When cleaning up after your dog, whether after a walk, in the yard, the house, or, heaven forbid, your bed, did you notice a bit of mucus in his poop? Though unappealing, some mucus in a dog's stool usually isn't a cause for alarm since dog stool often contains mucus. But, if your dog is experiencing diarrhea, a day's fast and a bland diet may help get things back to normal.
Potential Causes of Mucus and Diarrhea
Your dog's intestines produce mucus to keep the lining of his colon moist, so it's not unusual to see traces of the slimy substance in his poop. However, if the mucus is accompanied by blood, if his stool is covered in mucus or his bowel movements have changed significantly, there could be something more going on. Potential causes of mucus, blood and runny stool include:
- Inflammation of the colon, known as colitis.
- Dietary reaction.
- Intestinal parasites.
- Viral or bacterial infection.
- Inflammatory bowel disease or other autoimmune disorders.
- Foreign objects in the intestinal tract.
- Tumors, cancer and polyps.
Drink, Don't Eat
Since a little mucus in the stool is normal, there's nothing to treat if your dog shows no other symptoms. However, if you see blood in his poop and his normally firm poop is loose or liquid, he may be experiencing diarrhea. If that fits the description of what's happening with your dog, withhold food for 12 to 24 hours to allow his intestinal tract to calm down and empty out. Make sure your dog drinks plenty of water to ensure he doesn't become dehydrated. This is especially important if his stool is runny and he's making frequent trips outside. If your dog becomes dehydrated, you can try adding some broth or even Pedialyte to his water.
A bout of diarrhea often clears up on its own. After withholding food for up to a day, feed your dog a bland diet of boiled, skinless chicken breast and cooked rice, noodles or potatoes in a 1-to-3 ratio. A teaspoon or two of canned, unsweetened pumpkin will firm up his stool. Supplements such as slippery elm and marshmallow root can be effective herbal remedies. Homeopathic remedies for diarrhea and mucus in the stool include podophyllum and mercurius corrosivus; other homeopathic remedies for diarrhea include nux vomica, c_arbo vegetabilis_ and China.
Not all homeopathic remedies have been tested for safety or efficacy, so always consult your veterinarian before administering them.
Visiting the Vet
If a day of fasting, a bland diet and a little extra fiber don't return your dog's poop back to normal in a couple of days, he should see his vet. The vet can review his symptoms, medical history and run appropriate tests, including fecal samples as well as a urine test to determine if there's something more complicated causing mucusy stool and diarrhea. Treatment depends on the cause, and can include medication such as antibiotics or dietary adjustments.
Black stool or diarrhea can indicate blood in the intestinal tract and requires a veterinary visit. If your dog is lethargic, appears to be in pain or will not drink water, he should see the vet.
If your vet finds that your dog has an abnormal amount of mucus, or diarrhea that just wont quit, you can expect a couple of different treatments. While dietary changes may be the first method a vet may try, a vet may also prescribe a probiotic supplement. There are some cases that may require medication that will depend on the underlying cause.
- PetMD: Mucus in Dog Stool
- Pet Health Network: Should I Worry if My Dog's Stool Has Blood or Mucus?
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Colitis in Dogs
- WebMD: Diarrhea and Dogs: Causes and Treatment
- Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements, Shawn Messonnier, p. 404
- Orange County Humane Society of Virginia: Home Care for Gastrointestinal Upsets by Dr. Anita Walton, Locust Grove Veterinary Clinic