You know you are around a bunch of dog people when the poop talk starts and no one misses a beat! Poop watching gives you a view into our dog’s health and knowing the difference between an off-day poop-wise versus something like a blockage can be the difference of life or death!
A Quick Lesson on Digestion
When your Weim eats, food gets pushed down his esophagus and into his stomach where it’s partially digested. It takes about 12 hours for everything to move to the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. Then it all moves on to the large intestine where water is removed — and finally you’ve got poop!
Digestion Problems = Soft Stools and GAS!
Food should be digested by the time it reaches the large intestines. If it’s only partially digested when it gets there, normally occurring bacteria in the intestines ferments the partially digested food, causing soft poop and gas. Eeew! No wonder their farts smell so bad!
The problem isn’t the bacteria. All mammals naturally have bacteria in their digestive system, and this bacteria is good. It protects the gut, breaks down food and keeps the system acidic. These bacteria are essential to keep your dog healthy.
When your Weim has soft poop or gas, the problem is that your dog isn’t digesting his food well. Food is speeding through his system and/or there’s so much irritation and inflammation that he’s not getting a chance to absorb those nutrients. And you can tell by what’s coming out the other end!
Getting to Know Your Weim’s Poop
(Did I just write that??)
All dogs have occasional bouts of diarrhea or gas, and this usually isn’t a cause for concern as brief episodes will usually resolve themselves. These minor digestive issues can turn up especially if changes are made to their diet or environment, and Weims in particular are notorious for eating too fast and for getting into things they shouldn’t!
It’s important to understand that digestive issues can range from minor to deadly, so keeping tabs on the gas and poop is an important part of your job!
Normal poop is brown and firm. Excessive gas, poop that is soft, watery (diarrhea), mucus-y, tarry, bloody, the wrong color or smells worse than normal could mean a problem — especially if it’s persistent. Persistent means more than a couple days.
Quick and Easy Changes You Can Make to Avoid Digestive Problems
- If you have a gulper, sometimes it’s simply a matter of your Weim swallowing too much air when he’s eating that is causing the gas. Brake-Fast bowls are oddly shaped bowls that forces your Weim to slow his eating. DIYers, put a big rock or chain in his food bowl to slow him down instead. Or feed him from a muffin tin. It works the same way.
- Guard, hide or lock the garbage can and clean your counters. ‘Nuff said. 🙂
- De-stress him, sometimes diarrhea is just from anxiety or excitement.
- Exercise can help the digestive tract work, eliminating gas bubbles. Make sure to wait two hours before and after exercise to feed him to avoid bloat.
- Make sure that your dog food hasn’t changed formulas. This happens more often than you think!
Quick Fixes for Minor Acute Gas and Diarrhea
- Withhold food and let his gut rest. A 24 hour fast is harmless, but if you aren’t comfortable with this, feed your Weim some cooked chicken and white rice in small meals. You are looking for low fat and bland here, to keep the gut calm.
- Canned pumpkin or yams. Kennel workers are usually familiar with this trick. The stress of boarding can cause a day or two of loose stools and canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just plain pumpkin) will usually firm everything right up. Yams or sweet potatoes do the same thing. Just throw them in the oven. They’re great treats too!
- Activated charcoal or chlorophyll is said to work well in some dogs to quell that gas.
- Loperamide (Imodium is the brand name) is safe to give to your dog for diarrhea at a dosage of 0.05-0.1 mg/pound for 1 to 2 days.
- For gas, Simethicone (Gas-X is the brand name) in human adult doses, is also safe for your dog. This is an important medication to have on hand to help cut the risk of bloat if your Weim goes overboard on anything. Not that mine ever does… 🙂
Home Remedies for Gas and Diarrhea
If your Weim is gassy and his stools are soft and frequent, there are some things you can change at home that might help with a developing chronic problem before taking him to the vet. Gas and sloppy poop is fairly common with Weimaraners!
Add to Your Weim’s Diet
- Probiotics is the good bacteria found in yogurt and Kefir. It’s not uncommon for Weim owners to dole out a daily dollop of yogurt on their dog’s food as a matter of course. (It also helps keep ears clean, by the way!) You can just get the unsweetened kind from the grocery store, or purchase probiotics in pill form. Any of them will work, but some dogs have issues with the dairy in yogurt.
- Pancreatic enzymes or other digestive enzymes.
- Seacure supplement is recommended by our breeder friends.
Remove from Your Weim’s Diet
- Try eliminating grains. Corn could be a problem, but any of the grains could be the culprit.
- Ditch any soy and soy products. Same goes for dairy.
- Eggs can be great in moderation, but they can cause gas.
