Most dog owners have experienced their dogs having issues with constipation (dry hard stools, or trouble passing the stool) and diarrhea (loose stools and/or with frequent bowel movements). Most of the time either of these issues are temporary. It may be due to stress or something they ate, and it tends to resolve itself. Just like us, dogs can experience temporary bowel upsets.
Diarrhea is more common. Generally, the cause of loose stools is too much food, too much fat, or too much fiber. Too much food simply means the dog is being fed too much food to digest it all at once. It is important to know your dog’s weight. Most dogs need 2% to 3% of their body weight. Toy breeds need a little more food, 5% to 8%.
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Too much fat means feeding a high fat diet, such chicken with skin attached (skin in poultry is the fattiest part of the chicken, also dark meat), too many eggs or too much fatty meat. Cut back the fat and use skinless chicken, low fat beef, low fat yogurt or cottage cheese and avoid eggs.
Too much fiber means feeding a diet higher than 25% carbohydrates in a cooked food diet, or adding carbohydrates to a raw diet. Dogs have trouble digesting fiber. Their digestive system is not built to digest these carbohydrates. They have a short and simple digestive tract that struggles to handle a lot of fiber. This mostly happens with grains or starches (potatoes, peas, carrots, pumpkin).
With all these possibilities, I suggest feeding smaller, more frequent meals for a week or so and add Berte’s Ultra Probiotics to each meal. Probiotics add beneficial bacteria to the digestive system and they help replace the good bacteria that is lost when the dog has diarrhea. Probiotics also help firm the stools.
The only time I would take a dog to the veterinarian is if your dog has liquid diarrhea for more than half a day. Dogs can dehydrate quickly with that condition. If you see small amounts of red blood in the stool, this means the colon is irritated and inflamed, which can cause some red blood in the stool. I do not worry about it as the colon heals quickly. But if the stool is dark and has a copper smell to it, that is blood from the small intestines and means a veterinarian visit IMMEDIATELY. The stool will resemble coffee grounds.
I don’t recommend pumpkin for diarrhea as pumpkin can also act as a laxative. It is simply fiber and can firm stools in small amounts as fiber helps bulk up the stool. However, fiber is also irritating to a dog’s intestines, so be frugal whenever you feed high fiber carbohydrates.
With constipation, the stool becomes hard and can even crumble when passed. Usually, the stool is lighter in color. As I mentioned above, too much fiber in the dog’s system is harmful. While it can cause diarrhea or larger fluffy stools, it can also cause constipation. Also, not having enough water can cause the stools to become too firm. Too much bone in a raw diet can also cause constipation, as bone also works as a ‘fiber’.
Solutions for this issue is as follows. Try feeding more fat. Fat can help soften the stools. Reduce the fiber in the diet (carbs) or feed LESS bone in raw diets. Raw diets are generally moist, so I would try adding more fat and less bone. People tend to ‘load’ cooked diets with too many carbohydrates. Reduce the starches (potatoes, carrots, peas, winter squash, and sweet potatoes) and use zucchini, dark leafy greens, green beans, cauliflower and broccoli. Do NOT use more than 25% carbohydrates when feeding a home cooked diet. The other 75% of the cooked diet needs to be animal proteins and fat. Feed snacks of chicken or beef broth to put more moisture in your dog’s system. If these suggestions don’t help, you may want to make sure your dog doesn’t have an impaction.
For both conditions of constipation and diarrhea, feed small frequent meals and add the Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder to each meal. IF the diarrhea continues, the digestive tract lining may be inflamed and at that point use the Berte’s Digestive Blend to help remove the inflammation, add good bacteria to the gut, and calm the stomach and intestines.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO REMEMBER!
- Smaller more frequent meals. It is easier for the dog’s system to process smaller amounts of food.
- Add probiotics to each meal. It helps replenish the good bacteria for a healthier digestive system.
- For constipation, add more fat to the diet and reduce the amount of fiber and bone in the diet. Instead of starches and grains in home cooked meals, use zucchini, broccoli, dark leafy greens and cauliflower. Do not add more than 25% carbohydrates in home cooked meals.
- In raw diets with stools that are too firm, reduce the amount of bone fed and use fattier meat selections (chicken with bone, eggs, whole milk yogurt, and fattier cuts of meat).
- For diarrhea, reduce the amount of fat in the diet, and do not add more than 25% carbohydrates in home cooked diets. Remove all carbohydrates from a raw diet and increase the amount of bone. Bone helps firm the stools.
- Remember, for watery stools that last more than a day, go to your veterinarian immediately! Dogs can dehydrate quickly with that condition!
- And for chronic diarrhea, use the Berte’s Digestion Blend. It helps heal intestinal inflammation and calms the digestive tract.
I hope this helps clear up any questions or worries you have about diarrhea and/or constipation. And remember, if the condition persists, do see your veterinarian.