Alright, I get it. Nobody wants to talk about poop. It's gross, it smells bad and it's not something you really want to deal with. Promotional plug: if you really don't want to deal with cleaning up after your dog, sign up for our popular poop removal service and you won't ever have to again!
Poop isn't a fun topic, but just as in humans, it's an important one. Why? Because poop is an indicator of our internal health. When you're dealing with an animal that's unable to speak and tell you in words when it isn't feeling well, poop can be an important indicator that something else is going on inside.
The problem is that most people don't know what to look for. They may pick up their dog waste but not really be sure when something is normal or when it requires the attention of a veterinarian.
For our wonderful customers who use our regular yard clean up service, notifying you of potential issues is part of what we do. For the rest of you dog lovers, this will give you an overview of what you can look for in your dog's stools. You'll learn when it's time to seek medical help or just pay attention to other signs they may not be well.
The three C's
There are three main areas we're going to cover when we talk about your dog's feces in a three part series. The three C's are: colour, content and consistency. If you can remember these three C's, you'll be able to easily identify when something is kinda off in your dog's stools. This post will cover the colour of your dogs feces, both what's normal and what you should be aware of.
Most dog poop should be brown (duh). It will vary in different dogs, breeds and diets. It shouldn't be too soft or too hard. The best way to tell when something is off with your dog is to pay attention to what their normal poop looks like and to notice when it changes.
CanineJournal.com lists common poop colours and the conditions that they can indicate:
Black or Very Dark — Can be a sign of gastrointestinal or stomach ulcer. Human medications such as Aspirin can cause stomach ulcers in dogs. Never give human medication without consulting your vet first.
Red or Streaks of Blood —Bleeding further down the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Streaks of blood can be colitis (inflammation of the colon), a rectal injury, an anal gland infection or a possible tumour.
Pink or Purple — Anything that looks like raspberry jam, could indicate hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). A lot of dogs die each year from HGE but most will recover with prompt treatment.
Grey or Greasy Looking — This could indicate Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI). EPI is when the pancreas does not produce the necessary enzymes to digest fat. EPI is treatable.
Green — This could mean your dog has eaten a large amount of grass. It can also be from a parasite, rat bait poisoning or other internal issues. If your dog has green poop, call your vet right away.
Orange — Seeing orange poop can indicate a liver issue or biliary disease (or undigested carrots). Orange feces can also mean your dog's poop moved too quickly through the GI tract to pick up the bile which changes poop to the normal brown colour. If you see orange, call your vet.
Yellow — Yellow mucus usually means a food intolerance - especially if you've recently changed their diet. Look at what your pet has been eating and try to rule out any new ingredients that could be causing them to have an upset stomach.
White Specks — Worms often look like white grains of rice in your dogs stool. This is very treatable, so see your vet right away to make your dog healthy again.
If you see something abnormal in your dog's poop, it's best to call your vet and ask them what to do or if you should take your dog into see them. If you're one of our regular weekly, biweekly or monthly yard clean up clients, we'll let you know right away if we spot something strange in your dog's feces. We want your dog to live a long and healthy life too!
The importance of a good diet
Diet plays a huge role in the health of your dog and the colour of their feces. Buying a good quality dog food will save you money in the long run (less trips to the vet) and give your dog a longer, healthier life. We wrote about a 2015 study that showed 94% of dog foods didn't pass their series of tests. Did your dog food make the grade?
You should also pay attention to the people food you feed your dog (if you do at all). Not all food humans eat is good for dogs. Some things can make them very sick or even cause death. Here's a list of Nine people foods you should never feed your dog.
Did you learn something? Have you ever noticed something strange about your dog's poop and then it ended up being something worse? Share your stories in the comments below!