- No more table scraps (or only allow protein sources) if you think these could be causing the problem.
- Try eliminating chicken based diets and replace with a novel protein source.
Consider Switching to a Raw or Home Cooked Diet
Quite honestly, many Weimaraner owners that have switched to raw have done so due their Weim’s nagging digestive problems. The control and quality it affords usually solves issues such as soft stools, allergies, itching skin, etc.
If your Weimaraner is experiencing a bad bout of diarrhea, it is probably best to try a bland cooked diet that is low in fat before trying raw. Once your Weim is stable and completely healthy, you may want to try feeding a raw diet to see if there are improvements.
When to See a Vet
If the changes above don’t work, and your Weimaraner is experiencing chronic gas and diarrhea you may want to run a Nutriscan test to help with allergy identification, and if the issues are caused by Irritable Bowel Disease. IBD is actually a catch-all term to describe any ongoing irritation of the gut that causes long term diarrhea. Weimaraners are an at-risk breed, and IBD can be classified as an immune mediated disease, part of a “hyper-inflammatory syndrome” which also includes allergies, vaccine reactions and Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy. Basically, as Weimaraner breeders would tell you, many Weims just tend to have immune system problems!
Conventional treatment includes prescription diets, anti-diarrheal medications, and even steroids and immunosuppressive drugs. Some of these treatments can have some serious side effects, so before going that route, please read Amy and Chaucer’s story and their experience with IBD!
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“Summer Crud” (Staph Infection of the Skin) in Weimaraners
Also called "summer crud" this skin infection usually shows up in the summer due to heat and humidity. Hives are almost always present. The cure for Weimaraners is to give antibiotics and a benzoyl peroxide shampoo for 3 weeks.
Sounds like you are using prednisone systemically as in pills. They do cause weight gain. How about using Gentocin topical spray which contains Gentomyacin (sp?) antibiotic and has a topical steroid in it that stops the itch so the dogs leave it alone and it can heal. When I had a Golden this stuff was our summer friend for hot spots.
Gentocin spray is available at many Vets and can be found sometimes on line as well.
Another great article! My Weim, Finnegan had an off poop day just yesterday. My anxiety about it was high as he is still a pup and I’m still a bit of a ‘neurotic puppy mom’. It passed quickly but your article is reassuring, plus didn’t know about gas x for dogs. Keep up the good work
Once again a great article!! I have learned so much from you
I have found that by feeding a raw diet all of the skin, bowel and ear issues are non existent. And the poop does tell all!!!
I feed raw also and have for the past 15 years. I feel that my Weims are so much healthier for it!
Do you have any articles about what is sometimes called “summer grunge” a pesky skin disorder that manifests itself as small itchy spots with less hair and the hair that remains is very dry relative to the surrounding hair.
We’ve tried prednisone which works well but is only temporary and with weight gain side effects. We’ve tried special bath solutions and home remedies.
Any information would be appreciated by “Gracie” and us.
Great article. I’m also curious about Keith’s question. Let me preface this by saying I haven’t allergy tested, but my Weims been on the same food (Pulsar) since 3 mos and continues to have seasonal episodes. His table scraps are protein based. He also gets a spoonful of coconut oil and fish oil daily. Unfortunately bc we live in Arizona, he’s more prone to having irritable skin most of the year. This last irritation started in October and hasn’t let up.
I saw my vet 10 days ago for another dose of prednisone. He’s additionally on an oral antibiotic and a shampoo with antibiotics as well. Bathing 2-3 times weekly until irritation resides. Bet also suggested an OTC allergy med daily for most of the year. But to Kevin’s point, steroids provide mild relief and an overly hungry pup (at risk for weight gain). Any information is greatly appreciated.
Hi there, just been re-reading these posts and thought I would comment.
Our Weim seemed to have had tummy upsets since we got her, tried the usual remedies and food, blue buffalo, Royal Canin etc. Until a freind of ours mentioned Vital, it is a meat based food and has to be kept refridgerated, but we have seen a huge difference in her. Her energy levels are about the same, just plain crazy, but her stomach and poops are somuch better, before she would go 4-5 times a day and were always loose, now it is twice a day, fully formed and not smelly. Also her skin and coat are in really good condition, even when compared to other weims. other side effect was her weight and build, she is quite literally just bone muscle and skin, looks really healthy. Only downside of feeding her Vital is that it is on the expensive side, but worth every penny in the reduction of vet bills.
Hey Keith,We had a terrible bout with this on our puppy last July. Anne & Meredith Wadsworth have a very helpful article in their e-book “your new weimaraner puppy” & u can do a search for “summer crud” on the jw website.
Try this article https://justweimaraners.com/weimaraner-hives-skin-infection/