How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop & 7 Factors That Can Affect Them

Hello, fellow dog lover! With their boundless energy and unbounded excitement, we all know that dogs make the world a better place. However, as a responsible dog owner, you must be mindful of your dog’s toilet habits, and “How long can dogs hold their poop?” is a frequently asked question.

A healthy adult dog can hold their poop for 8 – 12 hours. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that the length might vary depending on various factors such as age, health, size, diet, and activity level. All of these things can have an effect on how long your dog can hold their poop, and it’s critical to keep them in mind to keep your furry buddy healthy and comfortable.

So, let’s take a deeper look at these factors and how they might affect our four-legged buddies. Understanding your dog’s specific needs can help your dog maintain a happy and healthy life. Are you ready to take the plunge and learn more? Let’s get started!

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop: Factors that affect how long dogs can hold their poop


Age plays an important role in how long a dog can hold its poo. Let’s consider pups for example

Puppies have smaller bladders and underdeveloped digestive systems and therefore they may not be able to hold their poop for too long.

In general, puppies can hold their poop for about an hour for every month they are old (up to about eight hours). So, a puppy of two months can usually hold its poop for about two hours, while a puppy of six months can usually hold it for about six hours. So adjust their bathroom breaks accordingly.

However, it is important to be patient and consistent, because it can take puppies a while to learn where and when to poop.

Now looking at the other end of the spectrum, senior dogs might also have trouble holding their poop. Just a side note, most dogs are considered “senior” when they are 7 to 8 years old, but this can depend on the breed and size of the dog. 

As dogs age, they may lose muscle tone and control, which can cause them to have “accidents”. 

Also, older dogs may have health problems that make it more difficult for them to control their bowel movements, a condition commonly known as incontinence

If you have an older dog, you should observe their bathroom habits and make changes as needed. This could mean taking them out more often.


Dogs with health problems may have a hard time holding their poop. If your dog is sick, you should work with your vet to take care of their health and alter their bathroom routine as needed.

Some health problems, like gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract infections, and neurological disorders, can affect how long a dog can hold its poop. 

Because of these problems, your dog may need to go to the bathroom more often or may not be able to control their bowel movements at all. 

If your dog starts going to the bathroom more often or has accidents in the house, you should take him to the vet to make sure there aren’t any health problems going on.


Fiber can affect a dog’s bowel movements in different ways, depending on the dog and how much fiber the dog eats.

Generally, a moderate amount of fiber can help regulate a dog’s digestion and promote regular bowel movements. This is because fiber can help absorb water in the digestive tract, which can soften the stool and make it easier to pass.

However, if a dog consumes too much fiber, it can cause diarrhea. So it’s important to provide a balanced diet with an appropriate amount of fiber for your dog’s individual needs. 

Consult a vet to find out how much fiber to give your dog

Activity level

Gather ’round, my canine companions, and let’s go! The frequency with which you must go can vary greatly depending on how active you are. Physical activity and exercise on a regular basis can aid digestion and bowel health, but they may also necessitate more frequent trips to the restroom.

Bowel health relies on regular bowel movements, and exercise can help promote these and keep things going along smoothly. Constipation and slow bowel movements are common problems in dogs that don’t receive enough activity.

No matter your preferred form of exercise, whether it be a marathon or a game of backyard fetch, it is important to keep active. Establishing and maintaining regular bowel and bladder routines can be aided by regular physical activity, such as walks or play. Additionally, who doesn’t like a nice day outside with a game of fetch or a trip through the park?


Okay, so size does matter when it comes to how long dogs can hold their poop. Let me explain. The larger the dog, the longer they can usually hold it. This is because larger dogs have larger bladders and digestive systems, which can hold more waste. So, if you’ve got a Great Dane, you’re probably in the clear for longer potty breaks.

On the other hand, smaller dogs have smaller bladders and digestive systems, which means they can’t hold it for as long. This can be especially true for toy breeds, which are tiny but mighty in other ways. So, if you have a Chihuahua, be prepared to take them out more frequently to avoid accidents in the house.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Some larger dogs may have smaller bladders due to health issues, while some smaller dogs may surprise you with their bathroom habits. But as a general rule, the size of your dog can impact how long they can hold their poop.

