Dog Poo (or poop!) is a key indicator of a dog’s overall health and thus as dog pawrents it's natural for us to focus on the overall quality of their poo.
So when it comes to dogs and dog food, a large part of our time here at Rùn can be spent chatting about dog poo! Yep, while I suspect you’re not surprised, often when a dog owner is looking to change dog food and researching cold pressed dog food in particular it’s to address an issue with their dog poo being soft.
However, like any concern that you have with your dog, it’s firstly important to understand why. And when it comes to dogs poo being soft, there are many different reasons why your dog's stool may be soft.
Identifying the main cause will help you resolve the issue much quicker and get them back on the road to great health!
Ready to read more?
N.b the guidance given below should never be a substitute for veterinary care. If you are concerned about your dogs’ health, poos or your dog has diarrhoea and/or being sick or not drinking water, then please do seek appropriate veterinary advice.
Why is My Dogs Poo Soft?
When chatting to dog owners, we often find it helpful to discuss what constitutes a soft poo. With a rise in raw dog feeding, we find owners can be comparing poo to hard formed pellets that they see raw feeders talk about, which is not a suitable comparison for dogs not on a raw diet. But also those poo’s can sometimes be overly hard or different in colour, due to high levels of bone content.
What Does a Soft Poo look like?
Normally a dog stool shouldn't be rock hard but it should naturally hold its shape.
If your dog’s poo is soft, then you should next establish WHEN your dog’s poo is soft. Is it:
Solid then changes to soft
Solid then changes to soft as the day goes on
Inconsistently soft (different days/places/times)
For some dog owners, it might be helpful to start to record in a diary all food, treats (and the quantities fed), plus any useful notes around colour and consistency.
So whether you chose to make some changes yourself and/or consult your vet, then this will give you a factual based record to aid discussions.
But what could be causing this?
6 Reasons Why Your Dogs Stool May Be Soft
#1 Change of Diet
Quite often we talk to dog owners who have changed their dog's food. Either looking to ‘change it up’ or with the aim of improving their dog's diet. One easy improvement you can make is to switch from traditional 'kibble' over to Cold Pressed Dog Food.
However, when you’ve been feeding your dog a specific brand of food, with it’s own individual ingredients and protein levels, their digestive system has adapted to that.
As a result there are two things to consider if you have changed their diet.
Did you transition gradually to the new food? Transitioning to a new dog food, needs to be with an adjustment period, so if you’ve suddenly changed dog food, then this alone may have thrown their tummies off! Ideally, with the exception of a change to raw dog food, you want to gradually add in a small part of the new food and over a period of time, build up to 100% of their new food. For some dogs, this can be done over a couple of weeks whereas for others with sensitivities, it is more sensible to do this more gradually.
Is it a lower quality of food or a specific ingredient causing issues? If you’ve dramatically changed the levels of protein, protein type, added or removed grains or specific ingredient, this may have flagged an intolerance or allergy. Carefully check and compare the ingredients lists between the two dog foods.
Finally, if you've not only changed brand, but also 'type' of food, it can take time for fuzzy tummies to adjust, due to different digestion rates. Even if the new food is easier to digest, if they're used to another type, they will need time and an extra slow introduction of a new diet.
Just like us, dogs can be prone to stress and this can result in soft dog poos.
This could be as simple as a change in routine but may also be down to big changes in their life such as a house move or even a new addition to the family.
Try to identify the cause of stress and establish a routine with them quickly.
This is definitely not a time to consider changing your dog’s food as this could further exacerbate the problem if not managed carefully.
#3 Over Feeding
When was the last time you checked the feeding guide and/or measured out your dog food?
So often when we ask about a dog's daily food quantity,, we find that a mug is being used or a ‘handful’ is the most common measuring tool ;0).
We even have an entire BLOG dedicated to explaining why dog owners should weigh every meal!
Even if you’ve not changed your dogs food, the volume of food they should be getting may have been impacted by:
Change in age (for e.g growing puppy or a more elderly dog)
Dog food manufacturer may have changed their recipe
Activity level change
Most dog food manufacturers should provide a feeding guide which covers age, activity levels and the volume they should be fed per day like’s ours below. Do be aware that different types of food can vary substantially in feeding quantities (for e.g a cold pressed diet might require less grams per day than a lower quality kibble).
So grab your food’s feeding guide, check age and activity levels and get measuring. Don’t forget to account for those treats and any other little bits that they maybe being fed by all members of the family. Overfeeding is one of the most common but under-recognised reasons for soft dog poo. It can very easily put extra demands on the digestive system and reduces its efficiency, subsequently resulting in upset digestion.
But in addition, longer term, it can lead to your dog gaining weight and impacting their overall health and life expectancy.
#4 Allergic/Sensitive to Certain Proteins/Ingredients
While there are dogs whose stomachs seem to be made of steel, a single ingredient in a food may be causing that soft dog poo.
Every dog is individual so this can be super frustrating as it can take time to eliminate exactly which ingredient is causing.
Food allergies can be difficult to detect via testing, though they are available and may aid, so it may be worth considering an elimination diet. Do ensure you consult your vet before starting your dog on an elimination diet. This will ensure you do this in a safe way while ensuring your dog gets all the nutrients they need. It’s also worth starting to keep a diary of all their food and any changes in poop!
Related Blogs to Read:
Five reasons your dog wants you to try cold pressed dog food (rundogfood.com)
#5 Eating Food Not For Dogs
Those puppy eyes. They do it every time, don't they?
If you’ve a dog who begs at mealtime or spends time with other family, how often do they win us over with that look and
Even if you are treating them to ‘safe’ foods, dogs don't typically tolerate cooked foods. This can result in their digestive system struggling and causing soft poo or diarrhoea.
In addition, giving them food not made for dogs can also go hand in hand with overfeeding (above). Have you ever seen the poster that most vets display, showing the relationship between a small treat and their human caloric equivalent represented by a number of donuts?
Well you may be surprised that just two slices of ham, can amount to 11% overfeeding and the equivalent of us eating a doughnut. Just imagine what that small bit of cheese or slice of toast adds up to!
#6 An Infection/Disease
While your dog may not be showing any other signs of an infection or disease, it is important to note that it can be a sign.
Infections and Diseases can be very easily picked up. It is as simple as your dog eating something outdoors, drinking from puddles or interacting with another dog.
Blood or mucus in poo can indicate parasites or other health conditions but the only way to rule out infections/diseases is to have these tested for. Don’t forget to check your dog is up to date with vaccinations (or titre testing) and deworming too!
In Summary: Why is My Dogs Poo Soft?
Consistent dogs poo is always cause for concern for any dog owner and it can be very frustrating trying to identify the main cause due the large number of reasons that may cause it.
However, by working through each reason and eliminating each different cause, it should help you identify the cause and get your dog on the road to healthy and happy poos!
Please don’t be afraid to seek veterinary advice if you are concerned in any way. You will be armed with better information and can talk them through everything you’ve tried allowing a quicker diagnosis.
Want to firm up those poops?
Why not try a sample of Rùn Cold Pressed!*
*Remember to introduce any new food gradually