Let’s talk about poop! From soft and stinky stools to firm and healthy logs, it’s time to get the full scoop on your dog’s poo. You’ve probably guessed I am one of those dog mums, I like to ‘read’ my dogs poo regularly - it tells me everything I need to know about the general wellbeing of all four of our dachshunds. What's that saying? Life is like a Box of Crayons - you'll never know what colour crayon you'll get!! (or something like that haha!)
When it comes to poo, what goes in, must come out — whether that’s your dog’s dinner or what they’ve sneakily grabbed in a kitchen bin-dive. It can also tell us a lot about their health and even indicate red flags that might require a trip to the vet.
But what does dog poop mean? And what should dog poop look like? What can we tell from what we see when our beloved pooches squat? Well, we’re going to tell you! So keep reading to make sure your dog is as happy on the inside as they are on the outside…
Did you know diet dictates how much your dog will poop?
Those who already feed a raw, natural diet will be well aware of the numerous benefits of feeding as Mother Nature intended but many non-raw feeders may not be aware of one major plus to feeding a biologically appropriate diet: much less poo! And, even better their poo really does not smell terrible at all!
Yes, really! Many commercial canned or dried foods contain an often significant amount of fillers and carbohydrates – some as much as 70%. Ever been to a park and noticed a poor dog being dragged on a lead whilst leaving behind a very large, very smelly, very runny strip of poo?
Who hasn’t felt sorry for the dog’s poor owner, trying to scrape up a small lake of soupy waste with one hand in a hastily found poop bag, with the other hand trying to control their dog? I guarantee you that somewhere in the crowd watching this cringe worthy spectacle is a group of raw feeders, knowingly nodding at each other, saying, That’s not a raw fed dog!
Yup. Guilty as charged, the smell let alone the size is a dead give away of a Kibble fed dog!
For those who don’t know, the poop of a raw fed dog is usually much firmer, smaller, less smelly & generally easier to pick up as a result. The reason why is simple: because the dog hasn’t eaten anything it cannot process or the body cannot use, there is very little wasted, resulting in smaller poo!
More carbohydrates in = more poop out
In a study of dog waste in America (yes, it was a thing) it was discovered that Kibble fed dogs actually excreted up to 70% of the Dry food by weight. This means that expensive 1 kilogram bag ends up as 700gm of poop! Only 300grams of Kibble was actually digested! You are literally picking up and throwing away almost all of that bag of food - an unpleasant waste of your money indeed.
The same study compared Raw Fed dogs the percentage of waste excreted by the canine test subjects plummeted to 30% – and most of that was undigested bone.It may not sound a huge amount, but that 40% difference can be extremely noteworthy, especially for those with larger dogs.
What does healthy dog poop look like?
The best dog poop is dog poop you don’t have to worry about. A dog in good health will pass normal stools that are:
formed and segmented
brown in color, from light to dark shades
leaves little to no evidence behind when picked up
What do dog poop colours mean?
The colour of your dog’s poo can reveal a lot about their health. So, What do dog poop colours mean?
A healthy poo will be light-medium or dark brown, but this can be influenced by the food they’ve eaten, so keep this in mind before making a call to the vet. Food like seeds or coconut aren’t always digested, so they’ll often be visible in poo and can be easily mistaken for worms.
If the change in colour does not relate to their diet and it’s a persistent change to their normal bowel movements, then it may be a cause for concern. Time to get some advice from your vet.
Black or Tarry Dog Poop
Black poo could be a sign of blood entering their stomach and getting digested. This can mean that your dog may have an ulcer in their stomach or intestines. Black or very dark brown stools often mean there’s old blood in the stool. Common causes of black stools include:
Bleeding in the upper digestive tract
Another cause of Black Tar-like poop can be too much offal in their diet. Liver and Kidneys need to be fed no more that 10% of the dogs meal - otherwise you’ll end up with a black sticky mess!
