How Long Can A Dog Hold In Poop?

The age-old question of “How long can a dog hold in poop?” has been asked by pet owners for years. While the answer may vary depending on the individual dog, there are some general guidelines that can help you understand how long your pup can go without relieving themselves. In this article, we will explore the factors that influence a dog’s ability to hold in their poop and provide tips to help you manage your pup’s potty schedule.

What Factors Affect How Long a Dog Can Hold Its Bowel Movement?

The length of time a dog can hold its bowel movement is determined by several factors, including age, health, diet, and stress levels. Each of these factors can have an impact on the dog’s ability to control their bowels and how long they can go without having to go outside.


Younger dogs tend to have more difficulty holding their bowels for extended periods of time than older dogs. Puppies are still learning how to control their bowels and may not be able to hold it for longer than a few hours at a time. Older dogs may be able to hold it for up to 8 hours or more depending on their individual needs.


A dog’s overall health can also affect how long they can hold their bowel movements. Dogs with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may need to go outside more frequently than other dogs. Additionally, any medical conditions that affect the bladder or kidneys may also cause a dog to need to go outside more often than usual.


The type of food that a dog eats can also play a role in how long they are able to hold their bowels. Foods that are high in fiber or contain added ingredients such as probiotics can help promote regularity and help dogs stay regular for longer periods of time. On the other hand, foods that are high in fat or sugar can cause loose stools which will require more frequent trips outside.

Stress Levels

Stress levels can also affect how long a dog is able to hold its bowel movements. Dogs that are anxious or stressed out may have difficulty controlling their bowels and may need to go outside more often than usual. Additionally, changes in routine such as moving homes or introducing new pets into the home can also cause stress which could lead to increased trips outside for potty breaks.

Signs That Your Dog Needs to Go Out

It is important to know how long a dog can hold in their poop, as it can help you determine when they need to go outside. Knowing the signs that your dog needs to go out can help you recognize when it is time for them to relieve themselves.

Sniffing and Circling

One of the most common signs that your dog needs to go out is sniffing and circling. When a dog is looking for a spot to do their business, they will often sniff around and circle the area before they finally decide on a spot.

Whining or Barking

Another sign that your dog needs to go out is if they start whining or barking. This usually happens when they are feeling uncomfortable and need to go outside as soon as possible.

Squatting or Lifting a Leg

If you notice your dog squatting or lifting their leg, this could be another sign that they need to go outside. This behavior usually means that they are ready to do their business and need an appropriate place to do so.

Restlessness and Panting

Finally, if your dog appears restless or starts panting heavily, this could also be an indication that they need to go outside. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time for them to take a trip outdoors!

What to Do If Your Dog Has an Accident Inside

When it comes to potty training your pup, accidents are inevitable. If your dog has an accident inside, it is important to take the right steps to ensure that the issue does not become a habit. Here are some tips on how to handle this situation:

Clean Up Immediately

The first step is to clean up the mess as soon as possible. Use a pet-safe cleaner and paper towels or a mop to remove any traces of urine or feces from the area. Disinfecting the area will help eliminate any lingering odors that may attract your pup back to the same spot.

Take Your Dog Out More Frequently

It is important to take your dog outside more frequently, especially when potty training them. This will help them learn where they should go when they need to relieve themselves and can reduce accidents inside.

Monitor Your Dog’s Eating Habits and Stress Levels

Eating habits and stress levels can also be factors in why a dog may have an accident inside. Make sure you are feeding your pup on a regular schedule and monitoring their stress levels in order to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Consult a Veterinarian for Medical Issues

If you have tried all of these methods and your pup is still having accidents inside, it is important to consult with a veterinarian for medical issues that may be causing this behavior such as bladder infections or digestive issues. Additionally, the CDC recommends that if your pet has not had a bowel movement in more than two days, contact your veterinarian immediately as this could be a sign of constipation or other health issues that need medical attention right away.


How to Train Your Dog to Hold Its Bowel Movement Longer?

Training your dog to hold its bowel movement longer is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Dogs can typically hold their bowels for up to 8 hours, but this varies depending on the breed and age of the dog. To help your pup learn how to control its bladder and bowel movements, establish a potty routine, use positive reinforcement, and create a safe environment.

Establish a Potty Routine

The first step in training your pup to hold its bowel movement longer is establishing a potty routine. Take your pup outside at the same time each day and give them plenty of opportunities to go potty throughout the day. Make sure you take them out after meals, after naps, and when they wake up in the morning. Additionally, reward them with treats or verbal praise when they do their business outside.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is key when it comes to teaching your pup how to control its bladder and bowel movements. Whenever your pup does their business outside, reward them with treats or verbal praise so they know that they did something good. This will help reinforce the behavior you want from them and make it easier for them to learn how long they can hold it in between potty breaks.

Create a Safe Environment

Finally, create a safe environment for your pup by providing plenty of opportunities for them to go potty outside without fear of being punished or scolded if they have an accident inside. If you catch your pup having an accident inside, calmly take them outside and remind them that going potty outside is the right thing to do. This will help teach them that going potty inside isn’t acceptable behavior and will encourage them to hold it in until they can get outside again.

By following these steps, you can help train your pup how long they can hold their bowels so that you can enjoy more mess-free days with your furry friend!

When Should You Contact a Veterinarian?

If your dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is best to contact your veterinarian immediately:

Unusual Urination or Defecation Habits

– Straining to urinate or defecate
– Urinating or defecating more frequently than usual
– Blood in the urine or stool
– Inability to urinate or defecate
– Excessive licking of the genital area

Abnormal Bowel Movements or Diarrhea

– Vomiting and/or diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours
– Diarrhea that contains blood, mucus, or worms
– Straining to pass stool
– Passing stool with an unusual consistency (e.g. very soft, watery)

If your dog is having difficulty holding in their poop for longer than normal, it is important to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible. They can help determine the underlying cause and provide treatment options. Additionally, if you have any questions about how long a dog can hold in their poop, your vet will be able to provide you with accurate information and advice.


The answer to the age-old question of “How long can a dog hold in poop?” varies depending on the individual dog. However, there are some general guidelines that can help pet owners understand their pup’s potty schedule. Factors such as age, diet, health, and exercise all play a role in how long a dog can hold in their poop. By understanding these factors and providing your pup with regular potty breaks, you can help ensure your pup is comfortable and healthy. For more information on how to care for your pet, visit A Pet’s Home.

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