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When you get a Golden Retriever puppy, beware that you will become obsessed with their puppy poop. You may find yourself monitoring their bowel movements and observing their poop.
You may begin wondering how often do Golden Retriever puppies poop and is that frequency normal?
In general, healthy Golden Retriever puppies will poop four to six times per day. However, their poop frequency depends on their age, diet, activity levels, hormones, stress, and how much and often they eat. As puppies age, pooping frequency gradually declines to once or twice per day as adults.
Becoming a puppy poop inspector and poop expert is essential for a pet owner. You can earn a lot about your Golden Retriever puppy’s health by monitoring its bowel movements and inspecting its poop.
In this article, we’ll discuss all things Golden Retriever puppy poop. We start with frequency. How often should a Golden Retriever puppy poop per day, including factors that impact frequency?
How Often Should a Golden Retriever Puppy Poop per Day?
Golden Retriever puppies poop a lot.
It is pretty normal for Golden Retrievers puppies to poop four to six times per day. However, don’t be alarmed if your Golden Retriever poops more than that, even six to eight times per day.
My Golden Retriever Bailey used to poop upwards of eight times per day, but he was a big plump puppy. Bailey was a pooping machine.
A Golden Retriever puppy’s poop frequency is affected by a few factors, including age, size, diet, stress, and exercise.
Young puppies poop more. As your Golden Retriever puppy grows and gets older, it will poop less often.
Young puppies are smaller, so their little bodies can’t hold much inside. Additionally, they don’t yet have control over their intestines and bowels, and their metabolisms are much faster.
That means that your little Golden Retriever puppy will need to do his poop business quite frequently.
The good news is that as Golden Retrievers puppies get older and larger, they gain more control over their intestines. They then gradually poop less often, until eventually, it becomes similar to humans at one to three times per day in adulthood, with once to twice per day being the norm.
At about 1.5 years of age, my Golden Retriever Bailey typically goes about twice per day.
Size is also a significant determinant in how often your Golden Retriever puppy goes poop per day. The larger the Golden Retriever puppy, the more it typically will need to poop.
Larger puppies typically eat more food and possibly more often due to their larger size, and what goes in must come out. So, all that extra food taken in means more poop coming out.
For example, our Golden Retriever puppy Bailey was an enormous puppy for his age. He typically pooped upward eight times per day. Our vet advised us to increase portions and meal frequency to keep up with his rapid growth, so extra “in” meant extra “out.”
Aside from age, diet is the most significant determinant of your Golden Retriever puppy’s poop frequency. Both how much it is fed and how often.
As discussed in the previous section, a bigger puppy needs more food, and more going in means more coming out. Additionally, how often they are fed also impacts how much they need to go.
More food and eating more frequently means more that needs to come out.
But, another factor is the type of food. If the food is higher in fiber or a brand your Golden Retriever may be sensitive to; poop frequency can increase.
Changing the type of dog food often causes an adaptive period where the puppy must poop more.
For example, when transitioning to a new food, vets will typically recommend only mixing a quarter or half of a cup of the new food with the usual brand. Doing so helps the puppy transition with fewer issues.
Another potential diet factor impacting frequency is snacks. Often the types of snacks and amounts can mean more poops for puppies.
Bailey enjoys liver snaps, and when we started training him as a puppy, those snacks increased. And so did the number of his poops per day.
If you find your Golden Retriever puppy is not pooping within the range of four to six times per day, it is often due to stress.
This is not unusual when the puppy is brought home, away from its mother and littermates. Now, the puppy is in a strange house, with unfamiliar people and strange smells. That adds up to mega-stress.
And stress means it can impact bowel movements by causing constipation. It can also affect hunger and appetite, so your puppy might eat less until it feels comfortable and safe.
A decrease in poop frequency may also occur when you leave your puppy at home for the first time. However, during this separation period, your puppy must adjust to periods of being alone, and its anxiety levels increase.
Again, stress or anxiety can impact digestive processes and appetite, causing constipation or reduced poop frequency.
