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As the writers of Canine Journal, we feel it’s our, ahem, duty to keep you in-the-know about what’s coming out of your pup. So here’s the low-down on dog poop of every color! Most most mild changes in dog stool color are related to dietary changes and aren’t cause for alarm. But poop color and consistency can be an indicator of serious health problems, which is why you need to make your dog’s business your business.
What Your Dog Eats Matters!
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- Feed a consistent diet of the highest quality dog food you can.
- Limit human food. Even pet-safe people food can cause problems in dogs with allergies, sensitive tummies or if they simply have too much of a yummy treat! Make sure kids and other family members know what not to feed your dog.
- Prevent your pup from rummaging in trash and compost piles.
- Know what’s growing in your yard; mushrooms and many types of plants (including berries) can make your dog super sick.
- Keep medicines, household trash, cleaning products, lawn and garden, car-care, and pest-control chemicals out of reach as they all pose serious threats to your dog’s health if ingested. The bottom line: if you wouldn’t want a child to eat it, you don’t want your dog to eat it!
What Does Dog Poop Color Mean?
Does your dog’s poop look funky? Here’s the scoop on doggie-doo of every color and how to tell normal dog poop from problem poop:
Normal Dog Poop
It varies from dog to dog, breed to breed and can change depending on the type of dog food being eaten. In general, color should be medium brown and neither too soft and liquidy (diarrhea) or too hard to pass comfortably (constipation). Pay attention to your dog’s “healthy” poops (color, consistency and frequency) so you can recognize when there’s a problem.
Black Dog Poop or Very Dark Dog Poop
Black stool in dogs may have a “tarry” or “sticky” consistency, which may be a sign of a gastrointestinal ulcer or a stomach ulcer. Many human medications can cause stomach ulcers in dogs, especially aspirin. Never give human meds without consulting your vet.
Red Dog Poop or Streaks of Blood in Stool
This can indicate bleeding in the GI tract. Streaks of blood in your dog’s poop may be colitis (inflammation of the colon), a rectal injury, an anal gland infection or possibly a tumor.
Pink or Purple Dog Poop
Anything that resembles raspberry jam (sorry to ruin your toast) could indicate hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). A large number of dogs die each year from HGE but most will recover with prompt treatment. Seek emergency medical attention.
Grey or Greasy-looking Poop
Doggy-doo that appears fatty, glistens or comes out in large, soft amounts could indicate Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI). Commonly referred to as maldigestion, EPI is a disease in which the pancreas does not produce the necessary enzymes to digest fat. EPI is treatable, so see your vet.
Green Dog Poop
Dog green poop can be common if your dog eats large amounts of grass. However, it can also be a parasite, rat bait poisoning or other internal issues. If your dog has green poop, see your vet to be safe.
Orange Dog Poop
It could indicate a liver issue or biliary disease, or it could just mean that your dog’s food moved too quickly through the GI tract to pick up the bile. Bile is what changes poop to the normal brown color we expect. If your dog has orange diarrhea, contact your vet.
Yellow Dog Poop
Yellow mucus usually indicates a food intolerance, especially if you’ve recently changed your dog’s diet. Take a look at what your pet’s been eating and try to rule out any new ingredients that could be causing stomach upset and mustard-yellow dog poop.
White Specks in Poop
Worms often look like white grains of rice in your pup’s stool. This is treatable, so see your vet.
Save Money at the Vet
Unexpected vet bills can be a crappy situation. So make sure you have pet insurance to help cover some of the expensive vet visits and medications should your pup become sick or get hurt. This video explains how insurance for your dog works and how it can save you money.
Dog Poop Color Chart Infographic
Check out our visual guide to dog poop color’s:
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When in Doubt, Contact Your Vet
As always, err on the side of caution and contact your vet. Don’t give your dog human medicines – even over-the-counter formulas – without instructions from your vet. Be ready to supply a stool sample and let them know if you observe any other symptoms such as changes in urgency, frequency, or vomiting, lethargy, difficulty breathing or behavioral changes. Your vet can do the necessary testing to properly diagnose and treat your dog.
What issues have you had with your dog’s doo-doo?
Another big thank you to Carrie Jelovich, DVM, for her interview for this article in August 2015. Dr. Jelovich works as a vet at the Lawndale Veterinary Hospital in Greensboro, NC.