While it’s not a job most dog owners love to do, one good thing about following them around with a poop bag and picking up after them is that you have no choice but to look at it and therefore will know if something looks odd. Your pooch’s poop can reveal a great deal about their health, But how do you know when it is odd and when you should be concerned?
Yes, that’s right, consistency is key when it comes to your dog’s poop and that’s consistency in the sense that there could be something going on if the poop doesn’t look like it usually does, or your dog is going more than usual, basically, if their toilet habits aren’t consistent, then there could be something up. Consistency is also important in the other sense which is the feel of your dog's poop in the bag. A healthy consistency of poop is when it is moist and compact and holds its shape when you pick it up. If the poo has a runny or watery consistency then just like with humans, this could mean that your dog has a stomach upset or has eaten something that they shouldn’t have. It might be that the poop feels very hard and dry and similarly, this could be a sign that they are suffering from dehydration or constipation. Be aware of anything they have eaten or if you have recently changed their food as this could be the reason their poop changes, so don’t worry too much if you know there is a reason for it, but keep an eye on it too.
Colour is the biggest tell-tale sign that there is something wrong with your dog’s poop and if there’s something wrong with the colour it’s usually pretty obvious and if it’s anything other than light or dark brown, just like your favourite chocolate bar, then it might be cause for concern. However, there might be a simple explanation too. If your dog’s poop is green, then while this could be a sign of issues with the gall-bladder issue, it might also mean that they’ve been eating too much grass. If this is something you have noticed them doing then at least you’ll know, but over-eating grass could also indicate that they are stressed or suffering from intestine troubles. If your dog’s poop is orange or yellow then this could be a sign of an issue with the liver or pancreas and you should seek advice from your vet. If the poop is red, then this generally means there is blood in your dog’s poop, which could be due to a cut near your pup’s business end so it's worth having a look to check. A black poop could be a sign of internal bleeding in the stomach or small intestines, so you should see your vet urgently. A grey poop could mean a pancreas or biliary issue, so again you should take your pup to the vet immediately. If you notice white spots in your pup’s poop then this could be a sign of tapeworms, which will require treatment, and finally, a white or chalky poop is a sign of excess calcium and other minerals which you often find if your dog has a raw diet.
The size of your doggo’s poop depends on the size of your dog. Imagine if a little chihuahua produced the same size poop as a St Bernard, something would be a little off. So the way to measure it really is that they should produce a poop about the same size as the food portions they are eating. Again, when it comes to size, look out for any changes. So if you’re seeing poops that are larger than they would normally produce then it could mean that they’re not digesting their food properly which means they’re not getting the necessary nutrients they need. Similarly, if the poops are smaller than usual then this might mean that your dog has a loss of appetite or there could be a blockage in their digestive system.
How often your dog is going to the toilet is something you’re sure to notice. It could be that they go once a day or four times a day, as long as it is the same every day then this is fine. Just pay attention to this and if you notice that they are going more or less than usual then they might need to see the vet.
Poop shape is something else to keep an eye on. A good poop shape would be a log-shape and will stay in shape when you pick it up. If you see pebble-like or rounded poops as this could be a sign of dehydration or stiff joints.
To make sure your dog has the perfect poop - a squishy one that holds its shape and is around the same size as their food portion, then make sure they are eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and that you are providing them with a stress-free environment. Keep an eye out for changes and if you see anything odd that you don’t have an explanation for then take your pup to the vet.