How long after eating does a dog poop?

Understanding how your dog’s digestive system works is crucial for dog owners, as it can provide insight into what to expect during potty training and beyond, despite not being the most glamorous topic.

How long after eating does a dog poop?

Several factors affect the timing of a dog’s bowel movement. Some dogs follow a routine and defecate once or twice daily at a specific time. Puppies, on the other hand, may need to poop after every meal. Additionally, it is challenging to estimate the duration it takes for food to pass through their digestive system.

How Long Does It Take to Go From Food to Poop? 

A dog’s gastrointestinal tract is similar in proportion to humans’, with the small intestine comprising 25% of it; however, food moves slower through their stomach and faster through their intestines.

Most dogs digest their food within 6 to 8 hours, but the duration can vary depending on several factors that influence the speed of digestion, ranging from 4 to 10 hours. This is significantly faster than humans, who take around 20 to 30 hours for food to pass through their digestive system.

After eating, it takes approximately 6 to 8 hours for dogs to eliminate the waste from their meal.

Factors That Influence Digestion Time

Although you may not be monitoring your dog’s meal schedule to predict their bowel movements, it can still be beneficial to know the duration of their digestion process.

Size plays a significant role in the duration of digestion. It takes more time for bigger dogs to digest food, possibly due to their higher food intake. Digesting a meal and defecating can take 8 to 12 hours for large breed dogs.

Small dogs, on the contrary, have the ability to break down their food within a span of only 4 hours, while puppies also have a similar digestion time of approximately 4 hours.

Physical activity can also impact the process of digestion. When your dog companion is engaged in exercise, their body will metabolize food more quickly as it requires the energy and nutrients provided by the food.

When determining how long it takes for a dog to poop after eating, the type of food they consume plays a crucial role. Foods that are high in fiber and grains take longer to digest compared to protein-rich foods. Additionally, wet food is processed more quickly than dry food due to its higher water content.

Your dog companion may have specific food cravings at various times, based on the requirements of their digestive system.

Do dogs poop after every meal?

How long after eating does a dog poop? The answer is not definitive as it varies from one dog to another. A few dogs may defecate after every meal, whereas others may only do so once daily. This is influenced by factors such as the age and size of your dog, their level of activity, and the number of meals they consume each day.

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Puppies need to be fed 3-4 times a day, and they may defecate after every meal as they usually poop around 4 hours after eating.

It’s also possible for big dogs to defecate after each meal. If you give a large dog two feedings per day, spaced 10 to 12 hours apart, they may naturally require to poop after every meal.

Why do Dogs Poop After Meals?

Although it may appear that dogs defecate within half an hour of consuming food, the reality is quite different and they do not digest it that quickly.

Consider your dog’s digestive system as a production line where food is introduced, and the digestion process begins in the stomach before progressing to the small intestines.

After eating, your dog’s next meal will make its way to the stomach while the previous meal in the intestines is prepared to be excreted as poop, followed by the second meal entering the intestines and repeating the process.


Digestibility is a contributing factor to the duration it takes for your dog to defecate. Commercial foods are typically 75% digestible, resulting in 25% of their intake being excreted as waste. However, premium quality foods have an 82% digestibility rate, meaning that only 18% will eventually be expelled as feces.

Although it may appear insignificant, feeding your dog with high-quality food can lead to a reduction of about 30% in the amount of poop produced, which implies that they may need to defecate less frequently and have a lower total volume of feces; this is particularly important to consider if you are responsible for cleaning up after them.

How long to wait to take a dog out after pooping?

How long after eating does a dog poop? Well, it varies depending on factors such as the size and breed of your dog, their level of activity, and their regular bowel habits. Due to the unique workings of a dog’s digestive system, they may need to defecate anywhere from a few hours to several hours after their last bowel movement.

According to a general rule of thumb, if your dog defecates in the morning, it is likely that they will do so again within 4-8 hours after having breakfast. It is recommended to take them out for a walk early in the morning and before going to bed, but some dogs may also require a break in the middle of the day.

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How Long After Eating Do Dogs Poop? 

Dogs should be taken outside to poop between 5 and 30 minutes after they eat, especially if they are puppies. The younger the puppy, the more urgent it is to take them out. For adult dogs that prefer to defecate after meals, it’s best to wait for 20-30 minutes before taking them out.

What is the longest a dog can wait to poop after eating?

This can vary depending on the dog’s age, breed, and size. It is important to note that there is a significant difference between the amount of time a dog can hold their poop and how long they should hold it. Dogs, like humans, are susceptible to constipation.

 The Rule of Thumb

Poop timing can differ significantly among dogs, similar to the routines associated with defecation. Nevertheless, there is a fundamental guideline.

Dogs typically have the ability to control their urination and defecation for a duration of one hour per month of their age, with an additional hour added to this time frame for maximum capacity.

Dogs that are 3 months old should be taken for a bathroom break every 3 hours to avoid them holding their poop for more than 4 hours.

Dogs can hold their poop for up to 8 hours when they reach 8 months of age. However, senior dogs have a similar holding capacity as puppies and cannot hold it for as long as adult dogs. The duration they can hold it varies from dog to dog, but it’s safe to assume that they cannot hold it for more than 4 to 5 hours.

What if They Didn’t Poop?

As you prepare for work, you take your dog outside to relieve themselves. However, you notice that they haven’t defecated yet, and you have to leave for 8 hours. You may be wondering if it’s safe for your dog to hold their poop during this time.

Dogs have the ability to retain their feces for a longer period than their urine. It is acceptable for an adult dog to defecate once every 24 hours without any adverse effects, although it is not ideal. Therefore, if your dog urinates but does not defecate, it is still permissible to leave them alone.

Dog Constipation

Is it a cause for concern if your dog has not defecated in more than 24 hours?

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If your dog hasn’t defecated for more than a day, there’s no need to worry, but it’s important to keep an eye on them. However, if they haven’t excreted waste in 2 days, they may be experiencing constipation.

If your dog shows signs of discomfort or vocalizes while defecating, it could indicate constipation, which is a common issue that you may have encountered with your own bowel movements.

Just like humans, dogs may also experience difficulty in pooping and may need to walk around after squatting. This feeling is familiar to anyone who has rushed to the bathroom but failed to produce anything.

When your dog finally defecates, examine their feces closely. If it appears to be extremely firm and tightly packed, this is also an indication of constipation.

Consistency Over Quanity

As long as your dog defecates once daily, they fall under the usual range. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to be aware of their regular bowel movement frequency. If they usually excrete four times a day but suddenly reduce to once, it could indicate constipation.

Investigation is necessary if a dog’s usual frequency of defecation, which is twice a day, increases to 5 times a day.

As dogs age, especially from puppyhood to adult and adult to senior, their defecation patterns are likely to change; nevertheless, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian if there is a significant alteration in the frequency of your dog’s bowel movements.

Getting Your Dog to Poop

If your dog is experiencing constipation, you can try resolving the problem on your own. Canned pumpkin is rich in fiber and may be sufficient to stimulate bowel movements. Ensure that you purchase plain pumpkin and not pie filling, then mix a few tablespoons with each meal of your dog’s food.

Boosting your dog’s physical activity can aid in moving food through their digestive system, ultimately facilitating defecation.

If you attempt these techniques and your dog is still experiencing difficulty defecating, it will be necessary to bring them to the veterinarian as there are potential medical reasons such as enlarged anal glands and tumors, and you may also have to modify their diet.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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