Things your Dog Poop can tell you about your Dog’s Health. See below for our dog poop color wheel and chart.
Dog parents love their dogs. We love our dogs so much that we accept that it’s part of our job to regularly pick up their dog poop. And no matter how much you love your dog, no matter how cute, sweet or adorable your dog is, this task probably rates as one of your least favorite parts of being a pet parent. It’s an important task, and not just because of your neighbors, but because a dog’s poop is an indicator of their health. Just like people, a dogs poop is a reflection of their overall health.
So the next time you take your dog for a walk, and your dog does their business, you need to know what their poops tells you about your dog’s health. If you want to know what your dog’s poop can tell you, read this and use our handy Poop Wheel / Chart for reference.
We are going to keep it simple, so to that end, the most important things to look for are color, size, consistency, and odor of your dog’s poop.
These dog poop indicators can give you a lot of information about what’s going on inside your dog’s body, if your dog’s diet is suitable, and whether there’s a health issue brewing.
So try to check out their poop every day. Don’t be shy. This way, you’ll come to know whether your dog’s poop seems right or wrong, and when you need to do something about it. While an occasional poop problem is probably not a cause for concern, knowing what’s normal for your dog makes it easy to tell when something is wrong.
If your dogs poop doesn’t look right several days in a row, it’s probably time to go to the vet, but dog poop knowledge begins at home, and to recognize a problematic poop, you must start with a foundational concept of healthy poop.
Here are six common things to look for, and what they mean.
1. The Perfect Poop.
Dog poops vary depending on whether you feed them processed pet foods such as kibble, canned, certain pet treats, home-cooked, or raw food, but all healthy dog poops share certain key characteristics. One of the most noticeable things a healthy stool should have is a relatively inoffensive odor. In other words, you should not feel like you’re about to gag when you smell it.
Another important thing to notice is the color, which for a healthy stool is typically chocolate brown. Additionally, the poop should be of an even, well-digested consistency, not too hard and not too soft. To sum it up, it should be firm but malleable, moist, and does not fall apart when picked up. We call this perfect poop a brown log, and it is a sign that things in your pup’s digestive tract are healthy and normal.
2. It Smells Terrible and There’s a Whole Lot of It.
Poop is the by-product of the digestive process. The amount of poop your dog produces is directly related to the amount of content in his food that’s indigestible. For example, we feed our 65 pound dog 8 ounces for breakfast, followed by the same amount for dinner. Her consistent poops (twice daily) are about 2 – 3 ounces each session. This means that out of her 8 ounce meal, her body properly absorbed 5 – 7 ounces.
Doggy diets vary considerably, such as ingredients, contents, combinations of foodstuffs, and degrees of processing, all of which affect their health. The most common problem typically comes from low-quality kibble, which is like fast food for your dog. Observing your dog’s stool is an easy way to find out whether your dog needs a new diet, a supplement, more exercise, or a trip to the vet.
3. It’s Runny or Loose.
When a dog gets diarrhea, it’s frequently because of something they ate. It could be greasy table scraps, a dive through the garbage while you weren’t home, or perhaps something your dog picked up on their walk. For the most part, this type of poop issue should be easy to clear up. If your dog ate food they shouldn’t have, usually once your dog has passed the offending food through their GI tract, all systems return to normal. Be aware that diarrhea can also be a sign that something’s wrong. Runny or loose stools can indicate your dog’s food isn’t being absorbed, which could mean a food allergy or intolerance to food ingredients. Diarrhea can also be an indicator of something more serious such as a bacterial infection, a parasite, or inflammatory bowel. If the diarrhea doesn’t clear up on its own after a day or two, it’s time to call the vet. For the simpler stuff, just keep a watchful eye on your pup when on a walk to a avoid them eating anything they shouldn’t. Dog proof your trash can at home, avoid giving them fatty table scraps, look into changing up the protein of their diet, or consider supplements to boost the nutritional value of your dogs food.
4. It’s Hard and Small, or Inconsistent.
If your dog has no poops for a few days, or very small rock hard poops, your pup is probably constipated. There could be several different factors ranging from benign to serious. It’s possible that your pup isn’t hydrated enough. Just like humans, when a dog does not drink enough water, it could lead to backing up the plumbing. Another possibility is that your dogs diet has too many vegetables (insoluble fiber), or the ingredients of the food you feed them are low-quality, usually found in kibble and other processed pet foods.
More serious issues could point to serious or chronic health problems. For example osteoarthritis causes pain in the hips or hind legs and can make it difficult to maintain posture to poop properly. Holding it in can cause constipation. Another serious issue could indicate that your dog has an intestinal obstruction, a painful and potentially life-threatening blockage of the GI tract that prevents food flow to the bowel. This usually happens when your dog eats a foreign object, like a toy or a rock. These serious issues can be life threatening when left untreated, so if you notice your dog has trouble going for more than a day or two, be sure to call the vet.
5. It’s Got Mucus.
Dog stool often contains some mucus and it’s typically nothing to be concerned about. It’s a slimy substance made by the intestines to keep the lining of the colon lubricated. Small amounts often act as a natural lubricant in the gut and help prevent constipation. By contrast, excessive amounts of mucus in the stool could indicate a medical condition such as colitis, intestinal infections or parasites, or inflammatory disorders. If you see blood in the poop, this is not normal, and can be an indication of disease. An occasional coating of mucus is normal, or can indicate a self-resolving issue, but if the mucus becomes a regular thing, call the vet immediately.
6. It has a Strange Color.
Chocolate Brown is the color that you’re looking for. If it’s not chocolate brown, there could be something wrong. For example, a green poop color could indicate that your dog recently ate some grass, or it could be something more serious like a bile or gallbladder problem. Other colors could signal serious problems. Black poop could be a sign of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract; yellow, orange, or clay poop points to possible liver disease; gray poop is a common indicator of pancreas issues; and a blue-green stool could mean that your dog ingested poison. If you notice any of these colors, call your vet immediately.
Lastly, Your Dogs Poop Can Change During a Food Transition.
When your dogs diet changes, even if you’re switching to higher quality and less processed, whole and healthier food, it’s normal to see the effects in their poop. Sometimes you’ll see no negative effects as you transition your dog’s diet, or you may see changes in consistency of your dog’s poop during this phase. This may mean a looser stool or diarrhea. This should only last a few days, depending on how fast you transition, and depending on your dog. As long as your dog seems fine otherwise, this “transition poop” should be short lasting and nothing to be concerned about.
Some people feel uneasy talking about dog poop, but it is actually very important to keep an eye on your dog’s poop, and you need to know what your dog’s poop indicates about your dog’s health. A healthy pet is a happy pet! Click here to help your pet from home.