Getting the timing right of our puppies' bodily functions can be tricky but necessary when it comes to our first job as new canine parents: house training. Understanding our dog's basic biology and how quickly they develop bowel and bladder control has a big effect on quickly they can master potty training.
How long after my puppy eats will he need to poop?
If you’re asking this question, it may be the first time you’ve had the pleasure of owning a puppy or perhaps it's been awhile. We can guarantee you that this isn’t the strangest question you’re going to ask, and it’s a topic you’re going to get familiar with…fast!
The truth is, if you know the answers to questions like how long after eating do puppies poop, you’ll find potty training so much simpler, for you and your new furry friend.
So, let’s talk about your puppy potty training schedule and whether pooping after every meal is something you need to plan for.
How often to puppies poop?
While every dog is different, puppies poop far more regularly than older dogs as they have yet to learn to control their bowels. As they mature, they learn to control their bowels, both instinctively and with training cues, and they’ll poop less often.
Here's a basic guide for how often puppies will need to poop by age.
A puppy between the ages of 2 and 10 weeks will generally poop straight after feeding. But by the time they hit the 12-week mark, pooping tends to reduce to around 4 times a day. This also correlates with the feeding patterns of puppies. When they’re still feeding from their mom or eating puppy formula, they eat more regularly and poop more often too.
By the age of 6 months, your puppy should poop around 3 times a day, and this may not be straight after a meal. Once your dog reaches a year, 1 poop a day is normal, although some dogs poop up to 3 times a day.
Getting the timing right
On average, puppies will poop between 5 to 30 minutes after eating. Just like humans, puppies have a gastro-colic reflux. This reflux action takes place after eating as the stomach fills and the colon gets stimulated and starts making poop.
Generally, the smaller the dog, the faster the food moves through its digestive system, which is why 2 week old puppies poop almost straight after a meal.
In a nutshell, Puppies are little, their intestines are small and still developing, and whatever they eat gets processed quickly.
If your puppy is taking forever to poop, try exercising them a bit to get things moving.
The good news is that even if your puppy is one of those 5-minutes-after-eating poopers, it doesn’t mean they’ve just ditched their dinner. Their body still benefits from the nutrients, even if the food isn’t as well digested as it could be.
Make pooping a part of your potty schedule
When establishing your puppy potty training schedule, always plan on your puppy needing to poop after every meal. Even if your pup doesn’t poop every time, create the habit, and reinforce it. If you add this timing to your schedule you’ll start doing it automatically, and your pup will start to follow your lead.
Potty training is all about consistency. So, after every meal, take your puppy to its grass spot or Porch Potty and give the command to poop – whether this is simply saying poop time! Do your business! Or any other cue, always say the same thing.
Keeping a potty training schedule helps keep you as much on track as your puppy.
If your puppy shows no interest in pooping, don’t force the issue. Play with them and try again 10-15 minutes later. They’ll either do their business or it will be a meal where they’re not pooping after.
Either way, the trick is to create a pattern that sets them up for success - and you too.
Why is it wrong to punish for pooping in the house?
Poop happens and it’s not always to plan.
You can take your pup to its poop spot 3 times in a row after a meal and it may wander off and poop elsewhere. When this happens, simply clean up and move on. Then, the next time they eat, try again afterwards.
Potty Training Golden Rules: Never punish for accidents, and always reward successes.
It’s essential that you never punish for pooping in the house. You want to create a positive association between potty training and pooping and not make your puppy fearful or feel like they’ve done something wrong. If they get it right, reward them with praise or a treat. If they get it wrong, shrug it off and move along.
If you have realistic expectations, you’ll find that potty training is far less stressful for you both.
When should I worry about my puppy's poop?
While the question of how often do puppies poop depends on each puppy, if yours is pooping after every meal there’s generally nothing to worry about.
Regular pooping is healthy and normal.
But if the poop is consistently runny, changes color, or looks different in any way, you need to keep a close eye, especially if your dog is showing any signs of discomfort or is lethargic. Puppies are almost always born with intestinal parasites – the dreaded worms – so look for signs of these in their poop and always follow a vet-recommended deworming schedule.
If you think something might be wrong, call your veterinarian to see if you should bring your puppy in.
Dehydration can also happen fast, so if your puppy has a runny tummy and displays any unusual signs, get them to the vet, fast!
The other problem arises when your puppy doesn’t poop regularly. Not pooping can be a sign of digestive issues or constipation, or it could be the sign of something more sinister like an intestinal blockage. Puppies tend to eat everything, and sometimes, what they eat doesn't make it all the way through. In fact, there are several TikToks where vets share the strange things they've removed – everything from earplugs to underwear!
If you see your puppy straining to poop, their tummy feels hard or bloated, or they yelp in pain if you touch them, off to the vet you go, pronto.
Now you know the answer to how long after a puppy eats do they poop, how to time their pooping into your potty training schedule, and whether their poop is anything to worry about. All you need to do is keep up your routine and get them pooping in the right place.
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