Do you go out into the backyard and scoop up your dog’s poop once a week? Or do you clean up their droppings immediately? If you’re feeding a raw or home-cooked diet, or if you’re not sure if their commercial kibble diet is right for them, you can look at their poop daily to assess how their body is processing their food and make adjustments to their diet.
What Does Normal, Healthy Poop Look Like?
Your goal is for your dog’s poop to be brown and firm, but not hard and crumbly. Your dog should take just 5-10 seconds to have a bowel movement without straining. A healthy poop will typically dry up, and may turn white 24-48 hours after it is passed.
Chunks of Whole Food
If you feed your dog carrots, you’ll most likely find orange chunks in their poop. Wolves and wild dogs do not typically eat fruits and veggies, but they may eat pre-digested plants found in the stomach of their prey. Dogs cannot fully digest whole fruits and veggies, so most pass through them unchanged. Your dog can absorb vitamins and minerals from veggies if you puree them in a blender or lightly steam them. It’s still okay to feed whole veggies, as they contain few calories and help keep your dog full, but they won’t harm nor benefit your dog very much.
Yellow poop may contain bile, and can indicate incomplete digestion or a liver issue. Bright blue or green can indicate ingestion of rat poison. Colorful poop can come from eating vibrant foods like beets, but more than one incidence means it’s time to go to the vet.
Loose, Snake-like Poop
Many types of kibble contain a lot of fiber, which forms very loose, stinky stool with the consistency of toothpaste. A diet with higher protein content, such as a good quality kibble, balanced raw or home-cooked diet may produce a more desirable, solid poop that does not smell as much.
Watery poop can be a sign of indigestion, but it could also indicate something more serious, like a contagious canine flu that your dog may have contracted at the park, or an infection like Giardia, which your dog could get from drinking water out of puddles or lakes. Keep a close eye on your dog, and take them to the vet if diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours, sooner if they appear lethargic, or are also vomiting.
A constipated dog may pass round, hard pellets that resemble rabbit poop. Your dog may also strain while defecating. Constipation can be caused by an underlying medical issue, so you should see your vet if it becomes persistent. Adding extra water to your dog’s food, or fibrous, steamed or pureed fruits and veggies like carrots, apples and green beans.
White, chalky dog poop is high in calcium, most often seen in dogs who are fed a raw or home-cooked diet with high bone content or a calcium supplement. It’s normal for dog poop to turn white and crumbly after 24 hours, but if it’s already white as they’re passing it, their diet contains too much calcium, and their body is shedding what they cannot absorb. Too much bone/calcium in your dog’s diet can cause constipation, so if it’s coming out white, you’ll need to cut back on the calcium.
How to Tell If Your Dog Has Worms
You can’t always tell if a dog has worms by looking at their poop. Tapeworms look like white grains of rice, while roundworms and hookworms are long and white, but sometimes you can’t see them until after your dog has been treated with a dewormer. It’s best to see a vet to get the correct treatment, as over-the-counter treatments do not always treat all types of intestinal worms. You can ask your vet for a monthly heartworm preventative pill that also prevents intestinal worms.
Any unusual poop can be collected as soon as it is dropped, then brought to your vet to get tested for infection or parasites. Your vet can learn even more from your dog’s poop than you can by inspecting it under a microscope. Day-old poop is not suitable for testing because it can accumulate insects or bacteria from the ground.
Need Help Keeping an Eye on Your Dog’s Poop?
Daily walks are excellent for your dog’s digestive system, and give you a chance to monitor their poop. Ready Pet Go provides professional dog walking services in Silver Spring and Takoma Park, Maryland and Washington, DC. Our text or email updates will include whether your dog pooped, and the quality of their latest dropping. Get in touch or call 240-221-5335 to get started!