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What is Pooping in the House?

Inappropriate elimination is a common problem for dogs for a number of potential reasons and can indicate a behavioral issue or medical condition.  Understanding your dog’s behaviors is the first step in preventing your dog from pooping in the house.  A new dog or puppy may not yet have the necessary training to know the proper time and place for elimination.  However, if your house-trained dog is suddenly pooping inside you need to discover the reason, be it behavioral or medical.  Some of the reasons for pooping inside may include:

  • Not enough house training (behavioral)
  • Separation anxiety (behavioral)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (medical)
  • Parasites or viral infections (medical)
  • Muscle atrophy (medical)

Pooping in the house can be frustrating, but it is important to get to the root cause of the issue, especially with a fully house-trained companion.  As a pet owner, you should consider any new potential stressors and be aware of all changes in your dog’s behaviors and health.

Why Pooping in the House Occurs in Dogs

Despite what seems obvious to you, dogs do not make a distinction between inside and outside when choosing a spot to eliminate waste.  The only place a dog will not poop or pee is where he sleeps so if your dog is pooping in his bed you should contact your veterinarian immediately.  

Not Enough House Training

Puppies and new dogs introduced into your family lack the knowledge of your schedule and therefore, their opportunities to poop outside.  Dogs will also eliminate waste on predictable schedules after eating. Introducing new routines or even new food into your dog’s life may upset his schedule and result in pooping inside.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety does not have an underlying medical condition but affects dogs who are keenly attached to their owners.  When you leave home, your dog may feel it acutely and act out by pooping in the house, becoming destructive, or vocalizing. 

Parasites and Viral Infections

If your dog is having soiling issues in the house, he may have an underlying medical condition brought on by a parasitic, viral, or bacterial infection.  Infections that affect the digestive tract to become inflamed will cause your dog to have diarrhea, and he may feel a sense of urgency to poop.  Younger dogs and dogs who have compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to infections.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Similar to parasites and other infections, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a medical condition that may be affecting your dog, especially if he has loose stool or diarrhea.  IBD is a condition where your dog’s intestinal lining becomes inflamed and may prevent your dog from absorbing nutrients as well as digesting food.  Unlike temporary symptoms, IBD is a chronic condition and can be severe.  It is unclear what causes IBD.

Muscle Atrophy

Your dog may experience muscular atrophy of the sphincter leading to an inability to hold waste.  Though muscle wasting can occur at any age, it is more common in older dogs.  The inability to keep the muscles controlling your dog’s waste could be the result of a general weakness in your dog, a degenerative nervous system disorder, or senility.

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What to do if your Dog is Pooping in the House

If you’ve just adopted a new puppy or older dog, you need to be patient with his house-training.  It takes time for your new family member to adjust to your schedule and his schedule.  However, if your previously house-trained dog is suddenly pooping inside you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any possible medical conditions.

Behavioral issues related to house soiling in house-trained dogs requires evaluating your dog’s potential stress.  Ask yourself if you or a family member has made any recent changes to schedules, feeding and walking times.  Your dog’s behavioral issue may be apparent, such as a new home for the family or subtle, like working a little later than normal.  Being patient is crucial for re-training inappropriate soiling behavior, and you should never scold your dog or rub his nose in the poop.    

As a dog owner, you should be on the lookout for medically related house soiling.  Diarrhea, temporary or chronic, is a sign that your dog is unwell and not get the proper nutrients.  You should seek a veterinarian’s help to determine the cause of your dog’s health-related problem.  Your vet will take stool samples or possible take X-rays or endoscopy to explore your dog’s upper GI tract to look for inflammation.  Tissue samples and blood work will help identify potential infections or parasites as the cause.  Antibiotics will be prescribed if a bacterial infection is suspected.  Anti-inflammatory medication may also be prescribed to help control the inflammation and get your dog back to health.

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Prevention of Pooping in the House

You can help reduce house soiling during training or re-training by creating and sticking to a scheduled routine of feeding and walking your dog.  You should also reward your dog when he eliminates at the correct time and place.  If your dog does have an indoor accident, do not scold him.  Instead, relocate the poop to the proper spot and have him inspect it.  Throwing out waste may seem like the logical thing to do but creating a chemical and scent association will help him remember where the proper place to poop is.  Additionally, always clean the area well where your dog inappropriately soiled because your dog will want to return to this same area in the future due to chemical association.  

If your dog’s elimination issues are due to a medical condition you can feed your dog less food at more intervals to help keep the volume of waste down.  Getting to the cause of the medical condition will also determine future efforts for keeping your dog healthy.  You can also hire a pet sitter who can assist with regular walks and feeding if you are not available to take your dog on more routine walks.

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Cost of Pooping in the House

The cost of inappropriate elimination depends on the underlying cause, and though training can vary in cost, medical conditions can range in expense.  For example, the average cost of lack of bowel control is around $1,800 whereas the inflammatory bowel disease-specific cost is around $2,800.

