Dog Loose Stool Diagnosis

If your dog comes down with a case of loose stool, have him examined by a veterinarian as soon as you can. Loose stool can be caused by a number of internal infections, parasites and other conditions that range from treatable and mild to severe. To effectively treat your dog's condition, however, you'll first have to work with your vet to properly identify the cause of his loose stool. Read on for a brief overview of this diagnostic process and how you can help to ensure that your pet experiences a speedy recovery.


Loose stool is often accompanied by other symptoms at the same time. In fact, these concurrent warning signs are often a veterinarian's first clue as to the underlying cause of your pet's loose stool problem. You can aid in the diagnostic process by identifying and keeping track of all unusual behaviors or physical signs that you notice occurring along with your pet's diarrhea. In particular, watch out for the following common symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the stool
  • Mucous in the stool
  • Skin and coat problems
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Change in color of tongue, nose or gums

In the event of any of these symptoms, keep a journal of all warning signs, when they began and how they've progressed over time. If your pet's symptoms persist for more than a few days, a veterinarian should examine your dog for signs of a disease or other medical condition.

Diagnosing the Cause of Your Pet's Diarrhea

Because loose stool is often itself a symptom of another disease or condition, your veterinarian may only have a general idea as to the potential causes of your pet's loose stool, based upon his symptoms. By analyzing your pet's medical history, vaccinations and drug schedules, however, your vet may have more luck identifying some probable conditions.

In order to confirm his suspicions, your vet may continue by taking a stool sample for further analysis. By studying your pet's stool under a microscope or in the laboratory, your vet can determine whether your pet's condition is due to an infection of some kind or a parasite. These are two of the most common causes of canine loose stool and diarrhea.

In addition to and occasionally instead of a stool sample, your vet may take a blood sample from your dog. Generally, a veterinarian will only do this if he suspects that a disease not related to an infection or a parasite is causing your pet's diarrhea. A complete blood cell count gives an idea of how your pet's body is producing hormones and other chemicals. Because particular diseases and conditions alter your dog's ability to generate these chemicals, this test can be an important clue for your veterinarian.

Once your vet has determined the source of your pet's diarrhea, you can begin working on treating the symptoms of the condition, as well as the cause of the symptoms itself. The types of treatment methods are as varied as the number of different potential causes, so it's best to speak with your veterinarian for further advice as to how to proceed with treatment.