What Should My Dog's Poop Look Like?
If you’re a responsible pet owner, every day you pick up after your dog. What better opportunity to pay attention to how well your dog’s insides are functioning and what he’s excreting! Raw-fed poops and kibble poops are NOT the same. The following article will give you an idea of what the ideal raw-fed dog poop should look like.
Generally speaking, if your dog has an unusual day and has a bowel movement that’s softer or harder than usual, lighter or darker than average there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re treat-training, or your pup accidentally went through the garbage, a change in stool is bound to happen. But if the poop stays outside the normal range for more than a few days, or if the change in poop is accompanied by lethargy, lack of appetite, or other signs that your dog is not feeling so hot, then it’s best to head straight into the vet’s office to see what’s causing the problem.
Healthy raw-fed dog poop should vary between chocolate brown to ashy beige. Other colours may indicate issues somewhere along the digestive tract.
Green poop could indicate a problem with the gallbladder or that your dog isn’t digesting lipids very well.
Black or dark purple tarry poop can mean your dog is bleeding higher up in the digestive system like the stomach or upper intestine.
Yellow or grey poop could indicate liver or pancreatic disease.
Bright red streaky dog poop is likely caused by bleeding lower down in the digestive tract and white spots could mean your dog has worms.
A consistency scale of 1-7 actually exists amongst vets. A score of 1 indicates a very hard stool that may look like pellets or small stones while on the other end of the scale, a score of 7 would mean your dog’s poop is basically a puddle of liquid. The ideal is about a 2 or 3, firm but can also be squished or destroyed if you were to press it.
Very hard stool samples that look and feel like rocks or seeing your dog strain without passing any poop at all can mean that your dog is constipated. Not enough fibre or not enough water can both cause problems, but so can swallowing hair.
Over grooming or eating too quickly can cause your dog to swallow air and although not very common, could potentially cause constipation. Other causes like obstructions caused by swallowing something the dog can’t pass (ball, socks, toy fluff, cooked/sharp table food bones, etc.) can lead to a potentially life-threatening situation. Don’t wait if your dog hasn’t pooped for more than a day or two! Make a call to your vet and see what’s going on.
Diarrhea or liquid stools may occur after your dog picks up something (say from a park) he shouldn’t and eats it. If constant and liquid diarrhea continues past 48h that can be a sign of a more serious health problem. Some causes include food allergies, digestive tract infections, parasites, or even inflammatory bowel disease. However, if your dog managed to rummage through the garbage and eat some spicy wings from an old dinner, you can calm his diarrhea by feeding blanched regular rolled oats or pumpkin for a day or two. Extremely watery poop can quickly cause dehydration, especially in puppies, and shouldn’t be taken lightly, so if after 2 days it doesn’t start getting any better, visit your veterinarian.
Processed kibble can contain large amounts of indigestible filler (YUCK!) brewers rice, beet pulp, corn, certain grains, or other added cellulose, all tend to make dogs on a commercial dry diet produce more poop. Dogs are designed to eat fresh meat, blanched vegetables/fruits and absorbable supplements so any significant amount of other material basically passes straight through their digestive system.
*fun fact : blanching vegetables acts as a means of “digesting” (or breaking down the cellulose) for them once over, much like an animal would have in the wild before your ancestral dog or wolf would consume the animal.
If your dog has recently switched to a raw food diet you may notice the volume of your dog’s stool decreasing (and that he/she is drinking a lot less water) those are both normal and good signs. Raw food diets like Pure Love Dog Food are very low in sodium and have no salt added so dehydration is a lot less common. Dogs are able to absorb the nutrients in a properly formulated raw food diet like ours much better than a commercial, over-processed kibble diet, so their poop is generally firmer and odourless. (Yes, it’s actually possible!)
What else matters?
Another indication of how well your dog’s organs are working include the presence of an excessive amount of mucous coating the poop. Some slime occasionally coating your dog’s poop is pretty standard, but a lot on an ongoing basis could indicate food allergies or inflammation of the lower intestines. Keep in mind that changing your dog’s diet can (logically) result in a change in their poop. Also, dog’s are extremely sensitive to their environment. If a dog is stressed because it’s in a new home or because there’s been a significant change in it’s routine, it could show up in their poop.
NB: It’s always a good idea to handle major dietary changes gradually to give your pup a chance to adjust. (By using our vegetarian meals for example!) In addition, we’ve noticed that dogs on a PLDF diet tend to adapt very well, producing healthy chocolate-brown poop that are not too liquid, not too slimey and not too dry.
Cleaning up after your dog shouldn’t be challenging so if you are having a hard time getting your dog’s poop into a compostable poop bag then nutrition and overall health should be the first place you investigate. Chronic constipation isn’t normal and if you notice your pet pushing way too hard or wincing when trying to poop for more than 24h hours, you should seek veterinary advice.