Playing CIA with your dog’s poop is one of the many blessings that come with being a dog parent. As a responsible pet owner, it’s part of your duties to monitor your dog’s poop and find out about low-residue dog food.
Why is it Important to Understand your Dog’s Poop?
Dr. Abby Huggins, a veterinarian at Intown Animal Hospital, Atlanta, puts it quite simply. According to her, if you’re familiar with what’s normal for your dog, poop wise, then you can easily tell when something is wrong.
Depending on the cause of your dog’s poop problem, different diets can be recommended by your vet. If the stools are becoming too much or too frequent, a low-residue diet is recommended.
Understanding Dog Poop 101
- Brown Logs: This is the perfect dog poop. It’s the kind of dog poop other dog poops want to be like. Okay, that’s disgusting but you get the idea. When your dog’s poop looks like this, it shows that everything is A-okay in his gut.
Of course, it should smell badly a bit. It’s poop after all. But then it shouldn’t be so bad that you can’t bear to be around it or it makes you nauseous.
2. Large Volume, Stinky Stuff: Now, in the first place, poop is actually all the indigestible stuff in your dog’s diet that gets kicked out. So, the more of that stuff that’s in his diet, the larger the volume of poop he’ll pass.
Genetically, dogs are hardwired to eat meat. However, many pet owners tend to feed their dogs with less meat and more kibble. Problem is, most of the kibble, especially the low-quality ones, come with lots of carbs and fillers. As a result, the poop ends up being quite large and very stinky.
3. Loose, Liquid-like Poop: Aka diarrhea. In addition to being carnivores, dogs are also scavengers by nature. This means that they also like to feed on all kinds of rubbish. Do you see why diarrhea is not far-fetched?
Thankfully, this clears up on its own, most times. Your dog just has to throw out the garbage in his system and he’ll be back to normal.
But then, diarrhea could also be a sign that something is up – could be an allergy or food intolerance, or microbial infection. If the diarrhea is lasting longer than 48 hours, call your vet.
4. Small and Hard Poop: If the poop is tiny and strong like a rock, sometimes so strong it doesn’t come out, then your dog might be constipated.
Basically, constipation is a clog in your dog’s intestines. And this can be brought on by a number of reasons. It might be because he’s not taking in enough liquid, or that he’s taking in too much insoluble fiber and fillers (many low-quality kibbles contain such fillers).
Other things about dog poop you should look out for include the color and sliminess. If it’s not chocolate brown and it starts taking up a weird hue, call your vet.
Also, sometimes, your dog’s poop could get slimy. However, if it’s becoming an everyday thing, then something is wrong. Call your vet.
Okay, we’re pretty sure you’re glad for the education on dog poop and all. However, today, we are going to focus on when your dog’s poop is large and stinky because that’s when you’ll need to get your dog a low-residue dog food.
What’s a Low-Residue Dog Food?
According to Dr. Erica Oberg (MD MPH), author at medicinenet.com, low-residue dog food is designed to give the bowel a break.
Typically, it contains very little fiber with some other restrictions. It’s supposed to help to reduce the volume of your dog’s poop and make it smell a lot better.
Up next, we discuss…
What are the Characteristics of a Low-Residue Dog Food?
- High Digestibility: This means that the food should be easily broken down and absorbed by your dog’s body.
In a normal dog without any gastrointestinal issues, a 70-90% digestible food is alright. And many of the commercial dry foods we have come with that (this is a good example of great low residue dog food). However, if your dog has some GI issues, then he’s going to need something with about an 85 to 90% digestibility to help manage the situation.
However, reading the label on the food packaging will not give you this information. For this reason, only choose a brand that includes a contact number on the package. You’d need to make some calls to confirm the digestibility of the product.
Remember, what you want is an 85% digestibility at least.
- Moderate Fat: Dog foods with high-fat content constitute a lot of problems for pups. It makes stomach emptying time a lot longer, and also increases chances of diarrhea and vomiting.
- Low Fiber: The best low-residue dog foods must come with low fiber and fillers. Fillers are actually carbs often used to hold dog kibble together. Problem is that they digest very poorly in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
By eliminating these from your dog’s diet, you make it easier for your dog to pass poop. Plus, the volume decreases since the number of indigestible substances in his food has been reduced.
