Dog owners have to have a high tolerance for being grossed out. We’re expected to clean up after our pups, and not many of them are trained to use a toilet. But picking up your dog’s poop isn’t just a courtesy or a matter of public health, it’s a chance for you to find out what’s going on inside your pup. Dog feces can tell you a lot about a dog’s health and what may be wrong with his diet. Here are a few things your dog’s stool can indicate.
Normal, healthy dog poop tends to be firm and a little moist. You should be familiar with your dog’s normal stool so that you can monitor any changes. The volume, color, and odor are important to note, too. Dogs that get too much fiber tend to produce high volume with a strong odor. This happens with certain dry food diets, as your dog can’t process all the nutrients and pushes them out. Raw food diets can result in smaller stool with a weaker smell. Any of these can be normal depending on your dog’s diet, so pay attention to what your pup’s poop usually looks and smells like.
White, Chalky Stool
Dogs that eat a raw food diet that is high in calcium or bone might pass stool that is chalky and white. This can be a sign that your dog is at risk for obstipation, which is an inability to evacuate his bowels without outside help. This chronic constipation can lead to lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting. It requires help from a veterinarian, so save these stool samples and bring them in.
White Or Tan Specks
If you see white or tan specks in your dog’s stool, you should save a sample and bring it to your vet right away. These specks can indicate a parasite infestation, like roundworm or tapeworm. Your vet should be able to detect these things before you see evidence in your dog’s stool, which is why you should always go in for regular check-ups.
Black, Tarry, Green, Yellow, Or Red Stool
Poop that is black, tarry, green, yellow, or red usually indicates bleeding and can be a sign that there are problems in the intestinal or anal area. It can mean anything from an injury to the GI tract to cancer. This will require a trip to the vet to determine exactly what the problem is, so again, save your dog’s stool sample so it can be tested.
Soft, Loose Stool
If your dog’s poop seems soft and loose, it may just be an indication of a change in diet, or it may mean your dog has been eating things he shouldn’t be eating. If you’ve changed your dog’s diet recently, monitor changes in poop. You may have to alter the diet if it doesn’t improve. A soft, loose stool can also indicate giardia or another intestinal parasite. Make a trip to the vet if the poop consistency doesn’t return to normal.
Greasy, Gray Stool
Poop that looks gray and greasy can indicate that there is too much fat in your dog’s diet. It may be time for a dietary change because too much fat can lead to inflammatory conditions like pancreatitis. These conditions can be mild or life-threatening, so take your dog’s diet seriously.
Watery Diarrhea In High Volume
If your dog is having three to five bowel movements a day and producing a high volume of diarrhea every time, it is likely a problem in the small intestine. There can be any number of causes from injury, to a viral infection, to bacteria, to food allergies. Your vet will need to determine the cause, so bring in a sample of the stool for testing.
Watery Diarrhea In Low Volume
If your dog is having more than five bowel movements a day and producing a low volume of diarrhea each time, the problem is probably in the large intestine. Again, there can be a range of causes, including worms, polyps, ulcers, or cancer. Your vet can determine the cause, so you should provide a sample of the stool for testing.
Soft Stool With Mucous
A soft stool with a coating of unusual mucous can be a sign that parvovirus or parasites are present. If you notice worms or eggs in soft or watery stool, this is also an indication of parasites. Your veterinarian should be able to catch many of these infestations before you see visible signs in your dog’s stool, so make sure to get regular check-ups.
Do you pay attention to your dog’s poop? Has it helped you find out if something is going wrong? Let us know in the comments below!