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In the past, taking your dog for a walk was all the bathroom breaks they needed.
But of late, something seems to have changed and it is not your walk time.
You still walk him diligently at the appointed time and she often goes to the bathroom at the right time.
But now and then, your dog seems to be developing a new habit of pooping at 3 AM.
And now it worries you because you want to break the habit before it sticks.
Well, before you think about retraining him, you will first need to figure out what is going on.
Why Did Your Dog Start Pooping At 3 AM?
Let’s try to figure out why your furry baby started pooping at 3 AM and that will help determine the best solution.
There are several possibilities including age, anxiety, and medical conditions.
As your dog gets older, his bodily functions will start to change and the dog will get more susceptible to some ailments.
For instance, arthritis is pretty common in older dogs and it is not uncommon for a dog that has arthritis to lose control over his bowel movements.
Some older dogs may also suffer from canine Alzheimers which can make them forget their potty training and that may make them poop at night.
But what if your dog is not old and has started pooping at 3 AM?
Well, if your dog is not that old then it means it could either be anxiety or some medical issue.
If you have a new puppy, she may be suffering from separation anxiety and the anxiety can make them poop at night, especially if they are all alone.
You may also want to investigate any other possible triggers for anxiety.
For instance, some dogs may get anxious due to loud thunderstorms or any other loud noise that is new to the environment.
A medical condition could be another possibility.
Your dog may be dealing with an infection that might cause him to have an accident at night.
It is also possible that the medication your dog is on, if any, could be to blame.
Apart from infections, other illnesses may also cause your dog to poop at night.
For instance, dogs that are suffering from inflammatory bowel disease may lose control of their bowel movements.
Other diseases that are known to have similar effects include kidney stones, liver disease diabetes, and bowel cancer.
How to Adjust Your Dog’s Poop Schedule?
As we have seen, illness may be a reason why your doggy’s poop schedule has reset.
If this is the case, then you can be sure she will be back to normal as soon as she feels better.
In such a case, you may want to talk to your vet about the treatment options you have.
Sadly, some illnesses may not go away as fast and you may have to learn to take care of your furry baby as she braves through the tough season.
Pooping at night due to old age and other ailments that are related to old age may also be harder to control.
However, you can try to consult your vet for assistance on how best you can help your dog.
If the accident was due to anxiety, then you can help her overcome the anxiety and that should help her to start going to the bathroom at normal hours again.
If your dog was anxious due to the loud thunderstorms that have been ongoing, she should return to normalcy as soon as normal weather resumes.
But some anxiety issues may need the help of a professional to go away.
For instance, if your dog is dealing with separation anxiety, it might be a good idea to consult with a behavioral trainer.
The AKC also recommends that you talk to your vet about it so that he can help you properly diagnose the anxiety and recommend a good solution.
There are also some changes you can make to try to help your dog.
For instance, you could stop feeding your dog late at night. That’s because the food consumed during the night might easily reach their colon in the middle of the night.
A late-night walk just before bed may also be a good idea. This way, the dog will get a chance to go to the bathroom before bedtime and she will have a better chance of holding until morning.
If you have a younger dog, there may be a good chance that she hasn’t been properly house-trained, and doing so may help.
Even dogs that had been house-trained properly may still need a retraining session especially if they start pooping at night for no apparent reason.
One easy trick is to attach a bell to your door which you can ring every time you take him outside.
The idea is to get her to associate the bell with pooping and that can help you to control her pooping schedule.
It can be quite frustrating to notice that your dog has started pooping at 3 AM – especially if this is new.
But before you get worked up, try to get to the bottom of it because there is a good chance your furry baby needs some love and care.
Look for any other signs of sickness and if you ascertain she is sick, take her to the vet for treatment.
Otherwise, with some little retraining and lots of patience, she should be back to her normal schedule.
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Nicole Ratliff is positive reinforcement dog training expert based in Oswego, New York. A CATCH Canine Trainer’s Academy alumni, Nicole has extensive practical dog reinforcement training experience and has worked with hundreds of private clients and dog shelter organizations. She is also an outstanding dog behavior author, having written for several online publications. Her goal is to educate pet lovers about the significance of living in harmony with their canine companions in a positive way.