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Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It sounds like there is something potentially serious going on, possibly a gi infection, maybe a blockage or possibly even cancer. I would recommend having it checked out today by your vet and some blood work done.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

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

Melena is a dark, sticky, tarry stool, almost jelly-like. This blood has been digested or swallowed, indicating a problem in the upper digestive tract. You can check whether your dog`s stool contains this kind of blood by wiping it on a paper towel to see if the color is reddish.
Mucus in dog poop can be caused by a variety of things ranging from stress and dietary changes to bacterial infections, diseases, and allergies and food intolerances. If your dog is experiencing mucus from stress or something he ate, the mucus should resolve on its own in a few days.
These can range from light to dark brown depending on the diet that you feed them, but the colour should stay consistent each day. If your dog is regularly producing firm brown poos, this is a great sign that you`re probably feeding them the right nutrition for their circumstances.
Black poop

Though it`s a relatively rare occurrence, when your pet`s poop suddenly takes on a black, tarry appearance, it can point to a number of digestive conditions. Black, tarry stools are often caused by something serious—bleeding in the stomach or small intestines.

Various infectious agents can cause black diarrhea in dogs. Common culprits include bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi. All of these pathogens can cause severe bleeding either in the stomach or intestines. In both cases, the outcome is the same – bloody diarrhea.
Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy; loss of appetite; abdominal pain and bloating; fever or low body temperature (hypothermia); vomiting; and severe, often bloody, diarrhea. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock.
Giardia infection in dogs may lead to weight loss, chronic intermittent diarrhea, and fatty stool. The stool may range from soft to watery, often has a greenish tinge, and occasionally contains blood. Infected dogs tend to have excess mucus in their feces.
One of the most common causes of watery dog poop is a recent change in diet. It may take several days for your dog`s digestive system to adjust to a new food. To help your dog avoid any digestive discomfort, slowly introduce new food a little at a time.
Dark brown stool can be caused by a variety of factors, including dehydration, constipation, IBS, or consuming dark-colored foods or iron-rich foods or supplements. However, it is important to note that dark brown stool can also be a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding, which may indicate a more serious issue.
Incontinence

Some dogs become incontinent at the end of their lives and lose control over their bladder and bowels. Others may be unable to get up to go outside to relieve themselves and may need some extra help from their owners or family members to stay clean.

Can My Dog Die From Pooping Blood? Yes, if the loss of blood through the digestive tract is significant, or it`s combined with significant loss of fluid through vomiting or diarrhea, it can be life-threatening. Severe dehydration and loss of blood (leading to anemia) can lead to serious consequences for your pet.
Symptoms that may be seen with melena vary depending on the amount of blood loss and the source of bleeding. Significant blood loss can lead to symptoms of low blood volume, anemia, or shock, such as weakness, shortness of breath, pale skin, clamminess, dizziness, confusion, and tachycardia or a fast heart rate.
Liver or kidney disease

Dogs with liver disease may have black or tarry stools due to the presence of digested blood in the stool, while dogs with kidney disease may have stools that are light-colored or even gray due to the presence of excess urea.

What are the symptoms of canine distemper? Initially, infected dogs will develop watery to pus-like discharge from their eyes. They then develop fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting.
Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious viral disease of dogs that commonly causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies. The disease most often strikes in pups between six and 20 weeks old, but older animals are sometimes also affected.
Anxiety does not specifically affect the color of stool, but it can affect how food moves through the digestive tract. There are several ways that anxiety affects digestion, increasing the risk of yellow feces. Anxiety is also linked to IBS, which can cause yellow stool.
All shades of brown and even green are considered normal. Only rarely does stool color indicate a potentially serious intestinal condition. Stool color is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool.
Poops that are entirely liquid or have too much liquid (Types 5, 6 and 7) indicate diarrhea or urgency. Sometimes diarrhea is caused by temporary illness and should pass in a few days. You can follow the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) diet to reduce further GI upset.
Coccidia are tiny single-celled parasites that live in the wall of your dog`s intestine. They are found more often in puppies, but they can also infect older dogs and cats. Dogs become infected by swallowing soil that contains coccidia or other substances in the environment that may contain dog feces.
Giardia in dogs is a disease that causes a lot of watery diarrhea. Beyond diarrhea, Giardia symptoms in dogs can include vomiting, excess foul-smelling gas, decreased appetite, decreased energy, and frequent urges to poop.
Diarrhea/difficulty defecating (pooping)/Straining to defecate: A dog with a partial blockage may have diarrhea as liquid squeezes around the obstruction. If there is a complete blockage, the dog may try to defecate but won`t be able to.
It`s typically caused by something pressing in on the colon in the surrounding area. For example, in male dogs the colon could become blocked by an enlarged or cancerous prostate. Tumors of the anal glands and lymph nodes can also press in on the colon.
Shades that may be problematic include orange/yellow (possibly caused by biliary or liver problem), green (possibly caused by a gall bladder issue or eating grass), or gray or greasy (possibly caused by a pancreas or biliary problem).
A stool that starts off firm but is followed by soft or very loose second half of the bowel movement, can indicate a variety of causes including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, maldigestion, malabsorption, food intolerances, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, dysbiosis (an imbalance in the types of gut bacteria) …

