What Canine Stools Tell You About Diarrhea

By isak, June 10, 2009

Maxwell poopin'Diarrhea is the passage of loose, unformed stools generally occurring in more frequent bowel movements. It is the most common sign of an intestinal disease.

Diarrhea can be classified as acute or chronic, depending on its duration. Acute diarrhea comes on suddenly and is finished in a short period. Chronic diarrhea often comes on gradually and persists for three weeks or longer, or has an episodic pattern of recurrence.


Chronic diarrhea requires veterinary investigation.

Food in the small intestine takes about 8 hours to reach the colon. During that time, the bulk of the food and 80 percent of the water is absorbed. The colon concentrates the remainder. In the end, a well-formed stool is evacuated.

Transit time in the intestinal tract can be speeded up for a variety of reasons resulting in a large, loose, unformed bowel movement. This accounts for the majority of acute diarrheas of short duration.

To determine the cause of the diarrhea, it’s impoprtant to decide where the disease is located: small intestine or colon. This is done by examining the color, consistency, odor and frequency of the stools, as well as the condition of the dog:

COLOR

  • Yellow stool — indicates rapid transit (small bowel). When the stool is loose, full of mucus and is yellow in color, it is typically the result of a food intolerance. Did you change foods recently?
  • Green stool — It could mean your dog has eaten a large amount of grass. It can also be intestinal parasites, rat poisoning or other internal issues.
  • Orange stool — It could indicate a liver issue or biliary disease, or it could just mean that your dog’s poop moved too quickly through the GI tract to pick up the bile which changes poop to the normal brown color we expect. If your dog has orange diarrhea, contact your vet.
  • Black, tarry stool — indicates bleeding in the upper digestive tract. It may be a sign of a gastrointestinal ulcer or a stomach ulcer. Many human medications can cause stomach ulcers in dogs, especially aspirin, so never give human meds without consulting your vet.
  • Bloody stool — red blood or clots indicate bleeding in the colon. Streaks of blood may be colitis (inflammation of the colon), a rectal injury, an anal gland infection or possibly a tumor.
  • Pink or purple stool — Anything that resembles raspberry jam could indicate hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). A large number of dogs die each year from HGE but most will recover with prompt treatment. Seek medical attention.
  • Pasty, light-colored stool — indicates lack of bile (liver disease). While it could be a sign of liver or biliary disease, it could simply mean that your dog’s poop moved too fast through the GI tract to pick up the bile which changes the color to the normal brown you recognize.
  • Large, grey, rancid-smelling stool — indicates inadequate digestion or absorption (malabsorption syndrome). Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is commonly referred to as maldigestion. Essentially this means the pancreas is not functioning properly. It is a common issue for German Shepherds and Collies. The good news is that this is a very treatable condition, but it is serious, so take your dog to the vet right away.
  • White specks — Worms often look like white grains of rice in your pup’s stool. Your dog needs to be de-wormed.

CONSISTENCY

  • Watery stool — indicates small bowel wall irritation (toxins and severe infections). When the stool is watery, it can be a sign of an upset stomach due to dog food or GI tract issue. If it continues, see a vet.
  • Foamy stool — suggests a bacterial infection
  • Greasy stool — often with oil on the hair around the anus: indicates malabsorption
  • Excessive mucus — a glistening or jellylike appearance; indicates colonic origin.

ODOR (the more watery the stool, the greater the odor)

  • Foodlike, or smelling like sour milk — suggests rapid transit and malabsorption: for example, overfeeding, especially in puppies
  • Putrid smelling — suggests an intestinal infection.

FREQUENCY

  • Several in an hour, each small, with straining — suggests colitis (inflammation of the large bowel)
  • Three or four times a day, each large — suggests a malabsorption or small bowel disorder

CONDITION OF DOG

  • Weight loss, malnutrition — suggests small bowel disorder
  • Normal appetite, minimal weight loss — suggests large bowel disorder
  • Vomiting — small bowel origin, except for colitis

Common Causes of Diarrhea
Intestinal parasites are a common cause of acute and chronic diarrhea in puppies and adults. The greatest problems are caused by roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, threadworms, and giardia.

Most cases are caused by an irritation of the bowel lining from ingested substances or infections agents — in other words, something they ate. Any change in your dog’s diet could be the trigger: unfamiliar water; intolerance to certain foods like beef, pork, chicken, horsemeat, fish, eggs, spices, corn, wheat, soy, gravies, salts, spices, fats, and some commercial dog foods; excitement or emotional upset.

Dogs are scavengers and sometimes tend to eat things they can’t digest like:

  • dead animals, rodents and birds
  • garbage and decayed food
  • rich foods, table scraps, gravies, salts, spices and fats
  • sticks, cloth, grass, paper, etc.
  • parts of flea collars

Toxic substances causing diarrhea include:

  • gasoline, kerosene, oil or coal tar derivatives
  • cleaning fluid, refrigerants
  • insecticides
  • bleaches, often in toilet bowls
  • wild or ornamental plants, toadstools
  • building materials: cement, lime, paints, caulks
  • fireworks containing phosphorus

Many of these are equally as irritating to the stomach and will cause vomiting.

Treatment
Diarrhea is a symptom. The first step in treating it is to identify and remove the underlying cause, if possible. If the diarrhea is caused by overeating, cut back the food intake and feed 2-3 times a day in controlled portions. If unfamiliar water is the problem, carry an extra supply with you. In the case where irritating or toxic substances have been ingested, an effort should be made to identify the agent as specific antidotes may be required.

Food allergies can be cleared up by removing the problem food. Sometimes changing a dog’s food can trigger diarrhea. The new food should be introduced slowly over a couple weeks to avoid this kind of diarrhea.

