Old Dog Pooping While Walking: Causes and Solutions Explored

As our furry companions age, they may experience changes in their bodily functions, and one such issue that old dogs often face is pooping while walking.

This can be a concerning situation for dog owners, but understanding the underlying causes can help address the problem effectively and improve the quality of life for both the pet and their family.

There are several reasons why senior dogs may poop while walking, such as muscle atrophy, weakened rectum function, or even stress and anxiety.

Key Takeaways

  • Aging dogs may experience muscle atrophy and weakened rectum function, resulting in pooping while walking.
  • Understanding the underlying causes can help owners address the issue and improve their senior dog’s quality of life.
  • Identifying possible medical conditions and implementing treatment solutions can help manage these challenges for our beloved older pets.

Understanding the Issue


As dogs age, they may experience some changes in their bodily functions, including issues with bowel movements. One such issue that many pet owners often notice is their elderly dog pooping while walking. This can be attributed to a few different factors.

Defecating during walks for an elderly dog could be due to fecal incontinence, which is the lack of bowel control. This can result from the rectum losing its elasticity to hold feces until an appropriate time for a potty break. Some common causes of fecal incontinence in senior dogs include:

  • Muscle atrophy: As dogs age, the muscles around their anus may weaken, making it difficult for them to hold the posture required for proper defecation. In such cases, walking while pooping becomes an easier option as gravity assists them.
  • Reservoir incontinence: In this situation, the rectum’s ability to store feces until a potty break is compromised due to damage or weakening, particularly in older dogs.
  • Physical discomfort: Senior dogs may experience discomfort or pain when trying to pass stools in a stationary position. Walking while pooping might help relieve some of this discomfort by easing the passage of stools through muscle movement.

It is essential for pet owners to recognize these issues and implement solutions to make life easier and more comfortable for their aging dogs. Some potential solutions include:

  • Regular veterinary checkups to monitor your dog’s overall health and discuss any concerns.
  • Adjustments in diet or the addition of supplements to aid digestive health and address constipation problems.
  • Providing a comfortable environment at home, with easy access to appropriate areas for your dog to defecate without any obstacles.
  • Patience, understanding, and reassurance when your dog has accidents, as they are likely not intentional.

By recognizing the issue of elderly dogs pooping while walking, pet owners can better understand and manage these situations as their beloved canine companions navigate their golden years.

Possible Causes

old dog pooping while walking

Old dogs may poop while walking for a variety of reasons. In this section, we will discuss some of the possible causes, which can contribute to this behavior:

Aging and muscle atrophy: As dogs age, their muscles, including those in the rectal region, can weaken, making it difficult for them to hold their bowels. Muscle atrophy can also affect their ability to maintain the necessary posture for defecation, leading to walking and pooping simultaneously.

Reservoir incontinence: This refers to problems related to the rectum, the reservoir where dogs normally store feces until it’s time for a potty break. With senior dogs, the rectum might become damaged, causing fecal incontinence.

Digestive system changes: Dogs, like humans, experience changes in their digestive systems as they age. These changes can lead to gas, diarrhea, or constipation, making it difficult for the dog to control their bowel movements.

Arthritis and muscle pain: Older dogs may suffer from arthritis or muscle pain, which can make it uncomfortable for them to hold the typical defecation position. As a result, they might choose to walk while pooping to alleviate discomfort.

Nerve damage and medical conditions: Conditions such as tumors, parasites, and nerve damage can impact a dog’s ability to control their bowels. Additionally, urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and parvo can also contribute to uncontrolled defecation.

Canine cognitive dysfunction: This is a condition that affects a dog’s cognitive functioning due to aging. Dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction may become disoriented and forget their bathroom habits, leading to walking and pooping simultaneously.

Anxiety: Dogs suffering from anxiety, may exhibit irregular bowel movements. This can be observed when the dog walks and poops at the same time.

Anal glands and allergies: Blocked or infected anal glands may cause the dog to feel uncomfortable, prompting them to walk while pooping. Allergies can exacerbate anal gland issues and also contribute to diarrhea, making bowel control more challenging.

There are various factors that can lead to an old dog walking and pooping, ranging from age-related muscle weakening to medical conditions and anxiety. Identifying the underlying cause can help in finding an appropriate solution to manage this behavior.

Living with Aging Dogs

senior dog pooping while walking

As our dogs age, they may experience changes in their gastrointestinal systems, mobility, and overall health. This can lead to new challenges for pet owners, such as dealing with an old dog pooping while walking. Here are some useful tips and information to help you manage this situation and ensure your senior dog remains comfortable.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that as dogs age, the weakening of their rectal muscles can cause a reduced capacity to contain bowel movements. This can lead to unintentional defecation while walking, particularly if the dog’s control over their sphincter muscles has diminished. Other potential health issues include dementia, gastrointestinal distress, and reduced mobility.

Regular potty breaks: To manage aging-related incontinence, regularly take your senior dog for potty breaks throughout the day. This helps relieve pressure and allows the dog to eliminate waste before it causes an accident during the walk.

Puppy pads: Placing puppy pads in strategic locations around your house can be a practical way to manage your elderly dog’s incontinence. Puppy pads are not only for puppyhood but can provide a convenient and clean solution for senior dogs who may have difficulty holding their bowel movements.

