While it’s not the most pleasant of tasks, one of the best ways to gauge your dog’s health is to take a look at their stool. So the next time you’re out on a walk with your furry best friend, examine their bowel movement. You might be wondering, “What should healthy dog poop look like?” Here’s our guide on how to spot normal dog poop.
The Four Cs of Healthy Dog Poop
Dogs can’t tell us about their symptoms, so one of the best ways to judge if they’re not feeling well is to look at their poop. Think of the “Four Cs” when you’re trying to tell if it’s normal dog poop: color, consistency, coating and contents. Color is the shade of the feces, consistency is the hardness or softness of the poop, coating is a film over the outside of the stool and contents is what is mixed in with the poop.
Healthy dog poop will be the same brown color as chocolate. Normal dog poop contains bile, which is released by the gallbladder and helps break down your pup’s meal. Bile contains bilirubin which makes poop that specific shade of brown. Your pooch’s stool may slightly vary in color due to small changes in what they eat or drink, but healthy dog poop is always brown. Here are some color changes you might notice if your dog is ill:
- Red streaks: These streaks of color indicate that your dog might be bleeding in their lower digestive tract. Look for cuts around the anus!
- Black: This hue generally indicates that your dog is experiencing bleeding in their upper digestive tract.
- Green: Poop the color of Oscar the Grouch means your pup is probably eating grass.
- Yellow or grey: These colors are signs of trouble in your dog’s pancreas, liver or gallbladder.
- White spots: White spots or what may look like grains of rice are generally indicators that your pooch has worms.
If you notice any change in the color of your dog’s poop that lasts for over 24 hours, call your veterinarian!
Your vet might use a numerical scale, ranging from 1 to 7, to describe the hardness of your dog’s stool. One would be hard-as-rocks pellets and seven would be liquid diarrhea. Healthy dog poop is usually around a two. Your dog’s feces should be shaped kind of like a caterpillar and look segmented and firm. Normal dog poop will feel like Play-Doh when you squeeze it. If your dog’s poop is too hard, this is generally a sign of dehydration whereas liquid poop means your pup’s body isn’t absorbing water the way it should. Contact your vet if you notice changes in dog poop consistency for over 24 hours.
You would have to dissect your dog’s poop to really get a good look at the contents. We recommend simply having your veterinarian do this for you or you wear a pair of gloves. In general, your pup’s feces shouldn’t contain anything other than poop. Here are some health issues you should look out for:
- Fur: If you can see fur in your dog’s poop, then that probably means your pup is licking obsessively. This can be a result of several issues, including boredom, allergies, anxiety or skin disease.
- Worms: Worms in poop will either look long and skinny or like grains of rice. Make sure you’re examining a fresh stool sample as old poop can attract worms outdoors.
- Objects: There shouldn’t be any foreign objects in your pet’s poop. Look out for grass, shoes or bits of chew toy!
Contact your vet is you suspect there’s something up with the contents of your dog’s stool.
Healthy dog poop won’t have any kind of slimy coating on it. A good method for judging if your pup is having normal bowel movements, is to examine the grass after you dispose of the poop. Did the stool leave behind any kind of slimy trail? If so, it has a coating. Film like this usually means your dog is suffering from large bowel inflammation.
Poop problems are nothing to worry about as long as they resolve themselves within 24 hours. Just make sure that your dog is also eating and drinking a normal amount and behaving like their usual self. If the poop issue doesn’t fix itself within a day, it’s time to call your vet. They can diagnose and fix the problem!
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