Other Factors

Beyond your dog’s age, nutrition, health, size, and activity level, there are a number of other factors that might affect their bathroom habits, and these are all things you, as a dog owner, should be aware of. Things like stress, worry, and disruptions in routine fall into this category.

Stress and worry can make your dog’s digestive system go into overdrive, which means he or she will need to go outside more often.  You may need to take steps to reduce the stress fido is feeling or work with a behaviorist.

Changes in your dog’s routine can also throw off his bathroom habits. Dogs are creatures of habit, so if anything changes, be it feeding, exercise schedules, or if they go on a trip. Anything. It can throw them off. 

So, if you’re going on a road trip or about to change your daily routine, it’s important to plan ahead and make changes as needed to keep your dog’s bathroom habits in check.

Oh! I almost forgot. Surgery. A dog recovering from surgery will probably have a wacky bathroom routine. Work with your vet to establish a routine suitable for your dog.

Signs that your dog needs to go

I am pretty sure you know your dog better than anybody else. Every dog has their own way of communicating with their owner when they want to go.

However, these are the common signs you might have to look out for;

  • Sniffing around
  • Circling
  • Squatting
  • Whining
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Following you around

How often should you take your dog out to poop?

There is no set number of times to take your dog out to poop. As we have discussed earlier, there are several factors that can go into this.

However, if you want a definite answer, here you go: You should take your dog out to poop 1 – 5 times a day depending on several factors.

Of course, if you notice your dog is having more poop accidents than usual, take them out more often.

Risks of Holding In Poop

It is obviously not a good thing for your dog to hold poop or pee for a long time. Holding poop for a long time can cause both medical and behavioral issues for your dog. Let’s take a look at each:

Medical Issues

Constipation: Constipation can be uncomfortable and very painful for your dog. This occurs when the feces stay in your dog’s colon for a very long time and become dry and hard. This can lead to megacolon (a condition in which the diameter of the colon becomes abnormally large) in severe cases.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Dogs that hold their pee for a very long time are susceptible to UTIs. This is especially common in females since they have a shorter urethra compared to males.

Behavioral Issues

Emotional stress: Dogs always want to please their masters. However, even the best-trained dogs have a breaking point and will eventually end up doing it on the carpet if they are unable to go out to poop. This makes them unhappy and stressed because they know you don’t like it. Avoid punishing or scolding your dogs in case they do it in the house as this can add to their stress.


What if I am away from home?

Life gets in the way and unfortunately, we’re not able to spend every living hour with our fidos. In such situations, we should have contingency plans in place for our dogs in case they need to poop or pee. These can include:

  • Indoor litter boxes
  • A doggy door to allow your dog to go to the backyard when they please
  • Asking a neighbour or a friend to watch over your dogs when you are away

What if my dog hasn’t pooped in 24 hours? (How long is too long for a dog not to poop?)

If your dog has not pooped in 24 hours, this might be a sign of constipation. it’s best to consult a vet at this point.

How long after eating should you wait to take your dog for a bathroom break?

Vets say you should take your dog to poop immediately after eating. It’s still possible for your dog to hold it for 8 to 12 hours however this will not be pleasant for them. 

how long can dogs hold their poop at night?

This pretty much the same 8 – 12 hours but it is advisable to take your dog for a bathroom break just before he goes to bed.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Poop: Conclusion

So here are the main takeaways to this loonng but not-so-boring post

  • Remember to keep an eye on the factors that affect how long your dog can hold their poop, including age, health, size, diet, and activity level, as well as other factors like stress and changes in routine. 
  • Don’t forget to look out for signs that your dog needs to go, and take the necessary steps to prevent poop-related issues. 
  • Holding poop for a long time can have serious medical and behavioral consequences, so ensure you provide an environment that allows your dog to poop as often as they need to. 

By following these tips and being attentive to your dog’s needs, you can help keep your beloved pet healthy, happy, and comfortable.

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