Why is my dog’s poop soft?
Original Question: Lucy is a rescue dog that we have had for 7 weeks and she was spayed about 9 weeks ago. She poops when she wakes up at 8:00 am and it is substantial, firm and dark in colour. Usually she will have a smaller poop when she walks about 9:00 am and it is small and dark. During a walk around 3:30 pm she will have another poop. The first inch is dark and hard but the remainder of it is liquid and is light brown/yellowish and not a large volume. She is on Nutrience Infusion which was recommended by her foster mom. She has 1/2 a cup in the morning and 1/2 cup in the late afternoon. She has a few Bear Crunch treats during the day and is otherwise a normal Jack, curled up asleep beside us. Should we consider an alternative food or quantity to resolve the soft stool issue? - David
Thanks for your question.
A solid bowel movement will put pressure on the anal gland and cause it to express so that it doesn’t stay full and become irritated. If the stool is soft, the anal glands have the potential to fill up and become impacted, painful, inflamed and possibly rupture.
Loose stools in dogs may be due to an intestinal problem rather than just the diet. I would recommend that you rule out any medical conditions first with your veterinarian. You could perform fecal testing for parasites, a rectal exam for abnormal structures in the colon, radiographs to image the area, blood work for metabolic diseases and a urinalysis for kidney related issues. Maybe it has less to do with the food and more to do with a disease process you need to address. You’ll also want to talk to your veterinarian about conditions such as chronic pancreatitis, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatic insufficiency.
If everything is clear then it could be dietary and you can start experimenting with different diets. Consider trying a food for good digestive health or something formulated for food allergies. Simply trying a food with a novel protein that you have never bought before could be a good start. Keep in mind that digestive issues could be solved not just by food, but also by adding something like probiotics or vitamins. I’ve seen a lot of pets with digestive issues improve by using simple probiotics and seeding the gut with good bacteria. This can aid in more efficient digestion and absorption of the food.
Any food you select has to have a trial period before knowing whether it is ideal or not. To avoid this risk, I would recommend that you introduce any new food very slowly over the course of 3 weeks. Monitor your dog’s response to it very closely as you switch over to the new diet. If diarrhea or vomiting develops, I would stop it immediately and seek medical attention if it does not resolve right away.
If you don’t want to address a possible medical condition because of how expensive it can be, it could be risky. Something could be occurring under the surface which could progress while you waste time trying different diets. If you are comfortable with the risk, which I don’t recommend, you could try the different diets anyways and offer something to help digestion such as probiotics.
I hope this helps,
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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