Since our dogs can’t talk to us, we can learn a lot about their health through their poop. It may be gross, but that will often be one of the first signs that they aren’t feeling well, and depending on its color, it could give you an indication as to what’s wrong before you take your dog to the vet.
Generally speaking, a healthy dog’s poop should not be too firm and not too loose. Think about its consistency almost like play-dough. It should be little logs, with divots between the pieces. Healthy poop should be brown, almost like chocolate, and if your dog’s poop is any other color or consistency, there may be something wrong.
Let's take a look at what your dog's poop might mean and when it's time to call the vet. The only way to truly diagnose your pup is through stool sample testing and physical exams, though keep in mind that what your dog eats can impact the color of their stool.
If your dog’s poop is green, they may have eaten too much grass and didn’t vomit it up. Green poop that’s not because of grass or food dye is usually an indicator that your dog’s gut is moving too fast, and they could have an issue with their gall bladder.
Orange or Yellow
If you have recently switched your dog to a bland diet, their poop may be orange or yellow. It can be an indication of a billiard or liver issue and their pancreas could be inflamed. If you feed your dog carrots, that too could cause your dog's poop to be orange.
Red or Black
Red stools or red streaks usually indicate that there is blood in your dog's stool. If you don't notice any cuts on your dog's anus, this may indicate internal bleeding, specifically in the large intestine or anal glands. However, foods like beets and other red foods could cause discoloration as well.
If your dog’s stool is black and tarry in consistency, this too may be an indicator of internal bleeding, specifically in the upper GI tract.
Grey or greasy stool may be an indicator of an issue with your dog’s pancreas or another billiard issue. Often, it means that your dog’s pancreas is not producing the necessary enzymes they need, and it needs to be treated with medicine.
No matter what color your dog’s stool is, if you notice white spots, almost like rice, this could be a sign of tapeworms. They can get tapeworms by ingesting fleas, often while grooming themselves. This is completely treatable, though the younger the dog, the more serious it may be.
When to Call Your Vet
Ultimately, you should call your vet if you notice any change in your dog’s poop, especially if it is consistent for 24-48 hours and you have not made any changes to their diets. Not only do you want to rule out more serious conditions, but you also want to prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated.
To help your vet diagnose any issues, bring a fresh stool sample and keep it refrigerated. They will run tests and conduct a physical exam. Be sure to let them know of any changes in diets or anything that your dog may have eaten. While most of the above conditions can be easily treated, some dogs may need medicine to help them recover, so it’s important to get your dog checked out sooner rather than later when you notice changes in your dog’s poop.