Recently updated on August 8th, 2022
Why does my dog poop so much at night? This is a common question among dog owners and sitters.
Assuming you have already consulted a vet and your dog is well-trained, there are several other reasons other than medical and lack of training that can cause a dog to poop or have accidents at night.
In this article, we shall go further and explain how these factors contribute to dog pooping at night and how to overcome them.
Why Does My Dog Poop So Much At Night? Major Reasons
There are several reasons why your dog poops so much at night. It could be a sign of excessive feeding, having a bedtime right after their meal, a high-protein rich diet, a high-fiber diet, or due to prevalent stress and anxiety in the canine. If this becomes a habit, we’d recommend consulting a vet near you to immediately understand what’s wrong and what you can do to fix the issue.
Let’s discuss this in detail:-
1. Overfeeding The Dog
Overfeeding your dog could be one of the reasons why he or she poops so much at night.
Most vets recommend at least 2 meals a day based on your dog’s weight. Each portion should be just enough to fill the dog’s stomach and no more.
Measuring the amount of food the dog eats is a good idea. But bearing in mind that some dry dog foods expand when wet, it is important you soak food in equal amounts of water before feeding.
For instance, put one cup of water in one cup of dry food. If the food swells a great deal, reduce it to the usual amount your dog eats. This will help prevent overfeeding as well as minimize the amount of water intake. Thus, fewer poops and urine and he or she may not need to go at night.
2. Bedtime Immediately After A Meal
Most vets argue that dogs tend to have a bowel movement about 15-30 minutes after a meal. So when you feed them just before bedtime, there is a high possibility that they will defecate in the house.
The best thing to do is to take him or her for a walk 20 minutes after a meal or play with him in the yard for a while. This will help in digestion and stimulate bowel movement.
If he takes a poop while outside, praise him for it and even reward him with a treat. It will encourage him to always look forward to going outside with you so that he can poop and be rewarded.
See also: Best trash can for dog poop
3. Food Heavy in Protein
Dogs love meat, right? So why not feed them on food rich in protein?
Well, the answer is quite simple. Dogs do not feed on meat only like wolves, their close relatives, do.
They have evolved over the years to a point where their digestion system can comfortably digest plant-based starches, vitamins, and other minerals. For this reason, dogs need a variety of nutrients for proper nutrition.
Feeding them excess protein means that only a certain percentage will be absorbed into their body while the rest will be excreted. This translates to more poop whether in daytime or at night. Worse still, the protein that is not absorbed ferments, which makes your dog’s waste stink even more.
However, you should also take care not to feed your dog too little protein. This is because they need protein for energy, to build strong muscles, and to repair broken tissues. It is, therefore, recommended that dry food for an adult dog should contain about 22% of crude protein while a puppy should consume not less than 22.5%.
Always consult your vet on the recommended amount of nutrients that your dog should take based on its age and level of activity.
4. A Low Quality Diet That is High in Fiber
Another reason could be your dog is taking low-quality diet food with insignificant nutritional density and high fiber
Most pet owners tend to go for lower cost pet foods oblivious of the fact that they have a higher proportion of wheat and corn compared to the higher cost pet foods. Consuming a lot of corn and wheat foods means more fiber in the dog’s stomach, which increases the volume of stool. Hence, the need to go often even at night.
The solution is, therefore, to change to a higher quality diet so that the dog can feed less often and poop fewer times.
5. Anxiety and Stress
Did you recently change your dog’s routine? Was he used to sleeping next to your bed and now he has to sleep in his own room?
These are some of the reasons why your dog could be experiencing stress and anxiety. Aging, as well as fear of loud noises and animals, are also major contributors to dog anxiety.
As a result, some dogs may suffer from stress-related diarrhea. Pooping and urinating in the house are ways that you can determine whether or not your dog is suffering from anxiety or stress.
If anxiety and stress are left untreated, they can lead to behavioral changes or other issues that may be difficult to deal with. The solution is to seek help from the vet to help you determine the type of anxiety your dog is suffering from and the possible triggers. The vet may administer anti-anxiety medications to help your dog recover from the anxiety.
Detailed Explanations – Why Does My Dog Poop So Much at Night?
