Why Is My Dog’s Poop Soft and Loose?

Why Is My Dog’s Poop Soft and Loose?

Dog diarrhea or dog poop that is soft and loose is pretty common. As a pet owner, you’ll probably find that your dog deals with some form of diarrhea pretty regularly. However, you’ll also need to know that while not every instance of diarrhea is an emergency, some are! 

There are many reasons why your dog could be having diarrhea, so it’s usually a good idea to chat with your vet if you notice any unusual symptoms or if the soft, loose poop lasts for days. Let’s consider the main reasons for soft and loose dog poop and what that might mean for your pup.

Reasons for Soft, Loose Dog Poop

Causes for dog diarrhea range from mild and harmless to severe and life-threatening. The most common causes of dog diarrhea include:

  • Diet change. Dogs’ intestines take time to adapt to new proteins and foods. If you recently changed your dog’s diet, you may notice diarrhea as their digestive system learns how to work with this new food formula.
  • Diet indiscretion. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to keep your dog from eating garbage, table scraps, or other unusual substances at least occasionally. Eating these items can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea.
  • Poisonous items. There are many plants and foods that are toxic to dogs. If your dog ingests one of these items, they may experience diarrhea along with other symptoms.
  • Indigestible objects. Some dogs may decide to try eating socks, fabrics, toys, or even rocks. Objects like these are indigestible and could cause diarrhea, stomach pain, or bloating in your pup.
  • Food intolerance. Some dogs simply can’t tolerate some types of foods and nutrients.
  • Allergies. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies to various foods or even seasonal changes.
  • Parasite infections. Common parasites that dogs—especially puppies and older dogs—may get include hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, giardia, and coccidia.
  • Viral infections. These infections are caused by illnesses such as parvovirus, canine distemper, or canine coronavirus.
  • Bacterial infections. These include things like salmonella, bordetella, and leptospirosis.
  • Illnesses. Some dogs experience diarrhea when dealing with an illness such as colitis, kidney disease, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or cancer.
  • Antibiotics and medications. If you have your dog on antibiotics or medication for another issue, diarrhea may be a side effect.
  • Stress. Some dogs get diarrhea when they’re stressed due to a move, a new pet or child, a new house, absence from the home, or a variety of other reasons.

As you can see, there are many reasons that your dog may be having soft and runny poop. If you’re concerned, always check with your vet.

Normal Dog Poop

Since looking closely at dog poop is a fairly unpleasant task, it’s not surprising if you haven’t taken the time to do so in the past. However, if you’re a pet owner, it is important to be aware of how your dog’s poop generally looks and how it’s supposed to look. 

Dog poop can tell you a lot about dog health. Normal dog poop should be smooth, moist, compact, and log-shaped. It should also be a normal chocolate-brown shade. If your dog’s poop doesn’t look like this, your pup could be experiencing some sort of health issue. 

For example:

  • Bloody poop may be a sign of injuries in the lower intestines or anal area. 
  • Dark, tarry poop may be a sign of cancer, disease, or a serious internal injury.
  • Green-tinted poop may be a sign of a gallbladder issue.
  • Orange-tinted poop may be a sign of a liver issue or another internal illness.
  • Gray, greasy poop may be a sign of illness in the pancreas.
  • Poop with spots may be a sign of internal worms. 

If you notice that your dog’s poop is shaded in any of these ways, you will likely need to take them to the vet to consider what could be causing your dog discomfort.

How To Recognize Dog Diarrhea

While it’s usually fairly easy to spot, dog diarrhea can come in various forms. As mentioned above, it may have a different color than normal poop, indicating a deeper illness. In addition, dog diarrhea can take one of several forms. The diarrhea may be:

  • Log-shaped but super soggy, leaving residue when you pick it up.
  • Formed in a soggy pile rather than maintaining its log shape.
  • Left in piles or blotches around the area but not shaped.
  • A puddle of stinky poop.

There are a couple of other signs to look for to help you determine why your dog may be having diarrhea. If the diarrhea contains other matter such as worms, grass, or chewed-up household items, your dog may simply be reacting to what they ate. 

In addition, you want to keep an eye on the frequency with which your dog poops. If they are pooping multiple times each hour and straining to do so, your dog likely has some sort of inflammation in the large bowel. If they are pooping large amounts at once but less often, they’re more likely to be suffering from a small bowel issue. 

No matter what the diarrhea looks like, it’s sure to be causing your dog some discomfort. Therefore, it’s important that you figure out what’s wrong and help your dog feel better as soon as possible. 

How To Treat Soft and Loose Dog Poop

Obviously, you’ll want to call your vet if your dog is having diarrhea. It’s always best to be on the safe side! But if your vet agrees that it’s likely not serious, you may be able to treat your dog’s diarrhea at home. 

The first method that your vet may recommend is fasting. You’ll withhold food from your dog for 24-48 hours, still ensuring they get plenty of water to help them clear out whatever is bothering them. Be aware that this may not be the best option for a puppy, an older dog, or even a very small pup.

You can also try using various types of food to help harden your dog’s poop. Common methods that many owners have used include:

  • Pumpkin 
  • Plain white rice
  • Rice water (boil the rice in a large amount of water and offer the dog the remaining water after you remove the rice grains)
  • Plain yogurt
  • Boiled, skinless potatoes
  • Plain chicken or egg
  • Probiotics (such as those found in yogurt) or herbs (such as fennel)

You can also get in touch with your vet to ask about specially-formulated sensitive-stomach dog foods or over-the-counter treatments, whether made for humans or dogs. Sometimes, these alternative methods can be used to great effect.

When To Go To the Vet

It’s always a good idea to call your vet with any questions. However, if your dog is suffering from more than just diarrhea, you may simply want to head to the vet clinic before calling to ensure your dog gets the treatment they need. 

If your dog seems dehydrated, is showing symptoms of lethargy, fever, weakness, vomiting, etc., is dehydrated for a long period of time, is not responding to home remedies, or has a pre-existing condition such as cancer or diabetes, be sure to take them to the vet right away.

Watch Your Dog’s Poop

Always keep an eye on your dog’s poop if you can. Picking up their poop regularly can help you notice when it just doesn’t look right and your dog may need human intervention. 

If you’d like help scooping your dog’s poop, don’t hesitate to reach out! At Idaho Poop Scoop, our motto is “Dogs poop, we scoop”! Our team would be happy to help you pick up your dog’s poop and keep an eye on it to ensure your pup is staying healthy and happy.