Why Has My Dog Started Pooping in the House at Night?

By John Martin - September 7, 2022

Dog pooping in the house

As pet parents, your proudest and happiest moment is when your pet has been successfully potty-trained. However, nothing deflates your happy bubble like having your pet suddenly begin to show abnormal behaviour, such as pooping in the house at night time.

Why does this happen? And how can you prevent this from continuing? In this article, you will discover all the possible reasons why your dog may be doing this and how to put an end to it.

10 Reasons Why Your Dog is Pooping in the House at Night

Sometimes even after your four-legged friend has been house-trained, they may suddenly start having accidents around the house. The first thing to do is figure out why it is happening in order to solve the issue. Below are some of the possible reasons.

Food Allergies

If your furry friend is intolerant or allergic to some food, they can develop gastrointestinal problems.

Though food allergies are relatively uncommon among canines, around 10 to 15 percent of dogs that get diagnosed with such issues display signs of gastrointestinal and skin disease.

The gastrointestinal distress typically manifests in the form of diarrhea or loose stool. Some common foods that dogs can be allergic to are dairy, wheat, beef, chicken, and lamb.

Food intolerance and allergies can result in more frequent bowel movements in dogs. These stools are usually soft yet formed. They will also have more stomach and gas issues.

Dietary Changes

Any abrupt changes to a dog’s diet can result in gastrointestinal upset. It can affect dogs of any age. They will find it hard to stick to their bathroom schedule. New foods are usually very likely to result in your dog poop inside the house at night.

If you are introducing new food into their diet, expect this to happen. The microflora biome in your pet’s intestinal tract suffers from a massive shift when something new is introduced to it.

You will need to give their bowels around two weeks to get used to the food and normalize.

Also Read: What Does Jelly Mucus in Dog Poop Mean?


There are several medical conditions that can lead to inflammation of the intestines or result in loss of control over them. One such gastrointestinal issue in dogs is intestinal parasites.

Intestinal parasites like roundworms or hookworms can create a sense of urgency that leads to house soiling. They cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, which results in diarrhea that can sometimes be bloody.

Your dog may contract these parasites from other pets or any outdoor venue.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a growing problem among canines. When dogs undergo stress, they may poop in the house. Stress results in the inability of your pet to control their urge to defecate or urinate. It can cause the best-trained pets to suddenly start having indoor accidents.

Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety are under duress when you are away from them. They can start to get anxious or nervous once they realize you are about to leave. House soiling is a destructive behavior that comes with separation anxiety.

Take into account when these accidents are happening. Do you always come home to find your dog has pooped in the living room? If the behavior does not happen when you are home, then it is likely due to separation anxiety.

External Stressors

Besides separation anxiety, there may be other stressors that result in your dog becoming anxious and soiling in the house. They may be pooping indoors because something outside frightens them.

Certain breeds of dogs are more nervous than others. They may suffer from anxiety due to loud noises such as passing vehicles, thunder, loud people, etc. Changes in weather or environment can also cause them to become tense and anxious.

There may be some stressors within the house itself that are causing them to poop inside. They may be startled by loud noises of appliances or people, resulting in the loss of control over their bowels.

Change in Routine

Just like us, dogs are used to a certain schedule. Your dog likely follows a schedule of eating, playing, pooping, and sleeping to a certain extent.

If there is ever an abrupt change in this schedule, it may catch your dog off guard and result in them pooping in the house.

This is very likely to happen with newly house-trained dogs. A shift in the environment or routine can result in stress and setbacks.

One of the most common progressive symptoms related to aging among older pets is house soiling. As pets age, they may suffer from physical or cognitive health problems that affect their control, especially over a long stretch of time.

Some dogs may start to forget learned behaviors, like pooping outside due to dog dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction. This may result in increased anxiety and house-soiling episodes.

Inadequate House Training

Sometimes, pet owners make the mistake of assuming their pet has been sufficiently house trained early on in the training period. This is not always true. House training is a lengthy process, and it takes a while to get completely ingrained in your pet’s brain.

Young dogs take more time with the training. Just because they followed your training correctly a few times, it does not mean their house training is complete. If they start pooping indoors, they need more of that training.

Irregular Potty Breaks

Another possible reason for pooping indoors can be you are not providing your dog sufficient number of potty breaks. If there is an extended period of time between two potty breaks, your dog may find it difficult to control themselves.

Keep a reasonable number of potty breaks scheduled throughout the day so that they are not forced to hold it in for too long.

Even with a sufficient number of potty breaks, some dogs may come indoors to poop. It is likely the outside environment proved to be too distracting during their scheduled time, and they spent time exploring rather than taking care of their business.

Other Health Problems

There are other health problems that can be attributed to episodes of your dog pooping in the house at night.

If none of the other reasons is able to explain away the indoor night pooping episodes, you should consider the likelihood that there may be some underlying health issue.

In dogs, bowel incontinence can be a symptom of anything ranging from bowel cancer to IBD. It can affect dogs of any age.

Also Read: Why Does My Dog Poop In The Car?

How to Put an End to the Behavior

Once you have discovered the cause behind the issue, you need to address it to put an end to the inappropriate behavior. The first thing you should remember is not to punish your furry friend for their behavior.

Punishment will not solve the problem. Instead, it can create more anxiety and exacerbate the issue.

Below are some tips to help you stop your dog from pooping indoors at night.

Make Gradual Dietary Changes

Whenever you are introducing a new brand of food or any type of food, do not make it an abrupt overall change. It is important to make a gradual transition from old food to new food.

In order to prevent gastrointestinal issues, introduce a small portion of the new food along with a larger portion of the old food. Continue this for at least a week and then increase the portions of the new food gradually.

This slow transition period will give you an idea of how your pup is handling the new food. If they are allergic to it, the transition may not work, and you will have to consult a vet.

Prevent Distractions

When it is their scheduled potty break, remember to keep your pup on task. Do not let them get distracted by the wonders the outside world has to offer. Do not engage in play with them when they are on their potty time.

If your dog spent the entire day indoors, the first thing you should do after you get home is let them out so that they can relieve themselves. Reinforce the behavior with praise and treats so that they associate the time with a potty break.

Address Health Problems

If you suspect your dog has any medical conditions that are resulting in indoor pooping episodes, make sure to schedule a visit to your veterinarian.

If your furry friend suffers from intestinal parasites, they will need medication. If they are at a higher exposure risk, protect them with regular checkups.

It is important for your dog’s health conditions to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Once the issue has been resolved, the behavior will likely stop.

With age-related issues, you will need extra assistance, such as special diets and medications, to help you and your dog navigate the new phase of life.

Treat Anxiety

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety or general anxiety that is resulting in destructive behavior, it is important to treat it to help your pet and resolve the pooping issue.

You will need to seek out the help of professionals to retrain your pet and ensure that anxiety does not affect them anymore. It can be a lengthy process. It is important to exercise patience.

Also Read: How Often Do Puppies Poop?

The Bottom Line

Dogs can sometimes regress from their house training and resort to pooping indoors at night. This can happen due to several reasons. These reasons range from anxiety to underlying health problems.

It is important for pet parents to exercise patience and figure out the cause of the problem. Once the answer presents itself, make sure you address it properly. If you are uncertain about anything, reach out to your local vet for a proper solution.