My Dog Has Loose Stools And Smelly Gas (What’s Causing It?)

dog has loose stool and smelly gas

My dad has a pretty warped sense of humor. When we were kids, he loved sitting close to where the family gathered and let out a silent but very lethal fart. It stank so bad that it could make your eyes water and throat gag.

He would then sit there alone while we frantically ran away, looking happy and chuckling to himself. He still does it to this day mind.

My dog has the ability to clear the room with his smelly farts. He acts surprised when he lets one rip but I know it’s just an act. When my dog starts to have excess gas it is usually accompanied by loose stools as well.

But why is my dog having loose stools and smelly gas? Loose stool and smelly gas in your dog is a common problem faced by many dog owners. It can be caused by a number of reasons like food allergies, intestinal parasites, stress, inflammatory bowel disease and even a bad diet. The good thing is that most dogs will recover after making the appropriate changes.

In this article, we will be taking a more in-depth look at the possible reasons that are upsetting your dog’s digestive system and what you can do to improve it.

Why Does My Dog Have Gas And Loose Stools?

As a dog owner myself, I have gone through a couple of nasty episodes when my dog had bad excessive gas and diarrhea. Most of the time, I was able to resolve the issue at home but I had to bring him once or twice to the vet to be treated

Here are some reasons that could be causing it.

Lactose Intolerance

Many dog owners are rather taken aback when I tell them that giving their dogs dairy products like coconut whipped cream could be a recipe for a bowel disaster. It might come as a surprise to you but dogs are actually lactose intolerant.

The only time that your dog can handle a good amount of milk is during their puppy days. The dog’s body has the appropriate enzyme to digest the sugars from the mother dog’s milk.

However, as the dog gets older and starts to transition to sold food, the body will no longer find the need to produce the enzyme. When this happens, the consumption of dairy products like cheese, milk, cream, whipped cream, etc can upset the dog’s stomach.

The common symptoms are:

  • Flatulence
  • Explosive diarrhea
  • Tummy pain
  • Vomiting

What Should You Do?

If you have been giving your dog dairy products on a regular basis, I would suggest that you try to reduce it dramatically to stop it all together. It could be that your dog is very lactose intolerant without you realizing it.

If your dog really loves dairy products, try giving your dog some natural yogurt or goat cheese which has a lot less lactose.

A Bad Diet

dog eating kibbles

I know it’s too much information but I usually get a very bad bowel movement if my diet has not been on point for a while. This would mean too much fast food and microwave dinners.

The same thing applies to your dog’s diet. What your dog eats is the most important deciding factor for its health.

Many dog owners have been feeding their dogs dry food or kibbles as dog food. Dry food is convenient and in some cases cheaper than other types of diet.

However, dry dog food tends to contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients like by-products and grains. Dry food is also low in protein and devoid of moisture.

Some might say that our dogs are omnivores which means that they are fine with having carbohydrates in their diet. If that’s the case, we would be seeing wolves munching on leaves as well which almost doesn’t happen.

Dogs are carnivores and need a diet that is high in animal protein. Dry food contains a high amount of carbs and fat which your dog’s body can’t digest effectively.

When I first took my go home from the shelter, he had frequent diarrhea and bad gas. Most shelters will feed dry food which is understandable.

His digestive system didn’t start to improve until I switched him over to canned food and eventually raw meat.

What Should You Do?

If you are currently giving your dog dry food, make the decision to improve your dog’s diet today. Many dog owners have noticed vast improvements in their dog’s well-being after switching to a better diet.

Stop giving your dog human foods as well as that it can cause digestive issues and certain ingredients like artificial sweeteners can be very toxic to dogs.

Start off with good quality canned food and eventually to a raw meat diet if you choose to do so. But as the very bare minimum, your dog should be eating good wet food.

Changing Your Dog’s Diet Too Quickly

dog with new diet

Kudos to you if you have been trying to switch your dog over from dry food to wet food. However, many dog owners tend to do it too quickly and that can throw your dog’s digestive system out of whack.