Most cases of diarrhea can be treated at home:

  1. Withhold all food for 24-48 hours. If your dog appears thirsty, give a small amount of water or ice cubes to lick.
  2. Administer lomotil at a dose of one tablet per 25 lbs of dog, three times a day. Or Kaopectate at 1/2 – 1 tsp per 5 lb, to a maximum of 2 Tbsp every 8 hours. Or Pepto-Bismal at 0.5 ml per lb or 1/2-1 tsp per 5 lb, to a maximum of 30 ml or 2 Tbsp.
  3. As the dog starts to respond, feed an easily digested diet that contains no fats:
    • boiled hamburger (1- to 2-parts cooked rice; discard the broth)
    • cottage cheese
    • cooked macaroni or soft-boiled eggs

    Prescription diets are available from your vet.

  4. Continue the bland diet for three days, even if your dog seems better.

A diarrhea that persists for more than 24 hours, a bloody diarrhea and diarrhea accompanied by vomiting, fever and other signs of toxicity should be checked out by your vet immediately.

Source: Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook

559 Comments

  1. Steven Wayne Allison says:

    I have a 11 week old puppy shes diarrhea and it sticky and smells like iron. No change in behavior. But she doesn’t eat as much ,What should i do ?

    • isak says:

      If your pup is still playful and active, you may be dealing with a mild form of diarrhea that can be treated at home. Contact your vet if the diarrhea lasts more than a couple days, is liquid, has blood, or is accompanied with off behavior like weakness or vomiting. If she also has an upset stomach, that may be the reason she is not eating much.

      Here are a few ideas for you:

      • Boil or steam a butternut squash until soft and peel when it cools down (yams or pumpkin are also ok). Add chicken broth or vegetable broth to make a mashed potato consistency.

      • Mix boiled chicken and white rice. This can help soothe an upset stomach.

      • Plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling) can balance the liquid in the digestive tract to firm up stools.

      • Plain yogurt adds good bacteria back into the gut that is lost through diarrhea.

      • Anti-diarrheal meds like Petpo Bismol and Immodium AD are generally okay for pets with upset stomachs, but hopefully one of the above options will do the trick. You can also purchase medicine made specifically for dogs, like DiaBec. Check your local pet supply store for other options.

  2. Heather Woof says:

    Hi I have a 6 month old Aussie/lab, she’s been having neon yellow diarrhea with some mucous for two days now. We’ve been giving her chicken and rice and she’s been eating and drinking water with no issues. She’s super playful still. She did eat a lizard 3 days ago and may have eaten cat food. Any help before we take her to the vet and need to spend a ton???

    • isak says:

      Add some plain canned pumpkin to her food — about a tablespoon twice a day — for the fiber. Pumpkin tends to absorb excess liquid in the digestive tract resulting in firmer stools. Also add some plain yogurt or other probiotic to put good bacteria into her gut. Hopefully you will start to see an improvement within a day.

  3. Rose says:

    Hi, good evening!
    My 2 month old shih tzu puppy has loose yellowish diarrhea. It’s been 2 days now. Wasn’t able to take her to the vets because of the storm here.
    Her poop is a bit foamy..not much I should say, I just saw some bubbles but not much. It’s not all watery but a part is formed and a part foamy-watery. I also saw little white specs, but. I’m not sure if the white specs is because of the puppy milk I gave him, or if it’s worms. She’s not lethargic whatsoever but she seems fine aside from her diarrhea. She eats a lot and is still very playful.
    Need advise please. Thanks in advance.

    • isak says:

      If she is eating and drinking normally and has her usual spunk, you can wait to see if it straightens itself out. If you have some plain canned pumpkin, give her a teaspoonful mixed into her food and some plain yogurt. The fiber in the pumpkin balances out the liquid in her gut and the yogurt adds good bacteria. You should see an improvement in a day.

      If she has not been de-wormed, that would be a good idea, too, though you may be right about the puppy milk particles. It is fairly common for puppies to have intestinal parasites.

      Congrats on your new baby!

  4. Hannah says:

    Hi! My dog has had yellow diarrhea with a lot of mucus present for over 48 hours with no other symptoms besides lethargy (however, she’s beginning to get her energy back today). They’re infrequent but smaller in size, and there does seem to be some straining. I’ve been feeding her chicken + rice since the signs first appeared. At last check, her stool seemed to be firming up but it’s still pretty formless and runny. I called the vet’s office and was told to bring her in when/if her appetite decreases, she begins to vomit, or I see blood in her stool. I haven’t changed her diet recently, so the only other option I can think of is when I took her to a nearby river last weekend. I’m worried she might have Giardia, but she doesn’t appear to be showing any other symptoms besides the yellow, mucousy diarrhea. Do you have any tips? Thank you so much in advance.

    PS if it’s helpful, she’s a border collie/retriever mix.

    • isak says:

      It may well be that she picked something up from the trip to the river. Maybe she ate something she found or drank some water that did not agree with her or sometimes even just excitement can cause a change in stools. Though the lethargy makes me think her stomach is bothering her.

      I would stick with the chicken and rice a few more days. You can add some plain canned pumpkin to the chicken and rice — about a tablespoon twice a day. The fiber in the pumpkin will absorb excess liquid in her digestive tract which creates firmer stools. It actually works for constipation, too, by balancing the liquid. You mentioned that she seems to be straining, so the pumpkin may help. It generally starts to work in a day. You can also add some acidophilus or other probiotic to her food to put good bacteria back into her gut that is being lost with the diarrhea.

  5. Melissa says:

    Hi there,

    I have a 5 month old Cockapoo who got into some cat food the other day. Since then he has been pooping and vomiting. His poop is yellow mustard colour and has some mucus. Is this normal? Could he be having a food allergy to the cat food?

