cocker spaniel head on carpet without pooping

How Many Days Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

Talking about poop isn’t the most glamorous part of being a dog owner but it can be a key indicator of the health and wellbeing of your pet.

Most of us are used to picking up and shoveling poop, so it’s often pretty easy to spot when a dog isn’t as regular as normal.

The bathroom habits of dogs can vary greatly even on a daily and weekly basis but it’s always useful to have some knowledge of what’s considered to be ‘within a normal range’ and what may be cause for concern.

We wanted to find out how many days can a dog go without pooping so that in the future we’ll be better prepared for when our dogs are constipated.

We’d like to point out, too, that we’re not veterinarians nor do we have specialist knowledge.  This post is for informational purposes only and if you’re concerned about the health of your pet then you should contact a veterinarian. 

You can also chat online to veterinarians by using the Just Answer website.

My dog keeps trying to poop but nothing comes out

It sounds like your dog is constipated.  Most dogs will go to the bathroom between 1 and 3 times a day and often after a meal but if it’s been 24-hours without a bowel movement then it’s likely to be constipation.


Symptoms of constipation include:

  • Not having passed a healthy stool in 24-hours
  • Not having as much energy as usual
  • Making pained sounds when trying to defecate
  • Walking in circles or pulling its behind across the floor
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss

  • Squatting regularly

There are several treatments for constipation in dogs but we feel you’re better taking your information from veterinary professions.  You can find more advice on constipation in dogs by visiting the PetMD website.

The causes of constipation are varied. Sometimes it can be due to environmental stress or a change in diet; your pet might not be getting enough water or enough fibre. It can occur through an illness that the dog has picked up or it may have eaten something that’s now creating a blockage.  We’ve included a little more information below about how many days can a dog go without pooping following a bout of diarrhoea or following surgery.

How Many Days Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

The real question is a little more specific: how many days can a dog safely go without pooping?

According to the Dog Time website, it’s not uncommon for a dog to go 1 to 2 days without pooping.  You should keep an eye on your pet and check that the stools they pass afterwards are healthy.  If it’s been 2 days or more, then you should contact your veterinarian. This is especially important if your dog is also crying, straining or crouching.

How Many Days Can a Dog Go Without Pooping After Diarrhea?

From one extreme to the other, right?

It can take a few days for the bowel to settle after a bout of diarrhoea especially if your dog was given medication to stop it.  Diarrhoea empties everything out so it may be that there’s not much going on in the gut right now especially if you’re also feeding your dog smaller portions of a special diet.

We found the advice on the Pet Coach website to be the most useful. A veterinarian there said that it can take between 24-48 hours for a dog to poop after having diarrhoea.  She went on to say that medication slows down the ‘transit time of food’ and this can mean no pooping right away.

If it’s any longer than 48-hours though and the dog is eating as usual, then it’s a very good idea to call a veterinarian.  

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping After Surgery?

It’s to be expected that a dog won’t be pooping so regularly after surgery. This is because the pet will have fasted before the operation and most likely won’t feel like eating for a while afterwards.

Most dogs won’t poop for between 2-3 days after surgery.

Your veterinarian will be best placed to advise you on how long your dog may take as they’ll know the history of your pet and be able to factor in the severity of the operation, the pain afterwards and the recommended diet during recovery.  It’s definitely worth asking his or her opinion so that you can keep an eye on any post-operative constipation. 

We hope you’ve found the post helpful and that you’ve now got a better idea of how many days a dog can go without pooping. 

As always, we’re not veterinarians and this post should not constitute medical advice.

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