Small dog has turned into large poop machine
June 24, 2016 9:43 AM   Subscribe

In the past couple of days, our terrier/schnauzer mutt has suddenly starting pooping so much that it seems to defy the law of conservation of mass. Help me decide if this is a bland-diet-for-a-couple-of-days situation, or a get-thee-to-a-vet-now situation. (Sorry for the wall-o-poop inside)

She is 5 years old and about 15 lbs. We've had her for several years and she has always been house-trained (though we do always keep a pad down in the living room that she'll occasionally use to pee in the middle of the night -- but she's never needed to use it to poop). She and our other dog have both been on the same diet for a couple of years without any problem (Lotus grain-free/oven-baked duck, twice a day). Their typical routine is three walks a day, with meals after walks 1 and 2, and she usually poops on two of the three walks. We don't crate the dogs.

Their routine has been disrupted a little this week, but nothing that hasn't happened before. It was very hot where we live over the weekend and into the beginning of the week, and I noticed she seemed to be pooping a little less during that time. The heat also seems to have made them both a bit itchy, with an increase in hot spots that they've been scratching at. (They've both been groomed recently, so I know it's not fleas.)

On Tuesday my partner went out of town for business (which is a not infrequent event). She didn't poop on her morning walk that day, but our dog walker reported that she pooped A LOT on her afternoon walk, which I figured was just the backed-up poop from the previous couple of days finally making its way out. All seemed normal Tuesday night and through Wednesday -- normal eating, normal pooping.

Very early Thursday morning (about 4 am) I heard that she was up and seemed agitated. I thought she might just be missing my partner, so I brought her into bed with me, which usually calms her down, but instead she kept running out to the living room and pacing by the front door. Because she's never done this before I thought she was waiting for my partner to walk in, but instead she finally ran over to her pee pad and pooped A LOT. It was a little softer than normal, but definitely more than she tends to poop, and certainly not something she's ever done at 4 in the morning. She finally settled down around 5 and went to sleep. When I got up at 8, I saw that she'd pooped again on the pad, nearly as much.

I took them for their walk in the morning and she seemed fine -- only a small poop, in her usual good spirits, drinking water normally -- so I fed them both their usual morning food. Dog walker reported that all was normal for walk 2. I gave them their second meal as usual. A few hours later (around 9 pm) I went out to run some errands and I came home to find poop on the rug (she hadn't quite made it to the pee pad). I took them out on their third walk and she pooped again (though only a little). A few hours later, she pooped again on the pad (this was the first one that was very soft and getting close to "typical" diarrhea). From that point on she seemed agitated for the rest of the evening (maybe she was upset about Brexit!). They were also both itching a lot, so I gave them each a half a benadryl (we've done this before when they itch, with vet approval), which I also hoped would help with her agitation. She wouldn't sleep in the her dog bed (they both have beds in the spare bedroom) and instead seemed to want to be in the living room. I put out pee pads all over the rug and floor, and around 2 am she finally seemed to calm down to go to sleep.

I got up around 7:30 this morning and there was a small amount of poop on the rug, but she at least seems pretty mellow due to the benadryl. (They both do -- I haven't walked them yet, but I will shortly.) She doesn't seem dehydrated. I haven't noticed any blood or mucus in her stool. Our other dog is fine.

SO! Bland diet, or vet? It's the sheer volume of poop that's got me a little baffled -- it just seems way beyond the amount of food she's taking in. I have some white rice simmering on the stove (though I think I've read -- probably on AskMe -- that rice isn't great for dogs who are typically on a no-grain diet, as our dogs are), and my next move is to go to the grocery store to get some plain pumpkin. Advice? Thanks.
posted by the return of the thin white sock to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
Personally, I'd go to the vet, though that's my very usual reaction. It could be worms or giardia or something else like that, and the vet can use a sample to make a determination. I worry when my dog seems agitated, or when she doesn't want to sleep in her normal spot, and that'd be enough to get us to the vet.
posted by violetish at 9:52 AM on June 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

I agree that agitation is enough to warrant a trip to the vet, but I'd also investigate whether there is any possibility that she's getting some extra food on the side, so to speak.

We had a dog who remained bafflingly overweight despite closely monitoring her food intake...until we realized that she was snacking ad libitum on the compost pile. Unauthorized "bonus" food which is less than wholesome could also explain intestinal distress.
posted by pullayup at 9:56 AM on June 24, 2016 [8 favorites]

I'd give it over the weekend, and call the vet on Monday if it doesn't get better. A dollop of plain yogurt in their food can also help in the meantime.
posted by Fig at 10:22 AM on June 24, 2016

I'd also investigate whether there is any possibility that she's getting some extra food on the side, so to speak.

I'd say it's unlikely. They're only outside when we take them on walks (we don't have a yard), and we always keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't get into anything they shouldn't eat.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 10:36 AM on June 24, 2016

When my dog has this sort of trouble (yes, the volume seems amazing for the size of animal!), we go straight to white rice and pumpkin. Unfortunately, it does take a day or two to take effect. Our girl doesn't usually get many grains otherwise, but has no trouble with the rice (AFAIK).

Whatever is leftover at the end of the cycle goes into the freezer for the next time. For my girl, it probably happens once every 9-12 months. No rhyme or reason, but she does love to eat, so she probably finds something she shouldn't have eaten in the garden.
posted by hydra77 at 11:08 AM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'd call my Vet and talk with the Vet Tech and see what they suggest.

My go to for tummy upset is white rice and no salt chicken broth then I add plain boiled chicken the next day if things look they are returning to normal.

My terrier sometimes eats things on walks that I don't catch till I see it in his poop. May or may not be relevant. Good luck. Your pup sounds a little stressed.
posted by cairnoflore at 4:11 PM on June 24, 2016

Sometimes a change in routine is all it takes for a poop blow out. If the poop is firm and of normal color I'd do the bland diet and call the vet Monday.

Giardia produces runnier yellowy or orangey stools that smell super bad. Check the poop for worms too, many of which can be cured with otc Pancur.

You can also try a dog probiotic like Prozyme . I mix it with broth and give an hour before feeding.
posted by answergrape at 9:29 AM on June 25, 2016

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