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Dog Poop: What does it mean?

Dog poop may not be something we want to talk about, but it has a lot to say about your dog's health. From the color to the consistency, you can learn a lot from your dogs poop.

Hard Poop

Very firm poop in smaller pieces could be a sign of constipation. Is your dog straining when he defecates? Is there any reason why he would be dehydrated? Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water. Ask your vet if any of your dog's medications could be causing the problem.

Runny Poop

Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by a number of issues. Have you abruptly changed your dog's diet? Diet changes are best done gradually to decrease digestive disturbances. Over feeding can also cause a bit of turbulence, as well as rich table food and treats. Diarrhea can also be a sign of illness, intestinal blockage, or food allergies. Left untreated, diarrhea can have serious complications, so a call to your veterinarian might be in order.

Bloody Poop

If your dog has been battling digestive issues or diarrhea, you might also see some blood in his feces. Also, foreign objects such as sticks and bones can scrape the digestive track and anus causing bright red blood to be mixed in the feces. Another common reason for bloody stools is parasite related. A quick fecal check at the vet's office can help rule out anything serious.

Smelly Poop

Very stinky poop is usually due to an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract. When the bad bacteria outweigh the good, the evidence can be found in the smell of the feces. This can be caused by a sudden change of diet, medications, worms, stress, and other medical conditions.

Black Poop

Black and tarry poop can indicate problems. Digested blood from bleeding ulcers or licking bleeding wounds can cause feces to be very dark and tarry. This is also common if you have recently given your dog Pepto-Bismal. This is a common reaction to the medication and all will return to normal after you discontinue its use. Work with your veterinarian to rule out serious causes such as cancer, blood clotting disorders, surgery complications, and adverse medication reactions. Only give human medications such as Pepto-Bismal under veterinarian supervision.

Large Amounts of Poop

The more a dog is able to digest and absorb his food, the lower the volume of poop he will have. Dogs easily absorb protein. The lower the protein content and the higher the amount of fillers will result in greater poop volume. A low residue dog food will be higher in protein, lower on fillers, and will leave less residue in the digestive track. Another reason for large poop volume is its consumption. Some dogs will eat their own and/or other dogs' feces, so it is a good idea to monitor your dog's potty habits and pick up dog waste immediately. There is very little nutritional value in feces, so it finds its way out of the digestive system very quickly.

No Poop

A dog that is not eliminating at all can mean he is constipated, or something more serious such as an intestinal obstruction or blockage. Be sure to rule out dehydration as the cause. Is your dog drinking water normally? Try adding fiber such as canned pumpkin, sweat potato, or green beans to his diet. Sedentary dogs are also prone to constipation, so get things moving with a nice long walk or game of fetch. Do not give your dog mineral oil to alleviate constipation and consult with your veterinarian before giving any laxatives.

Ideally, your dog's poop should be chocolate-brown in color, log shaped, easy to pickup but with some pliability, and not overly offensive to the nose. It should be free of foreign objects and anything that moves. Consult your veterinarian with any concerns and be sure to request a fecal examination at your dog's yearly exam.

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