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Why Does My Dog Poop So Much and What Can I Do About It?

Developed in collaboration with Andrea Johnson, DVM | Co-Founder | PetVet365

Last reviewed: April 08, 2024

If your dog is pooping more than usual, but it’s not diarrhea, it could be a sign of an underlying condition or that something is out of balance in its gut. A dog’s stool is often a barometer of its overall health. As unpleasant as it seems, examining your dog’s feces can give you a clue to the cause of your pup’s frequent bowel movements. Once you identify the cause, you (and your veterinarian) will have a better idea of what to do about it.

Read on as we review the main causes of excessive pooping in dogs, how much poop your dog should be producing, what it should look like, and what you (and your veterinarian) can do about it.

Key Facts
  • A dog’s poop is a good indicator of its overall health.
  • If your dog’s stools look healthy and normal (not diarrhea), but they are pooping more than is normal for them, it could be from another cause.
  • Healthy adult dogs poop once or twice a day, puppies 5+ times a day, older dogs may only poop once a day or not at all.
  • Your dog’s stool consistency and color can give clues to underlying conditions.
  • There are a number of reasons why your dog is pooping a lot. The most common reasons are overfeeding, food intolerance, and dietary changes, but things like stress, parasites, and medical issues are also a cause.

How Often Should a Dog Poop When It’s Not Diarrhea?

Healthy adult dogs poop once or twice a day on average. Puppies need to go much more often because they digest food so quickly. A puppy may poop five times or more a day. Senior dogs usually go less frequently because their metabolism has slowed down. Once a day, or sometimes less, is normal.

For most dogs, it takes between 8-12 hours for a meal to be fully digested. That means, if you’re feeding your dog two meals a day, they are likely going to have to defecate about twice per day.

Other variables that come into play are things like the dog’s size, its diet, the amount of exercise it gets, or even just its biological rhythm can contribute to how often it has a bowel movement.

You should eventually be able to predict your dog’s poop schedule and know what their “normal” poop looks like. And it’s when you see a change in that schedule or in the consistency of your dog’s stool that you need to take notice. The cause could be as simple as a change in your dog’s diet. But it could also be a symptom of a health problem that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian.

Types of Dog Stools When It’s Not Diarrhea and What They Mean

Your dog’s poop can tell you a lot about its health. As gross as it may seem, you should know how often your dog poops and what its normal stool looks like. Knowing what is normal for your dog can help you identify when something is not normal.

Stool Consistency

  • A healthy dog’s stool should be compact, moist, and hold its shape when picked up.
  • Runny, loose, watery, or mucus-covered poop suggests that something is upsetting its digestive system. 
  • A hard, dry stool suggests that they might be suffering from dehydration or constipation.

Stool Color

A healthy dog’s stool should be the color of milk chocolate. Any other color could indicate an underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed by a veterinarian. Below are what the different colors of poop could possibly mean.

  • Green Poop: Gallbladder problems, parasites, stress, rat bait poison, or from eating too much grass.
  • Yellow/Orange Poop: Liver or pancreas problems, food intolerance, or biliary disease. Lower quality diets with red pigments can also give the poop an orange or red color.
  • Red Streaks: Blood. Medical conditions, parasites, injuries, etc. can all cause fresh blood to appear in the stool and a veterinary visit is indicated.
  • Black: Internal bleeding (usually upper GI), stomach ulcer, kidney disease, aspirin or other human medication ingestion. Seek veterinary attention immediately.
  • Grey: Problem in the pancreas.
  • White and Chalky: Too much calcium in the diet, eating bones or not digesting fats well. Poor quality dog food.
  • White Specks: Tapeworms or other parasites.

If your dog’s stools look healthy and normal, but they are pooping more than is normal for them, it could be from another cause.

Pet medication logo

Your veterinarian may prescribe a customized, compounded medication. These medications are mixed by trained, licensed compounding pharmacists and often come in dosage forms designed to make giving or applying the medication easier and more accurate.

Common Causes of Frequent Pooping in Dogs When It’s Not Diarrhea

There are a number of reasons why your dog is pooping a lot. Below are some of the most common, along with ways you can help mediate it.


What goes in, must come out. And if your dog is overeating, a lot more of “it” is going to come out.

Dog parents often unintentionally overfeed their pets. Whether it is giving them more of their dog's food than they need, feeding them table scraps, or showering them with treats, overfeeding adds more calories to a dog’s diet. And “people food” can contain ingredients that are actually bad for a dog and can lead to stomach upset.

If your dog is demanding more food, it could be for medical reasons. Parasites in your dog’s body absorb the food that your dog has eaten, making them hungrier. Serious diseases like diabetes and thyroid issues can also make your dog extra hungry. And medications like steroids can increase hunger.
The amount of poop that comes out of your dog should more or less equal the amount it eats. If your dog is pooping more often and in larger amounts than previously, you could be feeding it too much.


