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My Dog Keeps Waking Me Up At Night To Poop

by Lucy

Most canine owners have horror stories aplenty related to housebreaking their little pupper. And, you think the difficult days are behind you when your canine reaches adulthood, only to have your doggo whining you awake at night to take a poop. 

Oh, the joys of being a dog parent!

Why does your dog keep waking you up at night to poop? Dogs may wake you up to poop at night for a few different reasons. Your pooch could be suffering from anxiety, getting older, dealing with gastrointestinal problem, or have a poor feeding schedule.

If you’re looking for a reason as to why your dog suddenly wants to poop at night, you’re going to have to dig out your Sherlock cap and investigate. There are a few different likely causes so you’ll want to root out the right one.

But, before you get too anxious, I’ve got your back. 

Not only have I compiled possible reasons related to your pet’s strange new pooping habit, but I’ve also got tips on how to take care of the problem. Take a moment and go through the info listed below, and continue to enjoy life with your lovable furball. 

Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Wants To Poop At Night

Back in the day, when we didn’t understand doggy behavior as well as we do now, there was a loopy theory that stated dogs soiled the house to prove their dominance. 

However, chances are good that your dog is behaving in a manner that’s undesirable to you for a valid reason – not because he’s channeling the spirit of a caveman. 

Here are some legitimate and likely reasons behind your doggo’s nightly poopy problem:

1. Anxiety Or Fear

Believe it or not, house soiling affects up to 37% of all canines. As I said earlier, generally, pet parents teach their puppy to urinate or defecate outside the house as a part of housebreaking training. 

However, when you find your canine reverting to house soiling or ignoring the scheduled ‘outdoor’ poop time – this behavior can be divided into two main categories: a health-related or behavior-related problem. 

One of the most common causes of behavior-related defection problems is anxiety. In other words, something has your canine running scared or feeling insecure.

It could be that when you take your furball on its daily walk, she’s too distracted to empty her tummy the way she should. Or, your yard may be too noisy or too busy for your pet to relax enough to defecate properly during the day. 

Suffice it to say, your dog will not poop the way it should – until he feels safe and relaxed. 

2. Health-Related Reasons

As a dog enthusiast, I know reading about canine health problems isn’t precisely soothing or pleasant – but remember that most if not all medical conditions are treatable – if caught early. Nothing matters more than your furbaby’s health. 

Also, dog experts suggest that for doggos defecating in the house or pooping out of hours – it’s best to monitor their eating and elimination routine to check for changes.

For example, you may see if your pup’s stool frequency has increased or decreased, or if poop consistency has altered. If you notice these changes, then it’s likely the reason your dog is pooping at night may be a health concern. 

Here are some specific possible causes:

Orthopedic Conditions

It may surprise you to learn that an orthopedic condition can cause your furbaby to poop at night. I’m sure you’re wondering how that’s possible.

It’s quite simple, really. Your pooch may be suffering from arthritis and may find it painful to assume to pooping posture. Arthritis causes the stiffening or inflammation of joints, and that can affect your pet’s mobility.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. If it’s arthritis causing your pet to poop late at night, how is it that your doggo doesn’t find it painful to poop then? 

Well, there’s no one explanation for that. Dogs at eight months of age can hold their urine or feces for about 8 hours. So, perhaps your furbaby is just trying to put off the painful experience of pooping with stiff joints for as long as it can. 

Additionally, suppose you wake up in the morning to find a poopy surprise waiting for you near the door, in the hallway, or any other location in your home. In that case, it’s likely there because your dog finds it easier to do his business in that space. 

What’s more, if your pooch is bothered by arthritis, you can pick up on the signs by watching out for the following symptoms:

  • Abnormal gait
  • Awkward rising movements
  • Lethargy
  • Stiffness
  • Reluctance to move a lot

Gastrointestinal Problems

Another culprit when it comes to late-night dog poop issues is gastro problems. Apart from the fact that certain dog breeds have sensitive tummies (such as pugs or retrievers), your pet’s diet can play a big role in irregular bowel movements.

