We love our pets dearly, and they are a treasured member of our family. Dogs look to us for love, affection, and guidance, and they are reliant on us taking care of their basic needs. To take good care of our mutts, we need to walk them, feed them a quality diet, and pay attention to their behavior and state of their health. 

We can assess our dog’s health by looking at their gait, physical appearance, and behavior. We can also look at their feces. Ok, so it’s not something that will be on top of your Wish List, but monitoring the appearance of your dog’s poop can give you a good understanding of the state of their health and fitness.

Scoop the Poop

The only downside to owning a dog these days is that you have to clean up after they have done their business. Nobody relishes this task, but it is a very important way of monitoring the state of your dog’s internal workings. Pay attention to the color, consistency, and amount.

50 (not quite) Shades of Brown

Colour is a huge indicator of health. Healthy dog poop should be chocolate brown in hue. 

If your pet’s stools look as if they have a green tinge to them, this could signify that there is bile in them, meaning that your pet could have an issue with their gallbladder and cannot digest fats properly. Green stools may also mean that your dog has been eating grass because they have a sore stomach. If you notice your dog pooping blood or they have black, tarry stools, this indicates that there may be bleeding in your dog’s upper gastrointestinal tract. Yellow-orange feces can be caused by a liver problem, while grey ones suggest that the dog’s pancreas may be diseased. If you spot pellets in your pet’s number twos that are blue or turquoise in color, it could be that they have swallowed some rat poison. 

Play-Doh Poop

The perfect doggy poop is chocolate brown and should be the texture of play-doh – not too soft, not too hard. If, when picking up the poop, you notice that the consistency is one of these extremes, it’s time to monitor your dog.

Dogs are renowned for eating things they shouldn’t. They will continuously ingest things that they find lying around on sidewalks and in parks during their walk. Unfortunately, you can’t always manage to wrestle the offending item from their jaws, and they swallow it. Loose liquid diarrhea is commonly caused by eating the wrong thing. Diarrhea will last until the offending article has passed through the dog’s gastrointestinal tract, and everything internally returns to normal. However, if the loose poops do not firm up after a couple of days, you should take your pet to the vet.

Diarrhea that doesn’t clear within a couple of days can be an indicator of something concerning, such as your dog having an internal parasite, a bacterial infection, or inflammatory bowel disease. Less seriously, it may mean your mutt has an allergy or intolerance to their food.  

Small, hard poops or no poops at all mean that your dog is constipated and probably needs to drink more water. It may also mean that they are not getting enough fiber or that their dry food is of inferior quality. Sometimes dog’s systems can get plugged up when they have been licking themselves frequently due to itchy skin and ingest large amounts of fur. This is prevalent in dogs with thick, long-haired coats. A serious cause of your dog being unable to pass their stools is if they have swallowed an object and it has got stuck in their digestive tract, causing a blockage. If your dog hasn’t passed a motion for more than two days, seek immediate medical attention.

A certain amount of mucus coating your dog’s poo is expected because they produce a lubricant that coats their colon to make the passage of poop easier. This may sometimes cover your dog’s poo and is normal in a small amount. Suppose the amount of mucus is excessive or appears regularly. In that case, that may be a sign that your dog has a food intolerance or gastrointestinal condition such as colitis, which causes the tissue of the tract to irritate, inflame and urge the glands present to create more lubricating mucus.

If you have any concerns at all about your dog’s health, it is better to err on the side of caution and phone your vet for immediate advice.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "What Your Dog’s Poop Can Tell You About the State of Their Health," in Medicalopedia, January 7, 2021, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9503/what-your-dogs-poop-can-tell-you-about-the-state-of-their-health/].