    • isak says:

      The mucus is naturally occurring as a way for the body to protect the digestive tract from the digestive acids. You might not normally notice it until there is an upset stomach. If he is reacting so strongly, I wonder if he got into something else as well or maybe he ate a lot of the cat food (which wouldn’t probably be much for such a small dog). If it is related to the cat food, it should improve in a day of two. If not, you may need to see your vet.

  6. Sam Smith says:

    I have a Caucasian shepherd puppy about 7weeks i discovered she has been pooping a yellowish stool covered in mucus although i changed her diet for just a day i normally give her rice mixed cereal and water switched to rice and milk and then cereal mixed with milk then came back to rice mixed with cereal and water ever since i noticed the watery stool i haven’t fed her is she ok????? It not up to 24hrs

    • isak says:

      Mucus occurs naturally in the digestive tract to protect the lining from the digestive acids. If you are seeing lots of it then there may be something disturbing the balance in her digestive tract. It could be that she cannot tolerate the milk. Some dogs don’t digest people milk very well. What is rice mixed cereal? I’m not sure what you mean. She will need some protein in that rice, like boiled chicken. Does she get any kind of dog food — either kibble or canned? These will generally add vitamins and minerals she will need for her body to grow and develop.

      Have you had her for very long? If not, it could be that the food you are feeding her is different than what she was eating and that is creating the stools you are seeing.

  7. Melanie says:

    Help our German Shepard is 2 years old in july he has had sickness and diarrhoea this is the second day. First day his poop was yellow ,today it is green. He has only been sick once so far today. He is drinking water and he has taken diarrhoea tablets since yesterday. How can we help him .tried to get him to eat rice and chicken not hungry at all.

    • isak says:

      Most cases of diarrhea and vomiting in dogs have dietary or stress-related causes. Maybe he ate something that is upsetting his stomach? The green could be from grass he has eaten to settle his stomach. With an upset stomach, it is not uncommon for dogs to not eat. Give it another day to see if it improves or even resolves itself and make sure he has plenty of fresh water to drink. Continue to offer him the rice and chicken. He should come around in about a day. If not, you can try some Kaopectate and Pepto-Bismol. But see if it resolves itself first.

  8. Amy says:

    Hi. I have a 1 1/2 year old male cavaton (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Coton de Tulear) who has yellow soft stools. He is roughly 19 pounds. He has not been a big eater even since the time we brought him home (12 weeks old). We have tried a multitude of different dog foods; he’s been to the vet a number of times. He has now had consistent yellow soft stools for several weeks now. Prior to that, his stools never seemed quite normal, not in color or consistency.
    Several weeks ago, he was treated for coccidia. I took him in for a recheck, and the parasite is supposedly gone. (He has always been on Heartgard and Frontline Plus, though neither of these protect against coccidia.) But his stools are still soft and yellow. My vet suggested having another blood draw which would show any in-depth issue. We are waiting for the results.
    For the most part, his food has been chicken-based, and so I am in the process of feeding him with another protein and grain-free. I know there are hyrolyzed protein dog foods, but the ingredients are very questionable.

    Do you have any suggestions, a direction which might yield some result? Thank you.

    • isak says:

      Soft stools can often be firmed up with more fiber either in the form of something like plain canned pumpkin added to their food or even psyllium from something like Metamucil. Also you might try a good probiotic or acidophilus to maintain the good bacteria in his gut.

      Were you ever able to determine the source of the coccidia? If not, it could be recurring. It can be in rainwater that washes into your yard (that happened to me once years ago).

      Do you feed dry food or wet? Some dogs are more partial to wet food as it is closer to what they would more naturally choose.

  9. Marci says:

    My dog is 2 years old he broke a nail. Took him to vet they put him to sleep repaired his nail. Sent him home with antibiotics for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days he started vomiting and diarrhea. Dark dark brown gooey with blood. Took him back to vet they gave him two shots one for gastro pain and one for stomach acid? Like Pepcid ac. Told us diet of chicken rice and gave us antibiotics (metronidazole) 250 mg 1/2 pill twice a day and 10 mg Pepcid ac twice a day. Vomiting stopped stool started getting thicker and turned a brownish gold. Then yesterday he did not want to eat at all still drank water and back to diarrhea kind of like raspberry jelly with dark brown diarrhea. Do not know what to do !!!!!

    • isak says:

      Sometimes antibiotics can cause an upset in the stomach. They generally kill all bacteria in the gut — good and bad. The imbalance may cause what you are seeing. Is he off all antibiotics now?

      Add some plain canned pumpkin to his food — about a tablespoon mixed into his food twice a day. Also add some plain yogurt or other probiotic to put good bacteria back into his gut. The rice is slow to digest so generally helps firm the stools, so you might put him back on the chicken and rice for a couple more days. If you do not see an improvement in a couple days, call your vet. If you do see an improvement, keep doing what you are doing until he has been back to normal for a couple days. Then slowly switch him back to his old food.

  10. Pam Begoske says:

    I am desperate to get answers about the diarrhea that my 13 year old lab is having. I don’t feel like my vet is doing enough and I’m worried about dehydration. The vet recommended Proviable paste and probiotic pills along with a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice. This has been going on for 3 weeks now and it is not better. He has watery stools with orange color. I’ve read about several intestinal diseases that could be the cause but the vet hasn’t tested for anything. I’m thinking about getting a second opinion.

    • isak says:

      If you have doubts at all about your vet’s diagnosis, I would definitely consider a second opinion, especially if the Proviable didn’t provide any improvement. Proviable’s goal is to absorb water and excess bacterial toxins. Improvement should definitely have occurred by now. While occasional diarrhea is not uncommon, 3 weeks indicates that the underlying issue has not been addressed. Continuing diarrhea can lead to dehydration as you are correct to be concerned about and does deplete the good bacteria in a dogs digestive system.