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Pooping in the House Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Bichon Frise

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Two Years

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Pooping

My dog is house trained for the most part, but every once in a while he poops in the house. It’s like he doesn’t want to leave my side to ring the bell for me to take him out. He will sit at my feet after he has done it and before I find it. I’m getting frustrated.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, I'm sorry that you're that was having problems. I'm not sure exactly why he is doing that, that is unusual. It may help to make sure that he is fed on a schedule, so that his stomach is not full all the time. Twice a day feeding time to work well for most dogs. I would also make sure that he is not being overfed since I cannot see his body condition or whether he is overweight. Taking him out frequently during the day may help as well.

Sept. 29, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Six Years

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N/A

Recently my dog has begun pooping in the house this is the third time in the past 3weeks that he has pooped in the house and I'm worried that it may be a medical condition but I don't know where to begin. He gets taken out regularly but I'm not entirely sure that he does anything when he's outside.

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If you are not sure that your dog is having a bowel movement outside, sometimes it can help to take them for an actual walk rather than just let them out in the yard. That can often stimulate their bowels to move more than sitting in a yard. If that does not help, then the next thing to do would be to have your dog seen by a veterinarian, and let them examine him to see if there is anything going on that they can find. Also, making sure that he is fed twice a day rather than having food down all day can help quite dramatically. I hope that all goes well for him.

Oct. 6, 2020

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Beagle

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Eleven Years

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Pooping In The House

My 11 year old dog has suddenly started urinating and pooping in the house. We took her to the vet and they confirmed she is diabetic. She’s been on insulin since Tuesday. What can I do to make her stop going to the bathroom inside?

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It will take some time for the insulin to work, and for her to not need to urinate so frequently. Until then, letting her out more often will help, as she cannot help it. If she is still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 16, 2020

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Bichon Frise

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Twelve Years

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Diarrhea

My house trained dog is pooping around the house. I’ve taken him out and he’s still doing it inside the house

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. Most dogs cannot control their bowel movements when they have diarrhea, and getting the problem resolved will help. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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Chihuahua

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Three Years

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From one day to the next the pooping started from in their room all under the bed and even in open living spaces

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If this came on suddenly, I would be concerned with parasites, or a change in diet. The first thing to do would probably be to have your Veterinary and look at a fecal sample to make sure that there are no parasites causing this. I hope that all goes well.

July 28, 2020

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Avalon

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Pit bull

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5 Years

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Poor Bladder Control

Have a 5 year old pitfall, fully house trained, and nothing has changed in her activities or diet. Recently over the last month she would be sleeping with me on my bed and I wake up to find two or three little poop nuggets. She gets full attention, she is actually very active in the household, what is the issue?

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Bailey

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Pit bull

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11 Years

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Pooping In House

My dog is a little over ten years old. She has NEVER had an issue with going in the house. The first time it happened, I wrote if off as a fluke (it was during a bath). Then I woke up to a small trail after my husband already let her out in the morning. Enough time after the other incident for me to write it off. The next day I took her for a car ride, we barely made it three blocks when she started pooping right in the car. Then again the same day during a bath after being outside for over an hour. Then again the next evening, after coming home from a walk. Never pee, only poop. Poop is not diarrhea.

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Ohana

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Border Collie

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Separation Anxiety
Pooping Inside

My lab/border collie mix is 3 years old. She is house trained, and usually bugs us to go outside. However, while I was away for a few days, she started pooping in the house during the night. She has done it the last 3 days, and on Sunday. I thought it would stop once I came home but I have been home for 2 days and it hasn't stopped. What can I do?

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Baby

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Pomeranian

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18 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Diarrhea

I have three older dogs, one I'm sure is ancient. They have the same feeding schedule, they go out every 30 minutes, or when they beg to go out. But the past two months, one or two, maybe all three have had CRAZY diarrhea. So they stopped getting treats and wet food for a while, I fed them rice and chicken broth for a few days and they were doing sooo well. But just today one has been throwing up and has diarrhea. I don't know where it's coming from, either someone in this house is slipping her people food or she's eating something she shouldn't outside, it could be old age. How can I help her, and me? My mom is threatening to take ALL of them to the Pound if this problem isn't fixed.

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Maverick

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Boxer

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Loose Bowel Movements
Pooping In The House

Maverick had been with us a year. He's a boxer lab mix from the shelter. We house-trained him when we got him with little problems. He never pooped in the house when we did though just pee, poop he has always donee outside. Now for the last 4 days he has beenpooping in our bedroom the last 4 nights. We let him out plenty he still pees outside. His stool is a little loose. We even started feeding him dinner a little earlier and then half an hour afterwards really him outside to run around. He was able to hold it then for 2 hours more going at 3:30 instead of 12. But I don't know if this is behavioral or medical????? This is my first dog and I'm desperately in need of help??

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