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When picking up after your dog, you likely want to get it over with as quickly as possible without really paying too much attention to it. But sometimes, you can’t help but notice that something’s different. The way your dog's stool looks can be a cause for alarm if it’s of a different consistency or color than normal. Loose stool is often one of the first indicators that your dog’s digestive system isn’t quite right, but it’s also one of the easiest things to remedy from home. Here are some of the best aids for firming your dog’s stool so you can ensure your dog is happy and healthy.

Firm Stool Means a Healthy Digestive System

In order to understand why it is important to monitor your dog’s stool, it is important to understand their digestive system, since dogs digest food much differently than humans. The digestive acids in your dog’s stomach are stronger than yours, which is why they digest food so quickly—oftentimes within 10 hours of eating. After digestion, they should be producing stool that is firm and hard. However, there may be disruptors to this process, causing your dog to have loose stool. While loose stool may not seem like a big deal, it could be an indicator that diarrhea is next or that there is an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

While the cause of the loose stool might be minor and only temporary, it could be something more serious. As soon as you notice it, continue to monitor it. If you typically let your dog out in the yard without paying attention too much, try instead to walk them so you can observe to their bowel habits. If you notice that the stool continues to be loose after a day, you’ll want to take steps to firm it up however you can, and of course, seek veterinary assistance if it doesn’t improve with dietary changes.

dog owner picking up dog poop

What Firm Stool Should Look Like

Ideally, your dog’s stool should be on the firmer side, like Play-doh. Don’t worry; you don’t have to touch it in order to realize it is firm. However, you should be able to get an idea if you pick it up with a plastic bag. But by just looking at it, you should be able to see if it’s healthy. It should be log-shaped, basic brown in color and of a size equivalent to the amount of food they ate within the past day. That’s a good sign that your dog’s digestive system is healthy.

In contrast, there are things besides loose stool that you should watch for. Sometimes dogs eat things they shouldn’t. Some dogs eat small pebbles or rocks. Some eat their own chew toys. Anything foreign that they consume can cause digestive distress. Similarly, their stool might have excess mucus or small worms that could be indicators of parasites. Observations like that will help you determine whether you simply need to switch up their diet or contact the vet. If the stool is simply looser than normal, rest assured that it’s typically easy to remedy with diet alone.

How to Firm Your Dog’s Stool

If your dog seems otherwise healthy, minor dietary changes might be all they need. Here’s how to quickly firm up your dog’s stool:

Reduce the Amount of Food You’re Feeding Them

Overeating can cause loose stool. Unfortunately, it’s only natural for dogs to eat what’s given to them. It’s up to you to feed them the right portions. While your dog food should have feeding guidelines on its packaging, your veterinarian should have specific recommendations for your dog, taking into consideration their breed and age. Remember that treats also contribute to their daily caloric recommendations, so be mindful of how many treats you’re giving as well.

Watch for Signs of Stress

Loose stool could be an indicator that your dog is under stress, which could, in turn, place stress on their digestive system. This could be due to a change in routine, too much or not enough exercise, or a variety of other factors. However, keep in mind that avoiding food altogether, even just temporarily, can upset the stomach more. Try reducing the food by half and removing any stressors to see if the issue resolves itself. You may see results within one to three days.

Feed Stool-Firming Foods

Introducing foods that are high in fiber should help, as fiber absorbs any excess liquid in their digestive system. Canned pumpkin is great for this purpose. Experts recommend adding a little bit in with the kibble—between ½ – 1 teaspoon for every 15 pounds of dog weight. We also have a recipe for some pumpkin dog biscuits you can try as well. Bland foods like rice and chicken broth may help as well in place of a portion of their kibble.

Try Canned Food

The soft, wet texture of canned food tends to be easier for dogs to digest than kibble. This can result in firmer stools. This is also a great practice if you’re switching dog food brands, since some dogs struggle with the sudden change in diet. Mixing in some canned food helps with the transition.

Ditch the Dairy

If there is any dairy in your dog’s diet, try to go without it for a few days since digesting lactose from cow’s milk is difficult for some dogs.

dog drinking out of water bowl

Keep the Water Bowl Full

While it might be easy to assume that you need to cut back on water when there is watery stool, the opposite is true. Your dog actually needs more water so he doesn’t get dehydrated. Tap water can help replace some electrolytes and minerals that your dog may have lost if they had watery stool or diarrhea.