      If there is any substance in his stools, take that as a sample with you so it can be tested. It could be something as simple as intestinal parasites.

  11. Jesj says:

    Hi,

    We have a 7 year old goberians (half husky, half retriever) who is really healthy. He started having diarrhea 2 nights ago and has since been battling with it. No other signs or symptoms of discomfort or change. He has an appetite, doesn’t seem lethargic, is drinking normally. We tried him on some boiled rice and boiled chicken which he held down for a few hours (fed at 4pm) but by 9pm was back outside. The stool is extremely runny and orange in colour (think carrot colour). He did have a small amount of blood in it today after having several attempts to release with no avail.

    Planning to take him to the vet in the morning since it’s been 48 hours, but wondering if there is anything that we can try or do in the meantime to help.

    • isak says:

      Plain canned pimpkin is the great equalizer. The fiber in it absorbs excess liquid in the digestive tract which should firm up his stools. (It also helps with constipation, thus the “great equalizer”). It generally starts working the same day, but may require a few days in this case. Some plain yogurt or other probiotic will put good bacteria back into his gut which would be lost through the diarrhea. That helps, too. The blood, if just a small amount, can be expected under the conditions. The rice and chicken will also take a few meals to start working. Good luck.

  12. Laura says:

    Hi, I have a 3yr old collie mix and he started have watery diarrhea four days ago. He seems fine otherwise, activity wise and even eating. After two days it was not getting better, I decided to try the BRAT diet (just boiled chicken and rice). No improvement. Now I am thinking I should ‘fast’ him for 24 hrs and restart the BRAT diet. He is still in great spirits. One thing I should mention, I took him to the vet last Wednesday for his heartworm shot and test (which came back negative). This all started Saturday morning, 72 hrs after the shot so am unsure if it is even related. Any thoughts??

    Thanks!!
    Laura

    • isak says:

      Diarrhea is one of the possible side effects of the heartworm shot, so that is a possibility. Is there anything else that happened around that same time? Could he have gotten into anything — or even still getting into something?

      You can add some plain yogurt or other probiotic to his food to put good bacteria back into his gut. And you can also add some plain canned pumpkin to his food. The fiber in the pumpkin evens out the moisture in his digestive tract so it actually works for both diarrhea and constipation. And it generally starts working within a day.

      Has he been de-wormed recently? Intestinal parasites can cause soft stools. The shot does not protect against common intestinal parasites like whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms (though it does treat hookworm infections).

      If he seems to feel okay, and his appetite and attitude are good, then monitor him. Put him on the boiled rice/chicken routine, and add some yogurt and pumpkin. If there is no change in a couple days, contact your vet.

  13. George says:

    My 1 year old cockapoo generally has normal but loose stool. He’s on a dry, ,kibble diet, with some treats throughout the day. Usually he’s fine but every once in a while he has diarrhea.

    The past few days he’s had very watery diarrhea (yellowish in colour, loose pudding consistency). It seems to go away and he’ll have normal stool, only for it to come back again. Last night he had to go poop 4 times in a night , which he’s never done. It was very small amounts of liquid, loose pudding yellow poop. No visible parasites. He does have

    I can bring him to the vet but last time we went in for a similar issue, I didn’t feel like they did much to help. He’s acting normal, though a little food resistent. Drinking and does want treats, though I’m withholding it right now. Gave him some canned pumpkin.

    What do you think I should do? If he’s acting alright, is it ok / safe to wait until his behaviour changes? Is that the best indicator for needing a vet, ASAP?

    • isak says:

      If it never quite goes away for good, I wonder if it might be related to his food. Have you tried canned food or even a grain-free kibble or kibble for sensitive stomachs with a bit of water added to it? Did you see any change after giving him canned pumpkin? That generally causes a change within a day’s time.

      Has he been de-wormed? Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea, even though you may not see the parasites.

      If his attitude is good, his appetite is unchanged and he is drinking normally, then you can usually wait, but if it does not improve, it would be good to have the vet check him out.

  14. Geraldine Kinsella says:

    Hi, I have a 9 year old corgi/jack russell cross. She is awaiting catteracts surgery and has had been prescribed Yellox, Clinitas and Pred Forte to prepare her eyes. Unfortunately since starting the drops she has had very bad diahorria and vomiting. We’re giving her a very plain diet now… Rice and chicken or potato and egg for example but she’s still got intermittent diahorria even with additional meds and probiotics from the vet. They tell me that it’s impossible that the drops would effect her this way but I can’t see any other reason. As far as I know she’s never had anything like this before. Any advice you could offer would be very appreciated.

    • isak says:

      Generally no, but your eyes are a passageway into systemic circulation, so I don’t think you can completely rule that out. Could your girl be having a reaction to the eye drops and her way of showing it is via her stomach? Some drops can cause discomfort — like itching, burning eyes, pain, etc. Any evidence of that? Is there any way to stop the drops or reduce the amounts?

  15. Francis says:

    Hi,

    I have a 7 month old puppy who has been going to the bathroom once every 2-3 hours and each time he goes, his stool is yellow and seems to have a lot of mucus. He’s been going like this for the last 3 days. His temperament hasn’t changed and he is still his usual playful self..i tried giving him rice to harden his stool but it doesn’t seem to be working, he is not vomiting and his appetite doesn’t seem to be affected.

    Any thoughts on what it could be?

    Thanks!

    • isak says:

      The mucous is naturally occurring and is there to protect the stomach from digestive acids. When a pet has an upset stomach, there will be more mucous visible in their stools. Given how young your pup is maybe he got into something he shouldn’t have when no one was looking. Or maybe he has internal parasites. Has he been de-wormed? If not, you might start there. You can also add some plain yogurt or other probiotic to his food to put good bacteria back into his gut. You can also add a tablespoon of plain canned pumpkin to his food. The fiber in the pumpkin draws up excessive moisture to balance out the stools.