For some dogs, it can take up to 3 months for the dog’s stomach and bowels to strengthen and get used to digesting and absorbing the new diet.

Imagine eating meat for most of your life and having to switch over to a full vegan diet within a week. You’ll probably be the gassiest and loose-stooled person I’ll know.

What Should You Do?

When transitioning your dog over to a new diet, remember these two words.

Patience and patience.

Yes, I said it twice because you do need a lot of time and patience to not cause a major upset in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

Start off by just adding a little of the new diet to your dog’s food for about a week. If your dog doesn’t show any signs of loose stools and smelly gas, slowly increase the amount of the new diet week by week.

From my experience, most dogs can safely transition to their new diet after a month. If your dog does show any signs of stomach discomfort, reduce the amount of the new diet until the symptoms improve.

Resist the temptation to do the change too quickly even if your dog seems fine.

Intestinal Parasites

parasitic worms in pets

Another common problem that can cause problems to your dog’s GI tract is intestinal parasites. These worms reside in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and will leech off the food that your dog eats.

The most common intestinal parasites are:

  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms

Intestinal parasites are commonly found in puppies which get them from their mothers. Older dogs can also get infected by ingesting food or water that has been contaminated.

Dogs with intestinal parasites will show symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Flatulence
  • Lack of appetite

What Should You Do?

The easiest way to see if your dog has parasites is by looking at its poop. Normal dog poop will be firm and tubular in shape, almost like a cigar.

Dogs with parasites can be pooping clear liquid or have white specks in their poo.

If your dog has never been dewormed before, it is best to take it to the vet with a poo sample for examination. The vet will be able to tell if your dog has intestinal parasites by checking your dog’s stool under the microscope.

Once confirmed, the vet will prescribe dewormers for you to feed your dog until all the parasites are gone.

Be careful to not overdose your dog on dewormers as the active ingredient is very strong.

Food Allergy Or Sensitivity

As humans, we can be allergic to the strangest things at times. The same thing can happen to our dogs. You might have a dog that could be allergic or sensitive to the food that he is eating.

Even if your dog is on a very good diet, it might be allergic to sensitive to the type of meat used. My friend’s dog is allergic to chicken and anything that has chicken in it will give his dog gas and runny stools.

There could even be times when your dog has been doing fine on a particular brand of wet food and started being sensitive to it out of the blue.

It could be due to the manufacturer changing or adding some ingredients to the food that is affecting your dog.

What Should You Do?

It takes a bit of trial and error to figure out what your dog is allergic or sensitive to. You can try switching out the type of meat or brand that your dog has been eating to see if that helps.

You can also try and do an allergy test at the vet to see what allergens your dog is specifically allergic to.

What Can I Give My Dog For Gas And Loose Stools?

When my dog is having gas and loose stools, giving some pumpkin or psyllium husk can help improve your dog’s condition. This can help firm up your dog’s poo and get rid of the excess gas.

Do not give pumpkin that is sweetened but natural pumpkin which is steamed or boiled. Just a couple of pieces, depending on how big your dog is. I do my dog some pumpkin on a regular basis for its other health benefits as well.

For psyllium husk, anything from a quarter to a teaspoon daily is enough for most dogs. Just add it to your dog’s water or wet food and stir well.

Start with a small dosage and slowly increase it.

Do not feed your dog too much psyllium as it tends to increase in volume and become sticky when vet. When ingested in large quantities, it can become a blockage hazard in your dog’s stomach.

When To Take My Dog To The Vet?

If your dog has been having bad diarrhea for more than 24 hours, it is best to bring your dog to the vet for medical treatment.

Dogs lose a lot of water and electrolytes when having diarrhea which can cause severe dehydration in them.

It is better to have the vet check on your dog to make sure that the symptoms are not caused by a serious underlying medical issue.

My Dog Has Bad Gas Every Day

Food that is not properly digested in your dog’s GI tract will start to ferment and rot. These food bits will start to release gas that smells really bad when it comes out of your dog.

Food items that contain dairy or chili are the common culprits of flatulence in dogs.

If your dog has been having bad gas recently, make sure to be more aware of what it has been eating.

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