Exercise is essential for Golden Retriever puppies. Regular walks are beneficial to your Golden Retriever’s digestive system, and they can aid in keeping your puppy regular.
However, if exercise amounts are sufficient, there could be other reasons for decreased bowel movements or constipation. We’ll discuss those later on and what to do.
How Can I Tell if My Golden Retriever Puppy’s Poop Is Healthy?
If you are not inspecting and monitoring your Golden Retriever puppy’s poop, you should begin.
Pet owners should monitor their Golden Retriever puppy’s poop regularly. A puppy’s poop can provide a wealth of information about the dog’s health. Specifically, the size, consistency, shape, color, smell, and composition of the poop can provide health indicators or potential issues.
If you are walking your Golden Retriever, then inspecting poop is often a byproduct of picking up after your puppy (I hope you are doing that). However, if your puppy has not yet had all its vaccinations and walking is not an option yet, you should still regularly inspect its poop.
For walks, you will have to do it the old-fashioned way (hand in the bag). But for the backyard, I recommend a pooper scooper as a handy helper.
If you need a well-made steel pooper scooper (or any other doggie supplies) be sure to check out my Golden Bar Approved Products and Gear.
It is a vital action to ensure your puppy is pooping enough and that the poop is healthy. Below, we discuss each factor to look for to ensure healthy puppy poop.
Amount of Food
The size of the poop is usually in proportion to the amount of food being fed.
For example, suppose your puppy is being fed the recommended amount for its size, and the poop seems small. In that case, that may indicate a potential issue.
Generally speaking, the poop size should be relatively proportional to the amount of food that the puppy is eating.
If you feel your Golden Retriever puppy regularly produces smaller than average poops, take a picture with your cell phone. Then, send it to your vet and ask them to look at the picture, and they’ll let you know if a visit is warranted.
Consistency refers to whether the poop is hard or soft. Puppy poops can range from watery to very hard and everywhere in between.
How easy or difficult the poop is to pick with a bag is a good indicator of where it falls on the poop consistency scale, which is one reason to always pick up your puppy’s poop on walks (the other is that it’s just being a responsible pet owner…and it’s usually the law).
A healthy poop should be soft but relatively well-formed. You should have little problem picking it up with a poop bag, and the poop should stay well-formed.
If you have trouble picking up the poop or it is very mushy or liquidy, the dog may have diarrhea or other issues. In contrast, hard poop or pellets can indicate constipation.
Both diarrhea and constipation that do not resolve quickly (as in a couple of days) can indicate health issues. Often it’s related to something the puppy is being fed—time to call your vet.
Golden Retriever puppy poop shape should be sausage or log-like. Usually, there will be one or two pieces. It may be S or snake-shaped (that is good).
The little poop logs may be smaller or larger depending on the puppy’s size and the amount of food it previously ate.
The poop should be moist or soft but well-formed and retain its form when picked up. If the sausage or log-shaped poop is quite hard or in the shape of round balls or pellets, the puppy is most likely constipated.
Obviously, if it has no shape or is very watery, and picking it up is nearly impossible, diarrhea is most likely the issue. Or, at the least, something your puppy ate did not agree with it.
In either case, watery or hard stools that do not resolve in a day or two require intervention, and you should chat with your vet.
The color of the puppy’s poop is significant. Often color is a tell-tale sign that something is off, and action needs to be taken.
The typical color of puppy poop should be a light to dark brown with little to no additional color variations. Brown is good. Other colors may not be; however, be mindful that what your puppy has eaten may affect the color.
For example, food colors or grass may affect the color of the poop. However, poop should not be green, red (or red streaks), black or tarry, orange, yellow, white/chalky, or gray/greasy.
So, a good rule of thumb is if your puppy’s poop is not an earth tone brown – light to dark brown – and it is one of the colors noted other than brown, take a picture and send it to your vet.
Be especially concerned if the poop is one of the brighter colors noted, such as red, orange, and yellow. Especially if it’s combined with diarrhea – that could be a sign of a more severe issue that needs to be inspected by your vet immediately.
Puppy poop composition is simply what the poop is made up of. You want to inspect your Golden Retriever puppy’s poop to see what is inside.
