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What's Up with My Dog's Waste?

Dogs Health & Wellness

dog and pile of poop

All pet owners know the dreaded moment of having to pick up their pooch’s poop when they go out for a walk. It can be embarrassing to be seen awkwardly scooping it up, and the smell and look of your dog’s stool doesn’t exactly help the case. So it’s only natural that you dispose of it as quickly as possible, not giving much thought to what exactly is going into the poop bag. But did you know that your pet’s feces is a major indicator of their health? After learning how much their waste reveals, you may want to consider slowing down and checking for any abnormalities.

Color

  • Black - You should call your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog has very dark stool. Whether it’s black or maroon, it’s very possible that your dog is having serious gastrointestinal problems, such as ulcers. It can signify that internal bleeding is occurring, such as in the stomach or intestines.
  • White - White stool suggests that your companion is eating a diet too high in calcium. This is particularly common in dogs that follow a raw diet, as it consists of a large amount of meat bones. Less commonly, it can also occur in dogs that experience anxiety and behavioral problems, as it can lead to them eating foreign objects that will tinge their stool white.
  • Red - Similar to black feces, red dog poop or poop with blood streaks in it can be an indicator that there is some internal bleeding. It can also be a sign of an inflamed colon or even infected anal glands.
  • Green - This is usually nothing to be alarmed about. Your dog is likely consuming large amounts of grass. However, in unfortunate cases it can mean parasites.
  • Grey - Grey stool signals that your canine’s pancreas is not doing its job of producing enzymes for the body to properly digest fat. This is treatable and should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian.
  • Orange - Bile is what makes feces brown. So if the feces comes out as orange, this means the food has moved too quickly through the digestive system and did not have enough time to absorb the bile. It can also be from a liver issue.
  • Purple - If the waste comes out as pink or purple, resembling that of jelly, this is yet another indicator of bleeding. However, it rightfully should worry you, as this color can more specifically be a sign of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. This is a very dangerous bleeding condition that takes the lives of many pets. But if you act quickly and get it treated immediately, your pet can recover.
  • Yellow - Yellow feces is a sign that your dog’s body is not reacting well to a transition in food, or it can mean infection or inflammation in their gastrointestinal tract.

Consistency

  • Constipation - If your pet is straining to eliminate, barely eliminating, or not eliminating at all, they’re constipated. This is common in pets, but if it happens frequently or for a long period of time with no end in sight, you should bring your furry friend to the vet for a checkup. They may identify a cause for their constipation, such as injuries or obstruction.
  • Runny - On the flip side of constipation is diarrhea. Loose, watery stool, similar to constipation, is not uncommon if it happens on occasion. And it can usually be quickly solved by feeding them a bland diet consisting of stool binders, such as pumpkin, boiled chicken and white rice. But if it occurs frequently or for a long time, have your veterinarian see them. They’ll be able to help you narrow down the cause of it, whether it’s transitioning foods, stress, poisoning, or parasites.

  • Content

  • Foreign objects - As most dog owners know, canines’ curiosity often gets the best of them. Sometimes, this will lead to foreign substances in their stool. It can be anything from rocks, grass, and plastic to toy bits, money, and fabric. It’s a great thing if your dog was able to successfully and easily pass those things, but they might not always be so lucky. Foreign objects can cause obstruction, poisoning, or choking. That’s why it’s best to supervise your dog as much as possible and keep dangerous things out of their reach.
  • Mucus - Mucus is the glossy, slimy coating that may surround your dog’s feces when it comes out. No amount of slime is typically normal or healthy. It can be a result of parasites, such as hookworms, giardia, or coccidia worms. Mucus can also be a result of stress or sudden dietary changes. The digestive system of dogs is quite sensitive, and it doesn’t take much to throw it off balance. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian so they can help you determine the reason for the stool’s coating and how it can be fixed.
  • White specs - White specs on your dog’s poop, resembling small grains of rice, are actually worms. This is treatable by your veterinarian.

  • What does normal stool look like?

    Healthy dog poop can vary from dog to dog since they all have unique diets, health conditions, and lifestyles, all of which are responsible for how feces looks. To determine if your dog’s stool is healthy, you should be aware of what is common or normal for them, specifically. But most forms of feces do share similar characteristics. The color is typically chocolate brown, and the consistency should be both soft and firm. This means the stool is moist and soft enough that your dog doesn’t strain to eliminate it, but it shouldn’t come out as runny or watery, either. The shape should be similar to a log, and the amount should be in accordance with their own body size and how much they eat. For example, if they consume large amounts of food with high amounts of fiber, they’ll need to use the bathroom more.

    How do I get it to look like that?

    What needs to be done in order to get your dog’s stool healthy depends on the reason for why it isn’t healthy. The look of your dog’s waste mainly has to do with what they consume. Provide them with healthy, nutritious meal options. Eliminate stress as much as possible, and don’t shy away from the veterinarian. If you have any concerns for the way your pooch’s poop looks, it’s better safe than sorry! They’ll enlighten you with the reason for why your pet’s waste looks the way it does, and how it can be managed.

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