The Shitty Side of Dog Ownership
This would be the perfect opportunity to post a picture of dog poop. Don’t think I didn’t consider it. I did because it would be totally appropriate to the subject matter, and potentially educational. But, ya know, gross. Perhaps even in a readership limiting kind of way. Instead you get…
An old lady who’s had her fair share of loose stool. I still like her. Actually, that could be a picture of any of my dogs. At one time or another, to varying degrees, they all get the runs. Those runs used to make me run. Right to the vet. When I was new to this dog business, I had no idea what to do when the poo hit the fan, or anywhere else. Many lessons I do not learn. Those involving liquid crap, time and money? I’m a quick study.
I advocate a lot of diet change for pets. My dogs are used to that. They can go from kibble to raw to bones with zero fanfare. Only because they switch foods and protein sources all the time. Like multiple times in the same day. We’ve cultivated a robust digestive flora with all that variety. For a long time kibble eater, such switching could cause problems. Big problems. Introducing raw, or bones, or even a kibble upgrade could have disastrous effects.
Please remember: I am not a vet. This is not veterinarian advice. Even if my dogs don’t suffer from upset stomachs much any more, they certainly did. Still do on occasion. This is merely an account of how we handle it.
Withhold food for 24 hours. Big thanks to my vet for this one. Seriously. After about the third time I called because of a poo incident, and got the same instruction, it sunk into my thick skull. After, of course, I insisted on bringing them in the first two times, volunteering to pay for an office visit. For no good reason. This is now our standard operating procedure. I call it a system reset. Skip two meals, and try again. Most of the time, that’s all it takes. It’s an opportunity for whatever is gumming up the works to pass through their system. Not popular with the dogs obviously, but a little fast can do us all some good now and then. Make sure there is plenty of access to water.
Pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is your best friend. Not good for all our blow out, but when things are just a little looser than normal (wow, this post) a couple tablespoons of soothing fiber on their food can do wonders. Its naturally sweet, so most dogs love it. Works for constipation too. Not a problem my dogs often have, but still.
Skip the bland diet. Rice and chicken. This is the part of vet’s advice I usually ignore. Does your dog normally get skinless, boneless chicken breast and white rice? Probably not. Is it better than what they normally eat? Distinctly possible with most of America. The point here is supposed to be ease of digestion. I’ve met way too many people with picky dogs, who start on the bland diet, and never quite seem to make it off. If this isn’t what your dog’s usual diet, and you’ve no intention of making so, I say…
Simplify things. Don’t do something completely new. Go back to the last thing that worked. If times were good on 50% old kibble and 50% new, but a 75%/25% split had nasty consequences, go back to 50%/50%. Stay there for another week, until things stabilize. Try again at more like 60%/40%. Same thing with adding raw, opt for a smaller amount or less substantial bone. Go slow, and always be prepared to revert to your last known success. Speaking of success…
Digestive enzymes. Are going to increase your likelihood. I’m a bit of a broken record on this subject, I know. I’ll spare you the why’s and products again. If you ignore me in all other cases, that’s cool. Just employ enzymes in case of shit storm. Or danger of shit storm. When switching foods, it certainly can’t hurt. Depending on what you product you use it’ll very likely shorten the episode if not head if off at the pass entirely.
Show stoppers. Saying again, not a vet. I may be well versed in the poo poo dance, but even I say ‘Oh, Shit!’ in certain situations. Persistent diahrea for more than 48 hours without change, particularly if I’ve tried any/all of the above, off the the vet. Any significant amount of blood in stool, vet. These symptoms accompanied by extreme lethargy or continued lack of apetite, vet all the way. When in doubt, vet, vet, vet. But most of the time, in my experience, not necessary. That doesn’t mean chronic poo should be ignored. As if that was possible.
Consider this a public service announcement. With all my harping on rotation and supplementing for the betterment of dog kind, I’ve got to acknowledge, it doesn’t always end well. It can complicate your life in downright disgusting ways. Into every life a little shit must fall, so don’t panic. You didn’t fail, you didn’t even necessarily do anything wrong. Stop. Recollect. Use copious amounts of natural cleaners. Try again. Your dog will still love you.
This was also the best opportunity I’ll ever have to maximize by poop jokes.
How do you handle the inevitable times of doggy digestive distress? Come on! Now’s the time to share your the best canine poo story.