Besides your dog’s appetite, the health of its bowel movements is also a reliable barometer of your dog’s health.
It can be alarming for dog owners to notice their dog pooping clear liquid. Is this normal? Or is it something to be very concerned about?
The clear liquid in the dog’s poop is actually mucus which is produced by the colon. The overproduction of mucus in the dog’s poop could indicate a problem with the dog’s stomach, stress or food allergies.
While mucus is a natural part of your dog’s system, ever wonder what triggers an overproduction? Let’s venture into the hidden realms of your dog’s gut
What Is This Mucus In My Dog’s Poop?
Mucus production is common in the dog’s body, including the intestines. The purpose of mucus in the intestines is to form a protective lining against bacteria.
It also acts as a lubricant in the dog’s colon to allow it to pass motion smoothly.
If you observe your dog’s stool carefully, there will be some mucus stuck to it.
What we need to be concerned about is if there is an excessive amount of mucus in the dog stool which makes it look like something out of an alien movie.
Why Is My Dog Pooping Clear Liquid?
There are a number of reasons that can cause your dog to experience this issue.
The majority of the possible causes aren’t life-threatening but some definitely require a visit to the vet immediately.
1. Intestinal Parasites
Almost every dog will get infected by intestinal parasites at some point in their lives. The most common types of intestinal parasites are:
These worms live in the intestinal tract of your dog and feed on its nutrients.
Dogs get infected by these parasites by ingesting contaminated food and water.
Tapeworms can be passed on from fleas when dogs ingest them while grooming themselves.
Dogs with such an infestation can have more mucus in their poo along with diarrhea.
There might even be tiny white specks that are not moving in your dog’s stools.
This could be from the body parts of the worms in your dog’s intestines.
Puppies can get these worms from their mother. Please do get your dog checked for parasites as it can be a serious problem in young dogs.
The good thing is that getting rid of these yucky worms is not too difficult.
The best way is to give your dog a deworming tablet like Heartgard Plus.
Make sure to give your dog the right dosage or the dewormer might do more harm than good.
The active ingredient in the medication will eliminate the worms which will then be absorbed into the dog’s body or passed out in its stool.
2. Eating Spoiled Food
Every dog owner has had a dog that loves digging through the trash to snack on discarded food items.
Dogs are amazing scavengers and can eat almost anything they deem fit, even if it’s spoiled.
The good thing is that a dog’s digestive system is strong enough to handle food that isn’t too fresh.
Our dogs evolved from wolves that can feed on rotting animal carcasses when food is scarce.
However, eating spoiled food brings about the risk of contracting diseases such as Salmonella or E. coli, into their system.
The dog’s natural response to such foreign agents is to produce mucus to help move things along.
Hence you will notice your dog pooping clear liquid more often.
3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
This chronic disorder of the intestinal muscles can happen in both dogs and humans.
Dogs with irritable bowel syndrome experience bouts of diarrhea and constipation because the intestinal muscles do not function properly.
These muscles can move too fast or too slow which causes the dog to have soft stools or constipation.
The main causes of IBS in dogs are usually food intolerance and stress.
However, it can be tricky to diagnose the root cause of IBS as it is a common symptom of many other health issues in dogs.
4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IDB)
Inflammatory bowel disease does sound very similar to IBS but the root cause is very different.
IBS is a structural disease that means some physical damage has occurred to the dog’s digestive tract.
The vet will able able to notice inflammation when examining your dog’s gut.
IBD and IBS do share similar symptoms such as:
- Dog pooping liquid
- Bloody stools
- Loss of appetite
IDB is also more commonly known as Crohn’s Disease whereby the dog’s stomach or intestines get invaded by inflammatory cells.
With IBD, the symptoms can get worse over time. You need to bring your dog to the vet soon than later if it is showing the above symptoms.
5. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
SIBO is a condition that affects the small intestinal tract of a dog. Certain bacteria in the small intestines aid in the digestion of food.
When there is an overgrowth of bacteria, it can cause a number of issues with the dog’s digestive system:
- Weight loss
A number of factors can cause SIBO.
When a dog overeats, it can hamper the digestion and absorption of the food.
A malnourished dog whose gut flora is out of wack can cause an overgrowth of the bacteria as well.
In some dogs, vets are unable to ascertain the root cause and it’s believed that the condition is inherited.
6. Change In Dog’s Diet
This was the thing that gave my dog excessive mucus in his poo.
A change in your dog’s diet can be quite a shock to your dog’s body.
Especially when you have been feeding your dog dry food or kibbles since young and plan to change to wet food.
It is similar to someone becoming a vegan after being a meat eater all their lives.
First of all, kudos to upgrading your dog’s diet. Dry food is bad for dogs and cats and should not be part of your dog’s diet.
When you start to change your dog’s diet, do it slowly.
Mix in a little of the new diet with the old food to let your dog’s body acclimatize to it.
A sudden and abrupt change in your dog’s diet can lead to stomach problems like diarrhea, constipation and flatulence.
It took me about a month to transition my dog from canned to raw food with some minor hiccups along the way.
A Dog’s Natural Diet
Dogs are carnivores by nature which means that their diet should consist mainly of animal protein.
A raw diet is the most natural diet for dogs and their bodies are able to handle and absorb raw food a lot better than most dog owners think.
The next best alternative would be good quality canned food.
Make sure to analyze the ingredients label to be sure that it doesn’t contain stuff like by-products and grains.
When a dog’s large intestines or colon gets inflamed, this condition is called colitis or large bowel diarrhea.
A dog that is suffering from colitis will have diarrhea or constipation.
