advice?

Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Loose stools can be caused by a number of factors, and the first step is always to bring a stool sample to your local veterinarian to check for anything. Fecal exams can check for common bacteria and parasites in the stool that may cause chronic diarrhea.

Diet problems can also play a factor in loose stool as well as chronic illness. Dogs can be allergic to many different ingredients in the diet, however grains such as corn, wheat and soy products can be the most problematic. Adding a probiotic supplement can sometimes help such as a scoop of plain yogurt ever meal, or commercial product from your vet.

Illnesses and metabolic disorders may also cause chronic loose stools. German Shepherds are prone to a disease called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency which is a problem with the pancreas (the same organ that dysfunctions in diabetes- however that is ENDOCRINE function in that case) producing enough digestive enzymes. This causes stools that may be loose, discolored grey or yellow and appear very fatty in color. Shepherds can also be prone to chronic small intestine infections that cause loose stool as well. Luckily, treatment for these conditions often just involves adding a daily digestive enzyme supplement to the food, or daily anti-biotic designed specifically for chronic bowel issues.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

The fiber helps bulk up their stools, which make them pass more easily. But remember—moderation is key. Too much pumpkin can cause diarrhea. If your dog is having severe constipation, contact your veterinarian right away.
“To help firm up the stool in cases of soft stools or diarrhea, give canned pumpkin to your dog in small amounts—no more than 1 tablespoon for a large/giant breed dog or 1 to 2 teaspoons for a small to medium breed dog, once or twice a day.”
Diarrhea

Diarrhea in German Shepherds can be caused by a number of factors, but it`s most commonly caused by food intolerance or parasite. If your dog is having diarrhea regularly, your first step should usually be to check for parasites, which your vet can then help you treat.

Pets that have chronic soft stool or chronic full-blown diarrhea should definitely be examined by a veterinarian, even if they are otherwise behaving normally. In these cases, there is likely an underlying problem that`s causing the diarrhea. This is especially true with older pets.
If your dog has diarrhea, the soluble fiber in canned pumpkin will help absorb the excess water, resulting in firmer stool. For a pet that is constipated, the high water and fiber content in the pumpkin will help add bulk and soften the stool, acting as a natural laxative and making the stool easier to pass.
Pumpkin is a useful and affordable way to help battle your dog`s diarrhea. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea or constipation, a tablespoon of pumpkin can ease their distress.
However, if you are feeding your dog at home, too much pumpkin isn`t a good thing. An excess of fiber in a dog`s diet can cause digestive distress and inhibit the absorption of other nutrients in his food. Additionally, the vitamin A found in pumpkins can turn deadly.
Stick to just water for 8-12 hours, so your dog`s stomach has a chance to settle. Then, rather than their usual food, give them a special bland meal of boiled chicken with cooked white rice (rice and rice water is known to help with runny stool), pumpkin, or sweet potato. Keep the portion small.
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.
If your dog has a single bout of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normally, there is no need to be concerned. Keep an eye on your dog`s bowel movements to see if things improve. More than two episodes of diarrhea may indicate a problem, so contact your veterinarian if your dog has two or more bouts of diarrhea.
If your dog has diarrhea but is acting fine and isn`t displaying any other symptoms, the issue is contained in the GI. This means it`s more than likely that your dog ate something that isn`t agreeing with them or has a parasite infection.
Eating garbage or spoiled food. Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones, and fabric. Ingesting toxins or poisons. Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper, or coronavirus.
Yes, pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat in small quantity. It`s fine to give your dog pumpkin everyday, but pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, but too much vitamin A can be toxic to dogs. Pumpkin is considered a superfood for dogs containing essential micronutrients and fiber making it an excellent nutritious treat.
Pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix!) is full of fiber and nutrients that can help your dog`s digestion. By simply mixing a tablespoon or so into your dog`s food, you can help alleviate mild cases of constipation, diarrhea and upset stomach.
100% pure canned pumpkin puree contains a whopping 7 grams of soluble fiber per cup, while cooked white rice only contains 1.2 grams of fiber per cup. Since soluble fiber slows down GI transit times and coats and soothes irritated bowels, you can start to see why pumpkin is better than rice for diarrhea.
I`ve actually found more success using sweet potato to firm up stool, and used pumpkin to act as a laxative. Sweet potato contains a nice mix of soluble and insoluble fiber that is really good for overall bowel health in humans and dogs. Insoluble fiber does add bulk to stool and can increase transit time.
Loperamide (Imodium): This medication slows down digestion so that the body can draw more water from the intestines. This helps to firm up stools and reduce the frequency of bowel movements.
As a home remedy for diarrhea, try giving your pup a small amount of pureed pumpkin (one to three tablespoons, depending on your dog`s size). Make sure that it`s 100% pumpkin with no sugar or other additives, which may upset your dog`s stomach even further.
How Much Pumpkin Should I Give My Dog? Add one to four pumpkin tablespoons per meal to your dog`s diet. Always start with small quantities to avoid adding too much fiber. If you have doubts about the amount of pumpkin to add to your dog`s diet, always consult your veterinarian.
Since pumpkin contains soluble fiber, it can help loosen stool, preventing and relieving constipation. The fibers in pumpkin are also prebiotics that helps the growth and balance of the typical gut microbiota.
Things like vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, or gastric upset may occur. Although raw pumpkin, including the pulp and seeds, is low in calories and generally safe for dogs to eat, it can be difficult for them to digest. Too much raw pumpkin can lead to vomiting, trembling, pain, and intestinal blockage.
Stick to plain pumpkin seeds without any added spices or flavors. Avoid adding salt to pumpkin seeds – this could make your dog sick. While small amounts may do little harm, consuming too many pumpkin seeds could cause a dog to experience diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, seizures, or worse.
GSDs are at an increased risk of having too few digestive enzymes, a disorder called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. This causes inadequate digestion and absorption of nutrients leading to weight loss; foul-smelling, greasy diarrhea; and a dry and flaky coat due to his inability to absorb dietary fats.
Do stick with bland foods. One tried-and-true diet for diarrhea is the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Low in fiber, bland, and starchy, these foods can help replace lost nutrients and firm up your stools.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Healthy German Shepherd has extremely loose stools once a day. I added 2 spoonfuls of pumpkin puree that hasn’t helped. No diet changes. Any advice?
ANSWER : A. Loose stools can be caused by a number of factors, and the first step is always to bring a stool sample to your local veterinarian to check for anything. Fecal exams can check for common bacteria and parasites in the stool that may cause chronic diarrhea.

