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What Your Dog's Stool Means - The Scoop on Poop

What Your Dog's Stool Means - The Scoop on Poop

One of the easiest and most accurate ways to assess your dog’s health is to look closely at their poop! 

“Sounds like fun!”, said no one, ever!!!

But the reality is, stool color, size, content, and consistency can alert us to a multitude of potential health issues, including illness, and disease. 

For this reason, it’s really important to keep an eye on your dog’s poop, so you can quickly and effectively address any possible health problems, before they become serious.

Also keep in mind, that what is considered “normal or healthy” poop may vary between dogs, depending on factors such as age, breed, health conditions, and more. 

What is the Perfect Pup Poop? 

When it comes to dogs and their health, the “perfect poop” needs to have some very specific qualities.

Healthy stool is medium brown to dark brown in color, “log shaped”, and appropriately sized for your dog.

It should be easy to scoop up, with a firm, yet slightly soft consistency, basically somewhere between hard and loose.

It should also be free of any foreign content, and any signs of worms.

A Closer Look at Poop 

Color

Medium Chocolate Brown: This is what you want to see. It is the optimal color, and signifies healthy and normal stool. 

Light/Pale Brown to Tan: Although these stool colors can be possible indicators of a potentially serious health issue, they are most often seen intermittently, causing a short-term sickness, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. 

Dark Brown or Black: Stools that are dark brown or black in color, may indicate internal bleeding, typically in the upper intestinal tract.

Yellow to orange: This can indicate a progression of Pancreas, Gallbladder and/or Liver disease.

Very dark brown to black: Along with an indication of internal bleeding, stool that is very dark in color may also be due to cancer and other diseases. 

(Image Source AKC

Consistency

The ideal consistency of your dog’s stool should be somewhere between firm, and slightly soft.

Stool that is too soft, usually referred to as loose stool, can quickly become very soft, and even “runny”, AKA, diarrhea.

Stool that is too hard is an indicator of constipation.

Shape

In order to understand your dog’s poop and analyze it thoroughly, taking “shape” into consideration is important, and can provide a great deal of info.

Ideally, your dog’s stool should be log-shaped, and firm enough to maintain its form, but as we pet owners know, this is not always the case...

For example, small, hard, and round poop is a significant sign of dehydration and constipation, while loose, runny poop can be the result of many different causes, including illness and infection, as well as emotional and behavioral issues.

Content

Along with color, consistency, and shape, the content of your dog’s stool is a major indicator of what’s going on!

The presence of hair tells you that your dog has been licking a lot. Licking is an indicator of itchiness, which occurs due to allergies, and even stress or boredom.

Mucus can indicate colitis and inflammation.

Small, white, “rice-shaped” content can only mean one thing… worms.

Pieces of grass in your dog’s stool is indicative of your dog ingesting grass. (Link why do dogs eat grass blog)

Blood is always a very dangerous sign, often due to cancer, among many other serious issues.

Foreign objects in your dog’s poop can be a sign that they have eaten something that can potentially harm them. When this happens, it is so important to monitor them very closely for any sign of a blockage, something that if not caught quickly, is often fatal.

Can I Treat My Dog's Poop Problems at Home? 

Yes and no. 

As long as the underlying issue is not serious, treating bouts of poop problems at home is fine.

You can alleviate symptoms, and even prevent constipation and diarrhea simply by adding a probiotic to your dog’s diet. 

Acute bouts of diarrhea can be quickly stopped with a fast-acting, liquid anti-diarrheal. For times of persistent constipation, try a product that adds fiber to promote soft stool and regular bowel function. 

If you suspect your dog may have worms, OTC meds, as well as stronger de-wormer products are available with a prescription, and are very effective. 

While being familiar with your dog’s “normal poop” may sound funny, it’s actually an important and valuable indicator of their overall health. 

When in doubt, remember that our dogs depend on us to maintain their health, so consulting with a veterinarian is always recommended!

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If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.

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