There is no getting around the fact that it is no easy task to clean up when your dog has diarrhea. So join us as we go over some pro tips on how to clean up diarrhea on surfaces such as grass and concrete, or what to do in the park.
Do you have to pick up dog diarrhea?
Yes, just as with any of our dog’s poop, a responsible pet parent needs to get rid of, clean up and remove runny dog poop in public places and at home. It’s both a matter of hygiene and courtesy and depending on where you live, it might be part of the local by-laws and regulations.
Unfortunately, one which could earn you a hefty fine should you ignore it.
It is important that you keep in mind that dog diarrhea can happen anywhere and at any time, so it’s best to be prepared.
Important items to take in case of dog diarrhea
Usually, when leaving the house, it’s best to take poop baggies, a scoop, and disposable gloves to clean up a normal poop on a dog walk.
However, as we shall soon see as we delve into cleaning dog diarrhea, there are some extra items you should probably pack if you notice your dog may be having a tummy issue.
A small bottle of disinfectant liquid, like bleach,
a bottle of water,
and a small scrubbing brush.
A handful of kitty litter or sawdust can also be helpful.
How to pick up dog diarrhea
Picking up dog diarrhea in your house can be tricky, especially on a porous or absorbent surface such as carpet. The best thing to do is to use some cat litter to change the consistency of the poop so that most of it can be scooped up with gloves or a paper towel.
You can also use freeze spray or compressed air to freeze the stool. That will make it a lot easier to simply pick it up, although it isn’t always consistent.
Once you have removed most of the poop, spray any remaining residue with a disinfectant. Some prefer a solution of vinegar, disinfectant soap and water solution to do this, but we recommend a product with enzymes and good bacteria that break down organic matter quickly.
You can scrub the surface to remove the odor and stain, and then hoover it when it is dry to remove anything embedded in the fabric. If it is a hard surface, you can wipe it away and disinfect the area.
If the diarrhea is on a hard surface, you can simply remove the majority of it, and wipe the rest down with disinfectant or an enzymatic cleaner.
We also recommend using this dog poop scooper from PetMate for picking up poops in your yard. I use this one as it’s easy to wash as the spade doesn’t have prongs or a brush that will get poopy from diarrhea.
How to clean up dog diarrhea on grass
A lawn is one of the easier places to clean up dog diarrhea, given it’s your lawn. That is because you have more options for how to go about it.
One option is to allow for the poop to dry. This is only safe if you can keep your dog inside or away from where the dog’s diarrhea happened. Once dry, you can pick it up with a scoop and water the area with a hose to wash away any residue.
Alternatively, you can try to thicken the consistency of the poo with some ground or sand and scoop it up. You would then use a hose to wash any residue away as with the previous method. You can cover the area with some dirt.
Your third option is to go straight for the hose and try to disperse the poop into a flowerbed or section of dirt.
How to clean up dog diarrhea on concrete
If possible, never let your dog poop on concrete, especially in public areas. This can leave you in a bit of an awkward position if it is runny and you are unprepared. Nevertheless, cleaning runny dog poop from concrete is a reality many of us have to face.
If you are lucky and prepared you may have some cat litter with you. If you are unlucky, then you can find some dirt to throw on the poop to make it easier to pick up with your poop bag and gloves. Scoop up as much as possible.
Next, wash away what is left with your water bottle and disinfectant.
The dilution of bleach and water is important. For safety reasons, you don’t want to use a bleach concentration higher than 15%. Let the bleach soak into the remaining residue, then wash away as much as possible with water from a water bottle.
If you weren’t prepared for the situation, try to take care of it as best you can. Anything you may have on hand, such as wet wipes in your car, can be useful. Sometimes as dog owners, we need to improvise whatever we have at our disposal.
Remember: don’t panic. Just make sure to clean what you can, however you can, and be sure to be prepared in future.
How to clean up dog diarrhea in the yard
Cleaning diarrhea in your yard depends on the surface in question. We have looked at grass and concrete already. Fortunately, those are two of the more difficult areas to clean up diarrhea.
Other surfaces, like tiles and varnished wood, are a comparative breeze to clean. A hosing down should be all it takes to clean the diarrhea right up. It is still a good idea to disinfect the area after cleaning.
Cleaning up diarrhea from a dirt patch in the yard is also slightly easier. You can wait for it to dry, scoop up the majority with a spade or pooper scooper, and either hose away the residue or dig it into the earth to biodegrade naturally.
