Because you needed another dog butt question today
July 28, 2014 5:49 PM   Subscribe

My dog just had an accident inside for the second time this week and probably the 15th this summer after 8 years of never having one. I am getting really fed up. Warning: gross descriptions of dog poo inside.

My 8-year old dog keeps having loose stool accidents inside. They're not quite diarrhea- just extremely soft with huge globs of mucous and drips of poo everywhere. These accidents mostly happen in the middle of the night, but they also sometimes (like today) happen during the day. These accidents are followed by (I think) a couple of days of loose stool when we take her out. Today one of the dogs also peed in the house which neither of them has ever done since they were puppies. Her mood and behavior have both been totally normal- she's not asking to go out any more than usual and doesn't seem distressed. My boyfriend took her to the vet in early June after a few of these incidents and all of their tests came back negative.

This all started this May. I have a few hypotheses about what's going on, and all of them changed around the beginning of this summer.

Environmental- She has had these accidents both at my house and my boyfriend's house. It seems like maybe she has them at his house only when we've recently stayed at my house, which we have not done much since the beginning of the summer, but I'm not totally sure about that pattern. She had a good streak (sorry) for about the past month when we didn't stay at my place at all, but she's had two accidents since he's been out of town and I've been back home this week. There's a fenced-in yard at my house and she sometimes grazes on tall grasses/weeds (which obviously were not there pre-April/May), although she's always done this and it's never caused a problem before. I went outside yesterday and cut down everything that she could munch on just in case. She never had these problems when I was staying at my house more full-time. We haven't had any chemical treatments or other environmental changes in the house or yard.

Dietary- We switched her food around May to Taste of the Wild High Prairie from Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream. My dog has known food allergies that have been totally under control with non-shitty dog food but these allergies never involved GI distress. Both dogs seemed to react poorly to this change in diet--the other one's hot spots got worse--so we finished the bag and bought a bag of Pacific Stream yesterday. The vet didn't know what was wrong when we took her there in in June but suggested we try a bland diet of chicken and rice, but she's allergic to chicken and refused to eat the plain rice so we eventually gave up (I know) and went back to her regular food. She didn't have any problems when we switched her back.

Stress- She's been mostly staying at my boyfriend's house since May. She's high strung but generally very adaptable and I've never had a problem with her getting stressed while traveling or staying with friends. He's very strict with her, which has resulted in improvement in her behavior that I'm very happy about, but could also be stressful. However, the fact that it's gotten worse since he left doesn't support that hypothesis unless she's stressed out because the pack leader is gone.

I'm wondering if there's anything that I'm not considering or things that I can do to make her feel better and prevent me from having to wash my carpet yet again this summer.
posted by deus ex machina to Pets & Animals (19 answers total)
Response by poster: Just occurred to me- I *think* that there have been a couple of accidents this summer where she had solid poop, but all of the recent ones have been loose.
posted by deus ex machina at 5:53 PM on July 28, 2014

Best answer: It sounds like the accidents are the result of diarrhea. Even if you don't find he underlying cause of that, with my dog I always found that the cure for both diearhea and constipation is fibre. I used to throw a bunch of all-bran buds in with his food (moistened with some chicken broth or something, since no one wants dry all bran buds). Obviously given the food allergies you would have to adapt that.

The mucous is probably the secretions of his anal glands which can overfill (for lack of a better word) if his stool is loose. Normally these get squeezed and emptied with each bowel movement, but if the stool is too soft to do that, they won't and they can get inflamed and almost abscess-y. You would also know this was happening if the dog were scooting.

In short, I would try the following: 1. Add fibre to bulk up the stool. Even if this doesn't stop the accidents, at least it will be easier to clean up if it's drier. 2. Possibly get anal glands drained by the vet if you think this is bothering him. 3. Put down a puppy pad. Controversial, I know, but if you dog can't control its bowels until it can get outside, then you need to provide an option that doesn't have you scrubbing the carpet all the time.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:03 PM on July 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have a dog that can get life threatening HGE develop from something as simple as an upset stomach so I have learned more about dog poo then I ever wanted to.

