We don’t always want to look for the answers to poop questions but knowing the answers can be valuable to you and your family, especially your schedules. Every dog is different, and several factors can affect how long it takes for a dog to need to use the bathroom.
It takes about 6 to eight hours for food to move through the digestive system for most dogs.
However, most dogs will most likely feel the urge to go right after eating due to the pressure of the previous meal.
Continue reading to find out what might affect your dog’s digestive timetable and what to do if something goes wrong.
What affects how long it takes for a dog to poop after eating?
There are lots of factors that can affect how long it takes for a dog to go poop after eating, such as its size, age, or breed.
Size and Age:
Puppies will need to go outside within a few minutes after eating, while older dogs might only need to wait about thirty minutes.
Most dogs will need to go out twice or thrice a day, more if they are puppies or house-training. As dogs age, their metabolism slows, and they need fewer calories.
This also means that their digestive system slows down too, and it may take longer for them to digest their food and eliminate any waste they have.
While there is no one answer, there is a rule of thumb: Puppies can usually be expected to hold pee and poop for one hour for every month of age.
To get the maximum length of time, just add one to this.
Smaller dogs, like chihuahuas, dachshunds, or some terrier breeds, may need to go out more frequently due to higher metabolism. It can take smaller dogs and puppies about 4 hours to digest a meal.
Larger dogs, like German Shepherds or Collies, take longer to digest their food and may need longer in between bathroom trips. They can take between 8-12 hours to digest their meals.
Types of food:
Dogs are omnivores and are built to eat most anything, but their diet needs to be carefully watched to help maintain health.
Diets that are made up of only protein sources can be harder to digest, and completely grain-free diets can also cause health problems since dogs can digest carbs much better than humans.
High Protein, Dry Kibble, and Wet Food
Dogs that eat too much protein will excrete the excess through their kidneys and out of the body in the form of urine.
High protein diets are not necessarily bad for your dog, but it does depend on the specific type of dog you have. Working dogs, like huskies, need high protein diets to keep up with the demands of their job.
Kibble can be an efficient way to feed your pet, as long as the first ingredient is a protein (lamb, chicken, beef, fish) and not a carb (corn, wheat, rice).
Kibble also needs to be balanced between proteins, carbs, fats, and vegetables to have the optimal nutrition for the dog.
For dogs who have difficulty with dry foods or kibble, wet foods tend to be more easily digested because the water in the food helps move it through the GI system.
These can generally be broken down in 4-6 hours as compared to dry food, which can take about 8-10 hours to break down.
Fresh and Raw Food
Fresh dog food is made with human-grade ingredients, like chicken, lamb, vegetables, and fruits, which can affect their overall health. This makes their coats shiny, promoting their heart health, increasing their energy levels, and even impacting their stool.
On the other hand, raw food diets have a lot of health benefits, such as healthier skin, improved dental hygiene, smaller stools, and higher energy levels.
Each type of food can affect the time it takes to digest and remove the waste from the body.
What is food digestion like in dogs?
A dog’s digestive system is important because it absorbs nutrients, maintains fluid balance, and helps the dog remove waste.
Food travels from the dog’s mouth to its stomach, where it is mostly digested. Most nutrients are absorbed as they move from the stomach through the intestines, where the remaining is eventually removed from the body as waste.
A dog’s stomach is naturally wired to its colon with nerves that activate the reflex for dogs to go to the bathroom, which is why healthy dogs generally go to the bathroom right after eating.
Like humans, a dog’s immune system is tied to their gut and what they eat.
It is one of their natural defense systems against disease, so it is essential to keep watch over any GI issues, like upset stomach or problems going poop. This is why diarrhea and vomiting can be bigger issues than people think.
A dog’s intestines are about 25% of its gastrointestinal anatomy, which means that food moves faster through dogs than humans (6-8 hours compared to 20-30 hours).
Studying the dog’s stool can help determine what is normal for your pet and what is cause for concern.
Why does my dog poop immediately after eating?
Dogs will normally feel the pressure to poop immediately after eating due to the previous meal it has had.
Because the stomach is wired directly to the colon, pressure from eating will trigger the nerves connected to its gastro-colic reflex, making the dog ready to go soon after eating.
Here are other factors that might affect when your dog goes poop:
Dogs that are more active and exercise more tend to poop more than more sedentary dogs because it helps the muscles move the waste through the body.
If the dog is overweight or underweight or has any health conditions, this may affect digestion and how often or when the dog goes to the bathroom.
Most vets recommend not feeding a dog at least thirty minutes before or after exercising or going for a walk due to severe digestive issues, like bloat.
Water and hydration can also help dogs break down waste and allow the food to travel through their system much faster.
Dogs that don’t get enough water can begin to suffer from constipation, resulting in slow digestion and hard, dry stools that can be difficult for your dog to pass.
The more water a dog has, the easier it is for a dog to digest food because it softens food and increases the production of enzymes and acids that aid in digestion.
Why is my dog not pooping?
Stress in animals is much like stress and anxiety in humans.
Stress can cause the brain to produce excess amounts of norepinephrine, which signals the fight or flight response, which in turn can cause a dog to lose control of its bowels or urine.
Physical and mental stress and anxiety can also cause stress colitis.
Symptoms include straining to poop, going poop more frequently, increasing urgency to poop, mucus in the stool, small amounts of fresh, bright red blood, and diarrhea.
Medications given to dogs orally will generally absorb into the bloodstream within 20-30 minutes.
However, some medications can affect the time it takes for dogs to relieve themselves, such as antihistamines, diuretics, and opioids can cause constipation, while others cause them to go more often, such as antibiotics that can cause diarrhea.
Food allergies most often present as skin irritation; however, digestive issues can also be present.
Symptoms of food allergies are itching, chronic ear infections, hair loss, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The most common causes of allergic reactions are specific proteins, like beef, or ingredients like eggs, corn, wheat, soy, or milk.
It is important to watch for symptoms because allergies mimic other skin conditions and can be uncomfortable for your dog.
How to help a constipated dog?
Suppose your dog begins to show symptoms of allergies or gastrointestinal issues that do not clear up within one to two days. In that case, it is best to consult your veterinarian for blood tests or an examination.
However, there are some home remedies that will help your dog.
- Check your dog’s rear end for long hair that might be matted and is stopping the poop from moving out of the body.
- Pumpkin Puree is one of the most popular remedies for constipation in dogs. Its high fiber and water content can help get things moving.
- Add more fiber, like psyllium (e.g., unflavored Metamucil). Depending on your dog’s size, try giving 1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight mixed with a meal daily to start.
- Increase your dog’s water intake. Dehydration can lead to constipation, so access to fresh water, like in a dog water fountain, might make drinking water more enticing for your dog. Even eating wet dog food can help with dehydration a bit.