Loose Stool & Diarrhea : How to Stop It

Loose stool in dogs is actually a mild form of diarrhea. Treatment for loose stool in dogs can be easier than you might think.

Loose stool is a somewhat common problem in dogs. There usually are some basic culprits that cause loose stool. Addressing diet, looking for potential parasites, or overall gut function can increase your success rate with combating loose stool in dogs. 

What Is Loose Stool?

Loose stool or soft stool is actually diarrhea. People usually think of diarrhea as runny and watery only, but in fact mild diarrhea is soft, or loose, stool. If diarrhea is constant that can be very serious. Conversely, loose stool is often less serious (“mild”) and usually brought on by poor diet, maybe parasites, or just overall decreasing GI function.

How to Remedy?

1. Remove Grains From the Diet

Dogs often do not do well on many commercial dog foods as they are high in grain content. This often creates a digestive burden on your dog's body, allergies, or even an inflamed state for the GI tract.

2. Give Probiotics

For a short-term remedy and resolution of symptoms try canned pumpkin, which is a very reliable, natural option. Interestingly, canned pumpkin works for both loose stool, and constipation. For a more systematic addressing of a possible inflamed state though, use probiotics.

Probiotics are an ideal long-term solution to bowel problems like loose stool. As we have greatly detailed in other articles, probiotics serve to change the balance of gut flora towards favorable organisms that promote health. This can counteract a host of digestive issues, including inflammation. 

3. See Your Vet

If you have tried the first two solutions, and the problem of loose stool persists, you may want to see your vet as the problem could be related to parasites. Giardia, hookworms, and heartworms are all somewhat common in dogs. Probiotics may work with parasites through two mechanisms

(1) they have a strong immune enhancing function, so they may help your pet to not get parasites in the first place, and
(2) there is emerging science demonstrating that probiotics may help to clear parasites from the intestinal tract.

Either way, by adding probiotics you would know if probiotics have worked to clear the acute problem of loose stool. But overall, probiotics are a great idea for any animal that has demonstrated issues with GI health.

4. Don't Ignore the Problem

So while loose stool is a more mild expression of diarrhea, it should not be ignored. The above steps will help you move through a process that should eliminate or mitigate the issue.  

References Probiotics for the control of parasites: an overview. Travers MA, Florent I, Kohl L, Grellier P. J Parasitol Res. 2011;2011:610769. Epub 2011 Sep 28. Intestinal microflora and immunoregulation. Boirivant M, Amendola A, Butera A. Mucosal Immunol. 2008 Nov;1 Suppl 1:S47-9. Review. Giardiasis: pathophysiology and management. Hawrelak J. Altern Med Rev. 2003 May;8(2):129-42. Review.

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