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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

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Written by hannah hollinger

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/31/2017, edited: 04/15/2021

Not Pooping Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Maltipoo

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Not Pooping

my dog hasn’t moved his bowels in about 2 days. he tried. i take him for walks n he tries to poop but nothing comes out. maybe a few drops of liquid but nothing else. i gave him some pepto bismol with dinner n i woke up to one small very dry poop on the floor this morning. but i went to walk him shortly after this discovery, and still nothing. i’ve tried giving him gatorade for dehydration and still nothing. should i be very concerned?

Feb. 27, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Hello If your dog is constipated, I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian for an exam. There is not anything over the counter that you can give safely to your pet. He may need labworkand xrays done. Good luck.

March 29, 2021

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I’ve had my puppy for 6 days and she has been pooping pretty regularly. The stools are soft but not any softer than what they should be based on my research. This morning she pooped after waking up but hasn’t pooped after her breakfast (about 3.5 hours ago), based on the last few days this is unusual for her but then again she’s only been with me for 6 days. Should I be worried? Thank you!

Jan. 10, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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6 Recommendations

Not at all, no. As long as she is acting normally, eating and playful, I would not worry. It is expected for a dog to empty their bowels less as they get older and there is variation from day to day. Most adult dogs pass stool 1-2 times a day, though puppies will go more regularly. She may just have gotten more used to her new food. Continue to monitor her but there is no cause for concern now.

Jan. 10, 2021

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My dog has only pooped a very small amount one time in the last 4 days, she seems to be fine though but she has been licking her anus quite a bit more then usual.. Whats wrong with her?

Jan. 2, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello It sounds like your pet may be constipated or possible having an anal gland issue. I recommend that you take her to see a veterinarian for an exam. Good luck.

Jan. 2, 2021

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Concave Chest

Dog 5 days didn’t pee and poop

Nov. 3, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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Hello- Thank you for your question. If your pet has not urinated or a defecated for five days then you need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. I would be concerned that your pet is not eating well, or potentially having kidney or bladder disease if not urinating. Your veterinarian will be able to examine her, and provide recommended diagnostics. I would plan on having them perform a urine check, bloodwork and x-rays. Good luck!

Nov. 3, 2020

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What can I do to make his bowels move

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. A small amount of canned pumpkin may help add fiber to his diet if he is a little constipated. If he is becoming severely constipated, however, he should see a veterinarian, as they can examine him and see what might be going on. He may need fluids and/or medication to help. I hope that all goes well for him!

Oct. 4, 2020

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booty

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Boxer Dog

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5 Years

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Hi,I hope someone can help me as I am very stressed my little girl boxer booty has been very ill ,I noticed Monday lunch time when I got home that she diarrhea ,she ate that night no problems, next day I didn't give her breakfast got home gave her cooked chicken and rice after eating she ran outside brought all her undigested food back up and once again had diarrhea only a very small amount like the day before she wasn't herself ,I was told not to give her food for 24hrs see how she goes ,next day she had diarrhea small amount again but it was all blood ,I took her to the closest vet ,they did blood tests ,slide tests ,test for parasites , and for being poisoned by a plant that are common ,the only thing that came back in her blood test was that she had slightly elevated fat enzymes, the slide tests came back that she had slight enzymes I think that's what the vet said she was busy, booty stayed in the vet hospital for the day ,she was given pain medication to stop her feeling sick plus pain medication fluid through a drip with antibiotic we came home with antibiotics , when i got home, late that night ,i notice just about her vagina is swollen heading towards her bum ,Booty has been eating good for 4 days but she hasn't done a poo ,she went into the yard in her pooing spot ,but didn't end up pooing .forgot to say that the young vet said she has pancreatitis ,but I feel like she has been diagnosed wrong thank you Sheree thank you the vet bill was $1300 for the day and I am trying to get more money together to take her back to the vet tonight if I can ,could anyone help me with any information ? I am sitting with her at the moment and I am sick from worry ,

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Pixie

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Hi my 3 year old malteseX usually eats twice and poops once or twice daily. Since yesterday she is eating once, drinking water, playing not so active as usual and not pooping since yesterday. Today she had full meal and after that when she wanted to poop tiny drop of mucus came. Day before yesterday she had normal poop but at night a little soft poop and a drop of mucus. This morning she wanted to poop but only a little drop.

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Olivia

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Border Collie/ American Pitbull

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6 Months

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Not Pooping

Ok so our puppy got ran over and got injured. She was placed on antibiotics and pain meds, we been cleaning up her wounds daily. At first she wasn't eating and only drinking very little for the first 2 days. I placed her on canned foods cause of the softness for her to eat, she drinks her water with the help of us holding her bowl. She has been urinating but now it's been 4 days and she hasn't pooped. I took her to the animal hospital but they weren't able to see her because I don't have that kind of money to pay in full for the visit and they not willing to take payments. Been looking for solutions online so I can help our Olivia...any suggestions...feeling desperate.

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Panda

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Pit bull

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3 Years

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Not Eating
Not Pooping
Not Eating Unable To Move Bowel
Not Eating , Unable To Move Bowel
Unable To Move Bowel

I have a pit mix who has a liter 3 and a half weeks old. She had diarrhea yesterday. Today I seen water come out the back end and there after if she drank water she got sick a clear mucus. She seems to be trying to pass a bowel but nothing is coming out. She is a scavenger and has been known to jump on the counter and eat through plastic to get the bread or buns even with a full bowl of food down for her. Her utters are rock hard as she has no interest to nurse right now. If she’s up walking her tail is tucked between her legs. She won’t eat as I’m trying to get her to take the pumpkin. We do have a well being apt on Monday for her and all the pups but I’m not sure she can wait till then.

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Toby

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Jack Russell

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Not Pooping

Toby went for a poop at 4 yesterday morning but haven’t got 24 hours now, drinking and eating normal got same engery don’t seem to be in any pain but he do walk on his bum sometimes. Should I be worried? What should I do? How can I get him back to pooping?

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