Pooping in the House in Dogs

Why is my dog pooping in the house?

Most common conditions

Separation Anxiety / Parasites / Bowel Disease

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Rated as moderate conditon

61 Veterinary Answers

Most common conditions

Separation Anxiety / Parasites / Bowel Disease

Why is my dog pooping in the house?

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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.

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.

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.

Cannanine

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

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Robin

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Siberian Husky

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pooping Inside
Pooping Inside New Dog
Pooping Inside New Dog Food Protect

My dog robin is two years old and she has never had any sort of elemination issue after she was potty trained as a puppy. However about six months ago we rented out part of our home and the renters also have a dog. A medium sized lab/collie mix. They seem to have been getting alone fine, but robin does not like to go outside with him, so we started letting them out separately things seemed to be fine. Now my boyfriend switched schedules at work and now goes in at 4am. Since his schedule change, robin has been guarding her food, (but the other dog does steal it) even when the other dog isn’t home or in a different room. She has also been going to the bathroom inside the house. We’ll try to put her outside and she won’t go and then shortly after there’s an accident. What can we do to help her adjust to the schedule change and teach the other dog to stop stealing her food?

Aug. 9, 2018

Robin's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Schedule changes can be stressful for dogs and they may act out in certain ways, you should follow up with training with the two guides linked below. There is no quick fix, but follow the two guides and there is a section at the bottom of each guide where you may ask a certified dog trainer a follow up question for clarification if needed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/training/not-poop-in-the-house https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-food-aggression https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-stealing-food (for the other dog)

Aug. 9, 2018

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Loki--3 years old and Koda--1 year old

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Shih-Tzu

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

My son has 2 Shih-Tzu dogs ages 3 and 1. Lately when he brings them over, one of them poops in our house when no one is looking even though they both were just outside and pooped there. The oldest one is in love with my husband and only sits by me when no one else is around. We love the dogs but will soon ban them from our house because of this issue. Last week, one of them pooped in my mother's house. We were not there at the time. Everyone was outside for less than 5 minutes and when my mom came in the house, there were several piles of poop. How can this be stopped?

July 31, 2018

Loki--3 years old and Koda--1 year old's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

This sounds like a behavioural issue, training is important to enforce that defecation in the house is an undesirable behaviour; I’ve popped a link to two training guides of our below for you to read through. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-poop-outside https://wagwalking.com/training/not-poop-in-the-house

July 31, 2018

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milo

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Pug

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pooping Inside

My pug is 5.5 years old. He recently (past 2 weeks) has been holding his poop and waiting to do it at night. He will poop 3 separate times all either in our bedroom for my husband to find or down in our living room. it is all solid and it is beyond frustrating. He never used to do that and would only have the occasional accident where he peed in the house but this is getting to be hard. my husband and i do not know what to do because we let him outside multiple times a day and for long periods. I try to monitor him outside in our yard to make sure he goes number 2 but lately it has been pulling teeth for him to even urinate outside in less then 30 minutes. the vet said he was fine so i think it is a behavioral issue but we haven't changed anything. i don't know what to do and my husband is at the point he wants to get rid of him. we have had him since he was 7 weeks old and obviously that is not something i want to do.

July 24, 2018

milo's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

This certainly does sound like a behavioural issue over a medical issue, we have a training guide below on how to stop a dog from defecating in the house; also there is a section at the bottom of the page where you can ask a certified dog trainer any follow up questions after reading through the training guide. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/training/not-poop-in-the-house

July 24, 2018

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carl

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Rottweiler

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Poop

my parents 8+ yr old male rescue (from a puppy mill...) rottweiler has been pooping right where he is. In the house. my mom reports he is even pooping in his sleep. He was formerly house trained.

July 16, 2018

carl's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Defecating in the home may be a behavioural or medical issue; however if Carl is defecating in his sleep this is more likely to be a medical issue. This is something to see your Veterinarian about to narrow in on the cause of the faecal incontinence; they will check anus tone, the spine among other things to determine a cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 17, 2018

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Spaz

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Shih Tzu

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Pooping Inside
Eating Poop

We just got a new dog a week ago. She is a 4-year-old shi-tzu/poodle mix according to the lady who gave her to us. In her previous home, she was either locked outside all day with a lot of other dogs or locked inside and not taken out so she has never been properly house trained. She pees outside just fine but never poops outside. I have started taking the poop outside to where I want her to poop but she still is waiting until she gets back inside to poop. I will walk around for a long time and she will pee 5+ times each time but never poops and no matter how long I walk her she poops shortly after we come in! Tonight she started something new and started eating her poop! She had wandered into the other room and apparently pooped and then decided to eat it. This was extremely gross because she jumped up on the couch next to me and proceeded to eat it. I initially thought it was some of her food until the smell hit me! She has done the same action with her food (jumping up next to me) so I wasn't expecting the poop. I am not sure why she suddenly started doing this because she hadn't been trying to eat it before. We got her as a companion for our other dog who is a 6 year old shepherd mix. They have gotten along perfectly and sleep, eat, drink, and play together like they have known each other forever. There is always food available for her so it isn't like she is hungry either.

July 13, 2018

Spaz's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

This is certainly a behavioural issue and can be a difficult habit to break, we have a few training guides on our website which I’ve linked below; also on each of the articles below you may ask a question to a certified dog trainer if you require any clarification on anything. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-poop-outside (says puppy but still applies) https://wagwalking.com/training/not-poop-in-the-house https://wagwalking.com/training/poop-in-one-place https://wagwalking.com/training/not-eat-poop

July 13, 2018

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Avalon

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Pit bull

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

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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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

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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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

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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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

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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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

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??

Cannanine