The time has come to talk about poop. Whether you like it or not, as a pet owner, dog poop is incredibly important. Since your four-legged companion isn’t able to speak, their poop is one of few ways that you can tell if something is “off.”
With that said, let’s get this sh*t started!
What is Dog Poop
Poop goes by many names: feces, dog poo, fecal matter, doo-doo, waste, feces, crap… we’ll stop there, you get it.
Most people believe that poop is simply the solid or semisolid remains of food, but it also contains bacteria (living and dead), cholesterol, fiber, and fats that the body is not able to digest. We may not care to acknowledge it, but we need to poop!
What is ‘Healthy’ Poop for Your Dog
Healthy or “normal” poop may slightly vary from dog to dog. Generally, healthy poop is firm and moist and doesn’t have too strong of an odor.
Your dog’s size and diet are two factors that will cause poop to vary. For instance, a dog on a kibble diet will have different looking poop than a dog on a raw food diet. As long as it is consistent, it’s probably healthy dog poop.
The most important thing is to know what is “normal” for your dog so that you’re able to notice if anything changes.
The Four C’s Of Dog Poop
Pet owners can use the four C’s to not only recognize variations in their dog’s poop but to get insight on what may be causing the changes.
The four C’s of dog poop are:
Diarrhea | Watery Stool | Liquid Poop
One of the most common changes in your dog’s poop will have one common denominator: it will be loose. Diarrhea is feces that is discharged from the body frequently, at times without much warning, and in liquid form.
Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea
If your dog’s diarrhea is normal in color, it may be due to a dietary change. Any time that you switch up your dog’s food, the dog’s stomach will need an adjustment period (some dogs will need longer than others). During this time, diarrhea is common.
However, diarrhea, even “normal” in color can also be a sign of an intestinal parasite such as giardia. If you have not changed your dog’s diet and diarrhea lasts more than two days, a vet visit is recommended.
Furthermore, if your dog’s diarrhea is a different color, it very well may a clinical sign of something more serious.
Black Stool | Black Tarry Stool | Dark Stool
No matter how you phrase it, black, tarry stool is one of the most common signs of poop problems. The poop is loose, appears tarry or “sticky” in consistency, and is either black or very dark in color.
Black, tarry poop is often a sign of old blood somewhere in the dog’s digestive tract. It can be a sign of injury to the GI tract, a gastrointestinal ulcer or a stomach ulcer. Black, tarry poop can also be a sign of serious disease including cancer.
Dogs with black, tarry stool need to receive an accurate diagnosis of the cause of the irregular stool. A veterinarian will need to make sure that it is not a sign of a more serious condition.
Why is My Dog Pooping Blood
Blood or blood clots in dog feces almost always indicate a serious health condition which will require medical attention.
Fresh Blood in Stool
Fresh blood in your dog’s poop indicates current bleeding, usually from the large intestine, anus, or anal glands. It will be red in color and can occur in feces that is soft or firm. Fresh blood can also be a sign of a perforation in the intestinal wall caused an eruption of an ulcer or tumor or from something that the dog consumed.
Both fresh blood and black, tarry blood indicates that there is an issue that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian.
Soft stool or diarrhea that is coated with mucus may indicate parvovirus or a parasitic infestation. At times, the eggs or worms may be visible in the mucus.
If the dog feces is coated in mucus, call your vet. A diagnosis will be necessary to rule out parasites.
Oily Stool | Greasy Poop | Grey Poop | Fat in Stool
Pet owners may notice grey poop that looks oily or greasy in consistency. Greasy, grey feces may indicate Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI). Where there is too much fat in dog’s diet, pancreatitis can result because of the body’s inability to digest all of the fat.
EPI is treatable but you’ll first need to see your veterinarians for an accurate diagnosis.
Poop Color: Why It Shouldn’t be Ignored
The color of pet waste can be a very clear sign that something is wrong. Even if your dog’s poop is firm, it can still be irregular in color for varying reasons.
Green poop may indicate something as simple as your dog eating a large amount of grass or leaves.
However, green poop can also be a sign that your dog ingested rat-bait poisoning, has a parasitic infestation, or has some other internal issue.
The best thing to do if you find green poop is to call your vet.
Orange – Light Brown Poop
Orange or light brown/orange poop can be a sign that the poop moved through the digestive tract too quickly.
More serious conditions resulting in orange poop include liver problems and biliary disease.
Typically, yellow feces indicates a food intolerance. If you have recently changed your dog’s diet, they may be sensitive to an added ingredient. Pet owners should compare labels and rule out any changes that may be irritating their dog’s stomach.
Additionally, comparable to orange poop, yellow waste may be a sign that the food moved too quickly from the small intestine to the colon.
We don’t have to tell you that white, chalky poop is not normal. Pet owners may be able to inadvertently overlook a soft stool from time to time, but when you see something white, something is definitely up. Typically, white feces is solid in consistency and turns white (or very light) in color within 24 hours and quickly disintegrates.
Dogs that are on a raw food diet are the most likely to have white, chalky feces. The white poop results from raw food diets that are too high in calcium or bone.
Pet owners should opt for a raw food diet that has less calcium and bone quantities. Always check the labels to ensure quality ingredients and lower calcium levels.
You can also add pumpkin to your dog’s diet as a natural way to jumpstart their digestion. Veterinarians recommend one teaspoon of pumpkin per ten pounds of your dog’s weight.
White Specks in Brow Dog Poop
Dog owners may find white specks that resemble white rice in their dog’s poop. Pet owners should be aware of these white specks as are not normal.
The most common cause of white, rice-looking specks in brown dog poop are worms. Luckily, worms are treatable, but you’ll want to get your pup to a vet right away so that the condition doesn’t get worse.
We’re not saying that dog waste should smell like roses, but overly stinky poop may be a sign that there could be an issue with your dog’s digestive system. However, most often, smelly poop is pretty normal.
Hard Stool: Causes of Constipation
Furthermore, while varying colors and consistences in feces may indicate a problem, so can no poop.
Constipation may simply be a result of:
- Not enough dietary fiber
- Lack of exercise
However, constipation can also be a sign of something more serious such as:
- Intestinal obstructions (such as tumors)
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Swallowing a foreign object
- Infected anal glands
- Adverse reactions to medications
The most common cause of constipation of dehydration. Pet owners should make sure that their dog always has access to clean, filtered water.
Responsibly Managing Pet Waste
Dog feces can be a useful tool in determining any potential issues that may arise in your beloved pup. However, once you examine the poop, pet owners need to make sure they are responsibly getting rid of it. Not only is poop unpleasant for your neighbors to have to avoid, but pet waste carries diseases.
Always make sure to carry dog poop bags on your walks and clean up the area after your dog does their business.
If your dog has a backyard to play (and poop) in, consider purchasing a dog pooper scooper and make sure that the area is free of waste before anyone else, especially children, run around in the yard.
The bottom line, pet owners want their dogs to have the best lives possible. Because our dogs aren’t exactly able to vocalize things, we are often unaware of arising issues. Dog poop, although not the most favorited of conversations, can truly help pet owners ensure that their dogs are healthy and happy.