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Why Does My Dog Poop So Much at Night: Top 5 Reasons


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.

These may include; over-feeding your dog,  feeding him food that is heavy in protein, a high fiber diet, and having bedtime immediately after a meal. 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? Here is why.

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.

Overfeeding the dog
Image Credits – Zoetis Petcare

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 a bowel movement.

Why does my dog poop so much at night

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 on 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 at day time 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 on 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

A low-quality diet that is high in fiber
Image Credits – K9 of Mine

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.

See also: How to get rid of dog poop in the yard without scooping 


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.


  1. 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

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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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