1. Dietary Issues
You’ll probably notice your dog pooping more if you abruptly modify their food. When you entirely alter what your dog is eating in their bowl, it may take some time for their intestines to adjust since their stomach grows acclimated to particular foods.
They will start to recover in two weeks at the most, but you may prevent this by carefully transitioning them to a new food. Instead of just transferring from one food to the other, combine the foods, beginning on day one with 80% of their current diet and 20% of their new food.
Adjust the proportion of old to fresh food over roughly a week until they follow the latest diet entirely after around seven days.
You must use caution while deciding which meals to give your dog. An improper sort of diet can be harmful to their general health as well as cause strange bowel motions.
An excellent place to start is by selecting foods of high quality that are rich in new meat-based proteins, moderate in healthy fats, and low in carbs.
One of the warning signals that the food you’ve chosen doesn’t have the correct balance of nutrients for your dog is excessive bowel movements.
While it could be a high-quality food, this may not contain the correct proportion for your dog, particularly if they have deficiencies or are sensitive to specific ingredients.
Speak to your veterinarian about any potential unique dietary requirements your dog may have if it continues to defecate a lot when eating a reputable brand of dog food. Your dog’s diet can affect their pooping behavior due to the following reasons too:
2. Health-Related Issues
As a pet parent, it is never easy to read about health concerns that may be affecting your pet’s daily behavior. However, it is essential for you to remember that most health-related issues are treatable.
If detected early, they can be treated, and your pet can live a comfortable and healthy life. Remember, nothing matters more than your pet’s health!
Several dog experts suggest that if you detect an unusual change in your pet’s eating habits, you need to look for signs like dietary changes, monitor their eating habits, and eliminate any unhealthy eating cycles.
You can look for alterations in the consistency of their poop and the change in timings of their pooping ritual.
If you come across any such alterations, you need to check for any health concerns that may be affecting your furbabies.
1. Orthopedic Conditions
You might be surprised that an orthopedic ailment might bring your pet’s nighttime feces. You may be asking how that is even feasible.
Actually, it’s relatively easy. Your dog may have arthritis, making the dumping position uncomfortable for them. The stiffness or swelling of limbs brought on by arthritis might limit your pet’s movement.
I’m aware of your thoughts at this point. Why is it that your furbaby doesn’t experience discomfort when going to the bathroom at night if arthritis is the cause of your pet’s late-night pooping?
A poopy surprise might also be waiting for you when you awaken in the morning beside the entrance, in the hall, or somewhere else in your house. If so, it is probably there just because your dog prefers to relieve himself in that location.
Additionally, you can identify the symptoms of arthritis in your dog by keeping an eye out for the following signs:
- Unusual gait
- Awkward movements upward
- Refusal to move about a lot
2. Gastrointestinal Problems
The late-night dog pooping problem can also be due to gastrointestinal issues. Your pet’s nutrition can significantly impact irregular bowel movements, in addition to the fact that some dog breeds (such as pugs or retrievers) have sensitive bellies.
If you give your dog inexpensive dog food, it can desire to urinate more frequently. A recognized brand of dog food, on the other hand, will not only lead to reduced waste evacuation but may also help your furry friend feel fuller for longer.
This is our top pick if you’re seeking new dog food that will support a healthy digestive system for your little furry friend.
3. Physical Issues
Just like humans, dogs can get IBS or inflammatory bowel disease. They may find it challenging to regulate when they defecate as a result.
Additionally, it could make them feel rushed, which might result in mishaps. Other painful illnesses like arthritis may also be at blame. Going outside might not be worth the hassle if it hurts your dog to move.
Alzheimer’s disease can also afflict dogs. Just as in people, this results in cognitive deterioration and amnesia in dogs.
The dog can forget how to use the bathroom or perhaps be unaware that they are inside. Your dog may defecate inside the home due to liver illness, cancer, diabetes, or kidney stones.
A dog will typically have problems during the day if it has physical issues that cause it to poop at night.
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Dogs with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have stomach or intestinal distress due to inflammation in the gut lining. It generally lasts a night and might cause symptoms, including nausea, stomach distress, or diarrhea.
Even though the actual source of IBS in dogs isn’t always understood, there are a number of things that might have an impact, such as food, allergies, intestinal blockage, and stress.