Monitor stress levels: Stress can exacerbate gastrointestinal issues and contribute to incontinence in aging dogs. Ensure your dog has a calm, comfortable living environment and minimize stressors where possible.

Visit the veterinarian: Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help identify any underlying health issues that may be causing your dog’s incontinence. Appropriate treatment, such as medications or supplements, can be prescribed depending on the root cause.

Adjust diet and exercise: Consult your veterinarian to determine if changes to your senior dog’s diet or exercise routine may alleviate some of their bowel control problems. Certain dietary adjustments or a modified exercise regimen can help to improve overall gastrointestinal health.

By implementing these suggestions and working closely with your veterinarian, you can help ensure your aging dog remains comfortable and calm while navigating this natural stage of their life. Remember to be patient and understanding during this challenging time, as your elderly dog requires extra care and attention from you, their loving owner.

Medical Diagnostics

old dog goes to the bathroom while walking

Consulting a veterinarian is a crucial step when addressing your old dog’s pooping habits while walking. This section discusses the diagnostics process, which is essential in determining the cause and possible treatments for your pet’s condition.

Initially, the veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your dog, which may include a rectal exam to check for the presence of any abnormalities in the colon, rectum, or anus. This physical assessment helps the veterinarian identify any potential underlying issues related to bowel incontinence and distinguish it from other conditions.

In some cases, the veterinarian might recommend conducting blood work to gain insights into your dog’s overall health and detect any underlying systemic conditions. Blood tests can reveal vital information related to:

  • Kidney function
  • Liver function
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Inflammatory markers
  • Hormonal imbalances such as Cushing’s disease

Apart from blood work, the veterinarian may also suggest radiographs (x-rays) or an abdominal ultrasound to visualize the internal structures of your dog’s abdomen. These imaging techniques can reveal valuable findings related to:

  • Foreign objects
  • Tumors
  • Enlarged organs
  • Accumulation of gas and fluid in the intestines

Carrying out a proper diagnostic workup with the assistance of a veterinarian is essential in identifying the specific cause of your old dog’s pooping while walking. Utilizing these diagnostic tools will ensure the implementation of a suitable treatment plan, ultimately improving your beloved pet’s quality of life.

Treatment and Solutions

Managing an old dog’s pooping while walking can significantly enhance their quality of life and overall health. Here are some treatments and solutions to consider:

  1. Consult your veterinarian: Before making any changes to their routine or diet, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with the vet. They can examine your dog for underlying gastrointestinal illnesses or conditions like colitis that may be causing this problem.
  2. Adjust their diet: A special diet with increased fiber may help improve bowel movements. Consult your veterinarian for the best dietary choices. Foods rich in fiber can include pumpkin, carrots, and green beans. In some cases, a vet may recommend a specially formulated senior dog food.
  3. Offer supplements: Under a veterinarian’s guidance, including supplements that promote digestive health and regular bowel movements may be beneficial. Probiotics or digestive enzymes can be added to your senior dog’s food.
  4. Monitor water intake and exercise: Ensuring that your dog stays hydrated and gets regular, age-appropriate exercise can help maintain healthy bowel movements. Ample water intake and exercise may reduce the risk of constipation, which can contribute to involuntary bowel movements while walking.
  5. Implement a schedule: Establishing a consistent walking and feeding schedule can help your dog anticipate elimination times better and can prevent accidents during walks.

Incorporating these treatments and solutions for your senior dog can significantly improve their gastrointestinal health and overall quality of life. Always consult with a veterinarian before implementing any changes to ensure they are suitable and safe for your pet.

Enhancing Quality of Life

As our pets age, they may face various health challenges, leading to a reduced quality of life. One such challenge older dogs may experience is pooping while walking. To help an aging pet maintain a good quality of life, we should consider the following factors and possible solutions:

Muscle Weakness: Muscle atrophy and weakness in the hind limbs can make it difficult for an old dog to hold a stationary position while pooping. Exercise is crucial in maintaining muscle strength. As a pet owner, you should ensure that your aging dog gets regular, low-impact exercises tailored to their abilities. This will help strengthen their muscles and improve their overall movement.

Intervertebral Disc Disease: Older dogs may suffer from intervertebral disc disease, which affects their spinal cord and nerves, causing pain and mobility issues. Consulting with a veterinarian is essential to determine the best course of treatment for your pet, which may include medication, physical therapy, or even surgery in some cases.

Gastrointestinal Disease: A gastrointestinal disease could also lead to bowel control issues. If you suspect that your dog’s pooping problems are related to a digestive condition, talk to your vet about potential treatments and dietary changes to improve their comfort and well-being.

Dietary Changes: Some older dogs may benefit from adjustments to their diet. These changes could include:

  • A diet tailored for senior dogs
  • Increasing fiber intake to promote better digestion
  • Trying a specialized diet, as recommended by a veterinarian, to address specific health conditions

Dog Walk and Poop: Encourage your dog to poop before walks, if at all possible. Developing a routine for your pet can help them maintain better bowel control during walking. You can also try to walk your dog in less busy areas, allowing them to take their time and feel more relaxed.

By addressing muscle weakness, intervertebral disc disease, gastrointestinal issues, and making appropriate dietary changes, you can significantly improve your aging dog’s quality of life. Remember to consult with a veterinarian when making any significant adjustments to your pet’s routine or diet to ensure their continued health and well-being.