What Does Dog Poop Color Mean?

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Dog poop on a pebble drivewayAs 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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As veterinarian Dr. Carrie Jelovich reminds us, “What goes in, must come out,” and the best way to prevent problems is to know exactly what your dog is eating. Here’s how:

  1. Feed a consistent diet of the highest quality dog food you can.
  2. 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.
  3. Prevent your pup from rummaging in trash and compost piles.
  4. Know what’s growing in your yard; mushrooms and many types of plants (including berries) can make your dog super sick.
  5. 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:

Infographic: Dog Poop Color

To embed this on your website, simply copy and paste this code:

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.

Other Poop Problems?

Have a hard time cleaning up after your pup? Check out these pooper scoopers which help get the job done without hunching over. And if your dog eats poop, don’t worry we’ve got you covered too (not literally). Find out why dog eat poop and how to get them to stop.

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.

Nicole Naviglia has been writing since she was 4 years old. Her first story was about her life in a Blue House filled with talking animals. Today, she writes for brands and blogs from home with her two canine assistants, Luna and Enzo. Nicole does all the talking.

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Lyzzi
I’m dogsitting for my uncle. His pooping habits and eating habits have been irregular since my uncle went out of town. He is pooling now, which is good, but its green. He pooped three times this morning all which were green. But the first time he pooped, it was solid, the last two times he pooped, it wasn’t solid. Is he just nervous because his owner is gone?
Tiffany
My dog pooped bright red and I don’t know if he ate some red or if it’s a lot of blood
Nicole
So I’ve been slowly transitioning my pup off chicken and rice following some stomach upset she had after spay surgery 2 weeks ago. I’ve noticed her poop has been really dark almost blackish in some spots, but acts totally normal. Could it be more stomach upset from transitioning back to her dog food??
Marion Nalbone
My dog’s poop started to get yellowish and soft.. I haven’t changed her diet but I started to give her the teeth minties for her breath and teeth. Normally I feed her boiled chicken mixed with hard dog food mixed with little water. Last night the poop was stuck to her backside and I had to give her a bath.. Can this be serious??
Kimberly AltAdmin
Yes, it could be serious. I suggest calling your vet. Hope your dog gets to feeling better soon!
Margie Fedderly
My Sheltie recently had her teeth cleaned and was given clindamycin for antibiotic. She has started having soft bright yellow stools
Also drinking more water than normal. No food change. Concerned
Kimberly AltAdmin
Call the vet that prescribed the antibiotic to your dog and ask about these side effects.
CRaig holland
What happened, what was the fix
Carmon
My puppy ran outside the other day and got in my burn pile where apparently, some old friend potato s we’re and possibly old chicken was and she ATE IT. OK, WELL, now her poop is lime green ish liquid with a splash if normal ole brown poop. But,I did just two days before work her. HELP !!!!! IM SCARED SHE HAS PARASITES
Kimberly AltAdmin
Contact your vet immediately.
Jamie wiatt
My dogs is doing the same thing and he’s barely eating… He injested some leather and puked hopefully all of it up today but then came the liquidy bright green poo mixed w the reg poo… He’s still playing he drinks water but barely eats its almost like it’s hurting him to do so or something…
A...
If I feed my dogs “raw” food ie fruit and veggies (all ones okay for them to eat) she will do a colourful poo. Usually green and light orange. Just Googled as she did a black one today. Anything to be concerned about?
Yvette
Hi my is Yvette my dog have red patches between his legs right around inter thigh and he has running poop yellow color with a smell bow it change to a brown colar.
Jeanette Ortiz
Hello my puppy is taking a couple of different medications due to diarrhea. He poop has been green, both loose and hard. Does medication change the color of poop?
Susan Wanna
My dogs poop don’t look like it usually does in the past week he hasn’t quite been himself he has also throwing up one time just
Shelly
I can hear my rat terrier mix told that what she was from a shelter we adopted her from my question is I can hear her stomach making sounds! She like to eat mole crickets sometimes cat poop lots of feral cats where we live we check the yard for it and she is learning when we scold her she will release what’s in her mouth. I haven’t noticed it and I’ve been sitting by her on couch off and on all day just noticed it tonight we are all settled down watching tv and that’s when I noticed it. No gas haven’t seen any different color in her poop do not smell any gas coming from her but she could have eaten anything outside. We live on 1 1/4 acre of land out of city limits. Noticed after vet was closed of course is their any thing I can give her here at home she weighs about 20 lbs.
Michele would appreciate if there is a safe thing I can do at home tonight?
meg
yeah keep her an inside dog, sheesh no brainer
Kelsey Saunders
