Much Ado About Poo…By Kathryn



I always swore I wasn’t going to be the kind of parent that talked about my kid’s poo all the time. I figure that’s too much information that no one aside from their vet would want to know. However, when one of your children is a German Shepherd, a breed with notoriously bad gastrointestinal issues,  you find yourself talking about, worrying about, and researching poo a lot.

It seemed to start out of nowhere. One minute she’s a happy, healthy puppy with happy, healthy poo. The next minute it looks like a tornado of diarrhea blew through my living room. It seemed an endless cycle of visiting the vet, being prescribed a bland diet of chicken and rice, and a medicine to firm up her poo. It would work for a while, but eventually the tornado would return. I Googled until I feared Google would ban me from the search engine, because even they were tired of all of my “Doggie Diarrhea”  queries. Some folks told me I worried too much and that maybe partially formed, super soft stools was the best I could hope for, but I refused to resign my pup to a lifetime of tummy upset. With some time, effort, and several steam cleaner rentals, we finally figured out a formula that worked for her. Our vet prescribed a diet of Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat dog food, and a sprinkling of Tylan Powder  (which I lovingly refer to as “magic dust”), an antibiotic used for colitis and chronic diarrhea, at each meal. That diet plan, along with very restricted treats, seems to do the trick for keeping my puppy and her tummy happy and healthy!

Every dog is different and what was the magic combination for my pup might not be the same for yours, but here’s a list of tummy trouble shooting that I found helpful:


  •  A bland diet: Check with your vet on what is good bland diet for your pet. They may recommend a mix of a bland diet dog food with boiled chicken and plain white rice for a few days to help firm the stool back up, and settle their tummy.
  • Canned Pumpkin: Pumpkin is fiber rich, and can help firm up loose stools. Just be sure to get the cans of 100% Pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix with added sugar. Add 1 tsp to 1tbsp (depending on the size of your pup) to their meals for 2-3 days, and it may help to firm things back up.
  • Elk Antlers: My baby is an aggressive chewer, but the big meaty dog bones that she would happily chew on for hours were a sure bet in upsetting her tummy. Elk antlers satisfy her chewing desires, are gentle on her stomach, and last for weeks! Be sure not to get the “split” antlers, as they don’t last as long (my pup was through it in 3 hours!). ALWAYS supervise your pets with these type of chews in case they become sharp or break.
  •  Restrict Treating: Those puppy eyes are hard to resist, but you must! The momentary pleasure they get from table scraps is not worth the problems that will come later. They can still have treats, and will probably appreciate it, but just be aware of what you’re treating with. Boiled chicken, carrots, Veggiedent Chews, and dehydrated beef liver treats from Trader Joes all seem to agree with my pup. Check the ingredients and check with your vet with  on what they recommend.
  •  Don’t give up: It will be a trial and error process for a while, but stick with it! Once you find that magic combination that works for your pup it will all be worth it.