So, when in the market for any low-residue dog food, these are some of the characteristics you might want to look out for. But if you’d like a hand, here is our top 5 selection…
iv. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Stella’s Super Dinner (For raw food enthusiasts).
Now, a low-residue diet isn’t just great at improving digestion. It’s much more than that. There are so many other reasons low-residue dog food should form a part of your dog’s regular diet.
Benefits of a Low Residue Dog Food
- Improves Pancreas Health: You already know what your own pancreas does – breaks down food and regulates sugar. It’s the same as in your dog. It’s been found that dogs with pancreatitis usually fare significantly better when kept on a low-residue diet.
- Great for Diarrhea and Constipation: A low-residue dog food will give your dog’s feces better consistency even as it improves overall digestion.
Also, low-residue dog food helps to make digestion more efficient. Therefore, food is broken down easily and can be passed without problems.
- Improves Colon Health: Dogs with constant excretory problems might be showing symptoms of colitis. Colitis refers to a condition in which the colon gets inflamed.
Feeding your dog a low-residue diet means that swelling in the colon decreases because the digestion process is now much improved.
- Gets Rid of Flatulence: Poor digestion usually comes with the sad news that your dog would be releasing some really foul-smelling gases. This is often caused because the colon seems to be having a hard time clearing out waste efficiently.
With a low-residue dog food, digestion is improved, so, flatulence isn’t an issue. So, in a way, the best dog food for flatulence is a low residue dog food.
Next, we take a look at ingredients that an ideal low residue dog food contains. And yeah, these are the ingredients you should also look out for when reading those labels.
Ingredients that Make Up a Low Residue Dog Food
When a low residue dog food is being manufactured, certain ingredients are added to ensure that the food achieves its purpose. That is, the food should be able to reduce the volume of stool being passed by the dog.
So, typically, foods like this come with
- Highly digestible proteins.
- All types of animal protein such as fish, eggs, and meat.
- Healthy oils.
In addition to this low residue dog food, there are some other foods you can include in your dog’s diet to help with the situation. You can include veggies! Veggies such as tomatoes, carrots, and green beans are very great at improving digestibility.
If your dog loves a treat, then why not try low fiber fruits? They make very delicious treats and even more importantly, they digest very easily. You can feed them with bananas, melon, avocado, pumpkin, or other sugarless canned fruits.
What’s Age Got to Do with It?
There’s just a small difference in the kind of low residue dog food given to dogs of different ages. Normally, as a dog increases in age, he tends to need more protein. So, if you have a senior, try to keep his protein intake at a steady 80%.
For the pups, a more balanced diet is required, so, you’ll need to include more veggies in their diet.
So, back to the seniors because, at this stage of their lives, they are the more finicky eaters, understandably…
When putting your older dogs on a low residue diet, it’s always better to feed them their animal protein raw. The reason for this is that if you give them something with rendered animal parts in it, it could do more harm than good.
In fact, many of the biggest brands carry a separate line of low residue foods for older dogs. These products usually come with very high protein content. Also, the manufacturers make it a point to avoid rendered protein.
And Finally, when it comes to Improving your Dog’s Poop
- Go With Dry Kibble: As long as your dog can still chew, go for dry food. It’s more concentrated and contains less water. This way, you don’t have to feed him so much to get him satisfied. In the same amount of wet food, dry food will always have more nutrition. So, with dry food, you save more money and you get less poop.
- Don’t Overfeed: Of course, the more your dog eats, the more stool he’ll pass. Ensure that you’re feeding him just enough and never too much. The more concentrated your chosen kibble is, the less your dog will need to consume. So, also ensure you read the label when deciding on quantity.
Let’s not forget also, that obese dogs are still very much a problem — for dogs and dog owners today.
We’ve learned a lot today about dog poop and low residue dog food. Remember, you need to get familiar with your dog’s poop so you can tell early when a problem comes. If it comes.
Also, don’t forget that nothing here is supposed to replace the advice of your vet. Always ensure that you consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet.
And remember, your seniors are more prone to digestion issues than their younger counterparts. So, you might want to give them some extra TLC.
For your convenience, here’s our top 5 selection for low residue dog food…
iv. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Stella’s Super Dinner (For raw food enthusiasts).