Compared to us, our dogs may seem to have iron stomachs and bullet-proof digestion. After all, when was the last time you ate a mouthful of grass, snacked on some stray scraps from the floor, and then walked off without so much as a hint of indigestion?
Realistically though, our dogs’ tummies do get upset from time to time, and there are plenty of things that can lead to unpredictable poos… or ‘inconsistent stools’ (to make it sound more scientific.)
Here’s a quick guide on what to do about your dog’s poo!
What does a ‘perfect poo’ look like?
Generally speaking, the same rules apply for healthy dog poo as for healthy human poo. In other words, it should be firm but not too firm, with an even consistency and shape.
Having trouble visualising it? No problem! Here’s our handy YuMOVE Dog Poop Chart to let you know at a glance if your dog’s gastrointestinal system is in great condition.
What causes loose stools in dogs?
There are a lot of different things that can cause your dog to end up with loose stools. Some of these are no real cause for concern, but others can be a serious issue.
Here’s a look at the most common causes.
Even though the life of a dog should be full of fun, happiness and excitement – and often is – stress can also creep into the picture.
Puppies, for example, can become stressed when moving away from the litter and joining their new family, or just due to all the new sights and sights they end up encountering on a daily basis.
The bottom line is that stress can disrupt your dog’s digestion and cause them to experience inconsistent stools. If this is the case for your dog, then identifying and tackling the source of their stress should be your first priority. You could also consider giving them YuMOVE Calming Care going forward, to help support calm behaviour.
Sudden dietary changes
Suddenly changing your dog’s food can be a reason they end up with loose stools and other digestive upsets. This is just a matter of your dog’s digestive system needing to adapt and familiarise itself with their new eating pattern.
To help reduce the risks of your dog dealing with an upset tummy, when changing their diet, ease them into it, bit by bit. You could try adding a bit more of the new food to their bowl each day, while reducing their old food, over the course of about a week or so – until they’re fully switched over.
Just like us, our dogs can end up with intolerances to all sorts of different foods, with some of the most common being chicken, beef, and dairy. Yep, that’s right, dogs can be lactose intolerant too. In fact, many of them are.
Obviously, food intolerances can cause your dog to experience inconsistent and runny stools.
If you notice that your dog seems to consistently have runny stools after eating a certain kind of food, it’s best to consult with your vet. They may recommend that you stop feeding your dog the suspected cause of food intolerance, and see if the situation changes.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to pick up parasites from time to time, such as tapeworms, roundworms, and giardia – especially if they’ve been ‘snacking’ on things they really shouldn’t.
Parasites can certainly affect your dog’s digestion and throw their stools out of equilibrium. It’s important that your dog has a regular parasite treatment, and if you suspect your pet may have parasites, contact your vet for advice and treatment.
Bacterial and viral infections
Dogs have very powerful digestive systems, with much more potent stomach acid than us, and with the ability to neutralise microorganisms that we wouldn’t be able to.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re immune to bacterial and viral infections. Dogs can contract bacterial infections such as Salmonella and E. coli, as well as viral infections such as parvovirus and distemper.
Many of these infections are very serious, especially for young puppies who haven’t been vaccinated yet. If you suspect your dog might have an infection, take them to the vet immediately. And remember to keep their vaccinations up-to-date!
How do I firm up my dog’s stools and support their gut health?
The first and most important step in helping firm up your dog’s stools and support their digestive health is to feed them a healthy, balanced diet, rich in fibre and other nutrients.
Beyond this, there are a few other steps you can take…
- Consulting with your vet – always a good idea if in doubt, and essential if your dog is unwell
- Switching your dog’s food slowly – easing your dog onto a new food bit by bit, instead of all at once
- YuMOVE Digestive Care – ideal for dogs with sensitive tummies, YuMOVE Digestive Care supports digestive health, tops up good bacteria, and helps to block bad bacteria
The bottom line: should I worry about my dog’s loose stools?
There are many different causes of loose or inconsistent stools in dogs. Many of these are nothing to worry about, but still need appropriate attention and support. Some causes of loose stools are more serious, so it’s important to talk with your vet if you’re in doubt, or if your dog appears unwell.
Supporting good digestive health in your dog starts with a nutritious and balanced diet. For some additional support, consider adding YuMOVE Digestive Care to the mix! Digestive Care helps top up good bacteria, block bad bacteria, and it’s ideal for dogs with sensitive tummies.