Red streaks could mean blood, and small whiter particles that look like rice could mean worms.
While the smell itself may not indicate any issues, the smell of a Golden Retriever puppy’s poop should be mild to medium and a more earthy organic smell. It should not be overpowering and cause your eyes to water or want to make you run from the area screaming.
A consistently strong odor may mean the puppy has issues with the food or is not digesting it properly. It can also mean a change in your puppy’s stomach flora, or they’re struggling with a new diet or ingredient.
Another culprit could be snacks and human food. Too many snacks or feeding the dog-human food could signal that the puppy is being overfed or that the food is causing gastrointestinal issues.
While your puppy’s poop will never smell good or pleasant, it should not be unbearable.
So, in summary, your Golden Retriever puppy’s PERFECT poop should be:
- Soft or moist. Not mushy, watery, or hard
- Light to dark brown
- Well-formed like a sausage – it can be S-shaped
- One or two segments. Not pellets or round blobs
- Should NOT smell overpowering or unbearable
- Proportionate to the amount of food your puppy eats
What if My Golden Retriever Puppy Only Poops Once or Twice per Day?
So, it’s pretty standard for a Golden Retriever puppy to poop four to six times per day, and even more, if the puppy is of a larger size and eating more. But what if your Golden Retriever puppy is pooping only once or twice per day? Is that normal?
A Golden Retriever puppy that is only pooping once or twice per day is likely suffering from constipation. While pooping once or twice per day may be expected for an adult Golden Retriever, it is typically not enough for a puppy.
It is equally important to watch your Golden Retriever puppy taking a poop as it is to visually inspect your puppy’s poop. This is especially important if your puppy’s poop is not within normal parameters.
You may observe your dog circling excessively, scooting (dragging the bottom along the ground) or squatting frequently, or even crying out in the severe case.
Constipation can be caused by many factors such as too much or little fiber, a change in diet, an addition to the usual diet such as snacks or human food, lack of exercise, dehydration, or not enough water.
Other issues could be medications, stress, hormones, underlying health issues, or injuries.
Constipation can be serious. If your puppy does not improve within 48 hours, call your veterinarian. [Source]
What Can I Do To Improve My Golden Retriever Puppy’s Poop?
To ensure your Golden Retriever puppy has consistent and healthy puppy poops, there are three main areas that you can focus on.
First on the list is diet. Regular healthy poops are directly related to a healthy diet and food portions appropriate for the dog’s size.
In most cases, your vet will recommend a good puppy dog food appropriate for your dog’s breed, age, and size.
The ideal time to discuss food with your veterinarian is when you take your puppy to the veterinarian for its first visit. This is often after bringing it home from the breeder and when it’s due for subsequent vaccinations.
It is also essential to ensure that your breeder advises you of the food brand they are using to feed your puppy. In this way, you can keep the diet the same until your veterinarian recommends that it’s time to change the brand of food.
Changing a puppy’s diet abruptly from what the breeder was feeding is a recipe for stomach and poop issues.
Also, beware of snacks and human food. Additions to the diet, either the ingredient or amount of food, can cause issues. If you need some snacks for training your puppy, ask your veterinarian what is appropriate and if meals size should be reduced.
The concern with reducing food size or amounts is the reduction of vital nutrients needed for your growing puppy, so talk to your vet.
Also, make sure your Golden Retriever puppy always has access to plenty of fresh water. Dehydration is a recipe for constipation.
As discussed, regular and enough exercise is vital for the digestive process in dogs. Being sedentary seems to affect digestive efficiency and transit time.
So, make sure your Golden Retriever puppy has enough exercise daily. Combined with a healthy diet and enough water, this will ensure healthy poops.
How much exercise? A good rule of thumb is this: Golden Retriever puppies need about five minutes of exercise per their age in months, twice daily (up to a maximum of 2 hours).
So, for example, if your Golden Retriever puppy is 12 weeks old (3 months), it would need 15 minutes of physical exercise twice per day (3 months of age x 5 minutes = 15 minutes x twice per day).
