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What are Passing Yellow Stools?

When your dog is passing yellow stool, it means that his feces are yellow in color instead of the normal chocolate brown color.  Any changes in the normal color of your dog’s stools which are noted should be watched carefully.  There are several reasons why this could be happening:

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

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Why Passing Yellow Stools Occurs in Dogs

There are a number of reasons why yellow stool occurs in your canine companion and some of them 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 cannot 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 are 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.  If left untreated, any of them 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 canine.

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 for 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, 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 veterinary professional will examine your pet and perform the needed testing to ascertain the diagnosis for 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 vet will treat the underlying cause with medications, surgical procedures, dietary supplements or dietary regimen changes as needed based upon his findings and diagnosis.

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 assure 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 the regular checkups, vaccinations, and parasite immunization will help to reduce the opportunity for parasitic infection to take root in your pet’s intestinal system.

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.

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

Passing Yellow Stools Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Cookie
Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler)
2 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

pale poop

My dog was having some dietary issues the first blood test showed normal liver function. A month later it showed elevated levels. I started her on some digestive enzymes to help her. I also started giving her some hard boiled egg every day. Since then, her poop is either all pale (tannish, like sand color) or half pale and half brown. She is scheduled for another blood draw the end of January to check liver function again. Is it possible the enzymes are causing the pale stool as it helps her digestion too well? She acts hungry all the time now too.

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
314 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Cookie today. I'm not sure which digestive enzymes that you are referring to, but some digestive enzymes are harmful if given without being necessary, so make sure that you have asked your veterinarian about them, if they didn't prescribe them. Without knowing what food she is eating, what medications she is on, and what level of elevation in which liver enzymes, I can't really comment on whether the digestive enzymes are causing the stool color - it would be best if you ask your veterinarian these questions, as they know more information about Cookie, her condition, her tests and her medications. I hope that she recovers well.

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