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Dog has loose stools.

Species: Dog
Breed: Vizsla
Age: 8-11 years
I adopted Levi, a beautiful and terrific champion show dog in August. I have never had an animal, and am learning "on the job" as we go along. He has always had loose stools, but since his temperament, energy, and eating habits are good I did not worry about it much. Should I? He is eating Canedae twice a day and often we put chicken or turkey consomme on top. His treats are chicken jerky or potato/duck bone. I saw on one of your replies that chicken and rice and fasting could help? Thank you for your reply in advance, Zsuzsa


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi and thanks for your question!

The chicken and rice idea is something that I do for acute cases of diarrhea. For example, if a dog got into the garbage and had upset intestines, feeding boiled chicken and white rice for a couple of days is something that is easy for the intestines to handle. This usually makes the transition back to normal stools quicker.

But, in Levi's case, this is not an acute problem but rather a chronic one.

I never consider it normal for a dog to have loose stools. in most cases there is something that can be done to make them better. The problem is that it is often difficult to determine what is going on.

The first step I would recommend is to have your vet examine a stool sample to make sure there are no parasites there. In my area we are seeing lots of dogs with giardia. This parasite is usually killed with a particular antibiotic (metronidazole). And there are other parasites that are possible as well.

Canidea dog food is in my list of foods that I have concerns about. I am in the middle of writing a series of articles about dog nutrition based at dispelling some of the myths when it comes to dog foods. In my practice I find that a good number of dogs who are on so called premium diets will actually have soft stools. Often changing from a "holistic" food to a regular commercial diet will make a big difference. Personally I believe that there are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to dog food. Not all corn is bad. High protein is not necessarily better. There is no documented benefit to grain free. My point is, that a switch in food may be helpful. The three commercial foods that I recommend that consistently seem to produce healthy coats and normal stools are Iams, Science diet and Royal Canin.

Now, the next point is very important. The stool problems could very well be because of the chicken jerky. Check your brand of chicken jerky. Is it made in China? Some packages (like Waggin Train) say that they are an American Company but then have small print saying that they use ingredients from China. There is something awful going on with chicken jerky right now. The FDA is investigating it. For more information, see my article here on problems with chicken jerky.

If none of those things make a difference then you may want to ask your vet about the possibility of more rare things such as a bacterial problem or inflammatory bowel disease. I have some dogs with chronic diarrhea that do really well with a small amount of an antibiotic called Tylosin in their food each day. These dogs probably have chronic Clostridium issues.

I hope that helps and I hope that things firm up soon!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you very much for your reply! I learned a lot, and will follow your advice. Kind regards, Zsuzsa


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.