Why does my dog have runny poo?

Q Our 15-month-old Springer Spaniel, Ozzie, who we have had from seven-weeks-old, has been having real trouble with his tummy. He constantly has runny stools and goes to the toilet at least four times per day.

We spoke to our vet about this problem and he told us to change his food to a hypoallergenic one, which we did, but it hasn't improved the problem.

We have tried him on different flavours of the same make of food, which hasn't seemed to help matters and we are now at the end of our tether with this. Do you have any advice on other foods we could maybe try him on, or, whether there may be something else more sinister going on here?

He is a real scrounger of a dog and the vet did say that if we were to treat him with anything, just do it with his own food, which we are doing. He doesn't have any leftovers of our own food at all. He eats really well, but whenever we walk him he always has very sloppy, hard to pick up poo!

A Joe Inglis said: This is not an uncommon problem and as your vet has suggested the cause is often diet related. Dietary intolerances, which is where the digestive system struggles to cope with specific ingredients such as certain proteins, are relatively common in dogs and can cause a variety of problems including persistent diarrhoea, weight loss, and general ill health.

With this in mind, I would suggest persevering with your search for a suitable diet for him as this is likely to provide the best long term solution to the problem. There are many hypoallergenic diets available and it is sometimes just a case of trial and error to see which suits your dog best.

The other approach that might help is to use a prebiotic supplement. Prebiotics are undigestible carbohydrates that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which can improve the overall health of the digestive system and reduce the impact of conditions such as dietary intolerances. Prebiotics are available from your vet or from good pet shops.

About Joe Inglis: Having qualified as a vet in 1996, Joe's appeared on a variety of TV programmes including 'Vet School', 'Vets in Practice', and 'Blue Peter', where he was the on-screen vet. Currently a vet for BBC's The One Show, and for The Wright Stuff on Five, Joe is MORE TH>N's official pet expert.

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