Your dog's poo can tell you a lot about their digestive system, and it all starts with the 4 C's!
Colour, consistency, contents and coating.
Identifying what's good and bad about each 'C' is essential to understanding whether your dog is healthy and, most importantly, understanding the warning signs that can show through your dog's poop.
What does a healthy dog poop look like?
A healthy and normal dog stool should be the colour of or similar to milk chocolate.
Most likely blood, this could indicate issues with your dog's anal gland or worse.
Pink / Purple
This could be a sign of severe gastroenteritis. It is crucial to get this checked.
There may be issues with your dog's liver, gall bladder or bile ducts. Alternatively, your dog's food may be passing through too quickly.
This is a big sign that your dog has a food intolerance. You may have changed your dog's food, or your dog has eaten something they shouldn't.
Your dog may have overeaten grass, and in the worst case could indicate parasites or poisons. Additionally, your dog may have a gallbladder issue.
If your dog's poop is grey, this strongly indicates your dog's digestive system is struggling to break down fats.
The most common reason your dog's poop is white is that their diet is high in calcium. White poop is typically found in raw-fed dogs.
Also known as melena, black poop can occur due to exposure to toxins, gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis, or kidney failure.
You must contact your veterinarian if your dog's poop looks different from what is considered healthy and normal. Although it most likely will not be anything serious, the worst case is that your dog has a severe medical problem.
Firm & Moist
This is considered a normal and healthy poop. The consistency is similar to Play-Doh, and the shape is comparable to a log.
This type of stool will not crumble and remain in this shape even when picked up.
Hard & Dry
Hard and dry stools can be caused by dehydration or a lack of fibre. This type of stool can be a sign of constipation in dogs.
You can help your dog by exercising them, and ensuring your dog always has access to fresh water is crucial.
If the symptoms persist, speak with your vet.
Soft & Soggy
A processed diet packed with starches and carbohydrates can cause these types of stools, and this is because your dog's system is unable to absorb and digest these. This type of poop can also be very smelly.
Soft stools can be in the shape of a log or similar to soft-serve ice cream. These types of dog poo can worsen and progress into diarrhoea.
The first thing you need to do is try to identify the cause. It will most likely be due to your dog's food. Read the ingredients of everything your dog eats daily or what they have eaten recently. If your dog's food is the source of their issues, we recommend changing your dog to a better quality food.
Diarrhoea is commonly caused by your dog ingesting something they shouldn't have. Your dog may have consumed spoiled food, toxins, poisons and foreign objects. Other causes of diarrhoea in dogs can be stress, parasites, pancreatitis, etc.
Diarrhoea in dogs can become watery. Seek advice from your veterinarian, as this can quickly lead to dehydration, causing your dog to get seriously unwell.
Paired with diarrhoea, your dog may also be ill. If the symptoms continue for over 12 hours, speak with your veterinarian. Your dog may need medication, and feeding your dog a bland diet for a few days can also help.
Firm to Loose
If your dog's poop starts hard and then becomes loose halfway through, this can mean your dog has a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Other causes can be food intolerances, maldigestion, malabsorption and more.
Speak with your vet to find the cause of this. Treatment can be medication, vitamins or a change of diet. However, if the cause is more severe, treatment can be chemotherapy, surgery and more.
Mucus is produced to help your dog's stool move through their intestines. However, the mucus should not be visible in or on your dog's stool. A healthy dog stool typically doesn't leave residue on the ground. If the mucus is visibly covering your dog's stool, this is most likely a sign your dog has inflammation, intestinal parasites, infections or allergies.
You do not need to worry immediately, as a healthy dog can produce 1 or 2 mucus-covered stools. However, if the mucus persists, you must speak with your veterinarian.
If you find that your dog's stool contains white spots that look similar to grains of rice, this can be an indication that your dog has worms.
Tapeworms are usually the only worms that are visible through your dog's stool, and this is because tapeworms shed body segments. Other intestinal worms aren't typically visible in your dog's poo as they will only pass through once they've died. During this process, your dog digests them like food, leaving no visible trace in your dog's stool.
If you notice rice grain like specs in and on your dog's stool, buy deworming medication for tapeworms. If your dog's condition does not improve, speak with your veterinarian.
Dogs are curious animals, but with that, they tend to chew and swallow random objects, from grass to parts of their toys.
Typically, the foreign object your dog swallows passes through their intestinal tract without issues. However, a foreign object swallowed can quickly become a foreign obstruction, and this can cause life-threatening conditions.
If you suspect your dog has something stuck in their body, it is vital to see your veterinarian immediately. Some signs of obstruction are diarrhoea, vomiting and straining to defecate.
There will always be a small amount of fur in your dog's stool, and you should only be worried if you start to see chunks of fur within your dog's poo.
Chunks of fur can start to appear due to excessive grooming, which can happen due to itchy skin, allergies, food intolerances, parasites and more. Another reason can be due to boredom or stress.
If you notice large chunks of hair in your dog's stool, try to pinpoint where the issue originated.
Speak with your veterinarian to understand the best way to stop your dog's excessive grooming.
Frequently Asked Questions
Causes of constipation in dogs
Constipation in dogs can occur for a variety of reasons. Read the following to find out a few of the most common causes of constipation in dogs:
Lack of exercise
Lack of fiber
Anal gland issues
Causes of diarrhoea in dogs
There are mild and more severe cases of diarrhoea, and all can appear due to numerous factors. Unfortunately, for more serious cases of diarrhoea, it can have a harsh effect on your dog's health which involves the veterinarian's help. Here are the most common causes of diarrhoea in dogs:
Ingesting spoiled food
Ingesting poisons or toxins
Change in diet
Why does my dog eat poo?
Dogs eating poop has a scientific name - coprophagia. In fact, 25% of dogs exhibit this behaviour.
The reasons your dog eats their poop are:
What should I do when there's blood in my dog's poo?
You must contact your veterinarian immediately when you see blood in your dog's poo. There are various reasons why blood can appear, ranging from not serious to very serious.
When the veterinarian checks, they will be able to determine if the cause is something serious. If it is, they can treat your dog to prevent it from getting worse.