How To Clean Diarrhea and Runny/Wet Dog Poop From The Carpet
Diarrhea on a carpet is not an easy thing to clean. However, it is doable so that there won’t be any permanent marks or stains.
The easiest way is also the most discomforting to anyone with an acute sense of smell. Basically, you just leave it to dry overnight. Once dry, the poop can usually be brushed loose then vacuumed right up.
If the idea of dog diarrhea standing overnight is a bit too much for you, there is another option. Wearing protective gloves, use an absorbent paper towel to gather up as much of the poop up as you can. You can also use kitty litter to clump it together and make it easier to remove.
Don’t try to clean it from side to side; this will just spread the mess. Also, dabbing too hard will push the poo down deeper into the carpet. Although it is a time-consuming method, you should be able to clean up most of the diarrhea this way.
Eventually, you will be left with a mere mark on the carpet.
You want to disinfect the area before pouring stain remover over it. Depending on the stain remover you use, you may have to let it stand for up to an hour.
Next, using a bucket of carpet cleaning soap and water, along with an old towel, you are going to have to wash the remaining residue out the old-fashioned way.
Once you are satisfied that the mark is gone, spray the area with odor and pet stain remover spray and cover it in baby powder.
The baby powder will absorb the remaining moisture. It should be dry enough by the next day that you can vacuum it up easily.
If your finding your puppy is slow to housetrain, it could be because they have pooped in the house and the area hasn’t been properly cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner. For more on this, be sure to read our post Puppy Won’t Poop Outside.
Why does my dog do runny poop on walks? Can stress be the cause?
Stress causes dogs to poop more frequently, and it may cause diarrhea, but it is more likely that a combination of excitement and exercise gives your dog diarrhea when they are out on a walk.
The increased movement and the spike in excitement can speed up peristalsis, or movement of the bowels. This usually means exercise is a great way to help a constipated dog, but in some dogs, it can lead to runny poops.
That said, chronic diarrhea could be the result of numerous underlying health issues. If it keeps happening or starts up suddenly, dog diarrhea warrants a visit to the vet.
Stop my dog from having runny dog poop or diarrhea
There is no single answer for how to stop your dog from experiencing diarrhea since it is something that will happen from time to time. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea a lot without a medical cause (make sure you do visit a vet to check), you can try some of the following tips:
Speak to your vet about switching diets. Sometimes increasing fiber intake can help or a dog has a sensitivity to a specific ingredient.
Fiber is not always the answer, however, as too much of some kinds of fiber can also lead to runny stool and interfere with nutrient absorption, depending on your dog. So experimenting carefully with different diets can help over time.
If you’ve ruled out stress and anxiety, then diet is the most likely reason your dog has diarrhea. Dietary reasons can be hard to pin down, as the diarrhea can be caused by the ingredients, the manufacturing process, or even what the food is stored in.
We recommend transitioning over to Pet Plate for dogs with diarrhea, as the recipes are Vet designed, made with real fresh food, and the portions are correct for your dog’s weight. Portions can also be a cause of dog diarrhea.
Make any dietary changes very slowly to allow your dog time to adjust, and remove any snacks or chews that may be causing the problem.
Add probiotics to your dog’s food to help their gut microbiome.
Be careful that your dog is not eating anything behind your back, such as by getting into the garbage.
Make sure your dog is dewormed regularly.
Remember that exercise-induced diarrhea is fairly common, and cannot always be avoided. Just like runner’s trots, it can be your dog’s natural reaction to movement.
Since removing exercise from your dog’s life is unhealthy, it may be better to be prepared and manage the problem. You have control over where you take your dog for runs and walks, and can also have the necessary supplies with you in case of dog diarrhea.
Dog diarrhea is pretty much an inevitability. At some point, any pooch parent will find themself having to clean up a messy stool. The most important thing is that you get the area as clean as possible and disinfect it thoroughly.
There are many different methods for every possible surface on which your dog might have an incident. Unfortunately, you can’t possibly be prepared for every eventuality. Still, it is your responsibility to ensure that there is no risk to the health of your pets and the general public.
Tamsin has worked extensively in dog behavior problems and in rescue. She has worked with trainers who specialize in Shutzhund and protection training. Nowadays, her focus is on canine nutrition.
Tamsin is pictured here with her much loved boy, Hudson. She is a true dog lover with a wealth of knowledge on dogs, and we're grateful to have her on the HoundGames team.