There’s nothing funnier than dog parents discussing the quality of their dog’s solid waste – yet the valuable information is why we all do it. When there is a change, we notice, and it is time to take action. If your dog is experiencing abnormal poop patterns, regularity, color, or diarrhea, here is some advice to help.
- watch your dog go to the bathroom
- be worried if your dog’s stool is anything other than brown formed logs
- try pumpkin
- be aware of abnormal contents and coatings
- differentiate between fresh and stale samples
- confuse straining for constipation
- change food repeatedly if your dog has abnormal waste elimination
- wait to call the vet if your dog has vomit and diarrhea at the same time
- be surprised if your dog’s feces change with diet changes
There is a lot we can tell about her health from what her feces look like. All pet parents watch their dogs poop. It’s a wealth of information. So, when the vet asks, be able to tell color, consistency, size, volume, frequency – all of this from a good dump.
Black is digested blood (when fresh, while old feces may turn black in the sun), red is fresh blood, green can be gall bladder, orange may be gall bladder or autoimmune disease. Splats and cow pies are diarrhea, rock hard fecal balls are constipation. Black of digested blood is a sign of stomach ulcer. Red of fresh blood could be a polyp, a tumor or a rectal tear (trauma). Gall bladder disorders can be gallstones or liver disease (which has many causes). And the autoimmune disorder can be when the body attacks red blood cells and all the waste products come out in the feces. Of course, bloody diarrhea is very serious, could mean parvo in a puppy, or hook or whipworms, and is reason to see the vet.
Pumpkin works miracles in everyday cases of diarrhea or constipation. As pumpkin is a normalizer, it will make hard stool soft and will firm up soft stool. If the pumpkin isn’t working, there is something else going on. Three days of abnormal poo is enough time for home remedies to work – if they aren’t, bring a stool sample to the vet.
Mucus, strings and foreign bodies, worms, and undigested food are all things to notice. Mucus once is not a big deal; pure mucus feces is. Visible worms (as many are invisible to the naked eye), mean there’s quite a worm load inside that needs to be treated. Undigested food may signal an intolerance or allergy. And, certainly, foreign, non-food objects suggest we need to keep a better eye on our chewing friend, and be sure that things continue to move through.
Black feces that have lain in the sun are not a concern, while fresh black feces are. Feces of dogs who eat raw diets with a lot of bone will turn white when exposed to the sun for a time.
Straining happens either when your dog is constipated or when he has diarrhea so bad it makes his butt hole burn. This is where it’s important to watch your pup go poo every time. If you know the last three events were liquid, then when he is standing there trying to squeeze out a drop, you can appreciate that burning feeling and help him wipe off his bottom and come inside and get his mind off his irritated booty.
The food changes just complicate things. It is not unexpected after constipation to have diarrhea, but if there were also food changes, then it’s hard to know what event was the cause of what symptom.
Both of these together could mean an infection or a foreign body – both of which can be quite serious. While a few days of soft, brown stool isn’t immediate cause for concern, vomit and diarrhea together are.
Dogs fed dyed kibble will have dyed feces. Dogs who switch from kibble to whole food or raw diets will have significant reduction in volume of their feces. Feeding beets will cause an alarming red color to stool. Some dogs don’t digest carrots well – a section of the fecal sample will be bright orange, just like the carrot.
Changes in the color, consistency, size or frequency of our dogs making number two is a signal for changes on the inside. Knowing when and what the changes mean helps make a proper diagnosis.