How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Loose Stools
Over the course of their lifetimes, nearly all dogs will succumb to loose stools or diarrhea at some point in time. There are many different reasons why a dog’s stool quality may be less than optimal. Most commonly, loose stool can be attributed to a number of typical factors including overeating, swallowing inappropriate items, and ingesting things that may have been contaminated with harmful bacteria.
Some dogs suffer from loose stools because their digestive system is not functioning optimally. This could be a result of poor nutrition or excess amounts of such items as sugar, fat, or salt in a dog’s diet, placing strain on the dog’s pancreas and other internal organs.
If bacteria is the culprit behind poor stool quality, an infection may develop which can negatively impact a dog’s ability to process and effectively utilize their food. When this occurs, owners are at risk of contracting the infection from their dogs as well. One of the mostly common side effects of a bacterial infection is diarrhea.
However, poor stools are sometimes indicative of food intolerances. Typically, when this is the case, the diarrhea or loose stool is also accompanied by other signs such as inflamed skin or abdominal discomfort.
Other common causes for loose stools include stress, emotion, fear, or physical or emotional trauma.
Loose stools can be a great cause for concern, and owners are right to take the first signs of it very seriously. Most often, poor stool quality is accompanied by a number of other signs including:
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Blood in the stool
If any of these items occur in conjunction with the loose stool, it is important to contact a veterinarian for assistance as dietary changes are unlikely to completely resolve the problem.
Unless there is an underlying condition of a more serious nature at play, most loose stool problems can be alleviated with the correct diet. The best dog foods for loose stools are properly balanced with the appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and key ingredients to promote good digestion, healthy gut flora, and overall health.
Care must be taken to avoid common allergens such as corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives which can aggravate the gastrointestinal tract and lead to inflammation of the bowel and poor stool quality.
Fluid digestion is key to achieving optimal stool quality in dogs. To promote this, prebiotics and probiotics are highly recommended in dogs suffering from this condition. These important supplements help with establishing healthy gut flora to assist the dog with breaking down its food for ease of elimination.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dogs with Loose Stools
The correct portion size of the best food for dogs with loose stool is every bit as important as the ingredients that go into it. To ensure the dog receives the appropriate meal size, it is wise to use the suggested serving size on the bag as a guideline. The dog’s weight, age, and activity level will help provide a baseline measurement to begin with.
This can be adjusted until the dog’s appetite is satisfied and its weight is maintained satisfactorily.
Dogs with loose stool still need a minimum of 18 percent of an easily digestible protein and 5 percent fat once fully mature to maintain optimal health. Puppies require slightly higher percentages of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat with higher amounts acceptable as well. Care should be taken not to allow either fat or protein levels to be too extreme as this can also lead to poor stool quality.
Dietary Requirements for Dogs with Loose Stools
Since proper diet is the main thing owners can do to prevent loose stools from occurring, selecting the correct food to promote good digestion is very important. Fluid digestive processes are key to proper elimination, and thus, it is recommended that any food for dogs suffering from poor stools should contain prebiotics and probiotics to aid with gut health.
There are also several natural foods that have proven to be effective at helping firm up loose stools. These can be added to a high quality diet or fed on their own. They include pumpkin, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and bananas.
The quality and type of protein is very important in the best dog foods for loose stools. It is best to select a meat that is easy to digest and that is included in its whole form or a meat meal if possible. Experts agree that by-products and plant-based proteins such as wheat, corn, and soy can cause intestinal flareups and should be avoided.
Carbohydrates are important to any diet, but they should form a far lesser part than proteins and fats. The best carbohydrates are high in fiber and rich in antioxidants and can be whole grains, fruits, or vegetables.
Healthy fats are the building blocks that ensure excellent coat and skin and quality and also fuel a dog’s metabolism and energy levels to enjoy an active lifestyle. These are best taken from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish.
Water is also a key component in maintaining good digestion. It is important for owners to be certain their dogs have access to clean supply of drinking water at all times.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Loose Stools
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for loose stools:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health