Probiotics Can Help

Just like in humans, the bacteria in your dog's stomach help aid in digestion and fighting off other health problems by keeping a strong immune system. Probiotics, can help after stomach's invaluable bacteria have been killed. Dog's stomach bacteria can be wiped out by a number of things: stressful events, prescribed medication, parasitic infections, and poor diet.

The Best Aids for Dog’s Firm Stool

Probiotic for Dogs With Natural Digestive Enzymes by Zesty Paws

  • Product: Probiotics
  • Amount: 90 Chews
  • Form: Chewable
  • Made in: USA

Zesty Paws Probiotics often appear in “Top Ten” type lists when it comes to the best aids for a dog's firm stool. It offers relief from your dog's gas and diarrhea, as well as upset stomach. Bloating reduces, thereby also easing your dog's discomfort. Some of the ingredients include Papaya and Pumpkin.

If your dog has bad breath, Zesty Paws seems to help there too. Generally it keeps your dog regular while supporting a healthy immune system. Bonus: Cute website with LIVE chats for your questions.

Consumers report that these bites can be crumbled for dogs with chewing limitations. They seem to work miracles on nasty farts. Observations of dogs while using the product show them seeking out grass far less often (if at all).

The Herbal Digestive Supplement
by Honest Kitchen

  • Product: Nutraceutical
  • Amount: 5.5 oz.
  • Form: Powder
  • Made in: USA

This is another supplement for both dogs and cats suffering from irritable bowls. This all-natural blend includes papaya leaf, plantain, slippery elm, pumpkin seed and pectin. The herbs are soothing and protect the intestinal track while firming up loose stools. There are no by-products or preservatives in this supplement, and it has been given approval by the National Animal Supplement Counsel.

Miracle Dog Probiotics
by Nusentia

  • Product: Probiotics
  • Amount: 360 Servings
  • Form: Powder
  • Made in: USA

Nusentia's product can be added to either cat or dog food equally well. So for those who own both types of pets, this is a value added product. Nusentia targets allergies, constipation, lose stools, digestion problems and related issues while offering your pooch welcome relief.

Product contains no soy, dairy, or fillers. It has no flavorings and is odorless. So just sprinkle into your pet's food, and let them eat! Breeders seem to favor this brand frequently.

Owners claim that high-odor gas disappears within three days of use. Dry, scaly skin takes longer to start the healing process-about a week. After several months of continuous care, digestive issues are a thing of the past.

Advanced Dog Probiotics + Digestive Enzymes
by Premium Care

  • Product: Probiotics
  • Form: Chewable
  • Amount: 120 Chews (1 chew per 25 lbs body weight)
  • Made in: USA

Premium care's product relieves diarrhea, tummy troubles, improves your dog's digestion, deters allergies and supports your dog's immune system.  It doesn't matter how young or old your dog is, or wether it's big or small.  The chewable form makes it seem like a treat for your pooch without any fillers or artificial colors.

People who use this product love them. They are easy for the dog to chew, and show distinct improvements within a week (or so). Owners report they make less trips to the vets office, saving significant sums. Owners of more than one dog say that it appears to work equally well no matter the breed. It ends up being one of those products kept in the pet tool kit “just in case.”

In Summary

Again, while changing your dog’s diet can help firm up your dog’s stool, you should still watch for signs that your dog may need to see a veterinarian, since there could be an underlying health condition causing loose stools. If the loose stool turns to diarrhea lasting for longer than 24 hours, combined with a fever, excessive thirst and discomfort, contact the vet as soon as possible.

Many products for loose stools in dogs can show results. The real question remains as to whether there is an underlying medical issue that should be addressed. While it is not unusual for dogs to have periodic bouts of stomach trouble, continual symptoms should be examined by a vet just to be on the safe side.

Also we strongly advocate doing due diligence when you shop for any health products for your pooch. Check what consumers have said about it, both good and bad. Look at several “top ten”, “top twenty”, “top 7” type links on the web. A product that comes up on two or more is one worth looking at more closely.

Also scope out the company's website to see how responsive they are to their customers. Price does not always mean quality in this, or any, market. So keep a bit of skepticism in your back pocket as you shop.

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