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13 Reasons Why Your (Old) Dog Poops In The House Suddenly

Why Is My Dog Pooping In The House Suddenly

Your pooch has a history of being the best dog ever…

That’s why it’s shocking when you caught them pooping inside the house.

At first, you let it slide…

But after the 3rd one, you began to wonder:

“Where did I go wrong?”

Continue reading to know:

  • 5 helpful tips to stop your dog from pooping in the house.
  • 13 surprising reasons why your (old) dog is pooping in the house suddenly.
  • Whether your dog poops inside the house on purpose (and if you should punish them).
  • And that’s only the beginning…

Why is my dog pooping in the house suddenly?

Your dog is pooping in the house suddenly because of health issues. It can also be due to routine or diet changes. If they’re a senior dog, pooping inside the house is a sign of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as canine dementia.

13 reasons why your (old) dog is pooping in the house suddenly

#1: Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome

There’s no escaping it…

Your dog will age before you do.

And with it, comes canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Which is also known by many as dog dementia.

Professionals often compare this condition with human dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

Now, CDS causes your old dog to poop in the house suddenly. Regardless if they’re the most disciplined pooch ever. 

Moreover, research reveals other signs of this behavioral syndrome:

Then, according to PetMD, those signs would show little by little. That’s because CDS gradually becomes worse.

So, unfortunately, house-soiling might not be the end of it…

Note: Your dog might show signs of CDS at 11 years old. 

#2: Muscle atrophy

Old age comes with weakened muscles. Which is also called muscle atrophy or muscle loss.

Although it can happen to any part of the body…

Muscle atrophy particularly occurs in the rear legs.

That’s why most old dogs lose voluntary bowel control. 

They can no longer hold their poop as their anal sphincter (anal muscle) is weakened. 

And other symptoms of this condition include:

  • Limping.
  • Weight loss.
  • Loss of coordination.

Recommended read: Dog Pooping On Carpet: 9 Reasons + 3 Tips To Stop ASAP

#3: Reservoir incontinence

This one’s both a condition and a symptom…

According to VCA Hospitals, reservoir incontinence affects your dog’s rectum. And it can be the result of:

  • Cancer.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.

However, it’s a primary condition as well…

As it causes your dog to poop inside the house once they can’t control the urge anymore.

That’s because their rectum can’t store the normal amount of stool they usually hold.

#4: Degenerative myelopathy

This condition affects your dog’s spinal cord.

And according to vets, degenerative myelopathy starts at the hind limb of your dog. There, your pooch becomes weakened. Then, slowly, it becomes worse.

That said, when your senior dog is affected by this condition…

They have trouble controlling their muscle contractions on their rear end. 

Thus, making them poop wherever they happen to be. And in this case, it’s inside your house.

Fact: The cause of this condition is unknown.

#5: Intestinal parasites

Your (Old) Dog Is Pooping In The House Suddenly Because Of Intestinal Parasites

If fleas and ticks are considered external parasites…

Those inside your dog’s guts are called intestinal parasites. Which occur internally.

That’s why, when your old dog is pooping inside the house…

You must consider intestinal parasites as the reason. But it doesn’t help that these other signs can be so subtle:

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Scooting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Coughing occasionally.

And since you can barely catch these signs, you might not notice the condition at first. 

Where in fact, according to MSDVM, your dog has any of these intestinal parasites:

  • Whipworms.
  • Tapeworms.
  • Hookworms.
  • Roundworms.

#6: Anal tumors

This is an uncommon problem among dogs. Regardless, it’s a serious one.

Anal tumors can invade your dog’s anal sacs. Which, according to vets, are small pouches found on either side of your dog’s anus.

Now, this is another cause behind your dog not holding their poop. With that, they go number 2 in the house. Or wherever they find the need to go.

Apart from that and the obvious mass that’ll grow around their anus…

These are other symptoms of anal tumors in dogs:

  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Urinating more frequently (and around the house too).