Feeding your doggo cheap dog food may result in your pet wanting to defecate more often. On the other hand, a reputable brand of dog food (with easily absorbed nutrients and premium ingredients) will not only result in less waste elimination but can also help your furball stay full for longer. 

If you’re looking for a new dog food that’ll help promote a healthy stomach for your little furbaby, this one is our absolute favorite.

3. Access To Food At All Times

Giving your canine access to food (be it dog food, biscuits, or treats) at all hours of the day (or the night) is a big no-no. 

I know it’s difficult to say no to your furbaby when it looks at your with pleading puppy eyes – but two-square meals are quite enough to sustain an adult dog. 

Overfeeding dogs can lead to the risk of obesity, leading to a whole host of other issues. But, more importantly, late-night feeding can also result in your dog wanting to go poop at night.

How To Control Your Dog’s Night Pooping Habit

Now that we’ve covered what may be causing your pupper to poop at night, let’s go over some easy to implement tips you can utilize to bring your doggo’s schedule back to normal. 

1. Work On Calming Your Dog

An anxious dog equals an unhappy dog. But, the good news is you can help your pooch relax quite easily with a little TLC. 

To begin with, nothing calms an anxious dog quite like its owner’s touch and presence. You can try and soothe your pet’s anxious behavior by increasing the amount of time you spend with together and trying to cuddle and pet your pup as much as you can. 

Also, try to figure out the source of your pet’s discomfort. If your pet only wants to go poop at night, maybe it’s bothered by noise in the park or backyard during the day. 

You can also try taking your furbaby to a new place to do its business – where there’s not too much commotion or activity. Or if you can manage it, see if you can take your dog out earlier in the day, when there may be fewer people and less noise.

2. Book A Trip To The Vet 

If you haven’t booked a trip to your local vet already, then do it now! Your vet is your number one source of reliable info about your dog specifically

Not to mention, if you tell your vet about the change in your dog’s pooping schedule and any other red flags you might have picked up – he or she may be able to help you get to the bottom of things much faster. 

Finally, looking after a pet isn’t easy. When it comes to your furry companion, you’re generally second-guessing and driving yourself up the wall by thinking the worst. A visit to the vet will also help achieve your own much-needed peace of mind too. 

3. Introduce A Strict Feeding Routine

Saying no to your dog is tricky sometimes. Canines have the uncanny ability to make you anything they want – with just a single look.

But, believe me, when I say, a regimented feeding routine can do wonders for your doggo’s health (and your sleep). Adult dogs need to be fed high-quality dog food no more than two times a day. Feeding a canine anymore than that is just asking for trouble. 

That’s why, if you’ve been giving your furry friend uninterrupted access to food all through the day (or night) – it’s time for a change. 

Allow your pet to feed to their heart’s content twice a day, but be sure to pick up the food bowl once your pooch is done eating. 

Also, if you can manage it, try to coax your pets to eat their second meal before sundown. That way, even if your doggo gets the urge to poop later – it is more likely to happen before you turn in for the night. 

Related Questions

I know dog parents almost never say no to canine information, and that’s why I’ve gone ahead and gathered some commonly asked questions about doggos and their pooping habits. 

How Do I Get My Dog To Poop Faster?

One sure-shot way of reducing the time your dog takes to potty is by training to go pretty much ‘on command.’ It may seem like an impossible dream to you, but it’s no different than teaching your pooch how to walk with a leash or sit. 

You’re going to have to learn the signs of when your dog is almost about to potty, though. That will help you be prepared to mark the behavior with a command (or a clicker) and then reinforce the action by giving your pet a treat. 

What Time Should A Dog’s Last Meal Of The Day Be?

Experts suggest that your dog’s last meal of the day should be served no later than 5 p.m. Doing so will allow your pet to digest the food and have enough time for one last bathroom break before it’s time for bed. That should keep everyone happy.

Up Next: Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear?

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