The best way to harden dog poop to pick it up is to give it some time. When a dog has loose stool, it may take a few hours for the stool to harden. If time isn’t an option, pour water over the soft stool/diarrhea to dilute it. If your dog continues to have soft stool, dietary changes should be made.
Our lovable little dorks are constantly thrilled to provide us with big smiles, big hearts, and sometimes…even bigger messes.
From over-excited piddling to that powerful tail knocking over those cups on the coffee table, cleaning up after your pup is an essential part of dog ownership (they most certainly aren’t going to do it). But some messes are a bit more complicated to clean up.
Sometimes the stool from your dog cannot be conveniently picked up by the good old-fashioned pooper scooper. If you need to adjust your tactics for a “soft” mess, we are here to help.
Soft Stool Vs. Diarrhea
While researching ailments for your pooches upset tummy and how to harden their stool for future bowel movements, it’s important to be able to differentiate between diarrhea and “soft stool.”
When your dog has diarrhea, the feces will contain almost all liquid (which is why diarrhea almost always leads to dehydration). Soft stool is very similar, except it will still contain solid matter, making it a bit easier to clean up with conventional tools. The keyword there is “easier,” as it may still prove to be difficult.
Why Is The Poop Soft?
Before we crack into our solutions for hardening dog poop, it’s important to understand why the poop is soft in the first place.
In dogs and humans alike, stool can be an accurate indicator of potential health issues. Diarrhea and soft stool can both be side-effects of gastrointestinal health complications.
Diarrhea isn’t always caused by complex health issues. Sometimes your poor pooch just ate something that didn’t agree with them. Runny stool is their body’s effort at expelling rouge toxins, or after ingesting food that is well past its expiration date (we have all made that mistake). In severe instances, this can even signify infection.
However, soft stool is not commonly linked to health issues. It may just mean your fluffy friend got their nose into something they shouldn’t have.
How To Harden Dog Poop
Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to quickly harden dog poop after your dog goes to the bathroom. You can try using an aerosol spray such as Poopfreeze (more on that below), but that doesn’t always work on super soft stool. The only thing you can do at that point is to wait for the poop to harden and then pick it up. You can also try to clean it up with water if you are unable to wait a few hours for it to harden.
However, you can do a few things to firm up your dog’s stool before they go to the bathroom. This will prevent those “uncleanable messes” each time you go on a walk. We will go over all options below.
Using Aerosol Spray
A few aerosol spray products were designed to freeze dog poop, which makes it easier to clean up. The good news is that these products do work well for soft stool, but they don’t work great for runny stool. The other added benefit is it reduces the odor, so you don’t have to worry about carrying around a stinky bag!
Waiting For The Poop to Harden Naturally
If the Aerosol spray didn’t work, the other option is to wait a few hours for the poop to naturally harden. If the accident happened on someone’s lawn, it’s courteous to let them know what happened and that you’ll be back to pick it up. If you feel a little too awkward knocking on their door, you can always leave a note and let them know you’ll return.
Dilute With Water
If the accident happened in a public place (like a sidewalk), you won’t have the luxury of waiting for the mess to harden. In this case, your only option is to dilute it with water. Pour a bunch of water over the mess, that may dilute it enough to where it’s not even visible.
Paper Towels and Napkins
We saved this option for last because it’s definitely the most disgusting. If none of the above are an option or didn’t work, your only other option is to grab a bunch of paper towels or napkins and soak up as much diarrhea as possible. Whatever is left, you’ll have to clean yourself with paper towels.
Preventing Loose Stool
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Other than the health complications it may provoke, diarrhea causes its victim to become dangerously dehydrated.
Diarrhea causes the body to expel excessive amounts of electrolytes and essential minerals through the runny stool. You must make sure your little pup remains properly hydrated. If not, this can be incredibly harmful to their health.
Not only will plenty of water and essential supplements help aid in your pup’s fragile situation, but it will also help solidify the droppings. Dogs that are properly hydrated typically don’t have loose stool.
Keep The Diet Dairy Free
Honestly, this is something I never understood. How can my dog eat my iPad almost entirely and be totally fine? Yet a little dairy will tank his digestion.
When speaking about dogs drinking milk, I am more so referring to puppies. The only dairy that dogs should be ingesting is the milk from their mother. Although it’s uncommon, puppies can still be born with a lactase deficiency (lactase is a compound that breaks down the sugar in milk). When these sugars don’t get broken down, they collect water in the intestinal tract, causing your poor pup to produce soft stool.
This can be easily averted by switching your pup to a lactose-free supplement. There are many affordable milk replacers on the market.
Reduce Feeding Frequency
Dog’s aren’t exactly…the most graceful eaters.
They will gladly accept anything and everything when it comes to delicious treats, which might cause your pup to be overeating.
Overconsumption can cause overly frequent trips to the yard, but did you know it can also cause soft stool? Overeating can be harsh on the dog’s digestive system, prompting issues in breaking the food down. Reducing your dog’s feeding frequency to no more than twice per day will help tremendously in hardening their stool. Yes, this includes snacks.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to measure out your pup’s kibble, simply start by giving them half the portions you usually would. If you still have trouble yielding results, it’s a good idea to weigh their food and keep a regimented record of the diet.
Proper Healthy Diet
Observing your little pup in any amount of distress can be very worrisome. In most cases, diarrhea and soft stool are directly correlated with poor gastrointestinal health.
In simple terms, this means that your pooch needs to get on a healthier feeding regiment (although shoes seem to be on the top of that list).
Sometimes the issue is as simple as a lack of fiber, which can easily be corrected with simple changes.
A fantastic and unexpected source of this fiber can be found in canned pumpkin. Yes, that’s right, the same stuff that you use for that Thanksgiving pie. Pumpkin (pure canned pumpkin) can be the perfect solution to the problem!
The copious amount of fiber in pumpkin helps soak up any excess moisture in the intestinal tract, preventing loose stool and even diarrhea. Start by adding minimal amounts of pumpkin to their regular food, and adjust the quantity as you see fit.
Keep in mind that it’s perfectly safe for your dog to ingest pumpkin.
Use Dry Dog Food
If nothing seems to be working, try switching your pup to dry food (if you have been giving them wet food). The added moisture in wet food may be altering the consistency of their poop.
Additionally, you can cook for your precious pup (just when you thought they couldn’t get any more spoiled)! Cooking for your pup allows you to be in charge of the ingredients going into your dog. To harden their stool, you want to provide them with a high protein, high carbohydrate diet.
Basic and bland foods are key. Chicken, turkey, and other variations of white meat can be the perfect solution. White meat contains large amounts of protein with very minimal moisture.
Something that I have tried with my dog was introducing rice into his diet. Mixing rice with protein worked fantastically! The rice will absorb any extra moisture in the gut, helping solidify the poops.
As you can see, there are multiple avenues that you can pursue to harden your dogs poop. If your dog’s stool still isn’t solidifying after trying to resolve, you must get them examined by a professional.
Remember, if your dog has a loose stool accident while on a walk that’s impossible to pick up, try diluting it with water.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.