IBS symptoms in dogs often relate to the digestive tract. Although these signs might come and go, they commonly and persistently manifest.
You should visit your veterinarian for care and prognosis because several IBS symptoms, such as diarrhea, and nausea, are frequent problems that also occur with other illnesses and conditions.
The following are some typical canine IBS signs:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Feces with mucus
- Vomiting and nauseous
- Lethargy or depression
- Discomfort when belly-lying
- Appetite loss and weight loss
- Abdominal pain and hypersensitivity to touch nearby
You must visit your veterinarian for testing and a correct diagnosis before starting therapy because other illnesses and ailments sometimes accompany the signs of IBS in dogs.
The goal of IBS treatment is often to limit exposure to the factors that are contributing to the symptoms’ exacerbation.
For instance, it is well recognized that anxiety and stress can make the illness worse. To a large extent, symptoms may be avoided by taking measures to lessen stress or anxiety-provoking situations in your dog’s surroundings.
It will also be necessary to address any underlying medical conditions, such as inflammation or tumor. To reduce symptoms, a doctor may prescribe medication.
The gut and intestines can be calmed with the use of antispasmodic meds, and your dog can pass solid stool with the aid of anti-diarrhea treatments.
Additionally, there are drugs for constipation, gas, and bloating. You might wish to inquire with your veterinarian about different all-natural ways to minimize inflammation.
Dietary adjustments are typically part of ongoing therapy for IBS. High-fiber diets support maintaining the digestive system’s regular operation.
3. Behavioral Issues
1. Eating Too Late or Too Soon
Your dog may defecate at night if they eat their supper too late. They need to defecate once their system has digested the meal.
Try feeding them later if they are going potty at night despite being provided several hours before bed. This will make sure that they wait till morning to poop.
2. Fear of Punishment
Dogs don’t develop memories in the same manner that humans do. They instead create associations. If you or a former owner chastised your dog for going potty, your dog could be reluctant to go potty when you are present.
They can refuse to go potty outside throughout the day since they were reprimanded for doing so for doing it indoors. This is due to the dog’s lack of memory for the particulars of the incident.
They recall having a poop, being noticed, and experiencing adverse outcomes.
3. Being Shy
A dog who is shy could also only go potty at night. When a dog poops, it is most susceptible. Many dogs choose to relieve themselves near their owners because they trust them to protect them when they are vulnerable.
While not for the same causes as people, other dogs appear timid. Simply said, they like to defecate alone, which is more likely to happen at night.
Some dogs get sidetracked easily. A lot is happening throughout the day, and the dog can be too engrossed in the activities to go potty. Things are calm and rather dull at night. Why not go potty because there is nothing else to do?
Dogs are routine-oriented animals. Once they become accustomed to a schedule, they frequently follow it. If your dog has developed the habit of going outside at night, they could keep doing so because that is when they are accustomed to going outside.
6. Attention During the Night
Only cats are more skilled manipulators than dogs. If your dog learns that getting you up in the middle of the night earns them additional cuddles and attention, they could keep doing it for your company alone.
The very first time they keep you awake to go potty, it could be cute, but you won’t find it as appealing after that. Unfortunately, your dog is unlikely to stop playing the game as long because it seems to be working.
7. Difficulty in Communicating
Communication between you and your dog could be difficult. They have no choice but to go throughout the night if they need to relieve themselves before going to sleep, and you ignore the indications.
8. House Training
If you are house training him, it could take a while for your dog to cease pooping at night. Once you are there just to remember them during the day, they could be effective, but they won’t be able to manage it at night.
4. Anxiety and Stress
1. Separation Anxiety
According to several experts, this is the most typical cause of dog feces in houses. A dog with separation anxiety becomes extraordinarily nervous or worried when you leave.
When you are ready to leave the house, your dog will probably start to whimper and might try to stop you.
However, separation anxiety does not just happen when you are not physically present. Additionally, if your dog doesn’t have accessibility to you at night, it may occur when you’re asleep. When left alone, a person with separation anxiety will frequently poop.
How to Stop Dog Pooping at Night?
1. Examine Your Dog’s Health or Physical Condition
Before using any additional techniques, it’s crucial to rule out any physical or medical conditions. You’ll need to consult your veterinarian to solve the issue if your dog is ill. If they aren’t, you’ll feel a little more at ease and be prepared to explore different approaches.