Red Dog Poop
A small streak of red is often seen with diarrhoea. If blood is consistently in the stools, you might want to check with your vet … but if your dog is bright, active and acting normal, it’s probably not a cause for concern. Causes of bloody diarrhoea include:
Parvovirus (especially in puppies)
Bacterial or viral infection
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis or colitis
Seeing red is a sure sign of blood in firmer poop. This could result from:
Colon inflammation or bleeding in their gastrointestinal tract
An injury in your dog’s rectum
An infection in your dog’s anus or anal glands
Grey or Light Tan Dog Poop
If there’s too much fat in your dog’s diet, their system may struggle to digest it all, leading to greasy, grey dog poo. In more serious cases, stools that are grey or light tan may suggest: Liver disease
Gall bladder issues
Yellow or Orange Dog Poop
Yellow poop almost always is a diarrhoea consistency and can be caused by:
Not enough bile
Green Dog Poop
The most common causes of green poop or diarrhea are:
Gall bladder disease
Eating grass or greens
White Crumbly Dog Poop
If your dog’s poo is white with a chalky consistency, it indicates that there may be too much calcium in their diet or they’ve been eating too many bones, which is common in raw diets. Reduce your dogs bone intake and monitor their subsequent bowel movements. If their white poos persist, check with your vet.
White Flecks in Dog Poop
White flecks in your dog’s poo can be a sign of worms, which are contagious and require immediate veterinary attention. If your dog has recently ingested rice, seeds, or coconut, the white specks may be undigested food. Make an appointment with your vet if it looks like worms or you’re unsure.
Furry-looking Dog Poop
Fur in your dog’s poo could be from eating small rodents, or it could be from their raw food, like rabbit fur. If your dog has been licking themselves a lot recently, they may have swallowed some of their fur which has appeared in their faeces. Their poo isn’t necessarily the concern in this situation, but their constant licking could be a sign of an allergy or a skin disease.
Blue Dog Poop
Treat blue diarrhoea as an emergency. It could mean your dog has eaten rat poison (which is usually blue) or a toy. Save the stool in a baggie … then take the baggie and your dog to the vet.
What If there’s mucus in your dogs poop?
Mucus can be a normal part of your dog’s stools. Mucus coats the digestive tract and allows waste to slip through the digestive tract more easily. But if there’s sudden mucus with diarrhoea or there are excessive amounts, it could be caused by:
Changes in diet
Inflammatory bowel disease (usually accompanied by vomiting)
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis or colitis
Overall, if your dog is acting normally, mucus and diarrhoea aren’t typically a cause for concern. But if your dog isn’t looking like himself, it’s best to make an appointment with your vet. If your dog is otherwise feeling fine, it’s safe to manage most cases of dog diarrhoea with home remedies. Next, let’s look at what to do if your dog has diarrhoea.
What Causes Dog Diarrhoea?
Every once in a while, your dogs digestive system meets something it can’t handle. Most of the time, diarrhoea passes fairly quickly … but sometimes it can be difficult to treat or can be a sign that something serious might be going on. The majority of cases of acute diarrhoea are caused by dietary indiscretion, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Here are the most common causes of dog diarrhoea:
Getting into the garbage or over-eating
Changes in diet
Food intolerance or food allergies
Leaky gut and poor gut health
Parasites (such as giardiasis and coccidia)
Bowel diseases (like inflammatory bowel disease and colitis)
Antibiotics and drugs
Stress and anxiety
How serious Is Diarrhoea in dogs?
Most cases of dog diarrhoea are self-limiting and will resolve on their own in a day or two. Many dogs with diarrhoea act and feel fine so there’s no need to worry in most cases. Stopping diarrhoea is usually as simple as fasting your dog and returning to a bland diet.
But if the bout of diarrhoea lasts for more than a couple of days, the most common risk is dehydration. If your dog doesn’t drink enough fluids to replace what her body loses through watery stools or vomiting, she will become dehydrated. To test if your dog is dehydrated, pinch the skin at the back of her neck then let go. It should bounce right back again. If the pinch of skin takes a second or more to return to normal, your dog might be dehydrated. Dehydration can be hard on your dog’s heart and kidneys, especially if there’s loss of appetite, so it’s a good idea to check with your holistic vet if your dog fails the pinch test.
Home remedies for Diarrhoea in dogs
Dog diarrhoea treatment is often quite simple. Some cases of diarrhoea may be more stubborn to manage, but understanding the causes of diarrhoea is key to knowing how to stop dog diarrhoea. But you can still avoid pharmaceutical diarrhoea solutions.
Fast your dog
If your dog develops sudden diarrhoea, stop feeding him for 12 to 24 hours. This may seem cruel, but it’s an important step. Young puppies should not be fasted … it’s always important to see your vet if your puppy develops diarrhoea.
Once the diarrhoea has stopped or slowed, you can offer small sips of water. If you see signs of improvement after 6 hours of water only, you can give your dog some broth.