Wanna know if your dog is in good health? The proof is in the pooping. Here are ten things your dog’s poop can tell you about his or her health.
10. If It’s Brown, Firm, and Shaped Like a Log…
Congratulations, you’re the owner of a healthy pooch! Chocolate brown droppings that are compact, moist, and easy to pick up is what you want to see. And, if you’re bold enough to squish it in your hands (with gloves on of course) it should feel like Play-Doh. Frequency is another way to evaluate your furry friend’s digestive health. Your dog should have at least one bowel movement a day.
If you get anything else other than this, it could be a sign that something’s wrong. Keep reading to find out what you should look out for.
9. If It Has White Spots That Look Like Grains of Rice…
It may be a sign your pooch has tapeworms. The most common tapeworm in dogs is caused by swallowing infected fleas carrying the tapeworm’s babies. Once swallowed, an adult tapeworm can grow inside your dog’s intestines.
Here’s how you can tell if your dog has a tapeworm:
-You might see tiny worms crawling near your dog’s bottom, on his or her bedding, or in their poop.
-If, perchance, the tapeworm makes its way into your dog’s stomach, the dog may throw up.
-Your dog may scoot, drag their bottom across the floor, or lick their behind in order to get relief from irritating tapeworms.
-If your dog is eating normally but losing weight, he or she may have a heavy tapeworm infection.
8. If It’s Black and Tar-Like or Has Bright Red Streaks…
It may indicate internal bleeding. A black, tarry stool is a sign of bleeding, or old blood, in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It can also be a sign of something more serious like cancer.
Small, bright red streaks in his or her stool may indicate bleeding in the lower digestive tract.
If either of these is the case with your pooch, call your veterinarian. He or she may ask you to bring in a sample of your dog’s poop for further evaluation.
7. Other Colors You Should Look Out For
Green poop could mean that either your dog has consumed too much grass, or there could be a gall bladder issue. Orange or yellow poop may indicate a bile duct or liver issue. Poop that’s gray and greasy may signal a biliary or pancreas problem most likely caused by too much fat in your dog’s diet.
If by chance your dog happens to pass white, chalky poop, it could be because they’re consuming way too much calcium or bone.
Keep in mind, though, that just because you see variations in color it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem. Slight deviations in color can come from diet, hydration, food dyes, and normal digestive processes. If, however, abnormal colors persist for more than two stools, it’s time to put in a call to your veterinarian.
If you happen to see turquoise or blue-green stool, it could mean that your dog swallowed rat poisoning. Call your vet right away!
6. If It Stinks to High Heaven…
It can indicate a serious health issue. Mild odors are normal. However, if the smell of your dog’s poop makes you want to vomit, it could be one of these issues:
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
-consumption of a foreign object
If vomiting also occurs with the smelly poop, it could be due to an inflamed small intestine, a respiratory disease, heartworm infection, gallbladder disease, pancreatic disease, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, or kidney disease.
NOTE: Don’t panic if the smell of your dog’s stool is overpowering. It might have simply been caused by a change in diet. As with anything else, just make sure you monitor his or her stool on a regular basis and contact your vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
5. If It’s Small and Hard…
It could mean your dog is constipated. Consuming too much insoluble fiber and not enough liquids could be to blame. Ingesting fur or foreign objects could also be causing the obstruction. Pain from chronic health problems like osteoarthritis could be to blame as well. If your dog has leg or hip pain, it will be hard for them to maintain the correct posture for pooping, and as a result, they may hold in their stool. Again, if this is a one-time thing, don’t panic. “I tell owners that one super-soft or super-hard stool isn’t a cause for concern, especially if the pet is normal otherwise, but if it persists for more than a day, give us a ring,” Abby Huggins, DVM, veterinarian at Intown Animal Hospital in Atlanta, told Good Housekeeping.
4. If It’s Loose and Watery…
Your dog is likely suffering from diarrhea. According to integrative veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, diarrhea is a symptom of many different health problems, and as a result, has many different causes. These include changes in diet, food allergies, bacterial or viral infections, tumors, toxins, rectal polyps, and intestinal parasites.
While healthy dogs experience diarrhea once in a while, it usually resolves itself within a day or two. If, however, the diarrhea is accompanied by a change in behavior (e.g. sluggish or running a fever), or if there’s blood in the stool, contact your veterinarian to set up an appointment. Make sure to bring a sample of the stool for the doctor to examine.
3. If It’s Coated in Mucus…
Your dog may be suffering from colitis (inflammation of the colon). Keep in mind, though, that the lower intestinal tract glands of dogs produce a clear, jelly-like substance to lubricate the colon and help stools pass more easily. Sometimes this substance can come out along with the poop. “An occasional coating is normal, or it can indicate a self-resolving issue,” Huggins told Good Housekeeping. If, however, it becomes a recurring thing, contact your vet. As we just mentioned, it could be a sign of colitis. On the other hand, it could be an allergic reaction to a something he or she ate. Either way, contact your vet. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. If It’s Disproportionate…
The size of your dog’s poop should match the amount of food they’ve eaten. If they haven’t eaten much but have produced a lot of poop, you may need to switch up their kibble. “Dogs fed processed kibble (which I don’t recommend) typically produce large quantities of voluminous poop for several reasons,” Becker said in an article on Mercola.com. “First, most kibble manufacturers add unnaturally high amounts of fiber (beet pulp, soybean, and rice hulls, as well as cellulose, otherwise known as wood fiber, or sawdust). The normal fiber content of the ancestral diet is between 4 and 6 percent. The fiber content of many dry foods is greater than 15 percent, and most diet or lite foods contain more than 28 percent fiber.”
1. If It Contains Foreign Objects…
Your dog may have a condition known as pica. Dogs suffering from pica crave and eat non-food items like grass, rocks, socks, underwear, drywall, and even golf balls. Needless to say, pica can be dangerous to your dog’s health. “I think some of the items are eaten simply due to the smells associated with them. The dogs seem to see them as food items and will repeatedly eat the same type of item, even if it causes them to get really sick or require surgery,” Dr. Kelly Black, faculty coordinator of veterinary technology at Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, Texas, said in an article on petMD.com.
However, underlying medical issues such as starvation, hormonal imbalances, nutritional imbalances, diabetes or thyroid problems might be to blame. Stress and anxiety can also trigger pica.
Treating pica depends on what’s causing it. If it’s a behavioral issue, medical treatments that address anxiety in dogs may help. If it’s a nutritional issue, simply make changes in your dog’s diet. If all else fails, get rid of the non-food objects your dog likes to eat.
Now that you know what your dog’s poop should look, smell and feel like, keep an eye on it to make sure your pet is in optimal health! Thanks for reading.