My Dog Has Loose Stools And Smelly Gas

loose stools and smelly gas
Photo by Gordon on Flickr

As cute as your dog is and as much as you love them, they do have some unpleasant habits.

Flatulence or farting is one such habit.

I mean, it can be quite funny because our dogs are often as surprised when they fart as we are.

But dog farts can become less funny when they are happening frequently and they smell rotten as well. 

Let’s be honest, at this point it is downright gross. 

And what about if the unbearable stench is also accompanied by bouts of loose stool or diarrhea?

This means we need to start paying close attention to our dogs and if needed get them seen by a vet. 

So what are the main reasons for a dog to have both loose stools and smelly gas?

And that is what we will find out in the next section.

What you will learn from this article:

  1. Three main causes for loose stools and smelly gas
  2. What should normal dog poop look like?
  3. What are the main causes of loose stools in a dog?
  4. What are the main ways to fix loose stools?
  5. When does diarrhea become dangerous?
  6. What dogs are most vulnerable to becoming seriously ill with diarrhea?
  7. My puppy has loose stools and smelly gas…
  8. Human foods that might cause loose stools
  9. What are the main causes of smelly gas in dogs?
  10. What are the main ways to fix smelly gas?
  11. Human foods that might make your dog fart
  12. Is smelly gas an indication that something is wrong with your dog?
  13. Conclusion

Three main causes for loose stools and smelly gas

If a dog has watery poop and bad smelling farts, this tells us that our dog’s digestion system is under real strain and that it is struggling to cope. 

Fortunately for most dogs the situation will just be a temporary blip but for a few dogs this toxic combination can signal that something far more serious is wrong. 

There are three main causes of loose stool and flatulence.

The first is that you have recently changed your dog’s diet and consequently their digestive system is freaking out.

Perhaps your dog is moving from one brand of wet food to another or from wet food to kibble- or even a transition to a raw food diet?

This is a totally natural reaction for your dog to have and the dire combination of stool and farts will only be temporary.

Perhaps you are making the change too fast and instead of stopping one type of food and switching to another in a couple of days, you should go more slowly and make the changes over a week or 10 days?

If the first reason was a deliberate act on your behalf, the second main reason for the noxious combination of stools and gas is a mistake.

Your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have. 

They have stolen it from a work surface in the house, eaten some rotten food or animal carcass whilst out on a walk or have just raided the neighbourhood trash bins. 

Again, although the result will be foul, it should only be temporary. 

A third much more tragic reason for loose stools and smelly gas is that your dog has something much more serious wrong with him.

You are not changing them over to a new diet and they haven’t won the neighbourhood lottery by eating the contents of your trash bin.

Their digestion system is just beginning to shut down- to function much less efficiently on a permanent basis.

The most obvious reason for this is old age. My fourteen year old golden retriever used to have an iron stomach- no matter what went in one end, she rarely had diarrhea.

This isn’t  the case nowadays and her diet is far more restricted to present “accidents”.

If your dog continues to have diarrhea and foul smelling flatulence for longer than a couple of days, you will need to take them to the vets. 

In the next section, I will briefly discuss what normal dog poop should look like. 

And in the rest of the article I will look separately at the issue of loose stool and the issue of bad canine gas…

What should normal dog poop look like?

A normal dog stool is log-shaped, firm, and a little moist. Although there are little variations to it depending on the breed of dog you own, its diet, and how it processes food, your dog poop is supposed to be firm enough for easy picking.

But in some cases, it’s not so as your dog’s stool becomes so loose that what normally takes you seconds to pick up and finish now takes a while for you to clean up.

This article aims to let you know the reasons behind these and what can be done whenever your dog has loose stools and smelly gas.

What are the main causes of loose stools in a dog?

Several things can cause loose stools in dogs. Knowing what causes it is very important whether or not your dog has one to know what to look out for in your dog and avoid unpleasant episodes. 

