why is my dog pooping in the house

Why Is My Dog Pooping in the House?

Whether a puppy or an adult, training a new dog can be tricky sometimes, and accidents are bound to happen in the process. It’s very likely even after you fully potty-train your dog.

There might be many reasons why your dog is pooping in the house. Some of them are simple and occasional, but some might be a sign of a health problem. Therefore, paying special attention to ensuring your dog’s health is well is crucial. Knowing your dog’s routine and eating habits will allow you to define more clearly what could be the root of the issue. Our furry best friends don’t have many ways of clearly communicating with us. Hence, sometimes, bowel issues can tell us they’re struggling with stress or other behavioral problems.

If you have been experiencing this issue, we present you with this list of the most common reasons why your dog is pooping in the house. However, it is always beneficial to consult with a professional if it’s a consistent problem, especially if your furry friend has a known health condition.

Related: Best Indoor Dog Potty

Reasons Why Your Dog Poops in the House

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Incomplete potty training

Sometimes potty training doesn’t go as planned. For some dogs, it is easy to learn how to go potty outside. However, for some, it takes more time and practice. It may look like your dog figured it out but actually may need to continue potty training. 

If you find your dog pooping in the house, try spending more time with potty training, as your dog might’ve not fully learned this habit. You can take more time outside if they don’t go potty and reward them when they do. Positive reinforcement is a great way of teaching your dog good habits. You can use treats if they are food-oriented dogs. On the other hand, you can verbally encourage them and pet them if that’s what they mostly get excited about. 

Don’t let them go outside alone, so you can pay attention to their behavior and make sure your dog is not distracted when they go outside. Dogs receive a lot of stimuli from the environment and forget to go potty sometimes. That can possibly be the reason they don’t poop when they should.

Remaining smells of the previous accidents

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If your dog has had an accident and went potty in an unusual place, you must ensure it’s thoroughly cleaned. Dogs have the instinct to keep peeing or pooping where they previously did. They use their superior sense of smell to do that. Hence, they could still sense traces of their previous accidents and think it’s the right place to go, even if it looks and smells clean. If the dog keeps going to the same place to go potty in the house, you should deep clean there to prevent them from recognizing the area as acceptable to go potty.  

Old age 

Not being able to control their bladder or bowel movements is a common problem among elderly dogs. That is not about old age but the weakening of the muscles with age. However, age is not the only reason behind incontinence, and there can be a variety of health conditions causing that.

Older dogs generally suffer from muscle loss, but incontinence specifically means weakened sphincter muscles that control their bladder and bowel. 

Another reason is degenerative conditions that affect the dogs in areas you may not notice immediately. Therefore, you must pay extra attention to your dog as they get older. Many of these degenerative conditions are not curable, but learning about them can help you manage them so that life is more comfortable for you and your dog. For example, cognitive dysfunction syndrome is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. If you notice your dog pooping in the house but is also disoriented or has any changes in their behavior or eating habits, it can be due to this syndrome. It is worth having a vet consultation.

Medical reasons

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If you have noticed that your dog has started doing it out of the blue, this might indicate an underlying medical reason. That’s very likely if your dog’s stools are soft or if they have diarrhea. Inflammation in the digestive tract, or gastroenteritis, can be the cause of it.

 Gastroenteritis can result from a virus, allergies, or parasites, as well as some types of cancers or bowel conditions. In this case, having a vet consultation is the best solution. Your vet can provide more precise information about your dog’s issues and rule out any other possibilities. 


Dogs cannot express their stress as we do, and hence, they manifest it physically. One of the symptoms of stress is changes in their habits. Therefore, you might be seeing your dog pooping in the house.

There can be a variety of reasons why your dog feels stressed. Some are obvious, like moving or bringing a new member into the household. However, others might fly under the radar. Changes that might seem minuscule to us are a great deal for dogs, who can’t understand situations rationally as we do. 

If your dog is suddenly pooping inside the house, check what factors might be stressing them. Sometimes even small things like loud noises might be startling your dog enough to make them poop in the house.

Separation anxiety

dog with separation anxiety due to guardian's absence
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Just like stress, anxiety can cause changes in the behaviors and habits of our furry friends. Thus, we can know when they feel something is not right. 

Some dogs become very attached to their owners and other pets in the household. Therefore, they might feel too worried and upset when left alone. That is what we call separation anxiety. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you will probably find a poo after leaving them alone for a while. They may also express it by escaping, barking, howling, and chewing or destroying household items. 

This issue may be more challenging and require more time to get over. Leaving for short periods and coming back to show them they don’t have anything to fear is a great practice to train them to be okay with being alone. You can gradually increase the period you’re gone until your dog is okay with being alone for a few hours. It might take some time. Yet, your dog will learn you’ll be back no matter what and will be calmer when you’re apart.

Not taking them out at the right time

Although it may seem obvious, timing is essential to prevent your dog from pooping in the house. You should calculate and balance their feeding and going out time according to the times you’re home. You can observe your dog and see how soon he should go for a walk after eating.

If he needs to go in the middle of the day, but you cannot let them out, consider hiring a pet sitter or have someone take them out. Also, how often they need to go out might have changed. You can try taking them out three times a day if your regular is twice. Also, it may be beneficial to pay attention to doing that at the same time every day.

Changes in their diet 

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Many dog food we find on the market, specifically cheaper kibble, contains more fiber than it should and can mess with your dog’s digestive system. The fiber helps the food move faster through the digestive tract and creates more bulky poops. If your dogs overeat fiber, they might have difficulty absorbing nutrients, diarrhea, or other digestive issues. As a result, fiber imbalance can cause your dog to poop in the house.

Additionally, making changes in your dog’s diet can be why your dog is pooping in the house. When introducing new foods to their diet, the transition should be gradual. Mixing them in different proportions for a few weeks will give your dog’s tummy to adjust to the new food.

A balanced diet is essential to ensure your dog lives a long, healthy life. Make sure you account for human food that your dog might also consume. Some foods that are healthy for us can be toxic for dogs and cause accidental pooping.


There are several reasons why your dog may be pooping in your house. You can quickly discover the root of the issue by being in tune with your dog’s routine and habits. It can be incomplete potty training, occasional accidents, old age, digestive problems, or other health conditions. 

Since they don’t have other ways of communicating with us, dogs always manifest their problems physically and with their behaviors. Therefore, by learning about your dog’s body language, you can identify the issues in no time. 

Creating a good routine with your dog can prevent most of these issues or improve the situation. Take them out multiple times a day, preferably after eating and drinking or playtime. Also, take a walk before their bedtime. Read their body language to know when your dog has to go and take them out if possible. 

Last but surely not least, reward good behavior. Reinforce your dog’s behavior with praise or treats when your dog goes potty outside. Hence, they can associate going potty outside with something positive. Also, if the adjustments in the routine, diet, and behaviors won’t make a difference, you should visit your vet to see if there’s an underlying health condition.

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