One of the less pleasurable parts of having a dog is picking up their poop. Although it is an essential part of dog ownership, it’s never, for the most part, fun to get up close and personal with poop. Yours or anyone else’s for that matter.
Observing your dog’s poop is a good way to tell if they have eaten something unusual while you weren’t looking – a small kids toy, your kid’s crayons, or perhaps just a chicken bone. Just like human poop, dog poop reveals if there is something wrong with your pup.
There is no way around it, part of having a dog, means you’re regularly scooping up poop. Even if you have the sweetest, most adorable pup in the world, this task is never fun. (grammatically problematic) But it is vital, and not just because it’s horrible when you go to hang out washing and step on it accidently, or when the kids can’t play outside in case they tread all through it. The colour and consistency of your dog’s poop can you give a lot of information about what’s going on inside its body – and whether a health concern could be brewing.
That’s why it’s imperative to know what you are picking up. While the sporadic poop problem may not be cause for concern, knowing what’s normal for your dog makes it easy to tell if something IS actually wrong.
The extent of waste your dog produces is highly comparative to the amount of indigestible substances in his food. Dogs evolved to eat typically meat – so the more carbohydrates and fillers in their food, the larger and stinker their poop will be. The problem typically comes from low quality kibble, which often skimps on meat in favour of ingredients like corn, wheat, soy and potatoes.
Dogs most often get diarrhoea from eating something they shouldn’t – like greasy table scraps or assorted foods he’s picked up on your daily walks. Fortunately, the poop dilemma should clear up on its own. Diarrhoea could also be a sign that something’s wrong. Could be anything from a food that’s turned into an allergy, or something serious as infections, so if it’s not cleared up within a day or two, it’s time to call the vet.
Tiny rock-like stool (or no stool at all), are signs that your dog is constipating. He could be eating too much insoluble fibre (found in many vegetables) or not consuming enough liquid which can gum up the works. Without personally searching through your dogs poop, there are some ways to tell if something strange is going on with their health. Veterinarians look at the four C’s when examining dog poop – and it’s something you can do as well.
Consistency: Your dog’s poop should not be so hard that it comes out as pellets, and it should not be so soft that you can’t pick it up easily. While one runny poop is nothing to worry about, if your dog constantly has diarrhoea, call your vet.
Coating: Like human poop, dog poop should not have any sort of coating. If there’s a large amount of mucus or a significant amount of blood coating your dog’s poop, call your vet.
Contents: When considering the filling of your dog’s poop, you should just look out for anything particularly out of the normal. If you find something that concerns you, call your vet.
Colour: Since your dog’s poop can be of a variety of colours, with each meaning something different, we’ll delve into each one with more specifics. Read on below!
If it’s like a firm brown log, that’s good news. That’s exactly what you want to see. Chocolate coloured poop that’s the consistency of Play-Doh is a sign that things are normal in your pup’s digestive tract. However, Brown poop with red streaks, as you may guess, is an indication that your dog is bleeding somewhere along their large intestine.
Other colours could signal serious problems. Black or maroon poop is usually an indication that there is bleeding higher up in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. The black poop indicates that blood has been digested, which means that your dog may be losing a lot of blood internally.
Like many of the other colours of poop, yellow poop can indicate a few different health problems with your dog. Often, it indicates a food intolerance — so if you’ve recently changed your dog’s diet, that may be the reason for your dog’s stomach upset, alternatively, yellow-orange or light, pasty stools may indicate biliary or liver disease. It could also mean your dog’s food travelled too quickly from the small intestine to the colon.
Grey stools symbolise greasy, or fatty, it may be due to maldigestion. Dog poop that glistens is a possible indicator of malabsorption of nutrients.
When you take your dog to the vet with this type of poop, they will generally look for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), which means the pancreas isn’t functioning as it should be.
Green poop has a few possible explanations — it’s possible that your dog has just eaten a large quantity of grass or leaves, but it could also be more serious. If your dog’s poop is green, it could be caused by rat-bait poisoning, a parasite, or some other internal issue.
(Sentence hanging) Always call your vet – immediately!!
