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

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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.

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


  1. 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?

  2. 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?

    • 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

  3. 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?

    • 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 :)

  4. 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,.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

    • 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!

  7. I have a 5mo old pitbull and he’s had problems since I got him at 7wks old with allergies and worms. We live in an apartment unfortunately, until the end of next month. He is on a fish based diet, fish oil and benadryl per the vet. His stools have been firm and dark, but lately I’ve noticed it’s a little slimy or mucus like, and he strains. I don’t know if he has worms again or what it could be. He acts like a playful puppy, we go out and play with the same dog every evening, and he’s walked throughout the day. I hate taking him to the dog park, paranoid of the parasites, and acorns he loves to try to eat, but I just can’t deny him his play time! I can’t afford to keep taking him to the vet every couple weeks, especially since nothing seems like it’s helping! Anyone have any advice? It’d be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  8. My 6 month male Maltese x bichon frise is on the nature diet. Since we put him on it, we did change it gradually, his stools have been green, red, not runny but very soft and they smell considerably. I was worried about what this was and was wondering if someone could tell me?

  9. I want to know my pitbull bitch is 13 months old, her stools are black and smelly although not runny, she eats normally( montego kibble since we got het at 5 weeks) drinks water and plays with my 5 month old pitbull male. What can be wrong

    Please help

    Thanks in advance

  10. My dog had watery light brown &now has really dark green loose mucusy stool& yellow mucus drops, idk what to do . She wont eat her food HELP???

  11. My dogs poop is yellow like mustard and very runny he seems to very pooping a lot when i take him out. He is on the bland diet (chicken and rice) could that be affecting his poop?

    • Well here’s the scoop on your yellow poop. I feed my dogs raw meat and chicken, turkey legs and organs. The yellow poop generally is telling you that the chicken your feeding him is not natural and has hormones and all that other crap they put in it. They bleach the chicken as well. Stay away from perdue and any non organic brand of meats and poultry. I feed them natures promise and a stop n shop brand cause they don’t contain hormones. It must be organic or your dog will have a problem no matter what. Don’t believe a label that’s says “all natural” cause that’s billcrap. 😉 must be certified organic. Also….if your dog is having issues with diahrea, please try canned natural pumpkin….works wonders….one spoonful depending in how large you dog is. I give mine 2 big spoons everyday when they have a loose stool. They actually enjoy eating it, and when they refuse I open their mouths and stuff it. 😉

      • I realize your post was from last year, concerning your pup’s yellow colored feces, but I thought the reply you received could very well be the cause of why my 2 year old Jack Russell is in the same situation. I’d rather not assume, so I was wondering have you found answers?
        Thanks KP

  12. My dog’s poo seems to be green most of the time and slightly smelly. I feed him kibble mixed with a bit of wet food. He is also a “grazer”. Eats the grass the a lot. I assume thats what’s making it green.

  13. I think you are mistaken about all kibble causing large stinky poop and are doesn’t. I feed my dogs top of the line kibble. Their poops are small solid and do not smell. I would say it depends on what kind of kibble you feed them!
    Raw is not always the healthiest choice.

  14. We found a white pile of what looked to be mucus in the floor next to the puppy pad. After we looked closer we noticed that it was in fact feces, or at least appeared to be. You could see it in and around his anus. We were wondering what could cause this?

  15. The smallest of my two Jack Russel’s often has stomach problems, she puts her head down between Her paws and her butt up in the air and just stands there, and you pretty much better get Her out side, when out side she immediately starts eating grass like it was going out of style and then throws up,have had Her to the Vet and he says She is healthy….so now what to do ? We cook for the two Dogs all the time and nothing has changed with there diet.

    • Something I found that works with my German Shepherd are two things, instead of fording him when got home, I now feed him his kibble in the morning and his homemade food in the evening. Before I did this he would get diarrhea every other day. Took him to the vet and he’s perfectly healthy, no worms couldn’t figure it out. He put him on antibiotics and I started him on powder slippery elm root, one tablespoon mixed with his food, there’s no taste to it and it helps sooth his intestinal tract and stop the diarrhea. He would be fine as long as he was on the medication once they ran out he would have soft stools again. Now that I feed him twice a day and he’s right as rain.