The following information is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not constitute pet medical advice. Clever Fur is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Now, let’s try to answer today’s question, how long after a dog eats do they poop? This isn’t the most alluring topic but it is important information and if you’re trying to potty train them it can be useful information. Also, if you just got a dog, maybe by adoption and they’re already trained, it’s best to know when to take them outside or to the appropriate place so they don’t have to hold their poop in for too long or end up staying so long they have no choice but to do their business in your house.
How Does Their Digestive System Work?
Just like humans, their digestion begins in their mouths. Unlike us, they don’t chew properly most of the time but their saliva helps to move the food down, and then it all goes to their stomach. When it gets filled, this triggers the colon and this is a natural process.
At this point, food starts moving into the small intestine and here all the nutrients are absorbed. After this, it starts making its way into the large intestine and this is where the water is removed and the remaining waste is sent down.
This whole process takes somewhere between 6 and 8 hours (and sometimes more for larger dogs) for older dogs and about 4 hours for puppies. This is where things get complicated because when you take them out to poop, they’re most likely getting rid of the previous day’s food or food from earlier that day.
Factors That Affect Their Digestion Time
Their size is one of the major factors that affect how long it takes to digest food. Larger dogs require more food and this adds up because it takes more time to digest all that food. Some very small dogs can digest their food as fast as the puppies from larger breed dogs.
Age also comes into play. As dog’s age, their body functions slow down and digestion is one of them so older dogs will digest food slower than younger dogs.
Another factor to consider is their level of activity. Dogs that are more active will have a shorter digestion time because their bodies need the calories from the food. This is also another reason why older dogs digest food slower. They are generally inactive and so they won’t burn up the calories that quickly.
How Long After A Dog Eats Do They Poop?
This is directly affected by all the factors stated above and also, how frequently they eat and how many times they eat every day. Puppies will usually eat 3 to 4 times each day in small amounts. Their digestion takes about 4 hours and so it’s not unusual for them to poop after each meal if your schedule is similar to this. When the time comes from the next meal digestion of the previous one will be done or almost done.
For larger dogs, they’re usually fed twice a day and if spaced 9 to 12 hours apart, they’ll end up pooping after every meal because by the time the next one comes, they’ll be done or almost done digesting the previous one.
Remember, it’s not the food they just ate that they digest immediately, the poop is usually from the previous meal or the previous day.
How Long Do I Have to Wait Before Taking Them Out?
This depends on all the factors I’ve listed above that affect their digestion time. For some dogs, it only takes a few minutes. Once their stomach is full, they’ll start sending out the waste that’s left in their system immediately. This is usually the case for younger and very healthy dogs.
For older dogs, it might take a while. Maybe 20 to 30 minutes. Their digestive system is slower so you can take them out for a walkabout 15 minutes after eating to try to stimulate it. Just give them a little time and it’ll come.
Puppies will need to go way more often than their older counterparts. Almost immediately after each meal they’ll have to go so immediately they eat you should take them out and the younger they are, the faster it is.
Our readers also read: Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?, Can Dogs Eat Brocolli?
Does the Quality of Their Food Affect Digestion?
Low-quality dog food will make your dog need to poop more often. As long as they don’t have diarrhea, then it’s the fault of their dog food. You’ll need to start buying higher-quality dog food. Foods that contain high amounts of fillers or preservatives have fewer nutrients and so the waste produced is more.
Food with over 82% of digestible content is considered good and anything less than 75% is low quality. This value is called the digestibility coefficient and it’s the amount of food that will be absorbed as a nutrient while the rest will be expelled as waste. The lower the quality, the more waste gets created and the more they will have to poop.
How Long Can They Hold in Their Poop?
Generally, for every month they grow, you can add an hour to the expected time that your puppy can hold in their poop. However, this maxes out at 8 months with 8 hours.
The amount of time is slightly different for each dog though because they’re all individual but this can be a good guide.
This number also reduces for older dogs who aren’t as strong as their young adult counterparts. They can usually hold their poop in for 4 to 6 hours.
The fact that they can hold it in that long doesn’t mean they should. Immediately you get the opportunity give them the chance to relieve themselves because the habit of holding it in can lead to constipation or other worse complications.
Our readers also read: Can Dogs Eat Caramel?, Can Dogs Eat Cheetos?
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Constipated?
If they haven’t pooped for 24 hours you shouldn’t worry too much, just monitor them for the next few days. The only job the colon does is store waste and it can hold that waste for a surprising amount of time. If some days have passed and they haven’t been able to poop then they might be constipated.
Also, if they find it hard to poop and they’re whining or straining a lot then they’re probably constipated. They might even squat for a while and then get up later with no success. Finally, if they manage to poop and it looks very hard and is very closely packed and contains mucus or blood then that is a sign that they are constipated.
What Should I Do If My Dog Is Constipated?
If you want to help, don’t give them prunes. These are popular among humans but they aren’t good for your dogs and can make it worse. Some constipation treatments for dogs are feeding them canned pumpkin or bran cereal. You could also give them more water, perform some exercise or feed them canned dog food with higher moisture content.
If these don’t help it’s best to speak with your veterinarian because enemas can cause injuries if you don’t do them properly and a lot of dogs won’t like the procedure so you’re more likely to injure them. It’s best if your veterinarian is the one handling it.
Laxatives should also be discussed with your veterinarian first because giving them the wrong things, especially human laxatives can cause very serious health issues and can be fatal in some cases. You should also not leave constipation untreated because it can lead to obstipation, a condition where the waste becomes so hard in the colon that it becomes impossible to pass it normally. This will eventually lead to megacolon where the colony becomes very large and surgery will be required if it becomes too serious.
Our readers also read: Can Dogs Eat Sausages?, Can Dogs Eat Scallops?
The time it takes for your dog to poop after eating varies based on age, size, activity level and individual properties. It could be a few minutes or it could end up taking an hour. It’s best to just take them out once they’re done eating until you get used to how long it takes for them specifically and then you can plan a proper schedule. The activity will also help stimulate a bowel movement. If you have any questions or run into any issues you can contact your veterinarian and they can give you advice on what to do.