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Dog Keeps Trying To Poop But Nothing Comes Out: Causes & Solutions

If your dog is trying to poop but nothing comes out, they’re probably experiencing constipation.

Causes for constipation are plentiful but the fact of the matter is that your furry companion may need help.

Let’s examine the most common causes, how you can differentiate the types, and what you can do to alleviate your pooch’s issue.

Also, it matters whether your dog is straining or whining as well as how long he’s trying to poop with nothing coming out.

A single stray incident might not be worrisome, but if your dog tries to poop and can’t repeatedly, you will definitely have to look into it.

My Dog Keeps Trying To Poop But Nothing Comes Out

Dogs often try to poop but nothing comes out due to swallowing indigestible objects, a lack of fiber or exercise, blocked anal glands, or suffering issues with organs such as the prostate or kidney.

Keep in mind that what you might perceive as your dog trying hard to poop but nothing coming out can actually be completely harmless.

Depending on your dog’s poop schedule, holding it in for a full day is not uncommon.

White Poodle pooping outside on grassy field covered with red leaves.
Photo by Baronb on Shutterstock

That’s especially true if you recently changed your dog’s diet, exercise regimen, or environment (moving, losing a family member, change in routine, etc.).

Once you hit 48 hours or your dog is repeatedly straining really hard to poop but nothing comes out, you should probably consult a vet.

I’ve actually created an article just for that – how long dogs can go without pooping before it becomes a serious health risk.

Dog Keeps Trying To Poop After Pooping

It’s not uncommon for dogs to try to poop right after pooping, but there’s cause for concern if your dog can’t manage to poop a second time despite frantically straining to do so.

Whenever I’m traveling with my Rottweiler and change her diet slightly, it results in pretty soft stool for the first time doing her business and she then tries to poop a second time.

The second time, there’s not much left and what’s there is extremely soft and still takes some time to get out of the way.

However, there’s a thin line between taking their time and straining to poop despite nothing coming out.

This is where constipation comes into play.

I’ve just recently witnessed my Rottweiler not being able to poop a second time just to see her bottom was full of grass strands.

Rottweiler in botanical garden.
Photo by Pawleaks

Yep, she swallowed so much grass the previous day that it created a blockage.

Luckily, she stayed calm and let me pull it out and all was fine, but that’s an experience you don’t want to replicate.

Plus, if your dog has swallowed a more bulky indigestible object, a trip to the emergency vet might be required.

I’ve actually written an article on how to prevent your dog from eating non-food items such as stones.

While some constipation cases might not require an emergency vet (i.e. your dog has just defecated), it can still develop into a case that does.

Keep an eye on the amount your dog has pooped and the texture.

This will give you an idea of whether or not a vet visit is required.

In general, if you have changed your dog’s diet, meal times, or other external factors, you may spot your dog as he keeps trying to poop after pooping already.

Female Dog Straining To Poop But Not Constipated

If your dog is straining to poop but you don’t suspect constipation, your vet may have to examine the intestines and potentially affected organs.

Nevertheless, to rule out constipation as the cause of your dog’s straining you can add more fiber, exercise, and perhaps follow your vet’s advice to use a laxative.

Evaluate whether or not you’re giving your dog ample opportunity to go pooping and if the feeding times are appropriately spaced.

Dog Tries To Poop But Liquid Comes Out

If your dog tries to poop but only watery feces come out, you may have to look into diarrhea and consult your vet due to dehydration risks as well as the risk of underlying conditions.

Diarrhea happens mostly due to mental stress, dietary changes, or lack of exercise.

Mild cases go away with the right diet, water, and rest.

However, serious cases may require a vet visit.

If your dog not only has diarrhea but the output is mainly pure liquid and you feel like your dog tries to poop, then you may need to consult a vet quickly.

Dehydration is always a serious risk and blockage is a real concern too if your dog only poops liquid but nothing firm at all for a prolonged period.

How To Massage A Dog To Poop

You can massage your dog to poop with a backstroke from the head down the spine or alternatively, you can rub, stroke, or massage the belly as well as the thighs or glutes.

While there’s no proven massage technique that gets your dog to poop immediately, it can definitely help with loosening your dog up.

Poodle lies on a rolled-up towel and is massaged by a human.
Photo by Rasulov on Shutterstock

A proper massage to get your dog to poop not only gets the inner workings going but also relaxes your dog

Bonus: it’ll also warm them up if you only have time for a quick pooping session.

Sometimes, if the dog couldn’t do his business, he might be uncomfortable or tense around the hind legs and back region.

However, only apply a couple of pounds of pressure when massaging, especially around the belly where you’re closer to the intestines.

Small dogs shouldn’t have to stomach a pounding or thorough kneading while a large dog can often withstand more pressure.

As always, stop if your dog is uncomfortable (tugging away, whining, growling, tail between legs, etc.).

To achieve the best possible result, you can make massaging your dog a regular habit and he might just be more inclined to go pooping.

How To Make My Dog Poop Now

To get your dog to poop now, your vet may prescribe medication and laxatives, you can feed natural laxatives, or you just massage your dog and in the long run, you can introduce a pooping command.

The only thing you can do right now besides that is to let your dog go off-leash in search of the desired spot.

Don’t rush the process.

I don’t know about your dog but once my dog senses the slightest bit of dissatisfaction, she won’t do her business anymore.

At all. What can I say, she aims to please.

If you do have some time, you can feed pumpkin or coconut oil (or anything rich in fiber, really).

Be patient and try to entice your dog to go and be prepared in the future.

How To Get Your Dog To Poop Outside Faster

Resolve any potential constipation issues, introduce a healthy and fiber-rich diet, condition a poop command, and massage your dog before calmly showing them a spot they like.

Sometimes, you just need to take your time though.

There’s not much you can do if your dog’s pooping habit absolutely doesn’t fit into your tight schedule.

Some dogs need lots of exercise and movement and are quite picky about their spot and that’ll just take time.

Is it just about the rainy or particularly stressful days?

Play a bit with your dog inside, massage the back, feed a fiber-rich diet, and use your command and you should be good to go.

Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutrionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.