A healthy pup's poop is often a good indicator of their health. Monitoring your dog's poop for any indication of health issues might prove useful. There are 4 key elements in distinguishing healthy dog poop from abnormal: color, content, consistency and coating of which each of these can indicate health issues. So go ahead and start inspecting at the next chance.
The color of the poop depends on what your pet eats; it can range in shades from golden brown to mahogany, depending on its diet.
- Brown: Depending on the dog's diet, the color may vary from pale to dark brown, but the consistency should remain the same each day. If your dog produces brown poops regularly, this is a great sign that you're feeding them the right nutrition.
- Green: The green discoloration of a dog's poop can result from eating grass perhaps to soothe an upset stomach or eating certain dental treats (like OraVet chews or Greenies).
- Red: The presence of red discoloration in your dog's poop, unless he's eaten beets, is usually indicative of bleeding. If the blood is bright red and normal in appearance, the bleeding is likely to have occurred in his large intestine.
- Black: While it's a rare occurrence, black, tarry stools can often be a sign of something serious: bleeding in the stomach or small intestine. This condition is called melena, and it can be caused by a variety of things, such as toxins, foreign objects in the gastrointestinal tract, and pancreatitis.
- White/Grey: Dogs with white or whitish-gray stools are often suffering from problems with their liver and gallbladder, their intestines, or their pancreas that can't produce the important enzymes they need.
If you are worried, it may be best to let your veterinarian investigate with a microscope to see what is really going on.
Dog poop should also be slightly firm in consistency, like playdough but reality is there is a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 being rock solid and 7 being liquid. A healthy poop is shaped like a log, with several small cleaves in it that would break into smaller pieces when rolled. It will be firm enough to be picked up but not firm or dry and it shouldn’t leave too much “residue” on the ground when picked up. An unhealthy consistency in your dog's stool is 4 and above. Too much liquid in a stool means they are not digesting their food properly in the large intestine. If your dog's stool is extremely hard, it almost always means that it is dehydrated.
As a rule of thumb, there shouldn't be anything in your dog's poop if they are healthy. Occasionally, you will discover things in your dog's poop that may provide insight into what they're doing when you're not around, or even a medical issue that could be very serious. Seeing carrots, spinach, and other foods in the stool isn't abnormal. The nutrients and antioxidants are still being absorbed. Your veterinarian may be better equipped to investigate with a microscope if you are concerned.
When you pick up your dog's poop, look at the grass or ground. Any sort of sticky or watery remnants in the feces could mean it isn't digesting food properly. Mucus often appears on dogs with large bowel inflammation as well as diarrhea. If this mucus persists in your dog's stool for more than a day, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so they can determine the next step.
On that next walk, take a nice look and know you will be helping to keep your pet healthy for many walks to come as poop can be a great indicator of your dog's health.