Let's talk poop
Did you know that looking at your dog's number twos can be a firsthand in spotting a health problem?
So what's your dog’s poo can tell you? (No, it doesn't speak but it can tell you a lot still ) I'll give you an easy hint system on how to spot a problem and get vet help if needed on time. And a few preventative poop health check tricks to keep up your sleeve all thanks to the mighty poo so here are the THREE BIG “C”s for you to remember COLOUR, CONSISTENCY and CONTENTS. Remembering thESE three C’s of your dog’s NUMBER TWOs is a great way to monitor your dog’s health, whether they are coping with changes in their diet or if it’s time for a vet check-up.
1. Let's start with COLOUR Colour can give a great insight into your dog’s health and digestive system. You should be looking for a light to a dark brown colour in your dog’s stools (a smart way of calling the poop). OFF NOTE FOR RAW FED DOGS It is common for raw-fed dogs to produce stools that turn white within 24 hours however if your pup’s stools are being released with a white, chalk-like consistency this can be caused by too much calcium (excess bones) in their diet.
Grey Stools can be a sign of too much fat being present in your dog’s diet or an issue with your dog’s pancreas (the organ that is responsible for secreting and breaking up fats in the digestive tract). This is a tricky one to determine yourself (comes with tones of poop experience ), you may want to track your dog's diet and digestion by charting food and amount given, time, consistency and amount of stool along with its colour, but I recommend, if you are suspecting an issue with digesting fat/lipids to chat with your vet and check if there are no pancreatic issues (do try to obtain as much info as possible to share with your vet so they get as much of the picture as possible.
Orange stools may be caused by food with artificial colouring or simply excess carotene (found in carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes) in your dog’s diet. The solution is just to decrease the veggie intake or switch to a different veggie group. And hey, get rid of these unhealthy treats or food with artificial colouring out of your dog's diet.
Green stools can be caused by your dog (puppies do it the most) eating too much grass (btw if your adult dog does in fact eat grass regularly its a sign of digestive issue on its self that can be caused by an inflammatory response, parasites and/or nutrient deficiency) or a sign of gallbladder (biliary in particular) issues (an organ that is also responsible for fat and lipid digestion by absorption of nutrients onto the bloodstream in the small intestines). If you’ve confidently ruled out grass eating as the reason, and tried a bland low-fat diet with no results and it hasn’t settled after a few days, then it’s time for a chat with your vet.
Red stool with blood visible in your dog’s poop can indicate that there is bleeding in the lower digestive tract or from a rectal injury. Also if the stool has a rotten egg smell to it and mucus (this is more sean with diarrhea) it is a sign and symptom of single-cell parasites such as giardia and coccidia. A visit to a vet and fecal flotation test along with other interventions would be strongly advised.
Black or rusty dark stools can be an early sign of blood present from bleeding in your dog’s upper digestive tract. With this scenario, you do want to get in touch with your vet and schedule a few diagnostic tests.
2. Next on the list is CONSISTENCY
The consistency of your dog’s stools should be firm and easy to pick up. Stools that are LARGE AND SLOPPY can be common in dogs that are fed diets high in carbohydrates and processed food diets.
HARD stools can be difficult and uncomfortable for your dog to pass and may also indicate dehydration. OFF NOTE FOR RAW FED DOGS Raw diets have a high moisture content, helping greatly with your dog’s hydration levels. Some first timers can struggle with the change due to bone being introduced to their diet– it can be helpful to add a small amount of coconut oil (try ½ a teaspoon per meal) to assist with passing while their systems are adjusting.
DIARRHEA is a clear indicator your dog has eaten or been exposed to, something that may have disagreed with them; it could also be a change to a high-fat diet or treatment.
Watery diarrhea can be a sign of stress and/or infection and can also lead to dehydration. If your dog is an adult, you should fast them for 6 – 12 hours and allow their gut to rest and heal (it is not recommended to fast a growing puppy – seek vet advice). Monitor them closely and if diarrhoea continues for more than 12 hours, consult your vet.
Stools that consist of BOTH FIRM AND SOFT parts can be an indicator of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or when your dog may be struggling to absorb all necessary nutrients from their food. Chat with your vet to determine the cause and consider a consultation with a qualified animal nutritionist once you have a diagnosis. As research shows probiotics and a species-specific diet (raw preferred but high protein low carb diets do work as well) are very beneficial for dogs with IBS.
3. Last on the list is CONTENTS
You may see some interesting contents in your dog’s poop from time to time – grass, leaves, rocks, and parts of their toys, but you shouldn’t be seeing WORMS. Worms present in your “dog’s diet” can be picked up in exposed environments (eg. sidewalk, back yard grass, even bush trails and of course the all-mighty dog park). Seeing them in your dogs poop is an indication of infection so ensure to pop into your vet and find the right DEworming medication for your dog.
If you find that MUCOUS is coating the stool (like a sausage skin), this may mean a bacterial infection is present and your dog’s digestive system is trying to get rid of something. Monitor for a few days and if it continues it’s time to visit your vet.
Stools with a GREASY SHEEN to them can be a sign of too much fat in the diet or the pancreas not digesting fat properly, meaning a vet check or a change in diet is needed.
FRESH RED BLOOD OR “coffee grounds” as well as red streaks coating of the stool is an indicator of bleeding and again, requires veterinary attention.
TO SUM IT ALL UP If you’re introducing a new diet, or concerned that your dog has the odd “not so perfect poo” track your dog’s poop patterns and take them along with you to your next vet visit. Remember, it’s not uncommon to see some loose stools when transitioning to a new diet or during a stressful time for your dog but if it’s persistent or very watery then consult your vet.
Thanks for reading hope it was all worth it. Plz like and share if you think someone would benefit from this article’s knowledge and wisdom