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How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Poop After Eating?

How long does it take for a dog to poop after eating?

This may be a strange question to ask, but the answer could come in handy in a number of ways.

For instance, if you need to leave the house for a while after you feed your dog—and that dog is an inside pet—knowing the answer to this question could help you avoid a very messy accident.

It all also comes in handy for planning a dog’s outdoor time or walks, ensuring your pet has ample time to relieve himself when the moment is right.

Finally, if your dog is being medicated, say with a medicine designed to kill and eradicate intestinal worms, you may need to inspect your dog’s feces to ensure the medication is working effectively.

The amount of time a dog takes to poop after consuming a meal depends on a number of factors, especially the age of the dog. 

Puppies void their bowels sooner and with greater frequency than older dogs.

Other factors could include the diet your dog or puppy is on, medical conditions that affect its gastrointestinal tract, and any medications your pet may be taking.

In this article, we will define the average period of time between a meal and a bathroom break both for both puppies and adult dogs.

We will also examine the various factors and circumstances that may hasten or impede this general timeline.

Adult Dogs and Puppies:  The Average Time It Takes to Poop after Eating

Although there are several factors that can affect the canine digestive process, you may notice that your dog will feel the urge to poop just minutes to an hour after eating.

Now, you may be thinking “wow, that’s some FAST digestion,” but it’s important to realize that this after-meal poop actually consists of the waste from a previous meal, some six to twelve hours earlier for adult dogs, and approximately 2-6 hours earlier for puppies.

Just like with humans, it takes some time for food to travel through the canine gastrointestinal tract.

Food travels from the mouth to the stomach via the esophagus, from the stomach to the small intestine, and from the small intestine through the much longer large intestine, where it is eventually pushed out as waste.

As we stated above, in adult dogs this process can take anywhere from six to twelve hours.

This timespan—as we will explain below—can be affected by a number of different factors, ranging from the age of your dog to the amount of water he or she drinks.

In puppies, whose digestive tract is smaller and more active, food tends to move much quickly through these gastrointestinal organs.

Just like a baby poops more frequently than an adult human, so too does a puppy poop faster than an older, mature dog.

So if it takes time for food to travel through the digestive tract, why do the majority of dogs tend to poop within 60 minutes after consuming a meal?

The answer to this is actually quite simple.

As a dog is eating, the nerves and muscles of the aforementioned gastrointestinal organs begin to get stimulated.

This stimulation not only begins the digestive process on the food being consumed, it also helps to finish the digestive process on food that was consumed anywhere from 3-12 hours prior.

This stimulation triggers nerves that essentially tell the dog “it’s time to poop,” and nature takes over from there.

Because many factors can affect the timing of the digestive process, it’s important to take adult dogs outside at least 2-3 times a day, especially if the dog has more than one daily feeding.

For puppies, 4-5 trips outdoors are absolutely necessary; and all dogs—young or old—should have an opportunity to go outside approximately 30 minutes after eating a meal.

Factors that Can Affect When Your Dog Poops

As we have stated above, there are a number of factors that can affect the timing of your dog’s business.

Chief among these are the age of the dog.

Older dogs tend to poop less frequently than relatively young and healthy adult dogs, while puppies will go even more often than their hale and hearty adult counterparts.

Here are just some of the other factors that can determine the timeframe between doggy bathroom breaks:

Activity level

Activity level can play a huge role in the digestive process.

Dogs that are very active, for example, tend to poop more frequently than dogs with a sedentary lifestyle.

Being active helps the body move waste along once it enters the small and large intestines.

Conversely, when dogs simply lay around all day, the process can be much slower, forcing the muscles in those digestive organs to do all the hard work.

Water Consumed

Making sure that your dog or puppy has plenty of water throughout the day can do wonders for his digestive tract.

Water in the digestive tract can help break down waste and allows food to travel through the system much more rapidly.

On the flip side, dogs that are not properly hydrated can begin to suffer from constipation, a condition that results in slow travel through the digestive tract and hard dry stools that are very uncomfortable for your pet to pass.

Type of Food

The type of food you give your dog is very important to his digestion.

For instance, diets made up strictly of protein sources can be harder for your pet to digest, increasing the time that it takes for that food to pass through the digestive system.

Instead, you should rely on a balanced diet from a number of different food sources, including vegetables and grains.

Owners who give their dogs “wet food”—the type of food that comes from a can—should be prepared for more frequent bathroom trips.

That’s because wet food, at least in some instances, can pass through a dog in as little as four hours, as most of the breakdown in that food occurs prior to canning.

Kibble, on the other hand, can take up to eight hours just to leave the stomach, thus expanding the eat-to-poop timeline.

For this reason, experts recommend a mixture of these food types as part of a well-balanced diet.

Medical Conditions and Medications

Last but not least, there are a bevy of medical conditions that can either hasten or prolong the digestive process.

For example, certain gastrointestinal conditions can cause diarrhea in dogs, while some medications can bring about constipation.

If you notice any new or prolonged changes in your dog’s daily bathroom habits it is vital that you contact your trusted veterinarian for advice on how to proceed.

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National Canine Research Association of America