Poopy Problem: How Poop Condition Can Indicate Diarrhea
Sat, April 10, 2021

Poopy Problem: How Poop Condition Can Indicate Diarrhea


Have you ever cleaned up your dog’s poop? Blech! Poop and digestive problems are not something that should be discussed over the dinner table. Here’s the truth: diarrhea is a common condition that varies in duration, frequency, and intensity, stated Mara Bovsun of AKC (American Kennel Club), a recognized and trusted expert in dog breed, health, and training. It’s not totally possible to prevent diarrhea. However, it is better to equip yourself with ample knowledge about reducing the frequency of your dog’s diarrheic episodes. 

Chronic Diarrhea In Dogs (2017)

M. Volkmann and colleagues of biomedical and life sciences journal PMC presented 209 dogs with chronic intermittent or persistent diarrhea during the two year study period, with 136 cases meeting the inclusion criteria. 90% were diagnosed with Primary enteropathies (PE), with chronic inflammatory enteropathies being the most frequent causes (79%). 64 dogs improved after consuming an elimination diet (28 dogs= home-cooked novel protein diet, 25 dogs= hypoallergenic diet, 5 dogs= combined home‐cooked and hypoallergenic diet, and 6 dogs= commercial exclusion diet) and were diagnosed as FRE (food responsive enteropathy).  11 dogs were diagnosed with ARE (antibiotic responsive enteropathy) while 22 dogs had IBD (idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease).

13% of dogs had an infectious cause and 16 dogs were diagnosed with a parasitic infection (13 dogs= Giardia spp., 13 dogs= mixed infection with Giardia spp., 2 dogs= Coccidia, and Toxocara spp., 1 dog= Leishmania spp.). In two cases, systemic infection with Prototheca zopfii genotype II. Lymphoma was diagnosed in 4% of cases and found to be the most frequent neoplastic disease. 10% of dogs were diagnosed with secondary enteropathies (SE).

Disease was localized in the small intestine (33%) or the large intestine (28) and 39% was diffused. Clinical signs predominantly involved the small intestine, which was significantly more common in dogs with SE (28%).  Moderate to severe vomiting was significantly more frequent in dogs with SE (64%) than those with PE (28%). In both dogs with PE (71%) and SE (73%), vomiting was commonly recorded. Clinical signs had been present for three to six weeks in 21% of dogs, up to six months (31%), up to one year (16%), or more than a year (32%).

Vomiting and pruritus were linked with the duration of the disease. Dogs with moderate to severe vomiting (three to six weeks= 36%; up to six months= 23%; up to one year= 20%; more than one year= 20%) were presented earlier than those with mild or without vomiting (three to six weeks= 14%; up to six months= 35%; up to one year= 14%; more than one year= 38%). The research emphasized the underlying causes and final diagnosis of dogs with chronic diarrhea. Chronic inflammatory enteropathies and food responsive enteropathies were the most frequent causes of chronic diarrhea.



What’s In A Poop?

Poop should be chocolate brown, but its colors may vary if your dog consumes food with added colors, said Purina, a pet food company. Droppings should be log-shaped and maintain their form. If the waste is round, it may be a sign of dehydration. Poop should be compact, moist, and easy to pick up. Think of it as clay. Watery poop can be a sign of an intestinal upset. The size of the feces should be proportionate to the amount of food your dog eats. The size of the droppings increases as fiber content in food increases.

Purina explained the stages of diarrhea by describing the shape of poop. At first, your dog’s poop feels soggy and leaves a residue. It still retains its log-shaped form but it loses its form when picked up. As diarrhea escalates, the log-shaped poop turns soggy. Later on, the droppings will have texture but no defined shape. Instead, they will be in a form of piles or spots.  When the droppings become a puddle, that’s a clear sign of diarrhea.



What Are the Causes of Diarrhea Among Dogs?

Overconsumption of grass can lead to diarrhea, as well as eating garbage, spoiled food, or much food. Dietary changes can cause diarrhea so it is recommended to gradually switch from one dog food brand to another. This is because your dog’s digestive may take a few days before it can adapt to new proteins.

In puppies or in adults with weak immune systems, parasites such as roundworms and hookworms can cause diarrhea. Other causes include common viruses like parvovirus, bacterial infections like salmonella, colitis, kidney and liver diseases, antibiotics and medications, and stress or emotional upset. Stress can trigger when you and your pet move to another house or stay in a new environment. New dogs can also experience diarrhea since your home is a foreign place. If your dog’s upset tummy has not settled down, please consult your veterinarian.

What Are the Symptoms of Diarrhea?

Symptoms include dehydration, lethargy, fever, and vomiting. Existing conditions like age, diabetes, cancer, and more can be a telltale sign of diarrhea.

Many cases of diarrhea are mild. You can call your vet so that they can provide you a regimen of basic treatments such as fasting. In this case, withhold food for 12 to 24 hours and provide small amounts of water frequently. Fasting can address the cause of your pet’s upset tummy, allowing its gastrointestinal tract to settle. Before attempting this regimen, ensure that your pet is healthy enough to fast. Fasting may not be appropriate for puppies and senior dogs as they need more nutrients.

After 12 to 24 hours, introduce food slowly. You can start with binders to normalize stool consistency. Try letting your dog consume probiotics and yogurt, which contains good bacteria to aid digestion. Probiotics are great choices if your dog can tolerate milk and dairy products. You can also introduce rice water, boiled potatoes without skin, cottage cheese, plain protein sources like egg or chicken after your dog fasts. Be prepared to experiment. Just because rice water works for one dog does not mean it will work for your pet. Write down which works and what does not. Increase the portion of the recovery diet if it does not cause a relapse and when your dog is satisfied with consuming it.

As disgusting as it sounds, consider observing the shape and color of your dog’s stool as it can indicate digestive upset. There are some cases when home remedies are not effective in addressing dog diarrhea. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately for a prompt diagnosis and treatment.