Ask Nancy: Eew – Poo!

You go to clean the cat box, or pick up after your dog and find a terrible mess instead of the usual firm stool. Your dog or cat is producing stools that are soft, mucus filled or maybe even bloody or liquid instead of the usual easy to clean up type poop. What could be going on?

Normally mucus is a sign of intestinal irritation. Much like when your nose runs due to allergies or a cold virus, the intestinal tract will produce mucus when irritated by any number of things.

This sudden change in stool consistency may be due to intestinal upset from a change in food, intestinal parasites such as worms, or protozoans like coccidia, campylobacter or giardia.

Intestinal parasites are one likely thing to check for. You can bring a fresh stool sample to your vet to be checked for microscopic worm eggs or oocysts, so the vet can prescribe the right worm meds, or antibiotics if the problem is a protozoan infection. If something is found and your vet has not seen your pet in a while you may need to bring the dog (or cat) in to have a general check up and a weight taken to make sure nothing else is going on and that the medications needed can be dosed properly.

This upset could also be due to a swallowed bones, string, plastic or other non-food items, ingestion of something toxic including plants, mushrooms, chemicals etc, it might be due to an ulcer along the digestive tract, or be caused by a tick carried disease.

If you gave your pet any fatty treats that could be causing pancreatic inflammation which you can read about here for dogs:

and here for cats

Dogs and cats can also develop a food sensitivity leading to inflammatory bowel disease which you can read about here:

A change in food to one with no ingredients the same as what you feed now might work to resolve the problem if it’s inflammatory bowel. For example, a fish and potato based dog food or venison or rabbit etc. or for cats duck and pea or a no grain, non fish based food could be the right choice.

If there were no parasites found seeing your vet to check out the other possibilities would be a good idea.

For short term home care you can add some plain Pedialyte to the water bowl to help with hydration. This is the same product used for children but you want the plain type rather than flavored. In a pinch, for dogs, you can use Gatorade to help rehydration but cats don’t need the sugar in that so it’s not so good to use for them.

You can also see if swapping short term to a bland food diet will help your pet feel better and calm the digestive tract.

I would suggest trying boiled chicken meat or hamburger with the fat drained off, mixed with really well cooked rice in a ratio of 1/3 meat to 2/3 rice for dogs, and mixed 50/50 for cats, to see if that works. It’s not a balanced diet but OK to use for a few meals while working on controlling digestive upset. If you know your pet reacts to chicken you can use other meats or a canned fish with fat removed in place of chicken.

The fiber in the rice will help bind up fluids.

I find using the Pedialyte and the bland diet along with the meds from the vet helps a dog out a lot even when the problem is parasites. You then slowly get the dog or cat back on a regular food diet as it feels better by adding a little more of the regular diet each day to the food being fed.

I would not use any over the counter anti diarrhea medication as if this is from a bacterial infection you do not want the bowels to slow that much until the bacteria is treated.

You can though see if the intestinal soothing meds such as Pepcid or Tagamet or Zantac that reduce acid will help.

Be sure to tell the vet when you see them if you use any of these.

You can read about dose amounts (and cautions) scrolling down on the pages here:

Just close any pop up windows and carefully read all the information on those pages before deciding if that is safe to use for your pet or not.


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