Diet problems can also play a factor in loose stool as well as chronic illness. Dogs can be allergic to many different ingredients in the diet, however grains such as corn, wheat and soy products can be the most problematic. Adding a probiotic supplement can sometimes help such as a scoop of plain yogurt ever meal, or commercial product from your vet.

Illnesses and metabolic disorders may also cause chronic loose stools. German Shepherds are prone to a disease called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency which is a problem with the pancreas (the same organ that dysfunctions in diabetes- however that is ENDOCRINE function in that case) producing enough digestive enzymes. This causes stools that may be loose, discolored grey or yellow and appear very fatty in color. Shepherds can also be prone to chronic small intestine infections that cause loose stool as well. Luckily, treatment for these conditions often just involves adding a daily digestive enzyme supplement to the food, or daily anti-biotic designed specifically for chronic bowel issues.

Read Full Q/A … : Veterinarians

Q. Seven month old cat has watery diarrhea for five days. Asks perfectly normal. What can I give him to help with diarrhea ?
ANSWER : A. Anytime a pet has prolonged diarrhea, it is always a good idea to schedule a wellness check with your veterinarian. Bringing in a sample of your cat’s stool is also a good idea to check for any internal parasites or illnesses that may be causing it.

Diarrhea can be caused by a large number of things ranging from illness, internal parasites, digestive upset or even dietary issues. Ruling out any more serious issues first is best, then looking to others such as stress or diet is next. Cats can have issues with some grain products such as wheat, corn and soy, and can even have issues with dairy and fish products! (Cats are naturally lactose-intolerant). Changing the diet may help to firm up the stools.

For other additives, adding a probiotic such as Forti-flora from your vet, or a teaspoon of plain yogurt added to the food can help. Adding in a small amount of pureed pumpkin to the diet may also help as the added fiber can firm up the stool. However if the stool does not improve after a few days of treatment, a follow-up with your vet is best.