      Is he drinking water? Same amount or more than usual?

  16. Tracirle Phil says:

    Hi! I mix white rice with veggies like squash carrots potatoes and chicken breast. Is it okay? Or its better not to give them white rice?

    • isak says:

      If your dog has soft stools, the rice is helpful. You do not want to give just plain rice without any added nutrition for longterm feeding.

  17. Tracie Phil says:

    Hi! I have 3 3month old pomeranian puppies. Recently I change their food. From dog food to rice. Then i notice that since then their stool became yellow but it is firm sometimes a bit loose. What would be the problem? And also they seem fine. They are active .

    • isak says:

      Are you giving them anything else but the plain cooked rice? Alone, rice will not provide them with the nutrition — vitamins, minerals and antioxidants — they need to grow and develop into healthy dogs. It’s recommended to feed rice with a good source of meat. It’s generally used for nursing sick pups back to health. Brown or wild rice is more nutritious than white. White rice has more a negative effect on blood sugar levels than other varieties. Also, there are low levels of arsenic in rice. This can become a problem when rice is fed regularly. It’s the longterm effects you need to consider. Your pups may seem fine now, but the long-term affects of improper nutrition can cause health problems as they get older.

      So as a regular food and the only food, I would not recommend it.

  18. Taylor Abshire says:

    Hi my dog is a year old black lab,for the last 2 nights hes been waking me up every couple hours to potty. He’s having yellowish diarrhea, and he will try to put multiple time when outside and sometimes nothing will come out. sometimes his stoll has a mucusy lining to it . he’s eating a little bit , but i just spend a bunch of money taking him to the vet and now this pops up i was wondering if u could help me

    • isak says:

      The mucous occurs naturally in his gut to protect his stomach from digestive acids. When things get out of balance, you will see more of it than usual in his stools. Any thoughts what might be the source of his stomach upset? New food, did he get into something he shouldn’t have, different treats or chewy toys, has he been de-wormed recently?

      You can add some plain yogurt or other probiotic to his food to add good bacteria into his gut and also a spoonful of plain canned pumpkin added to his food. The fiber in the pumpkin absorbs extra liquid and will firm up his stool. If his stomach doesn’t feel good, he will not want to eat. Sometimes some canned Friskies Turkey cat food works. Dogs find it hard to resist.

      Let us know how it goes.

  19. Liz Bormida says:

    Hi there,

    I have a 11 month Goldendoodle and whenever we go hiking he does a solid poo followed by couple more, the last one is always watery. We go hiking 2-3 hours after his morning poop which is solid.

    It seems the more active he’s the looser his stool.

    Today we played catched for 15 mins longer than usual, he ran a lot and on our walk home he vomited, 5 mins later he did a watery yellow poop with foam at the end; 5 mins later at home he drank loads of water and threw up again.

    He rested and 2 hours later I gave him some food and he went back to sleep then woke up to go outside. He peed 4 times since he was sick and they were minute long pees. I fed him a small dinner. He seems back to normal.

    I’m wondering if he may have a short bowel issue as he’s watery poops after a lot of activity are starting to be more of a pattern. Thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • isak says:

      It could be exercise-related diarrhea based on your explanation. In some dogs, excessive activity can cause back injuries/stress that lead to tightening of the lumbar muscles which are closely related to colon and the small intestine. This is more often the case when activities tend to be much more repetitive — like playing catch. Repetitive activities like fetching, jumping and sprinting can be the hardest on a dog.

      In some cases, dogs drink more water because of the activity and that excess water remains in the stool even after the large intestine re-absorbs water. The causes soft stools. You can add some fiber to his diet. Fiber tends to absorb excess liquid in the digestive tract. Plain canned pumpkin is one good source of fiber. As little as a tablespoon can work.

      As for the vomiting, he may have had too much water too fast after so much exercise.

      You can reduce the activity and see if you see a reduction in his soft stools. If so, that is likely your source of the problem. If not, your vet can run some tests for other issues.

  20. maria says:

    Hi ? my dog is eating now and she’s back to her normal self (jolly) and she doesn’t poop reddish brown and doesn’t vomit anymore , thanks for your advices ? it helps a lot Keep it up again thanks a lot

  21. Aly says:

    Hello, I am SO HAPPY I found your site!

    I have a 13 year old black lab mix who recently started to have digestive issues. She started having loose stools about 5 days ago and for a few nights, I was having to get up every couple hours to let her out. Her stool started to show a lot of mucus and I could tell she was in discomfort. I added some rice to her kibble and it seemed to really help She didn’t get me up for two night and her stool became more solid. Well… today she had to go outside a few times in a short period and I watch her to see how everything goes. She pooped normal, then she pooped loose and then the last one looked like water with mucus. It was almost clear and only a tiny bit. I am at a loss as she doesn’t eat toys or sticks or anything but she does eat my other dogs poo at times. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
    THANK YOU!!

    • isak says:

      There are many things that can cause loose stools from parasites to something she has eaten to other more serious issues. Sometimes it’s a temporary issue and it will pass, but keep an eye on her. Has she been de-wormed recently. If not, it could be related to having some internal parasites. This is further possible if one of your other dogs has worms and she has ingested them from the other dogs’ poop. They will not always be present in her stool.

      You can add some plain yogurt or other probiotic to her food to put good bacteria back into her gut. You can also add a dollop of plain canned pumpkin to her food. The fiber in the pumpkin equalizes the moisture in her gut and balance out her stool.

      If the issue continues, you should have your vet check her out.

