Loose stools and smelly gas are two things that are almost unavoidable if you are a parent to a doggo.
Some of these farts can be loud enough to startle you or so silent that you won’t be able to know, and the foul smell spreads in the room, making it so smelly that you will be running out of the room or opening windows for respite.
Similarly, loose stools can become a problem as the dog can go about soiling every surface it comes in contact with. It is usual for dogs to fart, but excessive farting is not.
Moreover, these are symptoms that there is something up with the dog’s health. For example, your pet could be allergic to the food it is eating, there is a problem with its eating style, or it is suffering from gastrointestinal issues.
If there is a medical condition that is causing the dog to fart excessively and have diarrhea, then vet care will be necessary.
The article will explore the causes behind – my dog has loose stools and smelly gas. We will also look at symptoms, treatments, and tips to avoid these health concerns.
- What Does Normal Dog Poop Look Like?
- Is it Normal for Dogs to Fart?
- How Do You Know the Dog has Leaky Poop and Smelly Farts?
- My Dog has Loose Stools and Smelly Gas – 7 Reasons
- When Does Vet Visit Become Necessary?
- How are Loose Stools and Smelly Gas Treated in Dogs?
- How Can Loose Stools and Smelly Gas be Prevented in Dogs?
What Does Normal Dog Poop Look Like?
Let us understand what poop typically looks like so you can differentiate between healthy and loose poop.
According to AKC, there are five characteristics that tell if the dog’s poop is healthy or if there is an issue. These five characteristics are color, shape, consistency, size, and content.
For example, the poop should be chocolate brown in color, be shaped like a log, the consistency will be like play-doh, the size should be proportionate to the amount of food it ate, and there should be no additional content like mucus or blood.
Your dog’s poop is like a window to its health. If the poop deviates from the perfect description mentioned above, pay attention to the dog for any other symptoms.
It is ok if the dog has watery stools or skips pooping for a day once in a while. It could be something funny it ate or did not have enough water that day. But, if the issue persists, a vet visit might be necessary.
Is it Normal for Dogs to Fart?
Yes, it is normal for dogs to pass gas. It is a simple bodily function. If you monitor the dog during the initial months, you will know how much farting is normal for your dog.
Once your dog consumes food, the bacteria in its stomach will work to break down the food. The process helps get the required nutrients from the food.
The by-product of the process is stinky hydrogen sulfide gas. The only way your dog can eliminate the gas from its body is by farting.
Then you have the brachycephalic breed of dogs. These short-faced dogs usually have eating and breathing difficulties. They tend to swallow excessive air, and again the air is removed from the body by farting.
English Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, and Boston Terriers, among others, are examples of such dog breeds.
How Do You Know the Dog has Leaky Poop and Smelly Farts?
Going by the explanation above, you know that healthy poop should have play-doh-like consistency, and you should be able to scoop it up from the ground easily.
However, if the consistency is runnier than that, meaning you cannot hold it, or the dog is passing a brown water-like substance, poop can be categorized as loose stool.
Now coming to the smelly gas part. Some dogs naturally have farts that smell deadly. This could be normal. But if the farting has increased to a level that you cannot bear to be in the same room, then its cause needs to be investigated.
It is a matter of concern if farting and diarrhea are accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, increased water intake, and stomach pain.
My Dog has Loose Stools and Smelly Gas – 7 Reasons
Loose stools and smelly farts could result from any changes you have made to the dog’s diet or a medical condition. Let us explore some possible causes of the condition.
1. Poor Diet
Every person has a certain level of tolerance when it comes to food. For example, in humans, some of the top fart-inducing foods are beans, dairy products, soda, and vegetables like brussels sprouts and cabbage.
If your sensitive stomach cannot handle these foods, but you still have them almost regularly, you are bound to have digestive issues. It is the same for your doggo.
Some food items are especially hard on the dog’s digestive system. Soybeans, peas, beans, milk products, and highly-processed, high-fat, high-fiber, or spicy food belong to the category of such foods.
Digesting these foods leads to excessive fermentation in the colon, which can lead to excessive gas and diarrhea. In addition, if the dog is allergic or consumes spoiled food, diarrhea can worsen, and you may notice additional symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, and refusal to eat or drink.
2. Sensitive Stomach
Firstly, it is not uncommon for canines to have sensitive tummies. Some dogs may be born with the conditions, while other dogs may develop it over their lifetime.
Puppies and old dogs are more prone to having sensitive stomachs, but again the condition can afflict dogs of any age and breed.
Frequent loose stool and excessive farting are the common signs of dogs with sensitive tummies. Other signs include:
- Lack of appetite
- Excessive salivation
- Bloody poop
If you do not seek vet care, the dog’s gastrointestinal tract can increasingly get irritated, and symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting can become chronic.
