What Does Your Dog’s Poop Tell You?
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Ways to know what is happening with your dog’s body.
For most dog owners, cleaning up after their pup is one of the least enjoyable aspects of owning a pet, regardless how sweet and adorable their furry friend might be. However, picking up your dog’s poop is more than just a matter of courtesy or public health; it is an effective way of tracking any health problems he may be experiencing.
Even though it’s gross, examining dog deposits can provide a helpful clue into his overall health, especially since dogs can’t talk. It’s why veterinarians spend so much time talking about dog poop.
What’s the normal dog poop like?
The first step to identifying an underlying condition from your dog’s poop is to have an idea of what’s normal. To do that, you might need to regularly monitor your pup’s potty habits so you can increase your chances of spotting any sudden change.
For example, if your dog normally poops twice a day but suddenly starts pooping thrice or four times a day, that may be an indication of a problem. Or if it is normally soft and moist but it suddenly becomes dry and hard, that is a change you want to investigate with your vet.
Generally, a dog’s poop should have the same volume, color and odor. Nonetheless, experts believe that a dog’s poop has four critical characteristics: color, consistency, content and coating.
Normal dog poop should have some level of firmness such that it is neither too hard that it comes out like pellets nor too soft that you cannot pick it. As far as consistency goes, it’s important that the number of times your pooch poops a day should be the same.
Similarly, it should look chocolate brown, which is a sign that the food and nutrients were properly absorbed. Finally, it should have no coating at all like mucus or blood.
Some dog owners believe that poop size counts too. In other words, your dog’s waste should be proportionate to the amount of food he eats. If this isn’t the case, you should take a trip to the vet with your dog.
Decoding your dog’s poop: Things to watch out for
Although inspecting your pooch’s deposit may be unpleasant, it can help you catch the slightest sign of any irregularities in good time. Here are a few things to look out for in your dog’s poop.
1. Different colors
Although a dog’s poop should ideally be chocolate brown, it’s perfectly normal for the color to be a slightly different shade of brown. A significant change in a pup’s deposits could mean anything from indigestion, change in diet or an underlying condition.
Here are some things that different colored poops could mean for your dog:
- Green: Green poop discoloration could mean that your dog is eating grass or leaves in large quantities, perhaps to soothe a stomach upset. Sometimes, it could be due to some dental treats like OralVet Chews and Greenies.
- Red poop: Brown poop with red streaks is never a good sign as it indicates that there’s blood in it. It is often due to bleeding, probably in the lower gastrointestinal tract or colon, which may be caused by a foreign body stuck in the large intestine, worm infestation or inflammation in the lining of the large intestine.
- Black/Maroon: Black or Maroon poop is also caused by bleeding, only that it is higher up within the digestive tract, like in the stomach or the small intestines. It is a sign that your furry friend is losing a lot of blood internally and it will require an immediate trip to the vet.
- Yellow: Yellow poop means several things and one of them is food intolerance, often as a result of changes in diet. It may also indicate problems with liver, pancreatic or gallbladder.
- White or chalky: If your dog’s poop is white or chalky, it’s a sign that his diet is too high in calcium or bone. If you change the current diet but the poop remains this color, speak to a vet.
- Gray: Stools that are grayish in color frequently indicate that there’s too much fat in your dog’s diet. It may also be due to a biliary or pancreatic problem.
2. Mucus or grease
Thick, slimy mucus often accompanies inflammation in your pup’s large intestine and usually occurs with diarrhea. The problem typically subsides in a few days.
3. Content concerns
If you see white or tan specks in your dog’s stool, like little pieces of rice, it is likely a sign of worm infestation, which is treatable. You will want your vet to examine the deposit right away before the worms find their way out of it.
Sometimes times, you may find foreign objects like glass, plastic, money and even wood in your dog’s stool, all of which show that your pet has been eating odd things. Other times, you may find fur, a sign of over-grooming or an indication of an itchy skin disorder.
4. Undigested food
It’s not uncommon for a dog’s stool to contain foods that were undigested. It is often caused by an allergy or a low-quality dog food formula.
5. Diarrhea or loose stools
Loose or watery deposits may occur occasionally and this is normal. But if it persists, your pet is probably suffering from diarrhea, which may be caused by a range of factors including intestinal worms and parasites, food allergy, bacterial infection of the digestive tract, inflammation of the pancreas and so on. You should take a trip to the vet for evaluation if the condition persists.
6. Dry, overly firm stools
As you might know, dry poop is caused by dehydration or slow intestinal movement and it may lead to constipation. It warrants an evaluation by a vet and a change of diet.
Since dogs are man’s best friend it’s important to ensure that they are always in good health. Monitoring your pup’s pooping habits can provide a glimpse into his overall health. If you notice anything unusual, don’t hesitate to consult your vet immediately.