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The 5 Best Dog Foods for Firm Stools

Dog Food November 4, 2019
firm stools food

The 5 Best Dog Foods for Firm Stools

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firm stools food

Diarrhea, soft stool, the runs … whatever you choose to call it, sooner or later every dog is destined to have a bout of gastrointestinal trouble.

No one likes to cope with these problems but it’s important to find out the cause and get it under control. Unfortunately, soft stools can be a symptom of many different problems, ranging from something minor to something serious.

If you have ruled out the easy answers like your dog ate something rotten from the trash, and your veterinarian says your dog is not ill, that means you need to look for the best dog food for firm stools.

Never fear! We can tell you the best dog foods for firmer stools. We can help you help your dog when it comes to his potty problems.

Quick Look At Our Top Picks For Best Dog Food for Firm Stools:

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Designed to support the bacteria in your dog’s gut
  • Uses Hill’s ActivBiome Technology which is a mix of active fibers to improve your dog’s regularity
  • Encourages the release of “post-biotics” to support your dog’s G.I. tract and break down food
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  • Easily-digestible proteins, carbohydrates, and fibers for good absorption
  • Prebiotic fibers to support microflora in your dog’s gut
  • Contains vitamins E and C, along with antioxidants for a healthy immune system
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  • Formulated for several gastrointestinal issues, including stool problems
  • Features highly digestible proteins and prebiotics
  • Includes a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers
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  • Limited ingredient diet
  • Fish is the single animal protein
  • Sweet potatoes, a good dietary fiber, provides the carbohydrates
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  • Formulated for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Turkey is the first ingredient
  • Has low-moderate fat content
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Introduction

Dogs can have soft stools for all kinds of reasons, just as humans do. Sure, your dog may be able to devour a squirrel or eat a golf ball, but just changing his kibble can sometimes cause an upset stomach and lead to diarrhea. Here are some of the frequent causes of upset stomachs leading to soft stool:

  • A poor quality diet
  • Food allergies or food sensitivities
  • Health problems such as cancer, infections, and intestinal inflammation
  • Sudden changes in the diet
  • Eating human food (leftovers), especially if your dog isn’t used to it
  • Getting into the trash or eating odd things from the yard
  • Poisoning (this can be accidental such as from chewing on a house plant)
  • Overeating (food or treats)
  • Medications (even medications prescribed by your veterinarian can sometimes produce diarrhea; antibiotics frequently result in diarrhea)
  • Parasites
  • Dairy products (some dogs are lactose-intolerant)
  • Too much fat in the diet
  • Too much or too little fiber in the diet
  • Stress

As you see, there are many potential reasons why a dog could have loose stool. In some cases your dog might have loose stool for a long time if the cause is not found. You might believe that this is normal for your dog unless you identify the cause.

What To Look For When Shopping For Dog Food For Firm Stool?

If your dog has more than a temporary case of diarrhea due to getting into the trash; and your veterinarian has ruled out serious health problems, you will probably want to find a good dog food that will encourage your dog to have firmer stool.

Here are some things to look for when seeking a food to firm up your dog’s stool:

  1. Choose a dry kibble instead of a canned food. Wet diets are mostly moisture which can add to the bulk of your dog’s stool. In addition, canned food is often rich and higher in fat than kibble. Extra fat in your dog’s diet can lead to softer stools.
  2. Look for a dog food that has meat as the main ingredient. Lower fat meats such as chicken, turkey, fish, and rabbit are preferable. A dog food that has fewer ingredients can be better for some dogs so there are fewer things that might irritate your dog’s system.
  3. Choose carbohydrates such as rice, oats, and barley. Wheat can be more fermentable than other grains – a problem for dogs with gastrointestinal issues such as soft stools. Avoid soy.
  4. Avoid dairy. This isn’t usually a problem in most adult dog foods but dairy is sometimes found in puppy foods.
  5. Choose dog foods that have moderate fat. Too much fat can increase problems with soft stool.
  6. Dog foods that contain probiotics are a good choice. Or, you can add probiotics to your dog’s diet. Diarrhea and soft stools can be a sign that the good bacteria in your dog’s gut is depleted. Adding probiotics to your dog’s diet can help re-establish the good bacteria.
  7. Look for dog food that contains appropriate fiber. If your dog is having soft stools it can mean there is not enough fiber in the diet – or not enough of the right kind of fiber. Fiber helps regulate your dog’s digestive tract. Ideally, a dog needs both soluble and insoluble (indigestible) fiber. However, if you have a large or giant breed dog, it’s best to avoid fermentable fiber such as beet pulp and FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides).

Obviously, these are only basic suggestions. Every dog is different so your dog might respond well to a food that another dog couldn’t eat. If you absolutely cannot figure out what to feed your dog, many veterinarians and experienced dog lovers recommend giving a dog a little boiled chicken and rice.

Bland is good for dogs with an upset stomach and stool problems. Or, you might want to add a tablespoon of canned pumpkin to your dog’s regular dog food. Pumpkin is a wonderful source of fiber and can often work wonders when it comes to firming up a dog’s stool. (Oddly enough, pumpkin can also help with constipation.)

