Loose Stool

Information to help with canine and feline symptoms of soft, loose or runny stools in cats and dogs.

Select a Topic

  1. What are Loose Stools?
  2. What Causes Loose Stools?
  3. Diagnosing Loose Stools
  4. Help for Loose Stools

What are Loose Stools?

When your pet’s stomach is upset, he may frequently pass loose, runny, watery stools. Temporary bouts of loose stools, aka diarrhea, are common among both dogs and cats.

What Causes Loose Stools?

Loose or soft stools usually occur when something irritates your dog or cat’s stomach. A sudden change in pet food, food allergies, rotten or spoiled food, poisons and chemicals, as well as overeating, may all play a role in your pet’s loose stools.

Dogs are more likely to eat inappropriate items — anything from garbage to grass to rocks — that can cause diarrhea, but cats may ingest string or other items that can cause intestinal problems1,2.

Certain types of drugs and diseases such as bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infections, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, Addison’s disease, hypo-adreno-corticism and liver disease can also cause loose stools.

Stress can also factor into bowel troubles for your pet. Changes in daily routine or environment, including the addition of new pets to the home, can stress your dog or cat and result in diarrhea1,2.

Diagnosing Loose Stools

If loose stools are excessive, frequent and repetitive, your pet may be experiencing diarrhea. Most often, loose stools last less than 48 hours and resolve on their own. If your pet is very young, very old or already compromised by an underlying disease (e.g., diabetes), a visit to the veterinarian is appropriate to determine whether the diarrhea is serious.

It can be helpful to determine whether your pet’s experiencing small or large bowel diarrhea. Large volumes of very watery stool are likely from the small bowel and can quickly cause dehydration. Smaller amounts of soft or mucusy stool generally indicate the large (or lower) bowel, a much more common occurrence 1,2.

One or two instances of large-bowel diarrhea in an otherwise healthy and happy pet may be of little concern. Contact your vet if symptoms persist longer than a few days or notice more serious symptoms like:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Blood in the stool
  • Associated vomiting
  • Pain or discomfort with defecation1,2

Help for Loose Stools

Herbal and homeopathic medicines can be an important part of your pet’s healthy regimen. RuniPoo Relief™ is an herbal supplement that may provide relief for common symptoms of loose stools in dogs and cats.

There are other things you can do to prevent and relieve loose stools in your cat or dog, including:

  • Feeding your pet high-quality, commercial pet food or a well-balanced all-natural diet that contains essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
  • Trying not to make any sudden changes to your pet’s diet. Introduce new foods gradually by mixing it with old food. A change of diet should take about 3 – 5 days.
  • Ensuring that your pet is de-wormed regularly
  • Keeping your pet away from spoiled food and garbage cans
  • Making sure that your pet’s vaccinations are updated
 
Resources:
1. Paul, Mike, DVM. "Dog Diarrhea: When Is It Serious and How Do I Stop It?" Pet Health Network. December 29, 2015. Accessed July 06, 2019. http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/dog-diarrhea-when-it-serious-and-how-do-i-stop-it.
2. Paul, Mike, DVM. "Cat Diarrhea: When Is It Serious and How Do I Stop It?" Pet Health Network. February 5, 2016. Accessed July 06, 2019. https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-diseases-conditions-a-z/cat-diarrhea-when-it-serious-and-how-do-i-stop-it