#7: Gastrointestinal issues

Diarrhea is the most likely reason for your dog pooping inside the house.

Now, the usual case of diarrhea can last up to 2 days. Anything longer than that is considered alarming.

That’s because a gastrointestinal issue might be behind it. Possibilities are:

  • Consuming chocolates.
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Colitis (inflammation of the large intestine).

And that leads to your pooch taking a dump inside the house. 

#8: Routine changes

Dogs are consistent creatures.

They know they’re about to go on a walk at a particular time. And they’re determined to take a bathroom break based on a usual schedule.

So when there are changes in their routine…

Everything leads to confusion.

And I’m talking about whatever activity you changed on their schedule. Not just their bathroom one.

I’ll give you an example:

You’ve been busy recently.

That’s why you’re not home most of the time. Then, this leaves your dog wondering why they’re inside more. And why you’re there less.

Of course, you can’t fully tend to your pooch for now.

What’s worse is you go home at random times since the reason’s unpredictable…

Which really scrambles your dog’s mind.

And when they can no longer bear the changes…

They mix everything up and get the need to go at a different time. Then, due to the confusion, which might also be stressing them, they poop inside the house.

#9: Sudden diet changes

Another type of change that your dog can’t handle?

Sudden adjustments to their diet.

Like the explanation from before…

Dogs become confused with the sudden alterations in their usual routines.

More than that, all kinds of foods have different levels of fiber. 

Then, a diet change also shifts the microflora biome in your dog’s guts.

“What’s that?”

It refers to the good and bad bacteria present in your canine’s intestinal tract.

And according to research, these bacteria are responsible for:

  • Metabolism.
  • Protecting your dog against pathogens.
  • Preparing your canine’s immune system.

That said, it affects your dog’s whole bodily functions.

So, your pup’s stomach won’t take the sudden diet switch lightly.

Then, combine confusion along with your canine’s tummy acting up…

You get a situation like Fido pooping in the house suddenly. 

#10: Stress


There’s such a thing as a brain-gut link.

To understand this, think of the famous classical conditioning by psychologist Ivan Pavlov. That’s proof that there’s a link between a dog’s mind and digestive system.

With the sound of a bell, their gut reacted by making the dog drool.

And that link is the explanation behind your dog’s so-called stress diarrhea.

But to really get it, let’s talk about the process of that whole connection.

1st: Your pooch gets stressed

AKC reveals sign of stress in dogs. Those are:

  • Pacing.
  • Panting.
  • Barking.
  • Whining.
  • Yawning.
  • Growling.
  • Lip-licking.
  • Tucked ears and tail.

2nd: Their body releases the stress hormone

There’s this thing called a fight or flight response

And your pooch experiences it during stressful situations.

But the explanation behind that unconscious response is the change in hormones. 

When stressed, the body releases norepinephrine. 

3rd: Your dog’s body reacts to the surge of hormones

It differs from one dog to another…

But the sudden discharge of norepinephrine causes:

  • Dilated pupils.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Quicker intestinal emptying.

That said, the last reaction is the one behind stress diarrhea.

And with it, your dog has trouble controlling when to go to the bathroom. 

No matter where they are or what time it is…

When they have diarrhea, they gotta go no matter what.

#11: Separation anxiety

When you come back to the house, not only are you welcomed by your overly excited dog…

The smell of poop inside the house greets you. 

Before assuming your dog is being hateful because you left them at home for too long…

Consider the highly likely possibility that they have separation anxiety.

When you’re away, your pooch who has separation anxiety feels a ton of negative emotions. The ASPCA says there are:

  • Agitation.
  • Confusion.
  • Depression.

With that, when you’re not home, they’re under a lot of distress. And so, they act up. 

Apart from house soiling…

You can also come home to torn or chewed-up clothes, pillows, and blankets. Your toilet paper roll might be all over the place, too.

Those are the result of your pup’s destructive tendencies. Which are displacement behaviors that distract them from the anxiety. 

#12: Food allergies

When someone says allergies in dogs…

You might only expect your pup to itch and scratch.