Once the vet diagnoses the pet with a sensitive stomach, you must pay extra attention to its diet. The vet may temporarily put the dog on a customized diet, or you may have to follow the diet for the rest of the pet’s life.
Avoid practices like suddenly changing the dog’s diet, as it can further worsen the canine’s situation.
3. Increased Swallowing of Air
If too much air is going in the dog’s system, it needs to find a way to get out as well; farting is one of those ways.
This may sound like an improbable reason, but it is true that dogs can fart more because they are swallowing too much air. The most common way dogs swallow air is by eating their food too quickly.
Dogs that are hungry, stressed or worried that other pets might steal their food or they may not be fed another meal soon tend to gulp down their food. This practice can also be seen in short-faced dogs like Bulldogs and Boxers.
It is also the reason why you should not take the dog for exercise after it has eaten. The intense moments during exercise and trapped air can cause twisting of stomach muscles.
Anxiety is another reason for air swallowing. When nervous, humans may breathe through their mouths while the dog may excessively pant, leading to excess air building in the stomach. Apart from increased smelly farts, such dogs may show signs like:
- Wanting to throw up without any success
- Bloating or distended stomach
- Salivating excessively
4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
It is challenging to attribute IBD to one particular cause. IBD occurs when the intestinal tract is chronically irritated. The irritation could be a result of bacteria, allergies, or parasites.
When a dog has IBD, inflammatory cells invade the animal’s intestinal lining. The inflammation leads to poor digestion and affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
IBD commonly affects the intestines, but the issue can arise in any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Some typical symptoms of the condition are vomiting and diarrhea. Without any medical intervention, the dog can develop a poor appetite and lose weight over time.
The vet can perform tests like fecal examination and blood tests. Depending on the suspected location, the vet will need tissue biopsies. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is an uncommon condition in dogs, but knowing the symptoms can push you to seek vet care at the right time. In this condition, the dog’s intestines do not function as well as they should.
Ideally, the intestines should move in a rhythmic pattern, but with IBS, the intestines do not contract as they should.
Unlike IBD, you will not find any bacteria, parasites, or inflammation in the dog’s intestines. Again, it is challenging to pinpoint the exact reason, but stress-induced events often lead to IBS.
The two symptoms that IBS presents are diarrhea and constipation. In addition, the dog may experience stomach pain, bloating, and gas.
IBD can be a chronic condition, but IBS can occur in episodes. So medication may be necessary only until the dog stabilizes. In addition, switching over to highly-digestible food can reduce the recurrence of such episodes.
6. Intestinal Worms
Worms are a common occurrence in dogs. If left untreated, these worms can lead to serious health concerns in your pet. They can grow and spread in the dog’s body, passed onto other pets and, in some cases, even humans.
If your dog is afflicted with intestinal worms, it may have symptoms like:
- Loose stools
- Abdominal pain
- Distended stomach
- Blood in stool
- Weight loss
There are different worms and their strain types that can affect dogs. For example, roundworms are typically found in puppies and require deworming medications.
Then there are hookworms that attach to the intestinal wall of the animal. They are capable of ingesting fatal amounts of blood.
Tapeworms are another common intestinal parasite afflicting dogs. Your dog can contract tapeworm by eating infected fleas or wild animals.
Preventative measures like flea control and thorough cleaning of dog poop can help. But if you see any of the signs mentioned above, please get in touch with the vet.
7. Other Gastrointestinal Issues
Loose stools and smelly gas can also be attributed to a host of other gastrointestinal issues. For example, the dog could have tumors hindering the normal digestive process.
Then there is enteritis, which is basically inflammation of the small intestine. If the dog has exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), then it cannot produce enough enzymes to digest and break down nutrients like carbs, fats, and proteins.
These health conditions require vet care, medication, treatment, and lifestyle changes. So, please get in touch with the vet for an appropriate diagnosis.
When Does Vet Visit Become Necessary?
It is usual for the dog to have loose poop once in a while. The same goes for farting, especially if you have fed the dog a good amount of fart-inducing foods.
But if the situation of ‘my dog has loose stools and smelly gas’ continues over a few days or several times during the week, you need to consult with the vet. The reason could be simple as a change in diet, but it would be best to rule out other gastrointestinal issues.
If other symptoms accompany watery poop and smelly gas, it is best not to wait and watch for over a week before reaching out to the vet. These symptoms can be:
- Weight Loss
- Loss of appetite
- Bloating or distended stomach
How are Loose Stools and Smelly Gas Treated in Dogs?
Once at the vet, you need to provide information about the dog’s routine, diet, meal timings, exercise, and medical history. This can help the vet narrow down the cause of loose stool and farting.
Other diagnostic tests like stool examination or culture, blood work, urine test, abdominal ultrasounds, and intestinal biopsies may be done depending on the dog’s symptoms.
