During long walks, most dogs first pass solid, then thin, stools. With a normal color and smell, this is a completely natural thing and easy to explain.
However, diarrhea and particularly discolored faeces can also indicate serious illnesses and should definitely be treated.
This article explains how you can tell if your dog is sick if his stool is first hard and then soft.
In a nutshell: when the dog excrement is first solid, then thin
A single episode of diarrhea is not uncommon in dogs, but discolored or foul-smelling stools are a sign of illness.
If your dog has alternating solid stools and diarrhea, it may be carrying parasites or having a problem with its food. Persistent diarrhea is not only uncomfortable for your four-legged friend, it also needs to be treated.
Why is the stool first firm and then thin? 3 causes
The main job of the intestine is to remove nutrients and water from the digested food.
In the case of accelerated digestion or early release, the faeces still have a fairly high water content and appear more liquid than usual.
Therefore, a second loosening on walks is usually softer than the first pile of faeces.
A higher occurrence of a jelly-like mass that softens the stool is also quite natural. It is a kind of lubricant that facilitates transport through the intestines and is produced in increased amounts when digestion is slow.
Diarrhea, on the other hand, usually occurs in the small intestine and can be triggered by many things. It should be taken seriously as a symptom, even if it often only occurs once. Because serious causes worsen if it is not treated.
1. Worms and other parasites
A roundworm infestation is often asymptomatic. Diarrhea caused by roundworms only occurs with a massive infestation, which can also be followed by cramps and even an intestinal blockage.
Tapeworms infect the rectum, causing an itchy anus. A sick dog can therefore be easily recognized by “sledding” when it rubs its buttocks on the ground.
Giardia infection is very serious. The stool is yellowish and very thin, it smells penetratingly foul. The protozoa damage the intestinal wall and are very infectious.
All three parasites can also be transmitted to humans.
An intestine also gets used to the feed and has to get along with the new composition when there is a change. A few days of mild diarrhea is not uncommon.
Like us humans, some dogs live with an intolerance that can lead to diarrhea. Some dog breeds also require higher or lower amounts of certain nutrients, for example greyhounds need more carbohydrates and less protein.
Both positive and negative stress strongly stimulates digestion: the body does not differentiate between the stress hormones from panic and those from joy and empties the intestines to be ready for “fight or flight” mode.
When should you go to the vet?
Diarrhea that occurs more than once, is conspicuously colored or smells bad should definitely be clarified.
When coloring, it is also important to note whether coloring foods have been fed. For example, lots of carrots will turn scat orange-yellow, and lots of grass will sometimes produce green scat.
If the dog is in pain when it is released or if the diarrhea is chronic, a vet appointment should be made no later than the following day. A suspected worm infestation or very greasy faeces is also a case for a timely appointment.
If there is blood in the stool or if the stool is black, it can be a life-threatening situation. Visit your vet immediately to rule out an intestinal injury.
Fast action is also called for in the case of light yellow faeces in connection with food and apathy. It may be a parvo infection that needs immediate treatment.
How can I support my dog?
For a short time, replace your dog’s usual or new food with bland foods, such as rice, soaked oatmeal, boiled chicken, or cottage cheese. This calms his stomach and digestion.
Digestive problems are exhausting, so give your four-legged friend some rest and keep the walks short for now. Ideally, build in more walks for this so that he can detach himself in a more relaxed manner.
Your dog loses water due to diarrhea. Be sure to balance this out, especially if you have severe or prolonged diarrhea.
If your dog isn’t drinking well, you can make the water more palatable with some broth, a spoonful of cottage cheese, or a few milliliters of fruit juice.
How can this be prevented?
Find out about the nutritional requirements specific to your dog’s breed and talk to your vet about an appropriate food composition and amount. Make sure your dog tolerates the food.
Have your dog wormed and checked regularly to identify and treat problems early.
It is completely normal for a dog to defecate first and then soft droppings, as long as the color and smell are not conspicuous. Nevertheless, keep an eye on your dog and its digestion and, if necessary, feed it bland food for a while.
In any case, make sure that your dog drinks enough to compensate for the water loss caused by diarrhea.