A variety of things can cause excessive pooping. The first thing to look at is your dog’s diet, as what goes in dictates what comes out. If they are eating too much, or eating food that doesn’t have the nutrients they need, they may poop more as a response. Any change in diet can also provoke additional pooping as their body adjusts.
But excessive pooping can also be a reaction to environmental changes, and again will pass when they become accustomed to whatever is new. It is also one of the symptoms associated with stress in dogs, but in this case it will probably be accompanied by other noticeable symptoms.
Should My Dog Poop Every Day?
Yes, it is healthy for a dog to clear its bowels every day. If they miss the occasional day, it is probably not a big concern. But if they regularly go more than 24 hours without pooping, it is a sign that something is wrong.
They could be suffering from constipation, which can be a symptom of a variety of problems. If your dog passes more than a day or two without pooping, it is time to contact your vet.
Is It Normal For My Dog To Poop Five Times A Day?
The number of times that it is normal for a dog to poop each day depends on the dog. Some dogs poop in a big session once a day, while others might produce smaller amounts of poop several times a day.
What is important is that they are consistent, as this establishes what is normal for your dog. If they suddenly break their pattern and start pooping more or less often, this is when you should become concerned.
What Does Healthy Dog Poop Look Like?
Healthy poop should be more or less the color of milk chocolate, and should be compact, moist, and hold its shape when picked up. Runny poop can suggest that your dog has diarrhea, while hard poop is a sign of constipation.
Any unusual coloring in your dog’s poop is cause for concern. But black and yellow poop are probably the biggest alarm bells. Black poop suggests some kind of internal bleeding, while yellow poop points to problems in the liver.
But if your dog is consistently producing poop of an unusual color, it is time to talk to your vet.
When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Poop?
Generally, a bigger concern than the frequency or quantity of your dog’s poop is its consistency. Much more worrying than frequent pooping is runny diarrhea or hard, constipated pooping, as these both suggest something wrong with the digestion process.
The color of your dog’s poop is also the main indicator of their health. It should always be more or less a milk-chocolate brown. If it has a significantly different color, such as yellow, black, or gray, this is another big warning sign that something is not quite right with your dog.
If you find yourself cleaning up dog poop five times a day, you would be forgiven for thinking that your dog has an excessive pooping problem. But the truth is that every dog is different.
While all dogs should be pooping at least once a day, if they do it all at once or they spread it out over five trips depends on the dog. The key to monitoring your dog’s health is figuring out what is normal for them and then monitoring them for changes.
In terms of volume, your dog should be pooping out a volume more or less equivalent to what they eat. So yes, small dogs will produce small amounts of poop, while big dogs can produce quite prestigious piles.
If there is a big inconsistency between the amount they are eating and the amount that they are expelling, this is generally a warning sign.
If your dog does seem to be pooping more than usual, there are a variety of potential causes, but the first thing to consider is diet. What goes in largely dictates what comes out.
They might start to poop more if they are eating too much, or if they are eating food that isn’t meant for them, whether that be table scraps or a dog food that doesn’t offer them the nutrients they need.
If it isn’t the food, then the change in behavior is often caused by a change in environment or from stress. These both require a different approach in terms of creating a safe environment where your dog feels safe and loved.
When your dog feels good, physically and emotionally, well, they’ll poop good too!
Have you ever dealt with a dog with an excessive pooping problem? What was the cause and what did you do? Share your experience with the community in the comments section below.
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