Last Updated on April 4, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
No matter what kind of puppy you have in your home, there is something you can always expect them to do: poop.
Puppies big and small tend to form a regular poop schedule, so a sudden lack of bowel movements can lead to some concern.
Whether your constipated pup is new to your home or you have grown familiar with their poop routine, you may wonder just how long your beloved pup can go without passing stool.
To make sure you intervene when needed, let’s answer the question of how long your puppy can go without pooping below.
How Often Should My Puppy Poop?
Before we discuss how long puppies can go without pooping, it’s important to understand just how much a puppy should poop each day.
The only way to spot something abnormal is through knowing the standard, so let’s break that down a bit.
Most puppies with a healthy digestive system should poop anywhere from 3 to 5 times per day.
Every puppy will be slightly different based on how much they eat and the schedule of their meals, but you can typically expect a minimum of 2-3 bowel movements each day.
Due to how much more our puppies eat and how much higher in calories their food is, they typically poop more than an adult dog would.
Do Puppies Get Constipated?
Just because puppies are known to poop multiple times a day does not mean they are immune to constipation.
- The term constipation refers to difficulty passing stool or not passing stool at all, so this could be the case if your puppy is not pooping regularly.
Though constipation is not as common in puppies as it is in adult dogs, there are still a variety of factors that can lead to a sudden halt in their poop production.
Puppies can become constipated if their stool hardens due to:
- If they are chewing bones that don’t break down properly during digestion
- Infected anal glands
- Holding their poop due to stress or fear
- Consuming foreign material that cannot be digested
If your puppy is pooping less than twice a day, or is not pooping at all, then constipation is a realistic complication they could be battling.
To make sure you can spot constipation in your puppy, we will break down some of the common symptoms below.
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Signs Of Constipation In Puppies
You may think that the only signs of constipation are a puppy that is not pooping at all, but that isn’t the case.
There are many signs of constipation that you can be on the lookout for, so let’s break down each potential symptom below.
Symptoms of constipation in puppies include:
- Passing hard or dehydrated stool
- Straining when passing stool, only to pass hard poop
- Straining when passing stool, only to pass a small amount of it
- Straining and being unable to pass any stool
- Whining when trying to poop
- Traces of blood on the hard poop they pass
- Scooting or dragging their bottom on the ground
- Decreased appetite
- Distended abdomen
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your growing canine friend, they may be struggling with a case of constipation.
How Long Can My Puppy Go Without Pooping?
If you’ve noticed that you haven’t seen your puppy pass stool today, you might be wondering just how long a puppy can go without pooping.
Though every situation will vary, most puppies should not go more than 48-72 hours without pooping.
If they have made it to the 48-72 hour mark without passing stool, this likely means they will need some support in relieving their constipation.
Another thing you should always keep in mind is just how much your puppy is eating. For example, if your puppy is eating as usual but is not pooping regularly, then you should be worried about the potential for constipation.
However, if your puppy has stopped eating for whatever reason, this could cause a decrease in poop amounts. In this situation, we wouldn’t be as worried about constipation, but we would suggest having your puppy seen immediately to get to the bottom of their decreased appetite.
How Can I Help My Puppy Poop At Home?
There are ways that you can help your constipated puppy poop at home, but there are a few situations in which we suggest having them seen by a vet quickly.
If your constipated puppy seems like they are in pain when trying to poop, they haven’t pooped for more than 72 hours, they are not eating as much, or they are vomiting, then we suggest passing on the home care and taking them to the vet.
If your puppy has not pooped in 48 hours and they are acting fine otherwise, then you can try the methods we will discuss below!
One of the most common home remedies for constipation in puppies is offering them canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin helps to add a bit of extra moisture to your puppy’s hardened stool, which can then help your pup pass it a bit easier.
You can simply add up to 4 tablespoons of pure canned pumpkin to your dog’s next meal, and you should see improvements within 24 hours.
The next option that can help to relieve constipation in puppies is exercise. Sometimes our puppies just need to get up and move in addition to the pumpkin additives in their food, and this will help to stimulate their next bowel movement.
Just be sure to not push it, as something as simple as a long walk or game of fetch will be good enough. You should also keep in mind that regular exercise moving forward can help to prevent constipation in the future.
And the last at home option for puppies with constipation is a small dose of Miralax. Miralax is not a typical laxative that forces any intestinal contractions, but it rather brings water into the intestines to moisten any hard stool.
For this reason, it is gentle enough to use in puppies. You can typically add ¼ of a teaspoon into wet dog food so it mixes well, and do this twice daily until your puppy’s bowel movements become regular again.
However, we still suggest getting approval from your vet before offering Miralax to your puppy.
When to see a vet:
- If your puppy still has not passed stool within 48 hours after trying any of the above methods, we suggest having them seen by your veterinarian. This could be a sign that they need medical intervention.
When Should I See The Vet If My Puppy Hasn’t Pooped?
Just as we mentioned above, we always suggest seeing a vet if your puppy is experiencing any signs of distress or uncomfortable symptoms, as well as if they still haven’t passed stool within 48 hours of trying the methods above.
Sometimes our puppies become so impacted that home care will not resolve their constipation, and they will need veterinary care to help them poop again.
If you have to take your puppy to the vet for constipation, there are a few things that you can typically expect.
First, your vet may suggest performing x-rays to see just how impacted the bowels are.
However, if you can’t do this for any reason, they can skip immediately to treatment if they feel comfortable doing so.
Some of the most common treatment approaches that your vet can offer your constipated puppy include a prescription diet that helps with constipation, fluids under the skin to help rehydrate their gut, prescription laxatives, enemas that can help to add moisture to any hardened stool in the colon, and manual extraction of their stool under sedation.
Every situation will vary, so we suggest trusting your vet’s guidance when it comes to their treatment plan.
Puppies can go without pooping for 48-72 hours, but this does not mean it is normal.
We always suggest starting constipation home care if your puppy has not pooped for 48 hours, and always reaching out to your vet if they appear distressed in any way.