Staying Healthy

The Scoop on Poop: What You Can Tell about a Dog by his Doodie

poopscoopOkay, so it’s not the most pleasant topic… some might even be disgusted at the thought. Nevertheless, since your dog can’t talk, his bowel movements can provide important clues about his health. Stools generally come in various colors, formation, and consistency; not to mention, different smells. But, by monitoring and analyzing your pup’s poop, you can be alerted to several health issues that could be putting his life in danger.

A normal stool is usually moist, firm, and compact with a light smell. Deviations from this usual pattern may indicate an underlying health condition. By getting the scoop on your pet’s poop, you may just save his life one day.

Assessment Tips and Guidelines

1. Take your pup’s poop seriously. Check his stool from time to time, even when he seems to be feeling fine, to establish what’s “normal” for your dog. Any deviation from the normal poo may be a cause of concern. If you are feeding your dog kibble (dry food), it is typical for him to have large, voluminous, and smelly poo which could indicate that his body may not have properly absorbed the nutrients. Raw feeders, on the other hand,  tend to have small, firm poo with a weaker scent. Depending on your dog’s diet, either of these can be considered normal.

Diarrhea or black, tarry consistency, on the other hand, is cause for concern. Constipation that causes a pet to strain could denote that he is not getting enough water, or it could be the first sign of inadequate nutritional requirements.

2. Watch out for parasites. Fecal sampling and testing by your veterinarian should be done at least annually, even for healthy pups. Your vet can detect worm presence long before the creepy, crawlies are evident to the naked eye.

If you happen to notice during one of your regular poo checks any white or tan specks, scoop up the poop and bring it to your vet immediately. Many dangerous parasites like roundworms and tapeworms will be present in your dog’s stool. But, normally the infestation is well established by the time you spot the evidence.

3. Pay attention to abnormal signs. The occasional poo that tends to be somewhat loose, sometimes containing a bit of mucus, or even a little blood may not instantly indicate a problem. It is when an abnormal amount is present, or when more than a couple of days pass by with the poo deviating from the norm.

You can bet that something’s wrong with your pet’s system if diarrhea in colors ranging from mustard yellow to green to dark brown is seen.

Blood in his stool might make his poo black, tarry, or red which can imply the presence of parasites, infections, allergies, polyps, cancer, or having ingested something sharp and indigestible. While black tarry poo normally suggests bleeding in the upper part of his intestine, red blood signifies a problem in his lower intestine or anal area.

Being aware of what is a normal poop for your dog, and regularly checking his stool for any observed deviation in color, consistency, and smell is as crucial as having a first-aid kit on hand for emergency situations. Make assessing your pooch’s poop for health as natural as taking him out for a regular walk.



  1. JeanMC

    Mar 31, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    We found large green soft poop in our yard. Definitely it from our little dog. My question is, is there anything potentially harmful to my dog being out in the yard?

  2. tracyfkelly

    Dec 22, 2015 at 8:11 am


  3. Pam Norman

    Nov 15, 2015 at 8:13 am

    I changed my Maltese’s food from dry (due to acid reflux) to homemade all natural. This was for days ago and she loves the new food, however last night she started acting different, just laying around. This morning she won’t eat and her stool was very light tan, almost a French vanilla color. Any suggestions?

  4. cologne

    Jul 16, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    I just read that if there are specs in the poop it most likely can be worms

  5. cologne

    Jul 16, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I just read the specs in the poop could be worms

  6. Subashree

    May 11, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I have male German Shepard and Rottweiler mix, we were out of station for two days. My neighbor took care of him. Now he is suffering from diarrhea. He ate chicken it seems. What can I do? Any suggestions?

    • Carole

      Sep 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      I gave my chawawa rice and water on the 2nd day then some pumpkin cook up it help she eat,play after a nice bath

  7. Dawna West

    Feb 15, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I change my dog diet with a different dog kibble and now his stool is black.
    Is it because of the different dry dog food that he is eating now?

    • Emma

      Apr 13, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      It might be that he’s a little dehydrated due to a change in food, do you feed any ‘wet’ food, meat? or something? maybe add a little water to his dinner, then you can ensure he’s getting enough :)

  8. Benjamin Sailo

    Jan 16, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I have male GSD 1yr 8months old, i gave Rice with Chicken, But his stools come out like his eaten Food, its means his eating food has been come out without digestion. I think that he has indigestion problems. But he did not change his behaviour, same as very active, while very thin. Anyone please suggest me any remedies.Our vets cannot suggest any remedies,.

    • vet's sister in law

      Feb 19, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Have him checked for EPI. Common in German Shepherds. It’s pancreas digestive enzymes insuffiency.

  9. meg

    Dec 31, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I took in a blue heeler/german shepard mix about a month ago and her poop was normal then she had diarrhea for a month. Her poop went back to normal after we figured out her info and took her to the vet but now the poops back to liquid and there was little white specs in it. Anyone else have this problem?

  10. JO

    Sep 6, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I just adopted a pit bull mix and before I fhad a chance to feed him he had soft stools when he went. I changed him to better food but it seems his stools are very soft now, a yellowish, light brown color, I guess mustard is as good a description as any Any ideas?

    • Kevin

      Sep 15, 2014 at 7:37 am

      We went through the same thing after our dog got neutered. It finally got better after about a month. I think it was just stress, although now it looks like he might have worms. We also switched him to a better dog food. Good luck!

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