Have you ever wondered why your dog takes so long to take a poo? Or what’s up with that crazy poop dance they do right before? Is this some sort of secret coding? Are they trying to tell us something? Or is poop sniffing just their favorite past time?
For dogs, pooping outside serves more purpose than just relieving their bowels. Which is why it takes them so long to sniff out the pawfect spot to lay one down. It serves as a way for them to mark their territory, and sniff out where other dogs have been before. While urine is the most common form of “communication”, when dogs poop, pressure against the glands of either side of their anus can cause glands to dismiss a musky scent on their poop. Dogs also explicit their anal glands when scared, so sometimes, poop can alert other dogs of danger.
So, what’s up with the dance beforehand? We spoke with Dr. Zangara of Roosevelt Animal Hospital located in Port Jefferson, New York, to ask a few follow up questions about the mysterious sniffs, swirls and squats of our dogs’ doody time.
1. Why do dogs turn in circles before going to the bathroom?
By circling and inspecting their environment, dogs make the area comfortable and safe for them to go to the bathroom, although not every dog will circle.
2. Why do some dogs poop in place and why do some have migrating poops?
Some migrate during defecation because they find the movement aids in the passage of stool, for others just a strange behavioral idiosyncrasy.
3. Besides marking their territory, is there any reason why it takes dogs so long to find the pawfect spot?
Besides marking their territory, dogs use body waste to communicate with each other. Leaving urine or feces in a spot is like leaving a business card.
4. Should I be worried by how long it takes my dog to poop?
If he or she is taking a long time to pass stool or straining that could be a sign of a problem. It could be secondary to irritation, a physical problem such as a foreign body, a tumor and or a perineal hernia (if it is a chronic problem, it’s time to see the vet).
5. Is there anything I can do to speed up my dogs walk time?
You can try walking your pet within 20-30 minutes after a meal, usually they are stimulated to go to the bathroom and this will help your pet get into a routine.
h/t Vet Street