Sweet-Smelling Diarrhea in Dogs: Causes and Treatment If Your Dog's Poop Smells Sweet

Expert advice you can trust on whether it's from diet or something more serious

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A dog's health is something that all dog parents care about. It is important to take action to keep pets healthy and to treat them when they become ill or injured. One of the most common signs of health problems in dogs is diarrhea. There are many causes of diarrhea in dogs. Sometimes, it is caused by a primary infection. No matter the cause, it is important to pay attention to details so you can properly describe all your pet's symptoms to the veterinarian. For example, if the feces has a distinct odor, that may help you and your veterinarian diagnose the problem.


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Why does my dog's poop smell sweet?

There are a few reasons a dog's poop might smell sweet.‌ It could be because of an underlying health problem, such as a bacterial infection or virus. It may also be due to a change in diet or a dietary intolerance or allergy.

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What does sweet-smelling dog poop mean?

Sweet-smelling dog diarrhea may be a symptom of other illnesses, such as Giardia or Coccidia, two common health problems that dogs can contract, sometimes easily.‌ Both of these illnesses are easily treated with a special antibiotic that only your veterinarian can prescribe.


Giardia is contracted by drinking contaminated water. Many dogs will drink from a puddle, creek, or pond and contract Giardia. Coccidia is an intestinal infection that dogs can be carriers of, but only a few will develop clinical signs of illness. Dogs with weaker immune systems, dogs who are stressed, or dogs with other illnesses seem to be more susceptible to contracting Coccidia.


What does foul-smelling dog poo mean?

Foul-smelling diarrhea can signal a serious problem.‌ The foul-smelling poop can be indicative of disease, such as parvovirus and distemper. Both parvo and distemper escalate quickly and can be fatal if left untreated.


If your dog comes down with a case of foul-smelling diarrhea for more than 24 hours, call your veterinarian right away. Be sure to mention the unusual bowel movements; they may not want you to bring your dog into the clinic through the regular entrance, as you may expose other dogs visiting the veterinarian.


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Should you worry about sweet-smelling diarrhea?

Sweet-smelling feces do not always warrant a pet health emergency, though it is often a warning sign.‌ It is important to keep a close eye on your pet and contact your veterinarian if the problem persists or you observe additional symptoms.



The first stage of helping your dog when they have developed diarrhea is to notice that they have it. If they are unable to control their bowel movements, they may have an accident in the home, which will alert you right away. If they are able to control it, they will go outside. It is important to watch your dog when they go outside and take notice if they have diarrhea, constipation, or difficulty producing a bowel movement. If you notice they have diarrhea, try to clean up the area in which they defecated to avoid the spreading of any disease or illness they may have.


How to prevent sweet-smelling diarrhea in dogs

The best way to combat a dog's diarrhea is to prevent them from ever developing it in the first place. Keeping them on a steady, healthy diet is the first step. It's also important to maintain consistency in your dog's diet. Switching dog foods can cause a dog to develop diarrhea.

Another good tip to help prevent a dog from developing diarrhea is to give them a daily canine probiotic. Probiotic supplements contain healthy bacteria that will fight against the unhealthy bacteria in a dog's system.

Ensuring your pet is up to date on vaccinations, including distemper and parvovirus immunizations, will help protect them too.

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Treatment for sweet-smelling dog poop

If your dog has diarrhea, there are several things you can do at home to help them feel better. First, make sure they're getting enough water because it will be easy for them to become dehydrated. If they aren't drinking on their own, give them water though an eye dropper or syringe. Also, do not force them to eat but offer them food at their regular meal times.


Clean up and use bleach to disinfect every place where your dog has defecated. This will help prevent them from becoming reinfected with the disease or illness they may have.

Another thing to watch out for is anemia. Check their gums and make sure they remain a healthy pink color. If not, contact your veterinarian right away.

If the diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours or is accompanied by vomiting or lethargy, seek veterinary care immediately. Regardless, if you have any concerns, call your veterinarian for guidance.

The bottom line

A dog's poo never smells pleasant, but if it emits a particularly distinct smell, especially when accompanied by diarrhea, it may indicate an underlying health condition. If your pet's intestinal difficulties persist for more than a day or they are also lethargic or vomiting, seek emergency veterinary care.


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