There will also be signs of excessive mucus and bright red blood in the stools.
Colitis can be caused by a number of factors:
- Intestinal parasites
- Stomach infection
- Injury to the stomach
Colitis is also a side effect for dogs that are experiencing an overdose of Trazodone.
This is an antidepressant drug that is used to treat a variety of behavioral issues in animals.
8. Canine Parvovirus
Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious virus that can cause serious stomach illness in puppies.
Young puppies between the age of 6-20 weeks old are susceptible to this virus.
There are some older dogs that can get infected too.
CPV not only infects dogs but other animals like raccoons, coyotes, foxes, skunks, etc. This virus actually originated from cats which then mutated to infect dogs.
Dogs with weaker immune systems are more at risk of getting this virus.
You should not bring your dog to places like animal shelters and kennels where the viral load can be very high.
If you do need to bring your puppy to venues with other dogs, make sure that it is vaccinated first.
This virus prevents the intestines from absorbing nutrients, disrupts bowel movements and interferes with the digestion of food.
Dogs that are infected by CPV will show these symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Dog poops clear liquid
- High fever
The best way to diagnose CPV in dogs is through a fecal test. There’s a high chance that your dog has to be hospitalized to be properly treated.
9. Ingesting Foreign Objects
A friend who works as a vet assistant has told me that she has treated dogs that have eaten the strangest things.
This can range from marbles to even undergarments!
Our dogs are rather curious creatures and enjoy putting their noses in places where they don’t belong.
Most of the time, dogs are smart enough to differentiate between inedible and edible objects but certain items can ‘fall through the crack’.
There are some dogs and cats that can have an eating disorder called Pica.
They have a strong desire to chew and ingest foreign objects like plastic, fabric, paper, metal, glass, soil, etc.
It is a dangerous eating disorder but unfortunately, there isn’t any cure for it.
Doctors are unable to find the exact cause of pica in pets.
It is speculated that pica is most likely caused by malnutrition or an inherited disorder.
These ingested foreign objects can cause intestinal blockages that can be life-threatening.
If you notice your dog eating such materials please see a vet immediately.
10. Food Intolerance
Dogs can be greedy pets but there are certain types of food that don’t sit too well with them.
Firstly, dogs are not omnivores. They are carnivores and thrive on a high-protein diet from animal meat.
Feeding your dog too much carbohydrates and fats can cause stomach discomfort along with other health problems.
Next on the list will be dairy products. Many dog owners are still feeding their dogs dairy products like milk and cheese.
Such food items are ok as an occasional treat but many dogs are lactose intolerant after their puppy phase.
Too much dairy in your dog’s diet can lead to severe diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.
Even though our pets do not have to experience the same stress triggers as we do, there are other factors that can cause your dog to be stressed out.
- Moving to a new home
- Going to a boarding home while you are away
- Addition of a new family member or pet
- Loud sounds
Too much stress on your dog can cause health problems like:
- Lack of appetite
- Excessive mucus in stools
Stress triggers in dogs can be managed and tend to resolve themselves once the dog has adapted to its new surroundings.
Otherwise, it is best to see a pet behaviorist as it isn’t good for your dog to be feeling stressed out.
Is Mucus in My Dog’s Stool Dangerous?
It isn’t uncommon for dogs to have issues with their digestive system from time to time.
This can be more prevalent for dogs with chronic gastrointestinal issues like IBS.
Most of the time, the issue should clear up within 48 hours.
In the event that you notice other symptoms like blood in the stools or frequent vomiting, please get your dog to the vet right away as it could mean a serious health problem.
How Should Healthy Dog Poop Look Like?
Healthy dog stools should look like a piece of wooden log. It should be firm in texture and brownish in color.
Stools that are watery or resemble pebbles indicated an unhealthy digestive system.
The amount of fecal matter depends on the quantity of food consumed in relation to the dog’s size.
I’ve had a small Maltese that could out poop most dogs three times her size.
It is normal for poop to smell but it should not smell bad enough to make you gag.
I noticed that dogs that eat dry food or kibbles tend to have stools that smells worse.
How To Improve My Dog’s Digestion?
Improving your dog’s gut health is something that all dog owners should strive to do. Here are some methods that you can use.
Your dog’s digestive tract is full of living microorganisms that are known as your dog’s microbiome.
Feeding your dog a suitable prebiotic/probiotic supplement can help to promote a healthy gut microbiome which leads to better digestion and bowel movements.
You can also consider making your own fermented greens for your dog to help improve its gut flora.
Dogs can’t eat kimchi due to the seasoning but there are other safer options available.
Don’t Feed Human Food
Almost every dog owner is guilty of this to some degree, myself included.
We love our dogs to bits and tend to spoil and pamper them with not-so-healthy human food at times.
We might feel that feeding them human food serves as a good treat or reward but it can do more harm than good.
There are many ingredients in human food that can be harmful to dogs and mess up their digestive system.
Our dogs are meant to thrive on a diet that is naturally best for them and not one that we think works for our dogs.
Add More Fiber
Adding more fiber to your dog’s diet can also help with bowel movements and stool consistency.
This is beneficial for dogs that have chronic diarrhea or constipation problems.
There are two things that you can add to your dog’s food to up its fiber intake and firm up its stool.
- Psyllium husk
- Fresh pumpkin
They are easily available in most health stores and supermarkets. All you have to do is just feed your dog about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per meal.
As you can see from the above, there are a number of possible causes that mess up your dog’s digestive system and poop excessive mucus.
Give it a few days to see if the issue resolves itself.
Otherwise, please bring your canine companion to the vet ASAP as it could be due to a life-threatening health condition.