First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What is Not Pooping?

Most dog owners complain that their dog is suffering from diarrhea rather than constipation. If your dog is not pooping, there is usually a serious problem that needs to be addressed by your veterinarian. Your dog is considered to be constipated when they have difficulty pooping or they are not pooping at all. When they are having difficulty pooping they are producing feces that are hard and dry. This happens when the feces remain in the colon for too long and the moisture is absorbed back into the body, making the feces hard, dry and very difficult to pass. 

If your dog’s constipation persists and is not treated quickly, their large intestine can stretch out and no longer effectively function. The stretching of the colon can lead to a chronic condition known as megacolon. 

There are several different causes for why your dog is not pooping including:

  • Partial or complete obstruction in the colon
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Swallowing a foreign object 
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of dietary fiber
  • Infected anal glands
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Environmental stress

Book First Walk Free!

Why Not Pooping Occurs in Dogs

Obstruction of the Colon or Intestine

There are times when a foreign object, impacted feces, or tumors obstruct the colon. This obstruction may be partial, meaning feces can still move past the obstruction with great difficulty, or complete, meaning no feces can move past the obstruction. Your dog can experience severe complications from an obstruction in the colon and death can occur if not treated quickly. This is also true for the intestines. Dogs that like to eat or chew on things are more prone to intestinal obstructions that will require surgery to remove.

Hypothyroidism or Hypercalcemia

Hypothyroidism and hypercalcemia are not necessarily common conditions in dogs. However, when the thyroid gland is not properly functioning or when there is an abnormally high volume of calcium in the blood your dog can experience difficulty defecating. 


Dehydration can cause your dog to be unable to poop as the moisture that is in the feces is being resorbed by the body to try and compensate for the lack of fluids in the body. If you suspect your dog is severely dehydrated seek veterinary care immediately. Just like with humans, dogs need a specific amount of fiber in their diet along with exercise to keep their digestive tract fully functional. Start giving your dog more exercise and read the label on your dog’s food. 

Infected Anal Glands

Infected anal glands can also cause your dog to not poop. You can generally tell if the anal glands are the issue by examining the anus and looking for hard, protruding pockets around the anus. There will also be a foul smell present. 

Environmental Stress

Environmental stress can cause your dog to not poop. Changes in their routine, food or environment can cause brief bouts of constipation.

What to do if your Dog is Not Pooping

Dogs that have obstructions from eating foreign objects such as socks, bones, rocks, or children’s toys will need to be examined by your veterinarian. If your dog is unable to pass the foreign object naturally and thus removing the obstruction, surgery will be required to remove the object. 

There are times when the obstruction is due to tumors that have formed within the intestines or the colon. These will also require surgery and the tumors will need to be biopsied. Your veterinarian will discuss the procedure and the possible outcomes. 

Dehydration that is mild can be treated at home; offer plenty of cold, fresh water for your dog. You can offer them small amounts of canned dog food which contains moisture and will help with dehydration. If your dog is suffering from severe dehydration you need to seek immediate veterinary care. Your veterinarian will begin intravenous fluids to rehydrate your dog while they are trying to determine the cause of your dog’s severe dehydration. 

Infected anal glands will need to be expressed, if possible. If the anal glands are severely infected, surgery may be required to open the anal sacs and drain the infection. Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics for your dog. 

You may want to consult your veterinarian if you suspect your dog is having trouble defecating due to a lack of dietary fiber or exercise. Your veterinarian can recommend a food that will provide the right amount of fiber and an exercise plan that will benefit your dog.

Prevention of Not Pooping

You can take steps to prevent your dog from becoming constipated. Always have plenty of fresh water available for them to drink. If your dog is a chewer, keep all tempting objects out of reach. Feed a food that has high fiber content and make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

As soon as you notice your dog is having difficulty pooping, begin taking notes of what has changed in their environment, what they have eaten and how long they try to poop. Your veterinarian will need this information to make a proper diagnosis.

Cost of Not Pooping

Depending on the cause of your dog not pooping, it may cost a simple office visit to your veterinarian. However, if it is something more severe such as an obstruction in the colon or intestines that can cost between $800 and $7000 with the average cost being $3000. Infected anal glands can cost between $75 and $2000 with the average cost being around $500.

Not Pooping Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Border Collie
1 Year
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

"throwing up, not eating

So my dog weight 50 lbs swallowed a balloon on saturday - he is not eating - but drinking - and not popping since yesterday. He is not as active as he should be - should i be worried - he has thrown up three times - a white foamy liquid

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
675 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If you do know that Jager ate the balloon, and he is vomiting and not having normal bowel movements, it would be best to have his seen by your veterinarian, and probably have an x-ray taken to determine if the balloon is becoming a foreign body. Your veterinarian will be able to examine him, determine if he has a problem, and recommend any treatment that might be necessary. I hope that all goes well for him.

Add a comment to jager's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Blackmouth Cur
3 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms


I went to a vet yesterday for vaccination ,but he recommend de worming before vaccination. He gave a pill to have out the worm on her tummy . Unfortunately, it's been 24 hours she still doesn't poo. Our next appointment will be next week.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2143 Recommendations
If Bren is not passing any stool you may wish to try to add some plain canned pumpkin to the food to help ease things along or visit your local pet store to see if they have anything over the counter which may help. However, there is a possibility in severe parasitic worm infections that the dead worms may cause an obstruction and should be seen by your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Bren's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Pit bull
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Not wanting to eat

My dog hasn't went poo for over 24 hours and I can't afford a vet. What do I do? Also not eating? I just want my baby to be okay. I've tried giving him anything he would normally eat that would give him the runs but he turns away everytime.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
675 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining Mijo, I can't diagnose anything or recommend treatment, as I do not know what is wrong. It would be best if her were seen by a veterinarian to examine him and try to determine why he is acting this way and how to make him feel better. There are many clinics that offer 'free first exams' that you may be able to use to have him seen at a lower cost.

Add a comment to Mijo's experience

Was this experience helpful?