What are Passing Yellow Stools?

Changes in the color of your dog's stool could indicate anything from a mild upset stomach to a serious gastrointestinal condition. Causes of yellow stools in dogs include:

  • Consumption of non-food items 
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Liver problems
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Pancreas problems
  • Intestinal infections
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Food allergies

If you notice yellow stools (or any other unusual color, for that matter) despite making no changes to your dog's diet, consult your vet as soon as possible.

Why Passing Yellow Stools Occurs in Dogs

Why are your dog's stools yellow? There are several potential causes, some of which are more serious than others.

Consumption of non-food items

This can include pieces of trees, grasses, or even household items. Foreign body consumption can include virtually anything which isn’t food and isn’t supposed to be eaten. These items may not be digested by your pet’s system.

Gastroenteritis

This is inflammation of the intestinal system, generally this includes the stomach and intestines.  The causes of gastroenteritis can include infections from bacteria, viruses, parasites or reactions to new foods or medications.

Liver problems

Liver problems cause jaundice (icterus) which will discolor the eyes, skin, urine and feces of your pet. Damages to the liver can occur from many diseases, toxins, drugs, cancer and inflammation of the liver caused by bacterial and fungal infections.

Pancreatitis

This is inflammation of the pancreas which occurs as a result of digestive enzymes leaking into the pancreatic tissue.  Abdominal pain, depression, lack of appetite along with vomiting and diarrhea can occur in some dogs.  Chronic pancreatitis can sometimes lead to diabetes in your pet.

Gallbladder problems

This condition occurs when there is a stoppage of bile flowing from the gallbladder to the intestines.  This can occur due to trauma to the gallbladder, or from an obstruction like a gallstone, congealed bile or tumor of the gallbladder and can turn the eyes, skin, urine and feces a yellow color.

Intestinal infections

These can include bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.  If left untreated, any of these can progress to more serious conditions in your pet. 

Irritable bowel syndrome

This can cause a yellow mucus to be present in your dog’s stool.  This condition needs to be treated as early as possible to prevent progression into a more serious health condition for your pet.

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What to do if your Dog is Passing Yellow Stools

Bouts of periodic diarrhea and stool changes can cycle in and out of your dog’s life, lasting only one or two bowel movements.  This can be normal for some situations with your dog, unless his condition begins to deteriorate.  However, if the yellow stools continue to be passed beyond a day or two, or if your dogs' condition is deteriorating, you should call your veterinary professional for medical evaluation.  The condition which may be at the root of the yellow stool may be relatively minor or it can be a major health condition which will need to be treated urgently.  

Your veterinarian will examine your pet and perform any needed testing to determine the cause of the yellow stool.  In many cases, this diagnosis proves to be a “ruling out” situation as he eliminates the many possibilities for the yellow stool in your pet.  Your veterinarian will treat the underlying cause with medications, surgical procedures, dietary supplements or dietary regimen changes as needed based upon his findings and diagnosis.

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Prevention of Passing Yellow Stools

For many of the possible reasons for the passing of yellow stool by your pet, close monitoring of his lifestyle is the best measure of prevention. For conditions like pancreatitis, liver and gallbladder problems, dietary regimens will need to be evaluated to ensure that your pet is getting a balanced diet without excess fats and carbohydrates which may not be easily digested. 

Careful monitoring of your pets home environment and those areas where he exercises and plays is also a good idea, eliminating as many of the potential non-food items which might interest him enough to ingest them.  

Keeping up with regular checkups, vaccinations, and parasite control will help to reduce the opportunity for parasitic infection to take root in your pet’s intestinal tract.

Examinations done at home on a regular basis can also help to identify painful areas on your pet which could relate to internal problems which need attention.  This can be incorporated into the normal time you spend with your pet in play and attention giving.

Yellow stools can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog has yellow stool or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Cost of Passing Yellow Stools

There are costs involved in keeping your pet safe and healthy.  Here are some of the costs involved with treatment of some of the causes of yellow stools in your pet:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome treatment costs can range from $500 to $3,000
  • For the treatment of chronic liver inflammation, the costs can range from $1,000 to $10,000
  • If your pet is suffering from pancreatitis, those treatment costs could range from  $800 to $6,000
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Passing Yellow Stools Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Dachshund

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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9 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

We have a mini Wirehaired Dachshund that has had digestive issues in the past. Lately (last 45 days) he has had on and off again yellow diareah is is loosing weight. The vets do not know what is wrong and keep putting him on Hills Sensitive Food (wet and dry) and it usually reverses the progress i did with the bland cooked food of sweet potatoes, rice and chicken. This time we are now at the 3 day mark again with the yellow water stools and i am worried of dehydration. He is hungry and he does eat.

April 14, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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9 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear this. Ongoing diarrhoea and weight loss isn't normal and at this age there may be an underlying medical issue. I would advise a diagnostic work up including e.g. blood tests, a fecal analysis and abdominal scan. If you find your dog does better on home cooked food, discuss this with your vet or a canine nutritionist so you can ensure you're providing a balanced meal plan.

April 14, 2021

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Chiweenie

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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34 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Yellow Poop

my dog pooped today and it was half bright yellow and droopy and the other half was brown and solid

Nov. 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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34 Recommendations

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. One episode of slight diarrhoea is not necessarily a concern if your dog is otherwise well. Feed a bland diet of chicken and rice for 24 hours, offer a probiotic anti diarrhoea paste and ensure your dog is up to date with a good quality wormer. If the issue persists, we should have a vet check and possibly a faecal exam.

Nov. 18, 2020

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