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Gen B.
Gen B., Retired Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2227
Experience:  Lhasa,Shih Tzu Breeder/ B.A.Neurophysiology & Animal Behavior/I use plain English!
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How long can a dog go with out pooping before I need to take

Customer Question

How long can a dog go with out pooping before I need to take her to a vet. She is a foster dog we got last Friday (4/16/10) and she hasn't pooped yet. It appeared that she was trying once (she looked like she was too nervous to poop) yesterday on the potty break. We are thinking about mixing mineral oil with chicken broth and pedialyte with water but we want to make sure that this is not a last resort but an aid in the pooing process. She appears to be content can't tell if she is lathargic or not. Seems to want to go for walks.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Gen B. replied 7 years ago.
What kind of situation did she come from (stray, private home, etc.)?

What breed(s) is she?

What food has she been eating with you?

Does she have good appetite for regular meals?

She is urinating easily?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
She was a foster dog. She was in a kennel most of the day or outside in a cage. Her family couldn't afford to keep her any more. I don't think she had much excersize (we walked her quite a bit this weekend)

She is a mut, beagle, bloodhound, wirehaired terrier mix

She has been eating out of our hands peanut butter, hotdogs, chicken, turkey, we mixed some food with warm water and let it sit and then mixed in some PB but she still only ate it out of our hands.

She just recently started drinking water and in large quantities.

She doesn't eat regular meals, should she eat when we eat? I thought it was better to have her eat after we ate?

She has peed twice in two days.
Expert:  Gen B. replied 7 years ago.
Hello and thanks for researching this very important question!

It is not uncommon for a dog to become completely confused when they change homes--dogs become accustomed to routine-and-territory.

Regular meals accomplish a few things:

1) Your pet's internal functions become synchronized

2) You will be able to quickly see when there is an appetite problem that would be a sign of illness

3) You establish yourself as someone who provides something necessary and desirable

4) You establish yourself as someone who is to be trusted

Choose times of the day that can be kept as a ritual--very sweet and "tame" dogs do not necessarily need to eat after the family (this is usually more necessary for dominant or pushy dogs who try to take over the home).

I would not add any types of oils or other harsh laxatives to her meals...this can result in painful, sudden, liquid diarrhea (and, possibly in the house if urgency is strong enough!).

Canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is a great way to get some additional "wet" fiber into the diet.

Continue taking her out at regular intervals...she may be "shy" to go in front of you, so you may need to get several leashes to hook together (or pet stores carry 10-foot "long" leads) and try to not look at her directly. Stand with your side facing her--this is the most clear way to tell a dog that you are Not A Threat.

If any neighbors have dogs, you might consider asking for some "piles" to place on your property where you'd prefer for her to "go" so she gets the idea (or ask the rescue to supply you with a few). If your yard has not had a regular dog, her nose is not receiving the proper stimulation that will tell her brain to get her elimination organs to function. These are very sophisticated functions in dogs, and scent is a big part of the process.

Go slowly exercising a dog that has not been able to before--you want to avoid muscle pain and stress on the heart, kidneys and liver. Build up very slowly from 10-minutes twice daily for the first week, then add 5 minutes each next week until you reach your target time.

If she begins to vomit, stoops and pushes hard but nothing comes, then she should be seen by a veterinarian who can help you determine if she has eaten something that is not digestible (bones, rocks, etc.).

If you need additional support at this time, please "REPLY" again.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Is there a, for lack of a better phrase, a "drop dead" time that we must go see a vet or try the harsher methods to get her to use the bathroom? While we are outside, I will turn away from her (with a 20' leash) and wait. She will come up to me wondering what I am doing and then wander off and evantually just lay down. By this time I will have to get her to come with me and just go back inside. She was in a concrete cadge and, I believe, was mainly pooping on the concrete is that something I should try? Thanks for you help.
Expert:  Gen B. replied 7 years ago.
You might see if taking her to a parking lot (bring plastic bags for clean up!) helps. Or the property at a veterinary hospital where dogs have "gone" (and under the force of stress hormones which would be more stimulating to her).

As long as she is eating and not vomiting and not straining she can go quite a number of days. Her bladder strength indicates this is so. I have seen dogs from similar backgrounds wait 6-7 days, until they just couldn't "hold it" any longer. Then, once their scent was on the property, things were fine.

With these types of rescue situations, you essentially have a puppy on your hands and are starting over from scratch--except that her physical Capacity to hold in waste is greater and stronger. A smaller or younger dog would just "go". Her instincts to use her territory are very strong...change can be hard, and her mind may be working under the assumption that she will get back "home" eventually.

If she does end up passing stool in the house, take it out and put it on the yard for her to scent identify.

Let me know if you have other great questions about all this,
Gen B. and 5 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks I will try the pumpkin and waiting. I will seek vet attention if it has been longer then 6 days. Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Gen B. replied 7 years ago.
I'll be holding a Good Thought for you all!

Thanks for rescuing, and for being so caring with you new Friend,

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
She really likes Pumpkin, who knew! My I have a friend sitting outside with her just waiting ... we will see thanks again for your help. Now I just have to get to where she isn't scared of the beard.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok so how much/day of the Pumpkin? Don't want to over do it.
Expert:  Gen B. replied 7 years ago.
Say, 1 teaspoon for each 25 pounds of body weight twice daily should be sufficient without causing her diet to become unbalanced.

It is a very sweet and well-accepted vegetable! Glad she likes it (good girl!).
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Gen B. replied 7 years ago.
You're welcome!