If you haven't been paying attention to your dog's poo, you need to start — you could be missing important clues about what’s going on inside his little body.
Stooping to examine your dog’s bowel movements may not be the most glamorous part of your morning walk, but hey — we all know the lengths we're willing to go to for our fur babies.
Healthy Dog Poop — What to Look For
Healthy poop should maintain its form and be log-shaped when dispelled. If the poop is so runny that you’re struggling to scoop it up, your pup’s tummy is probably just as unhappy as you are in that moment.
In general, dog stool should be chocolate brown. Color is a key indicator of your dog’s digestive health, so if all of the waste is green, something may be amiss. Flecks of color, on the other hand, such as bits and pieces of carrot, are perfectly normal — to be expected, even.
The volume and size of your dog’s stool will vary depending on fiber intake and food choice.
When you switch to natural, filler-free food and treats (which you may do for any number of good reasons), you'll notice an unexpected bonus: a decrease in both the volume and size of your pup’s poop. Yay!
This happens because, well, there's less fillers. That means a greater proportion of the food consumed actually gets absorbed and utilized by the body. Healthier food and snacks promote better nutrient absorption inside your pup’s digestive system, and reduce the quantity of waste product to be expelled.
Pay close attention to your dog’s typical bathroom routine — any sudden increase or decrease in frequency could be a reflection of a digestive issue or allergic reaction.
Keep in mind that what's considered "normal" is decided dog per dog. So while most dogs go once or twice a day, others may go up to four times daily (lukcy you). As long as color and consistency are normal, this is totally healthy.
Potential Signs Of Trouble
Black stools are very important warning sign and should be taken seriously.
While the stool may be black because of something the dog has eaten, black stools often warn of bleeding in the stomach or frontal intestines (because blood turns black after being digested).
If you see red in the stool, it's often blood from lower in the tract, indicating potential strain or anal fissures. The presence of both black and red? Time to see the vet.
If your dog’s poop is spherical, pellet-shaped, or abnormally hard, it may be an indication that your dog is dehydrated. Dehydration is especially common during summer months.
Conversely, diarrhea or loose stools can reflect an intestinal upset or irritation. And the presence of mucus can indicate an inflamed colon.
If the volume of your dog’s stool looks proportionally larger than the amount of food she typically consumes, this could be a sign that a large portion of her meals are not being absorbed properly.
When partnered with excessive paw licking, fur in stools could be a sign of allergies — a result of constant worrying at itchy spots and other allergic reactions.
The appearance of white flecks in the poop could mean that your dog has worms and needs to see the vet immediately.
BTW — worms are highly contagious and should be treated as soon as possible. Infected pets should be kept away from any other pets in the home until fully treated.
What to Do About Your Pup's Poo
First of all, it goes without saying (but we have to say it anyway): if you have any doubts or concerns about what's going on in your pet's gut, or any worry about his health at all, play it safe and take him to the vet as soon as you can. Better to spend $100 on an office visit and a prespcription, than to rush him to the animal ER in the middle of the night.
Remember, YOUR choices are the most important factor in your dog's overall health.
Choose fresh, organic, and natural options without fillers. Stay consistent with a diet plan and treating pattern. And provide plenty of fresh, clean drinking water.
Try to schedule your walks and bathroom visits at consistent times each day to promote regularity.
As a rule of thumb, signs of healthy digestion (and a healthy pup) are stools that are firm, easy to scoop up, and a chocolate brown color. (They still don't smell that great though. Nothing we can do about that.)
Nobody likes talking about poo. Or scooping up poo. Or smushing it into those little cups you have to take to the vet.
But when it comes to taking care of our best friends? No little (or large) pile of poo is going to stand in our way.