  22. maria says:

    Update to my puppy She’s eating on her own but just a little bit. I fed her a soft dog food and she always drinks water too but sometimes I need to hand feed her. I’ve been giving her a tablet for diarrhea and I mix dextrose powder on her water . I’m going to buy some vitamins too
    But her poop has not change at all although she only poops once a day.
    Is she getting better?

    • isak says:

      It may be too soon to say for sure. Keep a close eye on her. If she is eating, you can give her some plain canned pumpkin (no spices). The fiber generally helps firm up soft stools.

  23. maria says:

    My puppy doesn’t eat after her companion died from parvo now her poop was brown and watery she vomits liquid too but she drinks water. What could be the problem? I can’t take her to vet coz I’m just a student and I don’t have enough money. Please help me

    • isak says:

      If your puppy was in contact with her companion and she has not been vaccinated for parvo, she may have parvo. Symptoms will appear within five to 10 days after exposure. However, some dogs may show symptoms as soon as three days or as long as 12. Given that she has diarrhea and is vomiting, you should treat her as if this is parvo and start treatment asap. You can give her Pepto Bismol for the diarrhea and force feed her food and liquids (Pedialyte contains added electrolytes that plain water does not have). See if she will eat some plain boiled chicken and rice. Set her up on a schedule for feeding and giving her water — and stick to it no matter how she looks. Do NOT give up. It can take 5-10 days to get through this, but with support from you, she can get through it. Hydration is the most important thing as her organs need hydration to work.

      Also clean your house with a solution of bleach and water or other parvo killing product.

      There are several tips to help you here. Read through the comments, too, for things that have helped other people.

      Again, stick to a schedule of food and liquids and do not give up.

  24. Janet says:

    Hi,
    I have a 13 week old male minature schnauzer. I only got him a week ago on Thursday 18. When I first saw him he seemed fine and I took him home. I took him outside a couple of times but he wouldn’t poop or pee. Later in the afternoon around 3:40 I noticed he had pooped but it was all watery. He kept having diarrhea throughout the day & then he started throwing up as well. He looked very sad and he was just laying down and sleeping. By night he looked terrible he didn’t want to eat or drink anything. He looked really dehydrated, skinny, weak, tired, and sad. I got scared so I took him to the vet. They ran a parvo test and it came back negative. They diagnosed him with coccidea & gave him treatment. The next day he woke up doing so much better. He was playful and he started eating and drinking water. I kept giving him the medicine the vet prescribed for the next couple of days. He did great over the weekend and his poop was solid. Then on Monday he ate in the morning and then he didn’t want to eat anymore. He was sleeping alot again but he didn’t have diarrhea and he wasn’t throwing up. Then Tuesday in the morning he ate and about two hours later he threw up. I left to school & when I came back he had thrown up again. His throw up looked like it was all food. He was sad again and didn’t want to eat but he was drinking a little bit of water. He kept throwing up throughout the day but it was just saliva with foam. I took him to the vet again and he said it wasn’t coccidea because he didn’t have diarrhea. He wasn’t sure what was wrong with him. He told me to try to give him chicken with white rice and see if that would help. He also gave him some fluids, some more injections of cerenia and some tablets to give him at home, and some liquid medicine to give at home as well. I have been giving him his meds as told but he just doesn’t seem to get better. Today, I gave him pedialite since he isn’t drinking water on his own. I also blended the chicken and rice and gave it to him in a liquid form, I forces him to drinking it though because he wouldn’t do it on his own. I took him oitside just now and he pooped and it was all watery and green. I don’t know what else to do or what he even has. The vet said that if he didn’t get better in the next couple of days to take him back and they would test for parvo again. Any suggestions on what I could give him to help him? Any would help, thanks!

    • isak says:

      It is common for dogs to eat grass when their stomach is upset. This often leads them to throw up and eases their stomach ache. What isn’t thrown up travels through the digestive tract and comes out the other end as green stool. The cause for the stoamch upset is unclear. Has he been de-wormed? If not, perhaps he has internal parasites upsetting his stomach. Are there any poisons around that he could have gotten into (for example, rat poisoning)?

      You can give him some plain yogurt or other probiotic to add good bacteria back into his gut that is lost with vomiting and diarrhea. You can also give him a spoonful of plain canned pumpkin. The fiber in the pumpkin draws up excess liquid in the digestive tract to create a more normal stool. This generally starts to work in a day.

      If you get any kind of solid stool after giving him the pumpkin, take a sample to the vet for them to test asap.

      The big concern is him not drinking as this can lead to dehydration. A good general guideline is that a healthy dog should drink between ½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. More is required when a dog has vomiting and diarrhea. So you need an oral syringe (no needle) to administer liquids — Pedialyte is good for this. Figure how how much he needs and divide it over several doses throughout the day. You can also force feed him some Gerber #2 (Sitter) Chicken and Gravy food. It is just chicken and water; it has no added garlic or onions or other spices he should not have. It will provide some needed nutrition.

      Keep us posted on his progress.

  25. Nikole says:

    I have a 10 or 12 week old puppy and her behavior has changed dramatically. She isnt eating her food: she looks at it like poison. She is drinking little water even if i have to force it down her throat. She has had a major weight loss and i have tried everything to help. Now she is throwing up the water and its coming out a little foamy. What do i do???? Because im scared

    • isak says:

      How long have you had her? Have you changed her food? Maybe she’s not used to what you are offering her. Have you tried canned food? Even canned Friskies Turkey cat food (yes, cat food. It often works for me when one of my dogs is being finicky.) Has she been de-wormed? How are her bathroom habits? Is she peeing a lot? How are her stools — firm, loose, what color?

      Has she recently been vaccinated? Some dogs react badly to the vaccines.

      Not drinking water can lead to dehydration which can cause her organs to not work. A good general guideline is that a healthy dog should drink between ½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. Pedialyte is a good option. However, if she will only take it if you force it on her, there is still a problem going on.

