Being up close and personal with our dog’s bowel habits is part and parcel of being a dog owner. We all at some point have been guilty of having long conversations regarding the character of our dog’s faeces, especially when it is suddenly abnormal.
Dog’s faeces can tell us a lot about their general health and wellbeing. So it is important to monitor and note any changes to their regular movements. From frequency, consistency, colour and coating, there are a myriad of elements that can change when it comes to their bowel habits. But in particular, what are the causes for your dog’s poo suddenly turning yellow?
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In many cases, yellow stool is often caused by something we vets like to term ‘dietary indiscretion,’; or in other words, eating something foetid. Sometimes it can be simply instigated by a sudden change in diet, or food intolerance. However, if the poos do not return back to normal within a day or two on a bland diet, and if they are associated with other signs of being unwell, then it is important to rule out more serious illness with your veterinarian.
Aside from dietary indiscretion or food intolerance, what are some other causes of yellow poo’s?
Well, there are quite a few. But the major concerns are:
Worms (such as roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms) and protozoa, which are single celled organisms (such as Giardia) can cause soft, yellow stools. This can be diagnosed with a stool sample. Most parasites are easily prevented by following a good de-worming regime, which is especially important in puppies.
Bacterial and viral infections can result in yellow stools. You may notice other symptoms in your dog, such as lethargy and a lack of appetite. But sometimes they may show no other clinical signs. The stools may contain a small amount of blood, or be very watery. If the stools do not clear up fairly rapidly on a bland diet, or if your dog is showing any other worrying signs, then it is important to get assessed by your veterinarian.
Liver and gallbladder disease may result in pale yellow stools as a result of being unable to excrete bile effectively. This can be a result of primary liver disease causing jaundice, or a gallbladder problem such as a gallstone. You may notice other symptoms such as vomiting, inappetence, weight loss and jaundice.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
If your dog has intermittent bouts of producing yellow, soft or runny stools, they may have IBS. This may be triggered by a change in diet, routine or stress, and is a diagnosis made after the exclusion of parasites, infections and all other underlying diseases. It is often used interchangeably with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), however they are two separate conditions, and symptoms that don’t disappear or improve are more likely to be a result of IBD. You may also notice other symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and lack of energy. IBD is a serious condition but it can usually be managed with medication.
What should I do if my dog has yellow stools?
If your dog isn’t responding to a bland diet (such as chicken or rice, or gastrointestinal formulated food), and is showing any other symptoms, then you should seek the advice of your veterinarian. Collecting a stool sample before your appointment can save some time if your vet suggests sending one away to be assessed.
Ensuring that you are up to date with preventative measures such as vaccinations and their worming regime will help control any infectious or parasitic causes of yellow stools, and their regular health check-ups will help with the diagnosis of any underlying disease. Ensuring that they are on a well-balanced diet and monitoring their environment, limiting stress if they are prone to flare-ups, and limiting their exposure to non-food items will also help in preventing any gastric upsets.