Stopping the midnight pooper!
September 4, 2012 10:27 AM   Subscribe

He's not a puppy anymore. But he is a random pooper.

My dog Patch (here and here) has taken to releasing his bowels indoors. He's 5, and hasn't done this for about 4 1/2 years. I've checked with the vet, there are no problems. But every week or so I wake up to find a little gift. Never in the same place, and he never pees indoors. We haven't changed his food (dry kibble) and there really hasn't been any change in his routine. I let him out before I go to bed, my mom lets him out whenever he wants. I have a schedule that's all over the place, but mom's home with him always, so it isn't a "trapped with no alternative" problem. I can't catch him in the act, so scolding him really won't help. Forcing him to go outdoors more really doesn't help. If he doesn't need or want to go out, he just sits on the porch and stares at us until I let him in. I do try to walk him every day before work.
This isn't even a huge problem, he only drops hard little balls that really barely stink and never mark the carpet. But I've learned to turn on the lights when walking to the bathroom at 5am.
posted by Marky to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
Just some ideas but maybe if his poo is coming out in little hard balls he's a bit constipated and so isn't getting all his poop out during the day. Taking him for a walk can help move the poop along, maybe he needs another 10 minute or so walk at night before bed to get things moving, even just throw a ball around the house for a bit before letting him out for his last poop of the night might help. Also if it hurts him to poop he might be putting off going while outside.

Maybe add a little bit of canned pumpkin with no spices (not pie pumpkin) to his diet. The stuff is great as it will help thicken up runny poop and loosen it up if it's too hard.

Another idea if he's a long haired dog is it getting stuck on his fur and then coming off later?

He is super cute and looks so cheeky in that first photo.
posted by wwax at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is he kennel trained? If not, why?

I'm a huge fan of dogs having their little kennel-happy-place and using it as a tool when prudent. One of the many benefits is that they are very averse to pooping or peeing in their kennel. By using the kennel at night you could easily re-establish his routine into 'I poop outside when the masters walk me' from 'I can go whenever they're asleep, no one seems to mind'.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Even though you haven't changed his food, is there a chance that the manufacturer has changed its recipe for his food?

I ask because my dog has done the same thing a couple of times in the past week, and at the moment, I am blaming the dog food. We've been giving him Wellness Simple Solutions for years, because it is the only kibble I've found that doesn't make his allergies act up. This summer, they switched the food from being lamb and rice based to lamb and oatmeal.

Oatmeal has about five times as much fiber as rice. I think it's just moving things through his system more quickly than he's used to and taking him by surprise. Like your dog, it's not that he's sick with a diarrhea-type indigestion; the poop is totally solid and dry. If he doesn't adapt, though, I'm going to have to look into different foods.
posted by Kriesa at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2012

Re: the poop in the house. Are you sure they're not cling-ons? Do a bum check before you let him in the house. My Sheltie mix has the occasional cling-on due to long fur around her bum.

If not:

When you're home and awake, have him leashed to you (short leash, no longer than six feet). That way you are always near and can get him outside to poop/pee. When you are asleep and/or no one is home, he is in his crate. First thing to do when you wake up is take him outside. First thing you do after you get home is take him outside. First thing to do after he eats is take him outside.
posted by deborah at 5:19 PM on September 4, 2012

You might watch this video for some ideas on stopping the problem, if it's not diet issues or cling-ons (sounds like a bit too much volume-wise for that.)
posted by BlueHorse at 7:18 PM on September 4, 2012

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