      If her stools are normal, then it might be a problem with her stomach or even her throat. Could she have eaten something she shouldn’t have?

      You can give her plain yogurt or other probiotic to put good bacteria into her gut. You can also try Pepto Bismol. The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds, according to Dr. Klein. It can be offered to the dog every 6-to-8 hours, but if you don’t see an improvement after a few doses, stop the medication and call your veterinarian.

  26. Allie says:

    Hi,

    my 8 year old black lab started having diarrhea 2 days ago (brown, sometimes pure liquid and others looks like pudding). Over night she has to go out once every two hours to try and poop. She has been her usual self (Happy and playful with our two other dogs) but today she seems to be more tired than usual. We did catch her digging holes in the backyard so we were thinking she may have eaten something she shouldnt and thats the cause of the constant diarrhea.

    any thoughts? when is the right time to go to the vet?

    Thanks so much for your time!

    • isak says:

      Consistent diarrhea is cause for concern because of the risk of dehydration. In addition to fluids lost via urination, she is losing fluids in her diarrhea. It could be that she ate something that does not agree with her, but that should generally pass in a day or two. Has she been wormed? It could be related to intestinal parasites.

      You can add plain yogurt, powdered acidopyllus or other probiotic to her food. This adds good bacteria to her gut that is lost through diarrhea. You can also add a dollop of plain canned pumpkin to her food. The fiber equalizes the liquid in her stomach for more consistent stools. The pumpkin usually starts to work in a day, so monitor your girl and if you do not see a change, have your vet check her out.

  27. Robyn says:

    Oh, and I should add that his behavior hasn’t changed. He’s still eating hearty, drinking, and plays with the other animals. He seems fine in attitude. He’s a two year old now.

  28. Robyn says:

    Hello! Last month, we took our Bassett hound to be seen for vomiting and were told (following tests and x-rays) that he was perfectly healthy other than the fact his stomach was irritated from ingesting human food. He was given medication and we were told not to feed him anymore scraps, which we don’t now.

    However, for the past few months, he’s been having frequent chronic loose stool. His bathroom habits have changed dramatically, going from a scheduled three times a day to whining now sometimes even an hour or two later after being let out. He keeps wanting outside to poop, and he will poop several times a day — they are usually large, and either partially formed or mushy. He’s also looking skinnier; we can see his spine more and his stomach is smaller, yet the vet claimed he’s a healthy weight.

    I’m really not sure what to think. Any thoughts on what you feel would be greatly appreciated.

    • isak says:

      Bassett Hounds can put on a little extra weight and still look normal, so he could have been a bit on the heavy side but looked okay to you. At this point, I wouldn’t worry about the spine you are seeing. Trust your vet on that one.

      Have you changed anything else in his diet other than the table scraps? Are you feeding him the same quantity of his regular food? An increase in food can cause an increase in stool volume and if it is too much food, it can lead to soft stools.

      You can add plain yogurt, powdered acidopyllus or other probiotic to his food to add good bacteria to his gut. You can also add a dollop of plain canned pumpkin to his food. The fiber equalizes the liquid in his stomach for more consistent stools.

  29. Rick says:

    We have a 5 year old pit/boxer mix that was diagnosed with knee issues.
    The vet put her on dasaquin, fish oil, and ligaplex II 5300 for supplements and gabapentin for pin management.

    She has been on these for about a week and diarrhea started shortly after as I came home to an accident in the house which was loose and dark brown in color. Since the first instance, there has been no accidents in the house but all potty breaks have been loose and yellow-brown color. In most cases it looks to have mucus in it.

    We did a bland diet without any noticeable improvement. I am thinking it is the mixture of supplements particularly the fish oil. She is still eating and appears to be happy and wants to play.

    I appreciate your thoughts and feedback.

    • isak says:

      Still eating, playful and happy are good signs. The mucuos occurs naturally in the gut to protect the digestive tract from digestive acids. However, it is more noticeable during upset because the balance in her stomach is off. If you suspect the fish oil, you can decrease the dosage, then build back up as she gets used to it. Her system was hit with a lot of new “stuff” in a short period of time.

      You can add plain yogurt, powdered acidophyllus or other probiotic to put good bacteria back into her gut. And you can also add a dollop of plain canned pumpkin to her food. The fiber balances out the moisture content and should help firm her stools.

  30. Bailey says:

    This is helpful, thanks. Wondering if you have any ideas on the following (my vet is stumped!), my dog has chronic loose stool, not really diahhrea but in an hour+ walk he will usually have 3 poops, first is formed and easy to bag, second is soft but still had shape, and the third is soft without shape (like pudding) and difficult to pick up. Occasionally there may be a fourth which is very runny. This walk is always around 6pm. He doesn’t usually poop in the morning, has breakfast at 7am and dinner at 7pm after the evening walk (so no chance of fast transit), is fully wormed and vacc’d etc, eats good wet food (fish based as he has food allergies) and my vet has run all kinds of blood tests with nothing showing bar a slightly high kidney enzyme (soon to be re-checked). Have you ever heard of this, I really want to help him but have no idea what to do next! My vet thinks mild case of IBD. Btw I’m in the UK. Thanks

    • isak says:

      Three poops in one walk? Could he be eating too much food? Dogs tend to poop a lot if they eat too much. Or if the food is too rich for their system. How about adding some probiotics and some plain canned pumpkin to his food for a week and see if there is any change. The probiotics add good bacteria to his gut and the fiber in the pumpkin evens out the liquid in his digestive tract.

      Also, does he have the opportunity to poop between 7am and 6pm? If not, it could be that the stretch of time in between has him holding it which could be resulting in the soft stool towards the end. In that case, I would go back to thinking maybe he is eating too much at breakfast. Especially if the vet sees nothing else the matter. So perhaps reduce the breakfast portion and see if there is a change.