Q. My cat will not eat the renal food my veterinarian recommended, can I feed a grocery store food?
ANSWER : A. Your veterinarian recommended a therapeutic kidney diet because it has ingredients that will help slow the progression of your cat’s conditions, especially phosphorus and lower protein levels. Many of the non-prescription or grocery store foods generally have high levels of phosphorus and would not be ideal for your cat.

To help your cat accept the new food It is important to do a transition. There are two reasons to do a transition:

1) Occasionally a pet will have a GI upset when switched to a new diet,

2) A pet will accept a new food better when a transition is done to allow the pet to get use to the new texture and flavor.

There is more of a chance with a hydrolyzed protein or different (high or low) fiber level food to cause a GI upset. Transition recommendation:

1) Recommend ¾ old diet – ¼ new diet

2) Do this for a few days; if no GI upset, go to the next step

3) ½ old diet – ½ new diet

4) Do this for a few days; if no GI upset, go to the next step

5) ¼ old diet – ¾ new diet

6) Do this for a few days; if no GI upset, go to the next step

7) End with 100% of the new food.

Sometimes a transition should be longer, especially for cats. Use the same recommendation, but instead of a few days, recommend doing each step for a week or more. If you cat is still not interested in the new diet you can research other non-prescription diets focusing on the labels for appropriate levels of phosphorus and protein.

Also, home cooking may be an option but make sure to provide adequate nutrients. A good website to consult is balanceit.com. This website helps you to create well balanced home cooked recipes and offers supplements to add into the diet.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. My dog is pregnant and I believe is constipated again. What can I feed her to help?
ANSWER : A. If your dog is currently pregnant, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian prior to giving any additives or treatments. However, pureed pumpkin can usually be given successfully to help regulate stools. The added fiber in the pumpkin can help to make stools a little easier to pass. A plain yogurt added to the meals may also be safe to give and can give probiotics to the body to make digestion easier and stools more regular. Increasing water intake by adding in a wet food safe for pregnant and lactating dogs can also help bring more water content into the body which can help ease constipation.

In some cases, diarrhea can actually be confused for constipation. Dogs with diarrhea may strain after a movement, which may appear as them straining to get stool out. If you are seeing stool that is soft or loose in addition to straining, then diarrhea instead of constipation may be the cause.

Q. My new cat seems to constantly have loose stools. I have tried to limit what he eats but with 2 other cats it’s difficult. He also ate a plant I had
ANSWER : A. Many plants can be poisonous to cats, so if you know the type of plant eaten it is best to look up if it is safe for your cat to do so. If you suspect the plant is toxic, it is best to contact your local vet for care.

Loose stools in cats can be caused by a number of things ranging from chronic stress, internal parasites, food allergies, to digestive upset and internal illness. You can try some home remedies such as adding pureed pumpkin or plain yogurt to meals which may help bulk up the stool some and is safe for your other healthy cats to ingest.

However if the loose stools continue, bringing in your cat as well as a sample of his stool to your vet is best. They can check for any internal parasites which may be causing the issue, as well as look for any underlying conditions causing it. If a food allergy is the cause, changing the food should be fine for your other cats if they are healthy.

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. What should I do with a constipated dog?
ANSWER : A. Constipation can be tricky to deal with, and attempting to find the cause of the constipation can help with long-term relief. It is also good to figure out if your dog is truly constipated (no bowel movements) or if he is instead straining after an episode of a bowel movement (either solid or diarrhea). Dogs that are straining after a bowel movement can appear as if they are constipated, but instead may be having something else going on.

If your dog is constipated, adding in some fiber such as a little pureed pumpkin, or a probiotic such as plain yogurt to meals can help to make the stools easier to pass. However, if there is a stool piece that is currently stuck or lodged, preventing remaining stool from passing, it may need to be removed by your veterinarian before bowel habits can return to normal. Diet changes may also help if digestive issues or a food allergy are causing chronic constipation.

If your dog does not have a bowel movement at all for a few days, or the stools do not improve with an increase in water or supplementation, then it is best to contact your vet for an appointment. Your vet can checkfor any signs of foreign bodies blocking stool, and may also recommend performing an enema to remove any stuck or impacted stools so the body can return to normal.