But since this one involves food…

It means that your dog’s stomach is also in the equation.

VCA Hospital says food allergies cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs, too.

And as I’ve been saying, the runs doesn’t pick a place or time. 

When your dog needs to let their poop go, they’ll do so. Even if they’re inside the house.

That said, here’s a list of common food allergens in dogs:

  • Soy.
  • Beef.
  • Dairy.
  • Wheat gluten.
  • Chicken (and eggs).

#13: They got distracted

Your dog is a curious one…

And sometimes, that curiosity gets in the way of their routine.

For this specific situation, your pooch got distracted during your walk drill.

They might’ve sniffed too much here and there…

To the point that they forgot to poop. 

Or if they did go potty outside, something still got in their way. That’s why they weren’t able to fully unload.

So, whatever’s still left in their insides…

They got to let go of it. And it doesn’t matter if they’re already inside the house. Your dog needs to finish pooping.

How do you stop your dog from pooping in the house? 5 tips

#1: Increase bathroom breaks frequency

As seen above, the main cause for this is your dog’s diarrhea. 

It can be isolated or due to a primary condition…

Regardless, you need to increase the frequency of your canine’s bathroom breaks.

If they go twice a day…

You can add another one between those instances.

Note: This is a type of positive change that benefits you and your dog. So, no worries about making things worse by changing their routine a little bit to manage this issue.

#2: Use pee pads in their usual areas

Don’t have time to insert a new bathroom schedule for your pooch?

Then, you can throw a little bit of money to solve the issue.

That said, you need to make use of pee pads. Which you must place on areas where they usually go.

Most of the time, dogs poop around the door. 

How do I know?

That’s because trained dogs know they need to go outside to go potty. However, they can no longer hold it. Or, if they’re old, they get confused and mistake the door for outside.

With that, most of the dogs poop near the door that leads out.

#3: Gradually change their diet

As I mentioned, a sudden diet change gives your dog diarrhea. 

With that, you must take it slow when altering their food intake. And the process will take a week.

AKC recommends you do it like this:

DayOld dietNew diet
Day 175%25%
Day 350%50%
Day 525%75%
Day 70%100%

#4: Keep them focused during bathroom breaks

Since distraction is a reason why your dog suddenly poops in the house…

You must keep them focused on the task when you go for your routine walks. And that’s for Fido to pee and poop outside.

According to AKC, dogs get distracted when they feel overwhelmed. 

So, avoid bringing your dog to:

  • New places.
  • Overcrowded areas.

As much as possible, only have one route or spot for your walks. This limits the distraction. Thus, keeping Fido focused.

#5: Consult the vet

Lots of reasons I mentioned are health issues. And the majority of them are concerning. 

With that, the best thing to do is bring your pooch to the vet. They’ll be the best people to point out what exactly is wrong.

And with a diagnosis, proper treatment comes after.

People also ask:

Do dogs poop inside on purpose?

Dogs don’t poop inside the house on purpose. 

Your pooch is a creature of habit. And if you train them to do one thing, they’ll be consistent about it.

That said, there’s an underlying reason why they’re breaking their habits. 

Most of the time, it can be concerning. It’s because your pooch can be experiencing health problems.

So, your dog’s pooping inside the house unconsciously. 

And if not, then you must know that a lot of reluctance came before they did so. It’s just that they’re having trouble controlling their poop.

Should you punish your dog for pooping in the house? 

You shouldn’t punish your dog for pooping in the house. 

It’s worth noting that when your pooch goes number 2 inside your place…

Understand that they’re not doing it out of spite. And they’re not rebelling against you.

What’s actually happening is that they don’t mean to do it. 

Moreover, a health issue can be behind it. So, punishing them when they don’t feel well is cruel.

Why has my dog suddenly started pooping in the house at night?

Your dog has suddenly started pooping in the house at night due to illness. It might be due to simple diarrhea or something more serious. With that, you must consult the vet immediately.