This article was updated on May 5th, 2023
“Doc, my dog’s poop is covered with slime, should I be worried?” – a concerned pup’s parent recently asked me when he noticed mucus in his pup’s stool. I explained to him there are several possible reasons for mucus in the feces and that a small amount of slime is usually not a cause for concern. However, there are several reasons for dogs to have mucus in their poop. Some causes are minor, but others require emergency veterinary care. In this article, we’ll examine the top reasons for mucus in dog diarrhea and when you should take your dog to the vet. We’ll also explain what you can do to help your dog at home.
Why is there mucus in my dog’s diarrhea?
When is mucus normal? Certain cells in the large intestine secrete mucus in the digestive tract to lubricate the feces. Mucus serves other important functions, including:
- Maintaining regular bowel movements by helping the stool pass through the system
- Helping to maintain normal gut flora to support the body’s immune response
- Providing protection from stomach acids
Normally, mucus will appear like a greasy or slimy gel, and it may be whitish or clear.
If your dog occasionally has a little mucus with diarrhea, it’s usually not a big deal. The slime is due to inflammation in the digestive tract that’s making your dog’s stool loose. The cells which are responsible for making mucus release extra material due to the irritation. As long as diarrhea and mucus are short-lived, you probably don’t have to be concerned.
When is mucus not normal?
However, there may be an underlying condition if the slime is
- Occurring with every stool
- Blood-tinged or red (as seen on the image below or read our article about blood and mucus)
- Bright yellow or green in color (as seen on the image below or read our article about yellow mucus)
- Sticky in consistency (as seen on the image below)
- Accompanied by dark red or black poop
What are some common causes of abnormal mucus in dog poop?
- Stress – Some dogs respond to stressful circumstances by developing bouts of diarrhea with mucus.
- Dietary causes – Sudden changes in food can cause inflammation and excess mucus production in the large intestines. It’s best to introduce new formulas/diets gradually over 1-2 weeks. Another dietary cause of excess mucus production is food allergies.
- Gastrointestinal parasites – When dogs have gastrointestinal parasites, the intestines produce excess mucus. Usually, dogs will also have diarrhea possibly blood streaks in the stool or mucus. Common intestinal parasites that cause mucus and diarrhea include giardia, hookworms, and pinworms.
- Bacterial infections – LIke humans, dogs are susceptible to bacterial infections including Salmonella and Clostridia when they eat contaminated food. Many bacterial infections will cause excessive mucus with diarrhea, and it may be bloody.
- Viral infections – Common viruses that affect canine gastrointestinal systems include parvovirus and coronavirus. When dogs have a viral infection, they will usually have watery diarrhea with mucus and blood.
- Inflammatory conditions – Conditions such as colitis and irritable bowel disease cause inflammation in the large intestines. As a result, the digestive tract produces extra mucus. Depending on the underlying cause, dogs with this condition may have diarrhea or constipation and weight loss.
- Tumors – Tumors in the gastrointestinal tract can also cause irritation that triggers excess mucus production. Tumors may be benign or cancerous. Common growths of the canine intestinal tract include:
- Leiomyoma or leiomyosarcoma
- Adenoma or adenocarcinoma
- Adenomatous polyps
When is mucus in my dog’s diarrhea a reason to worry?
When your dog’s poop has small amounts of mucus, for short periods of time, and there aren’t any other symptoms there’s not necessarily cause for concern. However, you should monitor your pup for the signs below so that you know when a vet visit is needed:
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- Visit your vet in the next week or so if you observe::
- Frequent mucus in poop with or without softer stools
- Normal appetite and activity level.
- No vomiting
- Diarrhea for no longer than 2 days
- If any of the following symptoms occur, it’s urgent. Get your dog to the vet within the next day or two.
- Frequent mucus in stools with bright red blood or completely liquid diarrhea
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased energy
- Frequent defecation
- Straining when defecating
- Occasional vomiting
- Take your dog to an ER vet immediately if mucus in stools is present with any of these symptoms:
- Lethargy or depression
- Black or dark red stools that may be tarry
- Pale gums
- Difficulty breathing, heaving, or panting
- Severe and frequent vomiting, unable to keep food or water down
- Pain or bloating in the abdomen
What can I do at home to help my dog with mucus in diarrhea?
If your dog’s poop has limited amounts of mucus, the diarrhea is mild, and there are no other concerning systems, you may be able to treat your pooch at home. For starters, encourage your dog to rest and provide plenty of water to prevent dehydration. There are also a variety of things you can try at home to soothe your pal’s gut.
If your pooch has diarrhea or a soft stool with mucus, try fasting him for 1-2 meals to rest the gut. After fasting your dog, you can try one or more of the remedies below for a few days. If you don’t notice improvement or your dog’s symptoms deteriorate, call your veterinarian.
2. Bland diet
You may be able to soothe your pup’s overactive digestive tract by feeding a readily digestible diet. Try switching to bland meals of boiled rice and lean chicken. Other items you can use in the diet to help normalize your dog’s stool include:
- Rice water – Boil quality rice in a large pot of water then strain and keep the milky-white liquid. You can use the rice with lean chicken, but you can also serve the creamy rice water to your furbaby. Make it more palatable by adding a splash of sodium-free broth or baby food.
- Plain yogurt – Adding a few teaspoons of plain yogurt with live probiotic cultures to your dog’s food can aid his digestion. Make sure your furbaby tolerates milk-based products before feeding him yogurt.
- Other soothing foods – Other foods that you can add to the diet to help soothe an irritated digestive tract include cottage cheese and boiled skinless potatoes.
3. Fiber supplement
Prebiotic fiber helps to stimulate normal digestion and adds bulk to loose stools. Add 1-3 teaspoons of canned pumpkin, depending on your dog’s weight to increase his fiber intake. Choose a product that has no added sugar, such as Fruitables Pumpkin Digestive Supplement:
- SOOTHES UPSET STOMACHS - Special formula contains high fiber pumpkin and other healthy ingredients to soothe your pet’s upset stomach
4. Probiotic supplements
Probiotic supplements contain beneficial microorganisms that support healthy gut flora. These products help your dog digest food, and they can soothe the gut to reduce inflammation. An excellent probiotic is Vetnique Profivex Probiotics for Dogs. This product offers a cocktail of multiple strains of probiotic bacteria along with digestive enzymes to support your pup’s digestion and gut health.
- PREMIUM PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS FOR DOGS & CATS - Our clinical-strength probiotics are made with maximum-potency Probiotics to support healthy digestion. Featuring five of the most beneficial probiotic strains in dogs and cats, with 5 billion CFUs per serving!
5. Over-the-counter medications
You may also be able to use some common over-the-counter human medications to soothe your pup’s digestive tract. However, never attempt to treat your pooch with these drugs without speaking with your veterinarian first. Some breeds do not tolerate certain ingredients in antidiarrheal medications like Immodium and Pepto Bismol.
What if my dog still has diarrhea after 2-3 days?
Mild infections or conditions that trigger inflammation often resolve in a few days. If your dog continues to have diarrhea after a few days, you should be concerned.
Dogs with persistent diarrhea are at a higher risk for developing dehydration. Because digested materials pass through the digestive tract, they may not get the nutrients they need. This often leads to weight loss and poor health.
These dogs may need a veterinary prescription to clear up their diarrhea, or they may have a more serious underlying condition. Learn more about dog diarrhea that lasts more than 2-3 days.
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