A sudden change in a dog’s diet often leads to them pooping more. Dogs’ digestive tracts are sensitive. When you completely or abruptly change the brand or type of food they are accustomed to, it can take some time for them to adjust. 

The best way to avoid digestive upset when changing food brands is to gradually incorporate the new food into their current food. Start with an 80%/20% ratio, and then adjust the ratio every few days. After about two weeks, your pet’s system should be used to the new food.

Poor quality food can also go through your dog more quickly, causing more frequent bowel moments. Read the nutrition label carefully before selecting a brand of food for your canine companion. Look for dog food with protein from fresh meat, a small to moderate amount of healthy fats, and lower amounts of carbohydrates. A higher quality dog food requires less volume to be fed so is often cost comparable.

There are a lot of dog food brands available and choosing the right one for your dog can be confusing. If you are unsure of which brand is best for your dog, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.

If you haven’t changed your dog’s food and are sure you are feeding them quality dog food, but they are still pooping frequently, make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss it. Your pet may have a food sensitivity or food allergy. Your veterinarian can help figure out what kind of special dietary needs your dog may have and make diet recommendations or prescribe medication to treat it.

Change in Environment

The stress from a change in your dog’s environment can affect its pooping schedule. Things like moving to a new home, the introduction of a baby or another pet into the family, the loss of a family member, or new, unfamiliar smells, noises, or routines can distress a dog enough to disrupt its digestive system.

Generally, it is just a matter of time before they become acclimated and return to regularity. But if it goes on for more than several weeks, contact your veterinarian to rule out underlying causes.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress, anxiety, and depression from changes in their environment or other factors may cause noticeable changes in your dog’s pooping routine. This may take the form of diarrhea or excessive pooping.

If you suspect stress is the cause, look for other symptoms including increased vocalizations (whining, barking), excessive panting and shedding, shaking, behavioral changes like unusual aggression or complete isolation.

The first step is to remove what is stressing your dog out. If that is not possible, create a safe space where they feel secure. This can be their crate or a room to themselves away from their triggers. You can also help them work off their stress with additional exercise and mental stimulation. Frequent trips to the dog park where they can burn off anxiety or be distracted by new smells can help.

But if your dog’s anxiety is long-term, talk to your veterinarian about treatment. The cause of their stress may be lack of nutrition or a food deficiency of some sort. Or it could be your dog’s personality and they need medication to help them cope.

Parasites and Pathogens

Intestinal parasites such as Giardia, tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms wreak havoc in a dog’s gut. So do pathogens like the bacteria Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella enterica, some strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Campylobacter species. Usually, these parasites and pathogens cause diarrhea, but in some cases, they can lead to more frequent poops of various consistencies.

You will need to take a stool sample to your veterinarian for analysis and a definitive diagnosis. They will then prescribe a medication like metronidazole to treat parasites and bacteria. You should already be giving your dog monthly antiparasitic treatment. If you are not, ask your veterinarian to prescribe one.

Fecal Incontinence

There are many medical reasons why your dog may lose bowel control or need to go out more frequently. Some of the more common causes are:

  • Spinal cord disease (degenerative myelopathy)
  • Nerve damage that affects the sensation of needing to go (peripheral myopathy)
  • Muscle atrophy from aging
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, Crohn's disease)
  • Trauma or injury 
  • Paralysis 
  • Infection of the anal sac or anal glands
  • Chronic lesions around the anus (perianal fistula)
  • Spinal or digestive tract tumors (cancer)
  • Myasthenia gravis


A dog’s poop is a good indicator of its overall health. If your dog is pooping more than usual, but it’s not diarrhea, it could be a sign of an underlying condition or that something is out of balance in its gut. As unpleasant as it seems, examining your dog’s feces can give you a clue to the cause of your dog’s frequent bowel movements. If your dog's pooping habits are a concern, consult your veterinarian. They can help rule out any underlying health issues and provide additional advice on how to address the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long after eating does a dog poop?

Most dogs will poop 10- 30 minutes after eating.

Why is my dog pooping so much all of a sudden?

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 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 their environment or from stress. It can also be caused by a medical condition.

Is it normal for my dog to poop 5 times a day?

Adult dogs should poop one to three times a day, puppies poop up to five times a day or more, and senior dogs may poop once a day. Your dog's poop frequency is dependent on many factors, including how often they eat, how much they eat, their fiber intake, and your dog's health.

Why is my old dog pooping more frequently?

Dogs often need to go to the bathroom more often as they age. They might also lose strength in the muscles that keep poop inside their body. They can also forget to go (canine cognitive dysfunction).

What can cause a bloody poop?

Bacteria or viral infections, ingested poison or spoiled foods, injury to their colon, and parvo cause bloody poop. Blood in the poop is often an emergency, so get to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.

Should I be concerned about hair in my dog’s poop?

No. You may see hair in the poop of dogs that tend to self-groom excessively.

This article is meant to provide general and not medical advice. We strongly recommend that a veterinarian be consulted for the specific medical needs of your animal.