Part of being a responsible dog owner is picking up after your pooch. Your dog's diet determines how much waste you will need to clean up. Just a few simple changes to what goes in your dog's bowl can make a huge change to the amount of waste that comes out.
Waste In, Waste Out
If your pup leaves a lot of waste for you to pick up, it's time to look at the ingredient list on his bag of food. The volume of stool is directly related to the amount of indigestible ingredients in the food. Some level of indigestible fiber from healthy sources is good, since fiber helps clean the digestive tract, stabilize blood sugar and maintain good weight. However, if the ingredient list includes a lot of meat and grain by-products, a lot of the food that goes in your dog's mouth passes right through his system and comes out the other end. So, before making a switch to a different food, evaluate your pooch's current food to see what's causing the large gifts he is leaving in the backyard.
Biologically Appropriate = Less Waste
Dogs descended from wolves thousands of years ago, but their dietary needs and digestive processes have not changed much from their wild cousins. The most biologically appropriate diet for dogs resembles a wolf's diet of raw meat and bones, with only a small amount of plant material. If you feed your dog what his body is designed for, he'll use more of the food efficiently, which means less waste. Dogs on raw diets also need to eat a lot less food to meet their daily needs. Since there is less food going in, there is inevitably less waste coming out.
Grain Free for Less Waste
Sometimes, a raw diet just isn't practical or affordable. For many dogs, dry kibble is their daily diet, so it's important to choose the most digestible food to get the least waste. A higher quality grain-free kibble will have fewer filler ingredients that just pass through the digestive system. A higher protein kibble also will help your dog produce less waste and make his stool more solid. Be careful with foods with very high protein and not enough moisture, as too much protein may cause constipation or loose stool.
Supplements to Improve Digestion
Adding supplements to your pup's diet can help improve digestion and reduce waste. Try giving your dog a good quality probiotic every day. Probiotics help balance the good bacteria in his digestive tract, which means he'll get more nutrition from his food and likely need less to eat. If you can't find a probiotic supplement, plain yogurt and plain canned pumpkin also are good dietary supplements.
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images