A change in diet is one of the main causes of diarrhea in dogs, as your dog may need some time to get used to the new diet. Therefore, you must introduce a new diet to your dog slowly to give your dog some time to adapt to the new proteins.

Your dog’s digestive system may also be highly intolerant to an ingredient in its diet resulting in gastrointestinal upsets. Ingredients like milk or dairy products can cause diarrhea in your dog. Fatty foods should also be avoided when feeding your dog because, in addition to diarrhea, fatty foods may also cause pancreatitis in your dog.

As dogs eat whatever they see, loose stools can also occur as a result of your dog eating garbage or spoilt food, eating poisonous substances, or ingesting foreign objects like plastic bags, toys, etc. therefore, it is also important that you watch where your canine eats and goes to stop them from ingesting harmful substances.

Worms such as roundworms, hookworms, and bacterial infections such as Ecoli are also common causes of loose stools in dogs. You can know if your dog has a worm by checking their stools as there will be visible worms or eggs present in your dog’s stool, and you may notice signs of blood in it.

And lastly, your dog’s loose stool may be a reaction to certain medications that your dog may be having at the time.

What are the main ways to fix loose stools?

Fixing loose stools may be as easy as simply changing your dog’s diet. As different breeds of dogs may have different reactions to different ingredients, you must figure out what works best for your dog.

You can also choose to fast your dog for a day as this would give its gut time to rest and repair itself. You should ensure that your dog has access to fresh water during fasting, though.

However, fasting is not always advisable for small dogs, puppies, and old dogs, since they need constant nutrition. You can decide to introduce food slowly to your dog after a fast.

Foods like canned pumpkin, white rice mixed with broth, probiotics like yogurts, and cottage cheese are great choices. They are great binders that help in normalizing stool consistency.

In cases such as when you suspect that your dog has ingested a poisonous substance or a foreign object, be sure to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible as any delay may cause further complications such as severe lacerations of your dog’s intestinal tract, bacterial infections as well as the death of your dog.

There are several wormers out there that are effective against worms in your dog; however, you can consult your vet to know the wormer that would work out best for your dog. 

If, however, your dog is suffering from a bacterial infection, a trip to the vet is important. The vet may treat the bacterial infection with antibiotics, but if the infection is severe, additional support such as fluids would be needed for dehydrated pets.

Loose stools caused by medications in your dog may need you to call your vet to inquire whether a change of dose or medication may be needed.

When does diarrhea become dangerous?

Diarrhea can stop itself sometimes after administering some home remedies or some previous medications that have worked in the past; however, if your dog still has loose stools after the first few days of medication, or you notice symptoms such as dehydration, fever, vomiting, weakness, or pale gums, an immediate trip to the vet is important to avoid further complications.

Also, if the above symptoms are not present but it just doesn’t feel right to you, trust your instincts and take it to the vet; your vet should know what to do to restore your dog back to health.

What dogs are most vulnerable to becoming seriously ill with diarrhea?

As much as all dogs are prone to having diarrhea, some dogs are prone to it than others. Also, dogs with liver, kidney, heart diseases, tumors, and endocrine problems are more susceptible to diarrhea. Hence it is very common among old dogs who mostly develop these issues. Small dogs also tend to get infections easily; hence they get diarrhea easily.

My puppy has loose stools and smelly gas…

Puppies are delicate little things, aren’t they?

And young puppies are another type of dog that are very vulnerable if they have puppy smelly farts and diarrhea.

Loose stools contain a lot of water which is precisely what a puppy needs because it is growing so fast.

My eighteen week old golden retriever has tripled in weight in the last ten weeks.

When we brought her home at eight weeks old, she was just over 6 kilos.

Today on the scales, she weighed 18 kilograms!

And if they loose too much water because of diarrhea, then they are at risk of becoming dehydrated.

Not only are puppies more likely to become far more poorly if they have loose stools but they are also more likely to get a bout of flatulence and soft stools than adult dogs.

