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Dog Poop 101: What Your Pup's Poo Is Telling You

Posted by Dr. Jessica Herman on

Dog Poop 101: What Your Pup's Poo Is Telling You

Dog poo can be a messy business, but it’s actually an important indicator of our pup’s health. 

Like anything else, what’s “normal” will vary from pup to pup, so it’s important to take note of your pet’s potty habits and let your vet know if something seems off. As you take your dog out to do their business, here are a few things to be on the lookout for, and what they could be telling you. 

When it comes to your pup’s poo, there are four key components to consider: color, content, consistency, and coating. 

 

Color 

“Normal”, healthy stools in dogs should be a chocolate brown - think the 💩 emoji. While some changes in color are caused by what your dog has been eating, like orange-ish poop after eating carrots, or green after eating too much grass, some can point to underlying health issues. 


Red 

Red stool is caused by the presence of blood, which almost always requires medical intervention. This could be due to a number of factors, including straining while defecating, bleeding somewhere in the lower digestive tract, or conditions like colitis. Be sure to contact your dog’s vet if you notice any red in their stool. 

Yellow/Orange

Yellow and orange stool are most often attributed to changes in your dog’s diet, or the stool passing through the gastrointestinal tract too quickly. Alas, they can indicate your dog may be living with parasites or liver problems, so it’s important to let your vet know if your dog is experiencing them regularly. 

Black

Black stool is the rarest of the bunch, but it’s also the most serious. Feces takes on a black color because blood has been digested, usually the result of serious conditions like cancer, parasites, kidney failure, or exposure to toxins. If your pup is experiencing black stool, contact your vet right away. 


Content 

This one is fairly simple - the only thing that should be in your pup’s poo is poo. Dogs aren’t very picky eaters, so any foreign objects they’ve eaten, whether it be grass or bones to pieces of dog toys and shoes, will show up in their stool. If your dog is living with worms, they’ll likely show up as well. 

Be sure to monitor what your dog is ingesting, as these objects could potentially lead to a bowel obstruction. Bowel obstructions are blockages of the gastrointestinal tract that block food from passing through the bowels. They’re very painful and potentially life threatening, but, fortunately, avoidable. 


Consistency 

Healthy dog stool should be log-shaped, firm, and easy to pick up. Small, circular stools indicate your dog is constipated and likely needs more fiber in their diet, or to drink more water. On the opposite of the spectrum, loose stools are signs of an upset stomach. While the occasional loose stool may not be cause for concern, be sure to alert your vet if it continues beyond a 24 hour period. 


Coating

Feces shouldn’t have a coating. As you pick up your dog’s poo, note any kind of film left behind on the ground. If there is, your pup may be experiencing some bowel inflammation. If it continues, call your vet. 

Want to learn what your pup’s poo is telling you? Get our new at-home Fecal Test here. 

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