Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Nobody cares more about poop than nurses and dog owners. I happen to be both, so I think you can imagine what fun dinner conversations could be. I can probably describe poop far to accurately than I would like to admit. BUT poop can give you a lot of information about you and your puppy's digestive health. The most obvious example of a bad sign is runny poop for a long duration. On the opposite end, another thing to watch for is the difficulty to defecate. Straining can indicate something is wrong as well. When you inspect your dog's poop (yes, I'm serious), there shouldn't be anything in it. By that, I mean nothing alive-worms usually wriggle or foreign objects like string or plastic. This indicates that your puppy ate something that isn't good for them.
One of my biggest fears as a dog owner, especially when Athena was a puppy, is a bowel obstruction. This can occur from ingesting parts from toys such as rope, plastic, or even bone fragments. This is why when Athena gets down to pieces of her bones, I toss them. Bowel obstructions can be both costly and devastating. Some signs include decreased energy levels, vomiting, loss of appetite, and inability to defecate.
When Athena was about a year old, she had a bought of illness. The first symptom to show up was diarrhea and vomiting. She also had an increased affinity for grass. After my initial phone call to the vet, my nerves eased slightly. In the next couple of days, I was instructed to watch her closely. She still had a lot of energy, so I felt somewhat better about that. For GSD, their stomachs are sensitive. It could be anxiety or even a change in the food that causes an upset stomach. With no other signs and symptoms of a disease, I watched Athena closely for 24 hours. I didn't give her any food during this time frame but plenty of water to help with hydration. I would mix in a tiny bit of low sodium chicken broth to encourage her to drink water. It would be a good idea to wash the bowl right away after drinking a good portion to help reduce bacteria from developing in the bowl.
Some medications, such as Pepto-Bismol, can be administered to dogs. Always check with the vet if it is okay and the appropriate dosage. The best thing to do is to keep them on a bland diet with smaller but several meals per day. I fed Athena boiled chicken and rice for a week, which isn't much different from what my grandma makes me when I'm not feeling well. I made a large pot and stored the rest in the fridge. I would warm each meal up slightly, but no longer than a minute in the microwave. Next, do a finger test to ensure the food isn't too warm because they will burn their tongues if it is too hot. If the symptoms ever get worse, I would call the vet again to give them an update. Athena's symptoms were luckily resolved after a couple of days. After that, it was nothing but happy tails and solid poop!
The Pawsitive Writer