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Healthy Gut and Digestive Super Support Kit

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Irregular Stools in Pets: Causes and Remedies

Pet Care Tips 4 min read
Woman Picking up Her Dog's Poop from Green Grass, Closeup. Irregular stools in pets

Oh no, why does my pet’s litter box situation seem…off? Our furriends can’t exactly tell us when their tummy isn’t feeling right. But luckily, they do leave us with some clues: their poop! While scooping duty might not be glamorous, irregular stools, whether diarrhea (loose, watery stools) or constipation (hard, dry stools), can give you valuable insights into their health.

There are two forms of irregular stool – diarrhea and constipation – that are very common in dogs and cats.

Diarrhea in dogs and cats

Diarrhea occurs when fecal material moves rapidly through the intestines, leading to reduced absorption of water, nutrients, and electrolytes.

Common diarrhea causes:

Stray dog eating food scraps and getting irregular stools in pets
  • Diet Changes: Did you switch their food recently? Did they sneak a bite of your takeout?
  • Infectious Agents: Microscopic invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites can disrupt the digestive system, leading to diarrhea. This is a particular concern for unvaccinated puppies and kittens or those with compromised immune systems.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): This chronic condition involves inflammation in the intestines. Diarrhea is a common symptom, alongside vomiting, weight loss, and abdominal discomfort.
  • Stress-Induced Distress: Believe it or not, stress can manifest as diarrhea in some furkiddos. Travel or other changes in routine can take a toll on their digestive system.

Constipation in dogs and cats

Constipation is characterized by infrequent or difficult passage of stool or feces and is often a temporary condition. Pups and kitties experiencing constipation may exhibit signs of straining or discomfort when trying to defecate.

Common constipation causes:

Brown tabby longhair cat sits on a kitchen countertop and licks his paw
  • Low Fiber Intake: Fiber plays a crucial role in promoting regular bowel movements. A diet deficient in fiber, particularly common in commercially-prepared pet foods with high filler content, can make it difficult for your little one to eliminate waste effectively.
  • Swallowed Something Strange: For example, when furkids with long hair overgroom or accidentally ingest foreign objects — they can cause blockages.
  • Medication: Drugs like antihistamines may have the side effect of constipation.,
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Constipation can also be a symptom of other health problems like kidney disease, hypothyroidism, or neurological disorders (e.g., nerve damage).

Other forms of irregular stools in pets

Beyond the common issues of diarrhea and constipation, there are other signs in your pet’s stool that might indicate digestive problems.

Here are some other forms of irregular stools to watch out for:

  • Excessive Mucus: If you notice a large amount of mucus in your furkid’s poop, it could indicate a more serious concern like IBD or a parasite infection.
  • Tarry (Black) Stools: Black poop can be a sign of internal bleeding in the upper digestive tract. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention.
  • Bright Red Stools: Fresh blood coating the poop, typically red in color, can indicate bleeding in the lower intestines or rectum. This could be caused by issues like anal gland problems, colitis, or polyps.
  • Pale or Clay-Colored Stools: This color can indicate liver problems that are affecting bile production. Bile is responsible for giving stool its normal brown color.
  • Greasy Stools: Shiny poop that’s covered by a greasy film can be a sign of maldigestion, a condition where the body struggles to absorb nutrients from food. This could be due to pancreatic insufficiency or other digestive disorders.

When to see the vet when noticing irregular stools in pets?

If your little one’s irregular stools persist for more than a day or two, or are accompanied by other signs like vomiting, consult your veterinarian immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in their recovery!

How to ensure healthy poops and a happy gut?

As you may have already learned, our furry friends’ poops are very indicative of their digestive health. If they’re experiencing constipation, diarrhea, or other irregularities, it might be time to re-evaluate your gut health.


Remember: If your little one is straining to defecate and hasn’t pooped in more than a day or two, seek veterinary attention.

What your pet eats is very important when restoring their digestive health. For example, in cases of constipation, we would recommend adjusting the fiber content and quality. High-fiber diets can be beneficial for some pets, while others may respond better to low-fiber diets, depending on the root cause. Increasing water intake by switching to canned food may also be suggested.

As every furkiddo has unique needs, they require different meal plans to address their conditions. Dr. Amanda can help your little one create a tailored nutritional plan to target their health issues!

You may also consider adding probiotic foods (e.g., yogurt, kefir) into your pet’s meal. They can help introduce good bacteria to their gut microbiome.

NHV Herbal Supplements

Apart from adding probiotic foods to their diet, NHV Probiotic + Prebiotic can also be very beneficial! It has of 7 strains of high-quality probiotics, with each scoop containing 5 Billion CFU (Colony Forming Units – the active good bacteria). Our probiotic can help support your little one’s digestive system and addresses gastrointestinal (GI) issues like diarrhea.

In addition to Probiotic supplements, NHV Plantaeris and NHV TumFlora can also help promote overall GI health in your little one. Talk to one of our Pet Experts for supplement recommendation best for your pet!


Water, WATER Everywhere! Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps soften stool and keeps things flowing smoothly.

Move Your Body

Regular exercise is just as important for pets as it is for us. Daily walks, playtime, or interactive games can help stimulate the digestive system and promote stool regularity!

By incorporating these tips and monitoring your pet’s stools, you can play a proactive role in safeguarding their gut health and overall well-being. Remember, a happy gut leads to a happy and healthy pet! If you have any questions about irregular stools in pets, feel free to connect with us below!

NHV Pet Experts

NHV Pet Experts

We have a dedicated group of pet expert professionals, including veterinarians, vet techs, and other pet professionals to guide you through any questions. We’re committed to your pet’s wellness and can offer additional tips, resources, nutritional advice, and more.

Published: April 8, 2024

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