Just remember that canned pumpkin is not the same as pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling (which also comes in a can) contains spices which are not good for dogs to eat. Be sure to buy the plain canned pumpkin.

The Best Rated Dog Foods For Firm Stools Reviewed

Hill's Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Digestive/Fiber Care with Chicken Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 17% Min
  • Fat – 9% Min
  • Fiber – 9% Max
  • Calories: 343 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Designed to support the bacteria in your dog’s gut
  • Uses Hill’s ActivBiome Technology which is a mix of active fibers to improve your dog’s regularity
  • Encourages the release of “post-biotics” to support your dog’s G.I. tract and break down food
  • Promotes healthy, regular stool and reduces future episodes of soft stool and diarrhea
  • Formulated by veterinary nutritionists

Cons:

  • Requires a prescription from your veterinarian
  • Expensive

There is one diet specifically made to help reduce stomach upset and make your dog’s stool healthy – Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Digestive/Fiber Care with Chicken Dry Dog Food.

This is a prescription diet with an exclusive recipe formulated by the nutritionists and veterinarians at Hill’s. According to Hill’s the food works with the bacteria in your dog’s stomach. The blend of active fibers in the food move through your dog’s body and encourage the release of “post-biotics.”

Since this is a prescription formula you might consider this food as a last resort but it does receive extremely favorable reviews.

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Calories: 344 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Easily-digestible proteins, carbohydrates, and fibers for good absorption
  • Prebiotic fibers to support microflora in your dog’s gut
  • Contains vitamins E and C, along with antioxidants for a healthy immune system

Cons:

  • Requires a prescription from your veterinarian
  • Expensive

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Dry Dog Food is another food you should consider if your dog is having loose stools.

It has deboned chicken as the first ingredient with moderate fat. It also uses oatmeal and brown rice as carbohydrate/fiber sources. Prebiotic fibers help keep the digestive track healthy. This formula contains no corn, wheat, or soy.

This Blue Buffalo formula does require a prescription from your veterinarian.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 21% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 12.5% Max
  • Calories: 287 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Formulated for several gastrointestinal issues, including stool problems
  • Features highly digestible proteins and prebiotics
  • Includes a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers
  • Contains Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA from fish oil and EPA

Cons:

  • Requires a prescription from your veterinarian
  • Expensive

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Dog Food is made for dogs with various digestive issues, including diarrhea. It’s also a good choice for dogs that have a lack of appetite or that have been vomiting. It’s formulated with a blend of both soluble and insoluble fibers to help with intestinal movement and it supports your dog’s gastrointestinal system.

The food combines highly digestible proteins and prebiotics to encourage a balance of good bacteria in your dog’s gut. It also has a blend of dietary fiber for healthy digestion and good stool quality. Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA from fish oil and EPA help soothe your dog’s G.I. tract.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 21% Min
  • Fat – 10% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Calories: 350 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Limited ingredient diet
  • Fish is the single animal protein
  • Sweet potatoes, a good dietary fiber, provides the carbohydrates
  • Moderate in fat
  • No corn, wheat, soy, and no peas
  • Does not require a veterinary prescription
  • Less expensive than veterinary formulas

Cons:

  • Does not contain probiotics (but you can add these to your dog’s diet)

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food could be a good choice for dogs suffering from loose stools. It’s made for dogs with sensitive digestion and it has relatively few ingredients since it’s a limited ingredient diet.

It has no corn, wheat, or soy, and it’s pea-free. It’s also grain-free. It has no artificial flavors or colors. Salmon and menhaden fish meal protein the animal protein and sweet potatoes provide most of the carbohydrates and they are high in dietary fiber. Plus, this food requires no prescription and it costs less than the veterinary formulas.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 26% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 5.5% Max
  • Calories: 430 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Formulated for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Turkey is the first ingredient
  • Has low-moderate fat content
  • No grains or gluten
  • Easily digestible formula with probiotics and prebiotics
  • Prescription is not required

Cons:

  • Contains peas and potatoes which can be problems for some dogs

Wellness makes several different lines of dog food such as Complete Health and CORE. We think that Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food would be a good food for dogs having problems with loose stools. This formula has low-moderate fat and good fiber.

It features deboned turkey and turkey meal as meat protein. This formula is especially good for dogs with food sensitivities and it contains no corn, wheat, soy, glutens, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. And, you don’t need a veterinary prescription to buy this food.

Overview

At some point every dog will experience soft stools or diarrhea. As long as the problem only lasts for a day or two and there is no blood in the stool, there is probably nothing to worry about. If your dog has a continuing problem with soft stools or diarrhea, you should have your veterinarian check him out.

If your dog doesn’t have a serious health problem, the issue could be food-related. Try one of the foods suggested here and see if it makes a different to your dog. But remember, your dog probably has a sensitive digestion system so make any changes in his diet very slowly. Frequent changes and new foods can keep his digestive system upset so introduce a new food slowly and carefully.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
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