Stress is a very overlooked cause of diarrhea in dogs as is a change in diet. I imagine diarrhea is most likely the cause and if it isn't it is the easiest one to try to treat to see if it makes a change. If nothing else it will treat the symptoms while you work on the cause.

Adding a bit of Metamucil to your dogs diet can help, the fibre helps bulk up the poop & absorbs the excess moisture. Canned, plain unspiced tinned pumpkin is amazingly effective. Mix it with her dry food, start with a table spoon or so at a time. Do it daily for a week or 2 and see if it makes any difference. This works because of the fibre in the pumpkin, and according to our vet, there is a something in the pumpkin that is soothing to irritated intestines. One of my dog has such bad food allergies that I have yet to find a commercial food that doesn't trigger them and and he has no trouble with the pumpkin.
posted by wwax at 6:42 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

We don't do chemical treatments in our yard either, but most of our neighbors do, and I think it just gets into the runoff or they pick it up on walks despite our precautions. Last year, we had a horrible episode where almost all the lawns here were treated and all three of our dogs got diarrhea. They were on different diets and everything, so I'm pretty sure that had something to do with it.

I'm not sure how much you can do about it, though, if that's the problem. Just keep an eye on her, limit her grass eating, keep her on the sidewalk when you're out, and maybe even wash her feet when you get home.

As far as home remedies for just the diarrhea, try bran like If only says. Canned pumpkin also works sometimes. Not the pie filling, but plain pureed pumpkin. (On preview: like wwax says)

This page here says that either ground beef or turkey can work in a bland diet if your dog is sensitive to chicken, so maybe try that too.

I hope everyone is feeling better soon.
posted by ernielundquist at 6:52 PM on July 28, 2014

If you haven't already, you might take a look at my recent question about my dog's diet and loose stools. To sum up, while we didn't have problems with inappropriate elimination, we did have problems with loose stools in one of our dogs on TOTW High Prairie. This wasn't fixed with a switch to the TOTW Wetlands formula. We haven't tried the Wild Pacific Stream formulation, and I don't think we will, with my thinking being that the high fat content in TOTW is what is doing her in.

It's not clear from your post why you switched from the Pacific Stream formula to High Prairie in the first place. If you google around, you will see lots of people who report problems with loose stools on TOTW.
posted by drlith at 7:02 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


You can try them on something like GI Restore wet food, esp the low fat kind, but I think it is prescription only/vet-sold only. Otherwise definitely try the pumpkin, I was a total nonbeliever until I tried it on loafy after 2 weeks of runny poops, and they were solid within 36h.
posted by elizardbits at 7:11 PM on July 28, 2014

Oh, I forgot point 4 of my advice: Get a thundershirt.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:19 PM on July 28, 2014

Response by poster: I just got back from the grocery store with pumpkin and bran and she is very happily eating a mishmosh of them with her kibble. I'd tried pumpkin with her before for anal gland issues (elizardbits, we are truly sisters in the fight against leaky dog butt) but totally forgot about it for binding her up. Hopefully that at least helps with the mess.

My landlord owns all of the houses around mine and doesn't spray so I'm pretty sure that's not it, unless it's some random runoff from somewhere else.

drlith, we switched because my boyfriend came home with it one day. Not sure why. She's always been fine on Pacific Stream. Ydogbelly'sMMV though.

Are thundershirts tolerable to dogs that hate wearing clothes? She won't walk when I put anything on her, regardless of how long I make that fucking prima donna wear it. She's currently trying to scratch her collar off of her neck because she's still salty after 8 years that she has to wear it.
posted by deus ex machina at 7:26 PM on July 28, 2014

Also, and please know how much I hate to recommend this, but have you taken in a sample of the runny mucousy poop to the vet for testing? The presence of large amounts of snotlike stuff doesn't suggest anal gland issues to me (and also you would know if it was right away from the FIREY ROTTING WHALE ANUS stench), it sounds more like a digestive issue. One of my former dogs had gloopy snot poops and it was a problem digesting fats. (hence my suggestion of the GI restore food, which i forgot to mention comes specifically in a low-fat formula for problems like these)
posted by elizardbits at 7:42 PM on July 28, 2014

I recently asked a question about dog butts, and got advice from someone who knew a dog who had had accidents while it had giardia. Doesn't fit so much with my dog, because her poop is solid and normal, but I know at least in humans giardia causes bowel movements something like what you're describing your dog having.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:46 PM on July 28, 2014 that you mention it, my dog had giardia years ago and was pooping inside.