Feeding your dog the wrong types of food can have dire consequences to the dogs health; your dog’s poop may be one of the first indicators that your dog has eaten the wrong thing. The basis of your dog's diet should be a high quality balanced premium dog food that is appropriate for the life stage and health status of your dog, to ensure a healthy digestive system. Natural foods include fresh human-grade raw meat (e.g. raw lamb), raw meaty bones and vegetables. You should check with your vet first, whether those raw meaty bones are suitable for your particular dog (e.g. some dogs with malformed jaws or dental infection may find chewing on raw bones tricky or older dogs may have difficulty).
It is suggested you choose human-grade raw meat and raw fleshy bones because some pet meat/pet mince/pet rolls/pet meat and bone products can contain preservatives that can be detrimental to the dog's health (e.g. sulphite preservative induced thiamine deficiency which can be fatal). You should avoid sausages, sausage meat and cooked manufactured meats as they can contain sulphite preservatives. Sulphite preservatives may cause your dog’s poo to have a strong offensive odour.
The amount of food required will depend on your dog's size, breed, age and level of exercise, but take care not to overfeed or underfeed. Your vet will be able to weigh your dog, assess your dog's body condition score and provide advice.
Adult dogs should be fed at least twice a day to avoid bloat, which can be fatal. You should also avoid exercising your dog immediately before or after eating, to avoid bloat, particularly deep-chested dogs such as xxxxx.
Raw meaty bones such as raw lamb ribs (not lamb chops though), raw lamb flaps and raw chicken wings provide several important health benefits including keeping teeth and gums healthy. They must always be given uncooked. Never feed your dog cooked bones as these can splinter and cause internal damage or become an intestinal obstruction. Signs of blood in your dog’s poo can indicate internal injuries due to your dog ingesting cooked bones that have splintered.
Too many raw bones may lead to constipation. Generally 1-2 raw bones may be offered per week with a few days in between each serving. The bone must be large enough so that the dog cannot fit the whole bone in its mouth or swallow the bone whole. Avoid large marrow bones (these have very thick outer rims), T-bones, 'chop' bones e.g. lamb cutlets, large knuckle bones and bones sawn lengthwise (as done by some butchers) as dogs may crack their teeth on these.
Dogs may be offered fish, such as tinned sardines, tinned tuna and tinned salmon as a treat occasionally (take care with any fish bones), but fish should not be fed regularly as this can also lead to your dog farting and pooing offensive smelling excrement.
Dogs may also be offered a small amount of cooked vegetables, e.g. pumpkin, carrots etc. Cooked meat, such as boiled chicken or lamb, may also be offered but please ensure there are no cooked bones; onions/onion sauces or other toxic substances present (see below). A small amount of plain cooked pasta or rice may also be offered.
You should also make sure you dog has access to grass (avoid chemically treated grass and toxic plants) - dogs will sometimes eat grass which may provide a source of vegetable matter and micronutrients.
Who can resist those big brown eyes and cute doggie grin? Can a little reward from the table or getting into Mom or Dad’s stuff really hurt your dog? Well, that depends; there is a lot of human food your dog should by no means eat. And, it’s not just because of the worry for weight gain. Some foods are downright dangerous for dogs, and some of these common foods may surprise you.
Dogs shouldn't take human medicine. It can make them very sick. Just as you do for your kids, keep all medicines out of your dog’s reach. Ingredients such as ibuprofen are common in pain relievers and cold medicine. And, they can be dangerously horrific for your dog. If your dog has ingested human medications, chocolate or foods high in salt content, it can cause severe stomach upset, diarrhoea and in some cases, death.
Do not ever feed the following substances as they are poisonous to dogs (note this is not an exhaustive list):
Also ensure your pet dog doesn't have access to string wrappings around rolled roasts or absorbent pads found under meat when wrapped on trays. Fresh water should always be available. Having a big bowl outside and a smaller bowl inside ensure they constantly have the opportunity to drink and stay hydrated. By ensuring that you feed your dog the correct diet and monitoring the look, color and smell of your dos’ poop, you can ensure that your beloved pet is kept healthy and happy.