Diagnosing an Abnormal Dog Stool

Every dog occasionally has abnormal dog stool, such as constipation or diarrhea. However, there are times when abnormal stool is a cause for concern.


Most veterinarians define diarrhea as stool that is softer than it should be. This can occur for a variety of reasons, most commonly from dogs consuming something that disagrees with them. This can be their own food, garbage or something found on a walk. Mild illnesses and food allergies can also cause diarrhea.

Diarrhea may have a strange color, shape or odor, and it may be watery or simply soft. All of this is normal if it doesn't persist for more than a couple of days. If it does, consult your veterinarian. If your dog has a fever or is dehydrated, he should also visit a veterinarian.

To help your dog firm his stools, feed a bland diet for a few days that consists of boiled, skinned poultry and rice, about half of each. Add a spoonful of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), and a spoonful of cottage cheese.


Though not necessarily an abnormal stool, if your dog has trouble relieving himself, this can also be a problem. If he strains or goes through the motions while only passing gas, this is considered abnormal.

Again, this could be caused by a mild illness or consumption of an inappropriate item. A veterinarian may prescribe you with medication to loosen his stool, or you can give your dog fiber, such as canned pumpkin or cooked oatmeal. If it persists for more than a couple of days, talk with your vet.


If normal stool or diarrhea is accompanied by a host of unusual items, your dog may have parasites. Parasites in the stool may look like actual live worms or they may just look a little strange, like grains of rice. You will usually notice several, not just one.

Tapeworms look like small grains of rice, because they are chopped into small segments once digested. Whipworms look like long pieces of string with a longer end. Other types of worms are only excreted in egg form and may be difficult to detect. However, they can cause diarrhea or bloody stool.

Other Abnormal Stool

Some dogs excrete stool that appears to be covered in mucous or blood. If it only happens once or twice, it's nothing to worry about. However, if your dog has these problems consistently, it can be indicative of a much larger problem.

Blood in the stool was once thought to be quite serious, but now, small amounts may appear if a dog ingests something that disagrees with him. If the stool has a little red blood, that's from the rectum and may just indicate straining. However, dark, black stool that looks tarry indicates internal bleeding, so consult a veterinarian immediately.

Many illnesses can cause abnormal stool, such as giardia, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease and different types of tumors. If abnormal dog stool persists, consult a veterinarian. If not, a bland diet will usually clear up the problem.