How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?
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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.
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.
You can measure your dog’s water intake the following way: in the morning, measure a specific amount, a little bit more than you think he/she will drink. 24 hours later, measure the remaining amount. If the amount of water your dog drank is significantly greater than it should be, then you should take your dog to a veterinarian.
Causes for mildly increased water consumption include: food changes, increased ambient and body temperature, increased activity, urinary tract infection, and general illness.
Common causes for greatly increased water consumption include: diabetes, urinary tract infection, kidney disease, steroid use, and other systemic diseases. With large increases in water consumption, you will also usually see increased urination. Please take note of urinary patterns to discuss with your vet. Greatly increased drinking and urination is ALWAYS a reason to see a vet.
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.