2. Change the Feeding Time
If feeding your dog too early or too late is the problem, the solution is straightforward. You’ll need to change the time they eat.
The dosage suggested on the packaging or by your veterinarian should be used for each feeding, and experts advise trying to feed your dog at least three hours before night. Since every dog is unique, you might need to modify the plan slightly.
3. Never Leave Food Outside
It’s advised to just keep the food out for 20 minutes after feeding your dog. Be sure to finish eating at least 3 hours prior to going to bed, even if you don’t follow the 20-minute guideline. Your dog may be munching at night and then having to defecate if it is left outside.
4. Include Digestive Boosters in their Diet
Digestive enhancers can assist in maintaining the correct operation of your dog’s digestive system. Pumpkin seeds and eggs, including the shell, are excellent for your dog’s health and digestion.
They won’t stop your dog from pooping on their own, but they can assist keep their system in check.
5. Go for an After-Dinner Stroll
Your dog can defecate before bed if you take them for an excellent walk to help their digestion. When it’s a regular part of your day, it works best.
Even a little stroll will assist. A brisk walk is terrific for getting things going. Because your dog is receiving exercise and will hopefully defecate while on the walk, it serves two purposes.
3. When to feed a dog, so they don’t poop at night?
Experts advise serving your dog’s dinner to be not earlier than 5 p.m. By doing this; you’ll give your pet time to digest the food and go potty one more time before night. That ought to satisfy everyone.
See also: How to get rid of dog poop in the yard without scooping
We frequently hear from pet owners about their aging dogs’ nighttime awakenings. Disease processes that produce soreness or increase your dog’s desire to pee or defecate are medical issues that may keep our canines up throughout the night. A few of the typical issues that may increase the desire to eliminate include urinary tract infections, renal illness, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disturbance.
2. Why does my dog poop in the house in the middle of the night?
The majority of elderly dogs’ nighttime accidents in the house are caused by age. Like people, your dog becomes older and has more difficulty managing bowel movements. Canine Alzheimer’s disease can also affect older canines.
3. Why did my dog poop in his sleep?
These dogs may not be able to completely empty their bowels when they are out in the yard because of pain, and as a result, when their muscles relax when they are sleeping, they end up passing balls of excrement. Senior dogs frequently have age-related nerve degeneration.
So why does your dog poop so much at night? I know it is disappointing when you wake up to a smelly doo-doo from last night, especially if your dog is well trained. Rather than taking a cane, you should try to rule out some of the reasons we have discussed in this article.
Are you overfeeding him, do you force him to sleep immediately after dinner, is his diet high in protein and fiber, or is he suffering from anxiety and stress? Finding the answers to these questions will help you understand your dog and strive to find solutions to help him.
Hi i hope you can help me, i have taken on a rescue Shih-tzu 3 years old, after having two Shih-tzus over a 26 year period, the only problem i have is, he sleeps in his own bed in my bedroom but wakes me a couple of times through the night and wants to go out in the garden and he does poop each time, he does go back to bed as good as gold, and he will do one poop through he day, i have tried different dried foods which he took to anyway but it has made no difference, i have also tried various feeding times, he is an absolutely brilliant dog and friend, but me being 82 it is not doing me much good regarding sleep,
i really hope you can give me some advice, i await your kind reply with many thanks
Hi James, sorry for what you are going through. When did you rescue him? Some dogs may experience anxiety when in a new environment, which can trigger frequent bowel movements, especially at night.
You have mentioned that you have tried different dried foods, do you check their protein and fiber content?
As for feeding time, feed him early enough before bedtime and then take him to the garden about 2 times before he goes to bed.
Hey! My dog has been going outside for his before bedtime poops, but suddenly he wakes up multiple times in the night urgently to poop! It’s like he’s been holding it in for days! We just experienced our first snow, and he’s been eating the snow a little too much could that be a factor? Or is it just diarrhea? Help! I. Need. Sleep.
Dogs eat snow and it’s perfectly okay if the snow is clean. However, if the snow is contaminated, it could lead to stomach upset and diarrhea especially when your dog is eating it in large quantities. I would prevent it from eating for a few days to see whether diarrhea stops. If it continues, consult your vet.
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