My baby’s stool has been a mix of normal brown and tan for a few days. Consistency is normal though. She is an almost 4 y/o Shih Tsu. Should I be concerned? She acts normal most of the time but hides under my bed for short periods of time when it’s bedtime. She is a trash digger but we have finally found a solution to that about a week ago that finally works (we have tried almost everything to keep her out). We rarely give her people food, my kids sneak her food sometimes. And haven’t changed her food since birth.
Jill Castaneda
We recently started using a Meal Mixer which is pure protein, to add to our dogs kibble. He has been having solid very dark, almost black poops. Is this something to worry about. He is acting normal and totally full of energy?
Monomer
Likely not to worry. If there is more fat in the diet than before then more bile will be dumped by the liver and in general will turn the poop a darker shade. Black tarry poop will also show a change in texture (gooey) and is caused by bleeding in the upper digestive tract so as the blood takes longer to transit through the digestive tract it turns black…. bleeding from the lower tract tends toward a “fresher” or more reddish shade of color… and rectal or colon bleeding is much redder still, can be bright and often as streaks.
rachael
My dog poops fine unless we are out on a walk, after 1 or 2 normal ones is turns runny and then diarrheay. I’m sure it’s more orange than anything else but he’s very happy in himself. Any ideas?
Monomer
First poops have transited the colon more slowly and thus more liquids have be reabsorb by the body thus the firmer poops… the later ones are going to transit the colon faster because of the exercise, the physical body movement from walking causes this, and thus not as much liquid gets removed by the colon leaving softer poops, however it really should not be runny. This is normal. If you’d like to reduce the effect then you might try feeding smaller meals more often… however you may likely have to take your dog on more frequent poop outings.
Yvonne Hinton
My girl,Bella has thrown up several times since Friday,and this morning I found little black tar looking poop, she will not eat,I’m scared for her
Monomer
This really sounds like a vet visit is in order. I hope she gets better soon.
Mattie
My dog got 1 shot and one oral vaccine yesterday and has been pooping yellow today. Nothing has changed in his diet. Only thing different was him getting the meds yesterday. He’s acting totally fine otherwise. He has pooped normal once today so I’m not sure what it could be.
Amanda
Read Dr Schultz about animal vaccines
Wanda June
My dog’s poop was neon blue…I’m assuming she ate something, but it was very surprising.
Glenda
That’s a sign that she might have ate rat poison….should always go to the vet when dogs poop is neon blue!
M williams
So according to the author every colour means there’s some sort of problem. It would have been nice to elaborate on what colour makes for a healthy poo.
Kimberly AltAdmin
Hi, we have a section in the article with the heading “Normal Dog Poop”. That section talks about your dog’s healthy, normal poop color, which can vary by dog. I recommend you read that section. Thanks for reading our article and let me know if you have any further questions! 🙂
Alyssa Mariae jones
My puppys poop color is a really light yellow and it is liquid like water
Holly H
My Pomeranian just had a splenectomy (benign mass) so that might be the cause of her poops being odd colors. However we have already contacted the vet and when they did testing they found her one level was a bit high from her medication she’d been taking post surgery. Other than that no signs of any organ diseases or failures. They also did an x-ray and saw that she seemed fine. Hopefully her odd colored poops pass.
Kathleen L
My 6 year old female Cavalier got sick and passed away quickly from Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia, where the immune system destroys the red blood cells. I was told by the vet that orange colored stools were a sign of the body shedding dead blood cells. I had noticed the change in color of the stools but thought it was due to a new treat I was giving her. I hope this information can help someone else to avoid a painful loss.

Another symptom to look for with AIHA is pale gums and belly, unfortunately you wouldn’t think to check those unless you suspected there was a problem. The stool color is something you would see right away and then you could check for other symptoms with your vet.

Kacie Moody
My dog is have a grey splatter diarrhea. I’ve been seeing some blood in the puddles as well. I’ve just returned home after having a sitter watching my animals. They have been on Purina one all along so no change there. Two of my three dogs seem to have the same symptoms as well. I have only witnessed my Doberman to have the grey puddles with blood but my daughter says it’s coming from our boxer as well. My pets re my everything and I am terrified! Please help
Sheila
My dog has diarreah and it’s liver coloured…Any idea ?? he seems happy enough
Kimberly AltAdmin
By liver color what exactly do you mean? Is it a brown color or red color?
Ann Edwards
My dog had a runny red and brown poo today he’s had different treats
Patricia
Gee, I wonder what people fed dogs before that billion dollar dog food industry developed in the 20th century?
Marty
My dog’s poop is black. It has been for the past day or two. Is that ok? I’ve never given my dog any human meds so not sure what it could be from. Any other ideas of why the dog poop black?