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

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. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. Older dog, about 16, with ribs showing, straining to defecate, very small amount of dark brown watery stools with mucous. Shivering when laying down
ANSWER : A. It sounds like there is something potentially serious going on, possibly a gi infection, maybe a blockage or possibly even cancer. I would recommend having it checked out today by your vet and some blood work done.

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. My 4 yr old male Catahoula Leopard Dog mix is a rescue. He’s become very possessive of me around larger dogs. How can I correct this behavior?
ANSWER : A. Sudden behavior changes can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue, so scheduling a checkup with your regular vet is always the first step. Once any health issues have been addressed, then you can address the behavioral ones. It is very common for dogs to become “possessive” of people or objects when around other dogs or people, and is called location guarding. Possession of objects or places can be a little easier to manage, however possession around other dogs can be treated as well. Working from a distance in a technique called BAT or Behavioral Adjustment Training may help. This technique involves your dog and another calm dog. Start off at a far distance and then move in until your dog becomes reactive or wary of the other dog. Move back a small amount and wait for your dog to become calm. If he shows calm behavior, reward with lots of praise, treats and love! If he becomes agitated or possessive, move back until he is calm, or stop the session completely and try again later. While this may take some time, it can help dogs learn that other dogs are not a threat to them or their people. Reading more information about BAT training or contacting a local trainer in your area can help with further advice and techniques!

Q. My dog keep hacking like a cough or something in her throat, what can I do?
ANSWER : A. Hacking and coughing can be caused by a number of things ranging from foreign bodies such as twigs stuck in the mouth or throat, to infections or illnesses such as Bordetella or Kennel cough, common in dogs that frequent kennels, dog daycare or dog parks. In older dogs, heart and lung issues can also be indicated by a cough that does not go away.

If you think there may be a foreign object stuck in your dog’s throat, you can sweep a finger gently through the back of the mouth or throat if your dog will let you. If something feels stuck and is not easily moved by the finger, it is best to contact your vet to have the object safely removed. This usually requires sedation so that your dog does not become panicked or move, causing the object to become further stuck or cut the throat.

If your dog is showing other symptoms of illness in addition to the cough such as runny nose or eyes, fever, lethargy or changes in appetite, it may indicate a viral or bacterial illness such as kennel cough. These are usually treated with a cough medication in severe cases, plus rest and treatment of any additional symptoms until the condition improves. In bacterial causes, antibiotics may also be given to help your dog feel better.

If your dog has a constant cough that does not go away, or has had changes in ability to exercise, breathing, or appears to have swelling around the chest or abdomen, in may indicate a lung or heart issue. Your vet can thoroughly examine your dog for any signs of heart or lung problems and can then offer care as needed depending on the cause.

Q. My 9 month old Maltese-Shih eats his own feces. Is there anything i can give him to get him to stop?
ANSWER : A. Coprophagia (or eating stool) is very common in young dogs. Luckily, most dogs will outgrow this behavior as they age. There are several theories as to why dogs do this which range from mimicking the mother dog’s behavior of cleaning the den, nutrient deficiency, boredom or just plain enjoyment of it.

If your dog is eating his own, removing the feces as soon as he deposits them is best in preventing them from being eaten. Keeping your dog on a leash while he potties can also help to catch any stool before he finds it. If he is eating other stool as well, sweeping the area prior to letting him out to go potty can help you identify and remove any left-behind stool.

There is also a product called For-bid that is available to make stool distasteful to pets. This product is sprinkled over every meal for a period of a week. When your dog attempts to eat the stool formed from this product, it becomes distasteful and discourages him from doing so. Most dogs will stop after a week of use, but some may need a few reminders from time to time to completely stop the behavior.

Q. My dog drinks a lot of water, should I worry?
ANSWER : A. Firstly, you should quantify if your dog is actually drinking an excessive amount of water. In a 24 hour period, a dog should drink about 1 fluid ounce (or 30mL) per pound of body weight. Therefore, the recommended amount of water intake (in fluid ounces) equals your dog’s weight (in pounds). For example, if your dog weighs 8 pounds, he/she should drink about a cup of water in a 1 hour period. This will be slightly increased if your dog gets a lot of physical activity or lives outdoors.

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.