Canine Night Poops? How to Remedy a Stinky Situation

ProblemDog waking up to poop during the night
Why The Nocturnal Restroom Break?Dogs may wake up to poop during the night due to a variety of reasons, including dietary issues, medical issues, or anxiety. Additionally, older dogs may have decreased bladder control and need to go out more frequently
Potential SolutionsConsult with a veterinarian to address any underlying health issues, adjust the dog’s diet, provide regular exercise and weight management, offer a designated area for the dog to go to the bathroom, provide a comfortable and secure sleeping environment
why does my dog poop at night
Unlike a baby, dogs won’t grow out of waking up at night, you have to train it out of them.

Causes of Dogs Waking Up to Poop in the Night

Digestive Issues

If your dog is waking up in the middle of the night to poop, one possible cause could be gastrointestinal problems.

Issues such as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, or inflammatory bowel disease can lead to nighttime accidents. Here are some key signs of digestive issues in your dog:

  • Frequent diarrhea or loose stool
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas or bloating

Dietary Factors

Another potential cause for your dog’s unwelcome nighttime bathroom break could be their diet.

If your dog has eaten something that’s causing problems with their stomach or if they ate dinner too late at night, they could need relief during the night. Some dietary factors to consider:

  • Feeding your dog too close to bedtime
  • Offering them high-fat or spicy foods
  • Giving them table scraps
  • Sudden changes in their regular diet

Related:

Dog gets hiccups at night

Behavioral Causes

Behavioral factors can also contribute to dogs waking up to poop in the night. Anxiety, separation issues, and incomplete house training are just a few examples.

Take note of your dog’s behavior and consider the following:

  • Are they showing signs of anxiety or fear?
  • Are they whining or barking when left alone?
  • Have they been adequately house trained?

Age-Related Factors

Don’t forget that age plays a role too! Puppies and senior dogs may have less control over their bowel movements, leading to nighttime accidents.

Puppies need time and patience for proper house training, while senior dogs might be dealing with physical ailments or cognitive decline that affect their ability to hold it in.

Keep in mind the following:

  • Puppies: Allow extra time for proper house training and adapt a patient approach.
  • Senior dogs: Be aware of potential health issues or cognitive decline that might be making it more difficult for them to hold it in.

How to Discourage Dogs from Nighttime Pooping

Regular Feeding Schedule

Establishing a regular feeding schedule for your dog can help prevent nighttime pooping.

Feeding your dog at consistent times throughout the day allows their digestive system to follow a routine, ultimately reducing the chances of nighttime accidents.

Early Evening Exercise

Incorporating early evening exercise into your dog’s routine encourages them to poop before bedtime.

By providing your dog with an opportunity to relieve themselves before they go to sleep, you can minimize the likelihood of them needing to go in the middle of the night. Try taking your dog for a walk or playing a game of fetch during the early evening hours.

Medical Check-Up

If your dog is consistently waking up in the middle of the night to poop, it’s essential to rule out any medical issues.

Schedule a check-up with your vet to ensure their nighttime accidents aren’t caused by an underlying health problem, such as gastrointestinal issues, infections, or side effects from medication.

Training and Conditioning

Training and conditioning can play a significant role in discouraging nighttime pooping. Work on reinforcing good habits, like using the bathroom outside or in their designated area before bedtime.

Additionally, a calm, comfortable sleeping environment can help reduce anxiety that may be causing your dog to need the toilet at night. Remember to be patient and consistent in your training efforts.

When To Consult With a Vet

There are times when your dog’s habit of waking up in the middle of the night to poop might indicate an underlying health issue. In such cases, it’s crucial to consult with your vet to ensure your dog receives appropriate treatment. Here are a few scenarios when you should consider scheduling a veterinarian appointment:

  • Changes in stool consistency: If your dog’s stool has become unusually hard, soft, or contains blood or mucus, this could indicate a gastrointestinal problem.
  • Frequency: When there is a sudden change in your dog’s stool frequency, either too often or too little (constipation), consult your vet.
  • Painful bowel movements: If your dog appears to be in pain while passing stool or has difficulty eliminating, it might signal an issue that needs medical attention.
  • Unusual behavior: If your dog seems to lack control when eliminating or lacks awareness of its elimination, it could be an issue that requires professional attention.
  • Suspected illness: If you observe any other symptoms—such as vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, or weight loss—you should seek a vet’s advice regarding potential medical issues.

Remember, your dog’s health is a priority, and it’s essential to address any concerns early on. If you’re ever in doubt about your dog’s nighttime bowel movements, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian for guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I adjust my dog’s feeding schedule to avoid nighttime pooping?

To adjust your dog’s feeding schedule, follow these tips:

  • Feed your dog at least 2-3 times a day instead of one large meal.
  • Schedule the last feeding around 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  • Monitor the time it usually takes for your dog to poop after eating and set up a routine accordingly.

Why is my dog suddenly pooping every two hours at night?

If your dog is suddenly pooping every two hours at night, it may be due to various reasons such as anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, or a change in diet. Consult your veterinarian for a proper evaluation and treatment plan.

How can I get my dog to poop before bed?

To encourage your dog to poop before bed, try these strategies:

  • Establish a consistent routine, including walks and playtime.
  • Give your dog some extra exercise during the day to stimulate bowel movements.
  • Praise and reward your dog when they poop during pre-bedtime walks.

At what age do puppies stop pooping at night?

Most puppies stop pooping at night by the time they reach 16-20 weeks old. However, this may vary depending on factors such as breed, training, and individual development.

What is causing my potty-trained dog to poop in the house?

A potty-trained dog may start pooping in the house due to reasons such as stress, a medical issue, or changes in their environment. Take note of any changes in your dog’s behavior and consult your veterinarian for a proper assessment.

How can I change my dog’s pooping schedule?

To change your dog’s pooping schedule, consider these steps:

  • Adjust their feeding schedule, ensuring the last meal is at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  • Provide regular exercise and mental stimulation during the day.
  • Train and establish a consistent routine for walks and potty breaks.
  • Gradually shift their current schedule by adjusting meal and walk times.