This is partly to do with their lifesyle- they are far more likely to eat something unsavoury than other dogs because they are so inquisitive and want to eat or chew anything.

A puppy that has a bout of diarrhea and smelly gas that only lasts for a 12 hours or so should be fine.

But if it last for more than a day, they will need to see a vet because of the amount of water their little bodies are losing.

Keeping them hydrated with clean water or chicken broth.

You can try starving them for a few hours or feed them a bland diet.

Human foods that might cause loose stools

while it is tempting to feed your dog from your plate, especially when you are out of dog treats, you should note that your dog’s body processes foods differently; therefore, not all human foods are safe for your dog; some tend to be dangerous even.

Fatty foods are one of such foods. Since the dog’s digestive system is not well equipped to process fats, it’s best not to offer it to your dog as it may cause diarrhea. So the next time you’re thinking of offering your dog some cheese when it begs for it, note that you may just be doing more harm than good.

You should also avoid giving your dog treats high in sugar or salt content. It pulls water into itself through the gastrointestinal tract via osmosis, causing loose stools.

Foods like raw meat, spoilt or uncooked eggs are also harmful to your dog and can cause stomach discomfort and diarrhea in your dogs.

What are the main causes of smelly gas in dogs?

The major reason for smelly gas is when your dog’s digestive system isn’t working as it should. A change in diet or feeding your dog bad food means that it becomes difficult for your dog to digest the foods ingested by it. Therefore the food stays in the colon and ferments. This fermentation is the leading cause of bad gas in dogs.

Bad gas also happens when your dog swallows a ton of air while eating. Some dogs generally tend to gobble up their food instead of taking it bit by bit, which causes them to fart a lot. Gobbling up foods in chunks can also be caused by competition between dogs for food as they have to take foods in chunks to eat as much as possible in the little time they have.

Medical issues like intestinal diseases and parasites can also cause bad gas in dogs. And sometimes, it is caused by obesity in dogs. Dogs that are obese or do not exercise often are very prone to having bad gases than others. Therefore, you better think twice before letting your lazy dog lie around all day as it may c9me back to haunt you.

What are the main ways to fix smelly gas?

Fixing smelling gas is as easy as dealing with the cause. Ensure your dog eats high-quality foods and not just fillers that make them full and don’t offer them any nutritional value except make them feel full. Many of these fillers can trigger sensitivity on your dog, making their digestive system not work as it should. Also, ensure that any change in diet should be introduced little by little so that their digestive system can get accustomed to it.

To avoid gulping down food all at once in your dog, you can try feeding your dog in bits or serve their food in small bowls. This slows them down while eating, and less air is swallowed with their food.

Exercise should also be encouraged in dogs who aren’t having any or are overweight. Apart from the smelly gas, there are also a few health risks associated with obesity in dogs. So consider adding dog walks to your daily schedule. If you feel you will be too busy to maintain this activity, you can get yourself a dog walker.

Human foods that might make your dog fart

Just as it is with loose stools, you should steer clear of human foods when it comes to feeding your dogs. Snacks are not advisable to give to your dogs, so also foods such as soybeans, dairy products, fatty foods, peas, and spicy foods can make your dog bloated and fart a lot at home, not to mention the fact that it is a great discomfort to your dog.

Is smelly gas an indication that something is wrong with your dog?

My answer, not necessarily. While smelly gas in your dog may be a result of some underlying sickness, most times, it’s just a natural occurrence that passes by once you deal with their diet and bad habits.

So while I’ll advise you not to worry when your dog starts producing smelly gas, I would say that you alone know what’s normal for your dog. So when you notice anything that may seem otherwise out of the normal for your dog, consult your local vet immediately.


Though loose stools and smelly gas are natural occurrences, they can be avoided totally by looking into the tips mentioned above to know what and what not to avoid when it comes to your dog’s diet, health, and lifestyle.

Make the necessary changes and enjoy sweet-smelling moments with your cute pet from now on.

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!