Though the days of puppyhood are long gone with my own dog, I remember the puppy days of really well. With minimal clue of what I was getting myself into, I was the anxious helicopter parent. I worried about how much they ate, how well they slept, and, yes, how many times a day my puppy pooped!
If you want to know what’s normal, and how many times a puppy should poop a day, here’s the generalized short answer followed by some useful tips.
How many times a day should a puppy poop? Most puppies will poop around 5 times a day. This is normal for puppies of 6 months, 3 months, 8 weeks, and any age until they reach adulthood. But there are a few factors that affect how many times a day puppy poops.
Knowing how often your puppy will poop in a day is an important piece of knowledge for any dog owner. I will also now explain what you need to look for in healthy puppy pooping, and how to tell when they need to go.
Handy Hint: If your puppy is pooping lots of times day, and they should, here’s how long it takes to decompose in your yard or garden.
How often does your puppy need to poop a day?
Generally, the younger your puppy is, the more frequent they’ll need to poop each day. A rule of thumb is that a puppy should poop between one and five times a day, proportionate to their age and dietary habits.
It is healthier for them to go closer to 5 times a day than one time per day. One solo bowel movement could suggest that they are constipated.
As dogs get older, they will poop less and less frequently. They are also able to hold their bowel movements for far longer periods of time.
If you have your puppy on a high fiber diet, they are likely to need to poop more often in a day. The frequency of bowel movements also correlates with the number of times you feed your dog per day.
On average your puppy should be fed three small meals per day, so you should expect 3 to 5 healthy stools a day (here’s how to dispose of them).
Is your puppy’s poop normal?
No fur-parent is complete without knowing the details of good bowel movements. Everything comes down to poop after all! It is a great indicator of your dog’s overall health and wellness without constant trips to the vet or obsessive observation.
Normal, healthy puppy poop should be medium to dark brown. If the poop is black, gray, green, yellow, red or white, then you have cause for concern. Normal brown poop with green bits in it is likely grass.
It’s not the best thing in the world but you don’t have too much cause to panic. Healthy brown poop with white pieces in it could indicate that your puppy has a tapeworm.
Worming medicine recommended by your vet should fix this problem. Red poop could be a sign of internal bleeding. Huge red flag (literally) so take them to the veterinarian immediately.
Your puppy’s stool should be firm and log shaped – and more solid by 10 weeks of age. Diarrhea is very easy to spot because it is liquid and runny. There is no discernable shape or segments. Constipation is harder to decipher but more so comes down to how it comes out.
It may appear hard and cause your dog stress as they try to relieve themselves. Shaking on level 11. The poop may also come out in pieces if they have been constipated for a while.
Handy Hint: Here’s how long it normally takes for an adult dog to poop after eating a meal.
Of course, no puppy poop smells like roses. Usually, puppy poop smells how you would expect it to smell but you need to pay attention to any dramatic changes.
If your puppy’s poop all of a sudden smells very sweet or extremely foul, it could be an indication of disease. Be incredibly mindful of dramatic changes like these.
The broad stroke of this is the larger your puppy, the larger their poop will be. This will continue into adulthood too. If you have other dogs at home, don’t compare their stool size unless they are the same breed and age.
For example, a 4-month-old Bichon Frise will seemingly pass pellets compared to an 8 month old Newfoundland. The general properties of color, shape, consistency and smell that we have discussed will be relatively constant, but the amount produced by each dog is wildly different.
Don’t panic unless you notice your puppy is producing considerably less or considerably more on a consistent diet.
How can you tell when your puppy needs to poop?
Typically, your puppy will need to relieve themselves around 30 minutes after having a meal. There is a vague rule of thumb that your puppy can hold it one hour per month of age until they reach 8 months old.
That is a fair assessment, but it doesn’t account for whether they will hold it in that long. They won’t if they don’t need to, so be ready to take your puppy outside within 30 minutes of them eating.
You can definitely bet that your puppy will need the bathroom first thing in the morning and before they go to bed too. Work these bathroom breaks into your routine.
When housetraining your puppy, there are a few telltale signs to watch out for:
Your clever pup will likely be the first to tell you they need to go with their words. Howling and whining by the backdoor, or just around the house is a clear sign they want your attention.
It’s not uncommon for puppies to do this when they need to relieve themselves so pay attention to their cries.
Restlessness and/or pacing
Your puppy will wonder around the house distracted and slightly agitated to try and find the perfect place to poop. This is likely to be paired with sniffing the ground a lot too.
If they are starting to understand that the backdoor is a portal to the outside world, they may pace around the door.
If your puppy is circling, you need to take action!
They have found a place to lay their poop, and if it so happens to be on your favorite antique rug, you’ll need to move them immediately.
You can couple this action with a “no” or “nah-ah” so they understand what they are doing wrong here.
Oh dear, you weren’t fast enough! They have assumed the position and are ready to take aim. Scoop them up as fast as you can and place them outside to save that rug!
Handy Hint: Around this time of their life, you will also need to give your puppy a bath for the first time. Here’s the ideal age for their first bath and how to do it.
What to do if your puppy’s poop changes
We’ve talked about the various aspects of healthy puppy pooping habits in this article; frequency, color, consistency, shape, smell, and amount. So, what do you do if there are changes to these various aspects.
My puppy poops less or more often
Let’s tackle frequency first. If your puppy is maturing, then lowering the frequency of passing stools is completely normal for dogs. It’s also likely that after 8 months you’ll be feeding your puppy less, as they graduate through their puppy stages quickly. Less food intake equals less poop!
If there have been no diet changes and you fear your dog may be constipated, you should contact your vet for advice. They may prescribe a stool softener or dietary tweak like adding in high-fiber foods.
If your dog is going more often than normal, pay attention to the form change. It could be diarrhea.
My puppy has diarrhea
If your puppy has diarrhea, it can be dangerous due to the water loss. The first port of call is to encourage your puppy to drink water and take them to the vet for investigation.
Some worming tablets and other medicines can cause diarrhea. It could also be symptomatic of a whole host of issues, including relative benign ones like stress. It is better to be safe than sorry, especially as your puppy is so young.
My puppy’s poop is green, yellow, black, red, or white
Color changes can be the most alarming. Any huge change in color should be treated with a certain level of seriousness – particularly if there is no direct correlation you can think of. For example, grass-eating can make green poop.
That’s not a scary or abnormal thing.
On the other hand, black, tarry poop is cause for alarm, so be sure to contact your veterinarian straight away.
Puppies poop a lot, and your puppy should poop many times during the day. I remember when Claude was a pup, and it was constant pooping… like a never ending torrent of the stuff.
Whilst all puppies will poop at multiple times during the day, it will eventually slow down, I promise!
You might also like…
Here are more recent articles about puppies.