And yeah, if it's not giaria, I would try a thundershirt even if the dog hates clothes. The thundershirt is super-tight, so it's not like something hanging off of them. It's a very different thing from typical dog clothes. And they're guaranteed, so no risk beyond the hassle of returning it.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:22 PM on July 28, 2014

Pumpkin is magic.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:57 AM on July 29, 2014

Has the dog been dewormed? Not talking about heartworm. Vets who only see pets will do 6k worth of surgery before they start thinking. It's about 15 bucks, maybe more in town. Has the dog brought you a dead bird? Mouthed a dead anything? Avian worms escape their dead host and can latch onto different places deep inside and cause either vomiting or this mess.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:12 AM on July 29, 2014

You might want to try a limited ingredient diet. When we first got our Weim, we tried several high-quality diets and combinations of dry/canned. He had varying degrees of butt issues until someone recommended Natural Balance Limited Ingredient. No issues in 3+ years!
posted by jshort at 6:31 AM on July 29, 2014

Response by poster: Yes, she did have her poo tested. Would the vet have tested for worms/giardia?

She used to be on Natural Balance Limited Ingredient (in fact, it was the food that resolved her allergies when she was a pup) but it's not available anywhere locally and special ordering became a pain. I was seriously considering restarting the special order but it was so low rated on Dog Food Advisor that I just got Pacific Stream instead.

I locked her in the kitchen last night in the hopes that I wouldn't have to clean up carpet in the morning but she got into the store room and pooped on the carpet in there. Grrr...
posted by deus ex machina at 7:50 AM on July 29, 2014

Seconding GIARDIA. My dogs get it as soon as the weather warms up like clockwork (SoCal). It is my understanding they get it from eating grass which has been in contact with other dogs feces, or by drinking standing water contaminated with it. This is the only time they will poop inside the house...and usually in the middle of the night. The poop is VERY mucous-y. Since it has been happening for awhile despite dietary changes, this would be my guess...and it sounds like your dog may have had it for a while. I would have the vet test for it stat. It is contagious, and dogs can get it repeatedly...mine have had it twice in the same summer. At this point, I recognize the symptoms and keep Panacur on hand (Amazon or your vet) and give them 3 days of that, which clears it up. Good luck!

"These microscopic parasites attach themselves to the intestinal wall and the damage causes an acute (sudden-onset) foul-smelling diarrhea. The stool may range from soft to watery, often has a greenish tinge to it, and occasionally contains blood. Infected dogs tend to have excess mucus in the feces. Vomiting may occur in some cases. The signs may persist for several weeks and gradual weight loss may become apparent. The diarrhea may be intermittent."
posted by Z if for Zillah at 2:13 PM on July 29, 2014

Response by poster: I just called the vet to ask about giardia. They think it's a separate thing than what was happening earlier this summer and their guess is that she's eating something that's not agreeing with her- likely grass/weeds, especially since we've had a lot of rain lately and that makes foliage more snackable to dogs I guess. They said that they would be happy to test for giardia but it didn't seem like that to them. They were more concerned about the pee accident and said that if there's another one we should get a urinalysis on both dogs since it's so out of character.

They did recommend a 12-hour water-only fast followed by a bland diet (1/2 chicken or low-fat/rinsed ground beef and 1/2 rice) for a few days. They said that some people who have dogs with more sensitive stomachs have to do it regularly and it helps a lot.
posted by deus ex machina at 3:21 PM on July 29, 2014

Response by poster: Oh! And the pumpkin/bran worked like a charm- solid poo so far today.
posted by deus ex machina at 3:21 PM on July 29, 2014

I heard on the greyhound message board that Taste of the Wild recently changed the probiotics used in the food to a new formula, and some dogs were having issues.
posted by sepviva at 7:13 PM on July 29, 2014

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