Okay, 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.