If your dog's poo is too soft, making it difficult to pick up easily, these six tips can help firm it up and make clean up a cinch.
Check you are not feeding too much
The number one reason why a dog's poo is too soft is that they are being overfed. Soft poo is a very common sign of a dog who is getting too much food. Check their weight and ensure the amount your dog is actually having is suitable for their size and that it is weighed out accurately. If you are giving treats or chews, stop this until you have firmed up their poo or reduce their daily food allowance to compensate for the treat. If you are feeding dental sticks, count these as treats and also keep an eye on any 'scraps' your dog might be getting from other family members!
Are you feeding too many times a day?
Feeding a dog induces the gastrocolic reflex which makes them want to go to the toilet shortly after eating (this is particularly demonstrated in puppies). If your dog is an adult and you are feeding them three times a day try dropping it to two, this way the food is in your dog's digestive system longer and has time to fully digest before the next meal arrives. Puppies will need to be fed more frequently because their stomachs are small, check that their meal spacing is allowing enough time for the food to be digested.
When to feed
On average a dog needs around 6 hours to fully digest a meal, longer in others. Obviously your dog's feeding schedule will need to fit in around you but meals too close together may cause the gastrocolic reflex to start when the food isn't fully digested. Feeding your dog in the morning then again at tea time allows enough time between meals for the food to fully digest. Make sure there are at least 6 hours between meals and if you have checked the amount is right and no treats are being given try leaving 7-8 hours.
Keep your eye on your dog when walking
If you know your dog is partial to eating things it shouldn't, keep them close by when walking. Dogs can be attracted to many disgusting things to eat including other animal's poo, dead animals and discarded human food. This is likely to upset their stomach and cause loose stools.
Try adding these veg to your dog's meal
If you have checked the feeding amount is correct, cut out treats and spaced the meals and your dog is still producing soft poo the addition of just a couple of tablespoons of cooked carrot, sweet potato or squash to their meal can work wonders in firming up their poo. It should be a pretty quick change too. Use cooked veg, not raw, as this makes them more effective at absorbing extra water. Your dog will be producing firm poo in no time.
None food-related reasons
Sometime the reason your dog produces a soft poo may not be related to what they have eaten. Stress or over-excitement may trigger your dog to go to the toilet producing soft stools. Make a mental note of what your dog was doing just before producing the loose poo and see if you can spot a pattern. Knowing what is the trigger can help you avoid these situations and ultimately the loose poops!
Over exercise can also trigger the bowel to empty before it is ready. If your dog suffers from loose stools after an exciting ball session you may need to cut it back to less vigorous exercise.
Finally - check they have not got an intestinal parasite
If your dog's poo suddenly changes and you have not changed any other element of their routine, it may be a one-off but if it doesn't return to normal in a day or so it is worth getting them checked for intestinal parasites at the vets.
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