The worst part of being a dog owner may be scooping poop. If your dog's stool is smelly, the task is even more unbearable. You can give your nose a break with just a few simple changes in your dog's food.
The Scoop on Poop
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Your dog's stool tells the story of his digestive tract. Firm stool with a light smell and brown color is the norm for healthy dogs. Harsh-smelling stool can indicate a health issue. The smell is caused by the sulphur produced when the bacteria are breaking down food. The harder the bacteria have to work as a result of a health issue, the more sulphur is produced and the more the stool will smell. Possible causes for smelly stool include parasites, infections in the digestive tract, irritable bowel syndrome and malabsorption syndrome. Before trying to control his smelly stool with food, make sure he doesn't have any health problems that are causing foul odors. If you think your dog might have a health issue, have your veterinarian do a standard fecal exam to rule out common problems.
Junk In, Junk Out
The longer food stays in your dog's digestive tract, the more sulphur builds up, resulting in smellier stool. Fillers, like meat byproducts and grains, are very hard for dogs to digest and often stay in your dog up to 48 hours. Undigestible ingredients, like cellulose, use up a ton of digestive energy, with nothing but smells to show for it. If you feed your dog junk food, then the byproducts of digestion that cause smelly stool will be abundant. Choose a grain-free food with no corn, wheat, soy or byproducts. Look for foods with high protein, moderate fats and low carbohydrates to make it easier for your dog to digest his food.
Raw Food = More Pleasant Smells
The best way to stop the smelly stool is to feed a raw diet. Dogs can digest raw meat in four to five hours, compared to the two days it may take to digest commercial foods. The meat is also easier to digest, which means a lot less gas is produced in the process. Dogs fed a 100 percent raw diet will have small, firm stool with only a faint odor (and sometimes no smell at all).
Probiotics Can Help
If you want to stick with a kibble or canned diet, consider adding probiotics to your dog's food. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your dog's digestive tract. These healthy bacteria make digestion easier and quicker, which means less smelly stool. You can usually find a good probiotic supplement at an independent pet store. Choose a probiotic that has at least 10 strains of bacteria. You can also add probiotics by adding a one to two tablespoons of plain yogurt to your dog's food every day. Although yogurt has fewer strains of the good bacteria, it will still help your dog digest his food better.