Now keep in mind that is a general rule, and some Golden Retriever puppies will need more if they are incredibly energetic.
For example, my Golden Retriever Bailey far exceeded that exercise requirement. He was (and is today) a highly energetic and active dog that needed more than the recommended exercise to satisfy his needs.
Lastly, be mindful of stressors. Often Golden Retriever puppy owners don’t consider stress when looking at why their puppy has pooping issues.
But unfortunately, stress and anxiety can affect digestion and reduce appetite.
Stress is most often seen in puppies when they are first brought home from the breeders, and the puppy adjusts to their new home. It’s essential to be very loving and patient during this time as the puppy might whine and try your patience, especially at night.
Here are some tips on surviving the first 24 hours when bringing home a new puppy, A Golden Retriever Puppy’s First Day Home: A 24-Hour Survival Guide.
Another stress for puppies is if everyone in the household works and the puppy must be left alone. However, you can take steps to reduce the strain on your puppy during this separation stage, and you read about them here: Raising a Golden Retriever Puppy While Working: Guilt-Free Solutions.
Last, Golden Retrievers are a sensitive dog breed and do not do well with aversives, punishment, or loud physical reprimands such as yelling. Doing so can add stress to your puppy.
Aside from bowel issues, you may be setting your puppy up to be insecure or have behavioral problems.
Hold Up. If you’re looking for an online dog training course for your puppy, I bought and compared some of the most popular online dog training programs to determine the best ones. You can read my review and recommendations here: Online Dog Training Programs: These Are The Ones To Buy
When Should I Take my Golden Retriever Puppy Out to Poop?
So, you have a Golden Retriever puppy, and pooping four to six times per day, and even up to eight, can be expected. That means you will be doing a lot of running to get your puppy outside before he makes a mess in the house.
Puppy poop messes in the house are an inevitable part of having a puppy. However, you can do a few things to help the process and make potty training more manageable, such as knowing when to take your Golden Retriever puppy out to poop.
Knowing the signs of impending poop-dom is a proactive versus reactive step. In the first few days of having a puppy home, be extra vigilant in watching the puppy’s body language.
In addition, learning the routines associated with when it has to go poop is a vital step.
Some of those routines are discussed below.
Immediately upon waking up, it’s time to take the puppy for a potty break. After holding it all night, the puppy may be ready for a poop. If not for a poop, then most definitely a pee.
I would suggest not to delay this step. As adults, we should have control over our bladders and bowels much better than a puppy, so forget everything until the puppy has had time to go.
Naps are similar to nighttime, and after a rest, especially following a meal, the puppy might need to poop. At the least, the puppy might need to pee, so take it out, and if a bowel movement is also in order, they will typically do both.
Puppies usually must go for a poop after meals. Typically, you do not have to wait more than five to 30 minutes before seeing the little one sniffing, squatting, or doing circles.
During or After Play
Play and exercise, in general, get the digestive tracking going. Puppies often need to suddenly have a bowel movement quickly during play. This is because play stimulates the digestive tract. Because puppies do not have control of their intestines, things can happen quickly.
When he was a puppy, our Golden Retriever Bailey would suddenly try to run and disappear into another room. Or he would abruptly stop and then start to squat.
Of course, before bed is the last opportunity to ensure the puppy has voided its bowel or bladder. Usually, before bed, the puppy will likely take a pee since the last bowel movement is usually after supper.
However, it is precautionary. Too many snacks, stomach upset, or food from supper that took a bit longer in transit might need to come out.
Better safe than sorry, right!!
Summing It Up
Don’t be alarmed if your Golden Retriever puppy poops a lot. Four to six times is normal, and even up to eight times is not out of the ordinary.
Their little bodies can’t hold much, and they don’t have control over their intestines or bowel movements at such a young age. As a result, they can be pooping machines.
Become a poop inspector. Inspect your puppy’s poop to ensure it is healthy, and monitor its body language and routines to help with potty training.
Also, monitor how much and frequently you feed your puppy.
If poop looks unusual, or your puppy is going too much or little, then call your vet to ensure everything is A-Ok. With puppies, safe is always better than sorry.