Poopy Problem? Causes of Diarrhea and Constipation in Dogs and Cats

Poopy Problem? Causes of Diarrhea and Constipation in Dogs and Cats

Posted by Thomas Ling on

Every pet owner has smelt what has been dealt, and then been forced to clean up the mess that follows. The bad news is diarrhea and constipation is common for dogs and cats. The good news, however, is that there are natural ways to prevent it from happening. Read on to keep your pet regular and your carpets (hopefully) clean. 

The Problem

Whether your pet is pooping too little or too much, the culprit is usually the gastrointestinal system, particularly the intestines (also known as the bowels). It’s the job of the bowel to absorb nutrients and discard leftovers, all of which requires the proper balance of water in your pet’s system. Too much water, you get diarrhea; too little, then it’s constipation. Here are some of the most common causes of each: 

Diarrhea Constipation
  • Novel food items: Table food, diet change, garbage on the street, new treats, kitty litter…your pets love to experiment, but rapid diet changes can cause gut inflammation, introduce bad bacteria, or be poorly absorbed – all resulting in an increase in water and diarrhea.
  • Gut microflora imbalance: Bacteria is essential for proper digestion within the gut. Anything that causes an imbalance – like too much sugar (carbs), dairy, or antibiotics can change the pH of the gut, and allow for the growth of bad and/or toxin producing bacteria. Your pet’s body wants to flush these out and, so, diarrhea.
  • Dehydration: When dehydrated, your pet’s body will absorb water from its bowels, causing harder and drier stools that won’t pass. Ouch!
  • Fiber Deficiency: Fiber assists with increasing colonic motility which prevents over absorption of water from feces.

Pass the Fiber

Help keep your pet regular. To understand how, it’s helpful to learn a little bit about fiber, which can be sorted into two different types: soluble and insoluble. 

  • Soluble Fiber: Soluble fiber is excellent for cat and dog diarrhea and constipation. It can be found in foods like pumpkin and flaxseed. Soluble fiber draws water, which helps with diarrhea and makes it a good dog and cat diarrhea treatment. As the water is absorbed, soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance that can help stools slide through the gastrointestinal tract, easing dog and cat constipation. 
  • Insoluble Fiber: Insoluble fiber acts as a laxative and helps with dog and cat constipation. It does not get dissolved, but instead bulks up stools to promote movement through the digestive system. This is good for bowel movement, but may also increase the bowel frequency making it a good dog constipation remedy.

    Other Causes and Solutions

    Your pet’s poopy problems may have some less common sources. But don’t worry, we can help!



    • Food Allergies: food allergies can cause gut inflammation that prevents the proper absorption of water and nutrition. 
    • Short-term stress: Pets are emotional. Diarrhea can occur when they start missing mum and dad, or even if they hear strange sounds in strange places. That’s because stress hormones cause the colon to contract and push out your next poopy problem. 
    • Obstruction: anything blocking your pet’s stool from passing will cause water absorption. 
    • Trauma: musculoskeletal or nerve trauma can harm intestinal movements.

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