  31. Bridget says:

    We have a 9week old husky puppy and she has been wormed and had her first 2 sets of shots. She seems healthy, eating, drinking, playing but her poop smells like vomit? Just wondering what that might mean.

    • isak says:

      In general, if her stools are firm and she is regular in her habits, her stools will be a reflection of what she eats and what’s in her stomach. Maybe it’s the food you are feeding her? Or it could be from the shots if they were very recent. You can add some plain yogurt or other probiotic to her food. It contains good bacteria for her gut and this may change the smell.

  32. Beverly says:

    I have two dogs one is a Golden Retriever who is two, the other is a mix rescue who is 9 both females, two days ago the Golden got diarrhea so I gave her rice and chicken, we had had a blizzard and prior to getting it she was rolling around in the snow and eating lots of it, so I assumed she just ate too much snow, well once her diarrhea cleared up, all of a sudden the other dog got it, so I put them both on the rice and chicken, now the Golden once again has diarrhea. Is it possible they are giving each other something? I am thinking now is a good time to go to vet? Thanks

    • isak says:

      How are they otherwise? Eating okay, drinking normally, active as usual? Is there something they are getting into since the snow? They can share a virus like we can share a cold, but generally, there would be other symptoms like loss of appetite, less energy, etc. to go with it. And it’s not very common. Is there anything unusual in their diarrhea?

      Most cases are self-limiting and, with a little help from you, your dog can get back to normal quickly.

      Plain canned pumpkin can help with the diarrhea. The fiber in it absorbs excess fluid. Also some plain yogurt or other probiotic will add good bacteria back into their stomachs that they have lost via the diarrhea. If it persists, then a visit to the vet may help.

  33. Brianna says:

    So my puppy is 6 weeks old I just found out the he hasn’t gotten his shots yet, today he had green diarrhea he only pooped once the others were hard stool should I worry?

    • isak says:

      Green sounds like he ate something green. It could be something as simple as grass which could indicate an upset stomach. You can give him some plain yogurt to add some good bacteria to his stomach and monitor his stools. If it is simply an upset stomach, it should pass. You can also feed him a tablespoon of plain canned pumpkin. The fiber draws out excess liquid and firms his stools. It’s actually a good thing to keep in the pantry as it works on both diarrhea and constipation.

      The source of his upset stomach could be several things, however, given his age, the two biggest thoughts I have are: did he eat something he should not have; and possibly, worms which are common in puppies.

  34. Roberta Wetzel says:

    My Springer Spaniel ate some sticks in TN and has had diarrhea every 6 hours. It’s runny cow pies that are brown. She seems to feel o.k. And no vomiting. She is eating hamburger and rice with no problem. BUT the runny poop is still there. No blood in stool but definitely not formed.

    • isak says:

      TN sticks, eh? They must be quite potent. 🙂

      Add some plain canned pumpkin to her food. The fiber in it balances out the moisture content in stools, so it actually works for both diarrhea and constipation. Also add some plain yogurt or other probiotic to put good bacteria back into her gut that she has lost from the diarrhea.

  35. Patricia says:

    Hey there

    My german shepherd just sprayed a small amount of blood when he defecated. He did not have diarrhea; the stools were small and firm, as they have been for several weeks since changing food.

    I wonder if he could have a hemmeroid?
    He seems find other wise, but it was pretty scary.

    Thanks,
    -Patricia

    • isak says:

      Not sure what “sprayed” means.

      Hemorroids in dogs are rare. The first sign of a dog hemorrhoid is usually itchiness in the rectal area, though the first noticeable sign will likely be blood in the dog’s stool. If they are external, he may attempt to relieve the discomfort by dragging his butt on the ground. External hemorrhoids look like protrusions from the anus. In some cases, the hemorrhoid may become infected, in which case the area will be painful to the touch.

      Hemorrhoids in dogs are often difficult to distinguish from rectal tumors and fissures, so you should have your vet examine them to verify that they are, indeed, hemorrhoids. Because dog hemorrhoids are rare, it’s very likely that your dog may in fact be suffering from another condition.

  36. ellen says:

    my puppy less than 6 months old got a diarrhea ,watery red brown stool and has strong smells . after he poop multiple times he vomit his food undigested with round worms around 5-6 worms. and now he refuse to eat . this case is less than 24 hours from his first vomit and multiple diarrhea (it started 12pm and his latest poop is around 12mn.)
    I didn’t gave him any meds yet

    • isak says:

      What’s going on with your pup now? Is he eating? Does he still have diarrhea and vomiting? Does he drink water? If not, you will need to give him water or pedialyte via an oral syringe. A good general guideline is that a healthy dog should drink between ½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. With vomiting and diarrhea, this amount increases.

      You can try some pepto bismol. The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds, according to Dr. Klein. It can be offered to the dog every 6-to-8 hours, but if your dog still has diarrhea after a few doses, stop the medication and call your veterinarian.

      Worms are common in puppies and you may be seeing them because of his vomiting.

      If his vomiting and diarrhea continues, you might want to consider if he has parvo. Here’s some info about it.

  37. Kristina says:

    I have a two year old Husky. In the past week or so, his stool has been somewhat yellow. At first it would be a nice brown, big and solid, but then changes to soft, yellowish and smaller. All in the same dump. Could it be too much fat in his diet? He did have some baked treats for his birthday a week ago. Wondering if it’s been that. I also give him all natural peanut butter in a Kong when I leave. Occasionally a raw egg in his kibble. He eats well. Wellness Core. A grazer. Thoughts?

    • isak says:

      Could he possibly be possibly eating too much? Does he leave kibble behind in his bowl? If so, you might try feeding a little less and see if that changes things.

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