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What can I give my dog to firm up their stools?

Dog pooping in a field advice

If your dog has diarrhoea, it is best to feed them a bland diet.

© Shutterstock

What do you do if your dog has soft poo? It could be a matter of just changing their diet or, if it goes on for a few days, it could be something to ask a vet about.

By Dr Alice Watson MA VetMB MRCVS

Updated on the 18/11/2020, 13:23

If your dog has recently started having soft stools or diarrhoea, it is worth changing to an easily digestible diet and considering using some probiotics. Easily digestible diets are ones that are high in protein and lower in fat. Homemade options include scrambled egg or boiled chicken and rice.

What can I feed my dog to firm up his stool?

It is best to feed an easily digestible diet, if your dog has soft stools. Homemade options include scrambled egg or boiled chicken and rice. Homemade diets should not be fed for more than three days without talking to a nutritionist, as the meals may not contain all of the nutrients that your dog needs. There are also some specially formulated veterinary diets available that are easy for your dog to digest, so you may like to ask a vet about this option.

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Why is my dog's poo always soft?

There are many reasons for your dog to have soft poo. This could be as simple as not having found the right diet for your dog. Every dog is different, so may not suit the same diet as your other dogs. Sometimes a dog can get soft poo after recent changes in the diet, if they are stressed, or if they have been scavenging when out on a walk.

There are many other reasons for soft poo and, if your dog has had soft poo for over three days without any improvement, you should talk to a vet. Other common problems that can cause soft poo include infections (e.g. viral, bacterial, parasitic) or dietary allergies.

Why is my dog's poo runny and slimy?

There are many reasons for your dog to have runny and slimy poo. Sometimes a dog can get runny poo after recent changes in the diet, or if they have been scavenging when out on a walk. If you notice that your dog is straining more when pooing, there is blood and slime over the poo, or they are pooing more often, it could indicate that the colon (large intestine) is inflamed.

There are many other reasons for runny or slimy poo, and if your dog has had these signs for over three days without any improvement, it is worth talking to a vet. Other common problems include infections such as viral, bacterial or parasitic infections.

How can I stiffen my dog’s stools?

If your dog has got soft stools, you may want to change to an easily digestible diet (high protein and low fat) or consider giving them a probiotic. Sometimes a particular diet may not suit a dog's digestive system, so simply changing the food can often help to make stools a bit drier. There are many probiotic products available and it is always best to choose a dog-specific product that has been shown to be effective in scientific studies.

What foods harden a dog's stools?

If you want to try to harden your dog’s stool, it is worth feeding an easily digestible diet (high in protein and low in fat). Homemade options include scrambled egg or boiled chicken and rice. Homemade diets should not be fed for more than three days without talking to a nutritionist, as they may not contain all of the nutrients that your dog needs. There are also some specially formulated veterinary diets available that are easy for your dog to digest, you may like to ask a vet about this option.

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What stops diarrhoea fast in a dog?

If your dog has diarrhoea there is sadly no ‘quick fix’, as the gut needs time to heal. That said, there are a few things that you can do to help. The first thing is to feed your dog a diet that is easy for their guts to process. Generally it is best to stick to a relatively high-protein and low-fat diet.

You may also like to consider feeding your dog kaolin, which is a special type of clay that can help to firm up the stools. Interestingly, studies have shown that kaolin doesn’t help dogs to be more hydrated, and kaolin will not reduce how long the diarrhoea lasts.

Another thing you can consider is using probiotics. Some probiotics have been studied and proven to help reduce the time that diarrhoea lasts.

If your dog has had diarrhoea for a while, it may be best to take your dog to a vet. If the diarrhoea has been going on for a while, there are a few tests that the vet may like to do to check what is causing the diarrhoea. Once you know the cause of the diarrhoea, specific medications may be prescribed to help the diarrhoea to improve.

What naturally stops diarrhoea in dogs?

There are many things that may help to stop diarrhoea. Generally, if your dog has diarrhoea it is best to feed a bland diet (e.g. boiled chicken and rice) to start with. Bland diets work as they are easy to digest.

How do probiotics help to firm up a dog's stools?

Probiotics are live bugs (microbes e.g. bacteria, yeast, viruses) that are beneficial to health when eaten. The guts are full of lots of different types of microbes and this is known as the microbiome. Some of the gut microbes are ‘good’ and some may be harmful, if too many of these grow. When a dog gets diarrhoea, the microbiome can change and the numbers of good bacteria may reduce. Probiotics work by providing ‘good’ bacteria that can grow and then reduce the numbers of harmful bacteria (by outcompeting them). Most probiotics that are sold for dogs have been tested to show that they work, and you should always try to choose a product that has evidence to show it is beneficial.

When should I talk to a vet?

If your dog has had diarrhoea for more than three days, then it is worth talking to a vet. If you are worried your dog may have eaten something like a stone or a sock that may be causing a blockage, then it is important to talk to a vet. If your dog isn’t eating or is very lethargic (flat), then you may also need to talk to a vet.

What should I ask a vet about firm stools and probiotics for a dog?

If you think your dog’s stools are softer than normal, you may like to discuss with a vet why this may be and how exactly you can help your pet. If you aren’t sure if something is normal, you may also like to ask a vet about this. Sometimes photos or even poo samples can be helpful.

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