Loose stools

Hi there,
I am new to this forum so I hope I have posted correctly. I am looking for some advice. I have a 3 year old black Lab male who is quite a nervous dog and has had quite loose stools for some time. The first one of the day seems normal, but any others after that seem quite loose and a very pale colour almost yellow. Last weekend he did a very loose poo which was bloody so I took him to vet. Vet said it was most likely colitis, gave him a steroid injection and some paste in a tube, I think it was Pro Max. I have been feeding him a bland diet of boiled chicken, white fish, rice and occasionally pasta for a few days now which has helped and have started giving him some pro/ prebiotic powder sprinkled on his food. He was also getting some salmon oil before this episode started. The normal food I was feeding him was Field & Trail duck and rice which he has had since a puppy and I have just started to gradually introduce this back into his diet together with some plain boiled rice. If anyone has any other advice on the subject I would be very grateful.
Thank you

Hello and welcome to the forum. There are a number of causes of loose stools. If this is a persistent problem it makes sense to rule out infection first. Campylobacter and Giardia can cause diarrhoea, as can parasitic infection. You would need to talk to the vet about this and to take a stool sample for testing.

You say that your dog is nervous and as it is possible for stress to cause problems like this it could be useful to address this. If you can consult a qualified dog behaviourist for a one to one session it might pay dividends in the long run. Stressed dog are unhappy and prone to health issues. He is young and might respond well to treatment and training. I suspect that we pet owners underestimate stress problems in dogs.

Regarding diet, the Skinners food that you are feeding has the following ingredients:
Brown rice 40%; duck meat meal 20%; naked oats; peas; whole linseed; sunflower oil; beet pulp; vitamins and minerals. The carbohydrate is very high and the protein on the low side of average. That is quite low, particularly for a young dog like yours. This product attracts a nutritional rating of 66%.

We have a thread here which gives a sketch of what to look for when choosing a suitable food for dogs. As you see, it is advisable to choose a food that has the (named) protein source at the top of the list. If the diarrhoea is diet related the cause could be the high amount of brown rice coupled with oats so if you decide to change food consider grain free. Some have pea and pea derivates and as this is an ingredient in your current food I would be inclined to choose something that doesn’t contain this.

Some dogs have allergy to storage mites. These are found in dry dog food, mainly in those containing grains. It is not possible to say if this is the case with your dog but is given raw, wet or home cooked and it improves it might be a pointer to this problem.

An elimination diet is worth consideration but this needs some thinking about and planning. It can take a while to complete but in the end you would know what your dog can and can’t tolerate.

We have a thread here which contains a link to a Facebook video about inflammatory bowel disease. It can take a while for gut to repair itself so it is necessary to be patient.

Regarding probiotics it is good that you are giving this. It needs to be canine specific and a suitable one is Lintbells YuDigest.

If you plan to change food you can source something by using the Dog Food Directory and selecting the appropriate filters. I have done a quick one for you and it returned three pages. If you need help with this, please ask. It is best not to swap and change and to be patient. The nutritionist in the aforementioned video recommends not using dry food for dogs with inflammatory bowel disease but this has budget implications, especially with a large dog such as a Labrador.

Have a think about things and please come back if you need to discuss further.

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Thank you for your reply and excellent advice.
I have been looking at changing his food, but am a bit overwhelmed by the variety available. Cost is a bit of a concern at the moment, but if it helps him I will have to spend a bit more for hopefully more suitable food
Apart from this particular issue Frazier is in excellent condition with a glossy coat and spot on weight wise.

Once again thank you for taking time to reply

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There is a blog here that might be helpful: 5 Reasons Why Your Dog May Have Diarrhoea.

My search filters were:

  • Type of food - dry (all)
  • Food properties - clearly labelled/grain free
  • Avoid ingredients - all red, all yellow, peas and duck

It returned two pages of products with various nutritional ratings, some quite high. The cost per day is listed so maybe have a look at those and see which meets your criteria.

Hello and welcome to the forum. All excellent advice from Dottie. I just wanted to share something I have personally found useful for digestive discomfort. My dog doesn’t tend to get loose stools so it is to a much lesser degree, but she can have bouts of lip smacking and pacing indicating some form of discomfort. After watching her eat lots of grass at such times, I was a bit worried what would happen in winter when there isn’t any available. She is particularly fond of chewing wheat grass so I got some powder and add half a teaspoon to her food every 3 days and extra if she seem driven to find grass. I am sure it won’t be a cure but may aid healing. It appears to have reduced the incidents I have with my dog and it definitely calms her if she is pacing.

Thank you for all for your continued advice. I can now report that Frazier’s poo is much better this morning. He passed two stools which were well formed. At the moment a am giving him a bit of boiled rice alongside half his normal dry food, however I am planning on gradually changing his food to Markus Mühle Natural Dog Food.
This seems to have a better nutritional value than the field and trail that he is now on and is cold pressed. I have read that cold pressed food cannot be stored in an airtight container. We did buy a bin for his food a while back but not sure whether this is classed as airtight. What does everyone else use to store food?



That’s a good choice and I hope that it helps. It contains dried peat which is there for health of the digestive system. For the price it is a good quality product. I fed cold pressed food for some time and I used to keep it in the bag, securing the top with bulldog clips. They recommend keeping it in the bag. Make sure you weigh it initially because it is dense. The amount in the bowl looks small in comparison to kibble so it is easy to overfeed. More information can be found on the Gentle and Guru websites. It might be best to buy the small bag at first just in case it doesn’t suit your dog. It’s good that the treatment has worked and his poo is firming up.

Thanks Dottie,
I was going to try a small bag first and start by mixing it with his old food.
Once again thank you for your help. This is truly a wonderful site.

I fed that very successfully for a time. I never had any issues with loose stools. I only stopped in the end before of the lower shelf life and the fact that it wasn’t available in smaller bags at the time. I only have one small dog. There were cold pressed foods available in smaller bags but they didn’t seem to suit my dog as well.