There are medications available that can help with gas relief. According to PetMD, the vet may prescribe medicines like simethicone, zinc acetate, Yucca schidigera, or dry-activated charcoal. These medications will provide the dog relief from farts and also help reduce the odor of farts.
Diet is a significant part of gastrointestinal issues, so diet changes may be necessary. These changes could be short-term until the dog becomes stable and has regular and healthy bowel movements. If the dog has a sensitive tummy, it may need to be on a specialized diet for the rest of its life.
In the case of IBD or IBS, medication is an option but is usually reserved for critical cases. Antibiotics can help bring down the inflammation, immunosuppressants may be given to control other clinical signs, and antidiarrheal medication for loose stools.
In addition, probiotic supplements can aid in restoring normal bacteria levels in the stomach.
How Can Loose Stools and Smelly Gas be Prevented in Dogs?
We now know that loose stools and gas in dogs can be treated. But it can affect your dog’s health, cause them discomfort and also make you uncomfortable.
By following these simple practices, you can maintain your pet’s health and avoid running to the emergency vet clinic.
1. Fix Your Dog’s Diet
A good diet easily digested by the dog’s sensitive stomach can fix and keep a host of issues at bay. If your dog is prone to gas or has a history of digestive problems, the vet can suggest a customized diet plan.
Know what foods cause the most flatulence in your pet. For example, you can make a tasty treat out of cauliflower, but too much of this vegetable is an invitation to smelly gas.
If your dog is allergic, you should keep the particular food allergen away from the pet. For example, if your dog is allergic to milk, it is not a good idea to let it lick the ice cream you are having. You can prepare dog-friendly frozen treats for it.
Avoid feeding table scraps to the pet. The fried and processed food that we all enjoy can be hard on the dog’s digestion. These seemingly innocent table scraps can cause an upset tummy in dogs.
2. Diet Changes Should be Gradual
If you are switching over to new dog food or trying out new recipes, the change should be gradual for the dog. Suddenly shifting the dog to even a healthy diet can cause digestive issues, which can lead to loose stools and smelly farts.
To prevent such issues, AKC recommends switching out the old gradually in small quantities. For example, you can start by replacing 10% of the old food and increasing the percentage over a week’s time. This will give the dog’s digestive system a chance to acclimatize to the new food.
The transition period will also give you a chance to monitor the dog and see how it reacts to the diet. You can stop the diet change and consult the vet if the reaction is adverse.
3. Feed Smaller Meals Frequently
No, we are not asking you to feed the dog less. Rather you feed the dog the same quantity of food but break down the food into several small meals during the day.
Dogs, especially the giant breed dogs, can be prone to bloating and other digestive concerns. Feeding them one or two big meals a day can aggravate their situation.
AKC recommends feeding dogs two meals a day, but it is not a strict rule you must follow. It is ok to adjust meal frequency and timings according to your pet’s unique requirements.
Smaller meals will help the dog’s digestive tract process the food better.
4. Pace Your Dog’s Eating Speed
Some dogs just scarf down their food the moment their bowl is filled. The problem with this eating style is that the dogs also end up swallowing a lot of air. And as we have seen above, this can be the reason behind the problem – my dog has loose stools and smelly gas.
Dogs scarf down food when they are not being fed enough or not receiving the right amount of nutrients. So take a look at the pet’s diet.
If the diet is not the issue, pace the dog’s eating speed using slow-feeding dishes. These dishes have elevated parts that make it almost impossible for the dog to access all the food at once.
Maintaining a routine of small meals lets the dog know it will not go hungry, so there is no need to devour or overeat at mealtimes.
5. No Garbage Diving
Keep your curious pet away from going on a treasure-hunting trip to the garbage can. The garbage we throw can be toxic for the pet when consumed.
For example, you may throw expired chocolate or fruits like grapes that have gone bad. These food items can be toxic for your dog. In addition, things like meat bones can be a choking hazard. So garbage diving can present much more severe problems than loose stools and smelly gas.
It may not always be possible to keep garbage hidden from the dog. So, you need to train it to listen to commands like ‘stop’ or ‘leave it.’ This way, you can get them to stop and drop if they do have any trash in their mouth.
My dog has loose stools and smelly gas – this can be a tricky situation to be in. You love your dog but dealing with smelly farts and cleaning up after the dog can become bothersome. Moreover, it could be a serious health issue causing these symptoms.
Your dog’s loose stools and smelly gas could result from poor diet, sudden diet changes, IBD, IBS, stomach sensitivity, increased air swallowing, parasites, bacteria, and other gastrointestinal issues.
Some farting is normal, but if you see signs like vomiting, nausea, lethargy, excessive salivation, weight loss, or stomach pain, please consult the vet.
Practices like fixing the dog’s diet, feeding it smaller meals, and slowing its eating speed can help prevent diarrhea and excessive farts.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.