Your pup’s poop can tell you a lot about his digestive and overall health. In fact, if you ask your vet, they’ll likely attest to the various stool samples sitting in the back, waiting to be assessed.
Whether you’re using a poop bag on a walk or a pooper scooper in your backyard, you’re likely coming into contact with your dog’s poop on a pretty regular basis. Knowing what to look for can not only save you a lot of time spent studying at your dog’s stools—it can also tell you when your dog may need to visit the vet.
What Does Healthy Dog Poop Look Like?
Chances are, you already have a pretty general idea of what your dog’s poop normally looks like. While you’re not expected to closely examine every bowel movement, it’s a good idea to at least take a quick look to make sure that nothing is out of the ordinary.
For the most part, your dog’s poop should look the same every time he goes. Check for the following:
Healthy dog poop should be brown, similar to the color of chocolate (we know… we don’t love the comparison, either).
If your dog is eating food with added colors, you may see some of those colors in his poop, too. If you see any color abnormalities, check the ingredients list to see if you can find the culprit. You may also want to consider switching to another type of food per your vet’s recommendation.
Your dog’s poop should be somewhat log-shaped; it should be solid enough to maintain form, but soft enough that it can be squished.
If Fido’s poop comes out in the form of small, round droppings, there’s a good chance he’s dehydrated.
When you pick up your dog’s poop (through a poop bag, that is), you should be able to tell that it’s compact, moist, and squishy; you should be able to easily pick it up without leaving any behind.
It also shouldn’t be too hard or too watery, as these can both be signs of digestive issues.
The size of your dog’s stools should be relatively consistent every time he goes, and proportionate to the amount of food he eats. What’s normal for your large dog could be quite different from what’s normal to the tiny neighbor dog!
If your dog’s poops seem smaller than normal, it could be a sign of a digestive blockage, or it could mean that your dog isn’t eating as much as he usually does. Larger-than-normal poop could also be a sign of digestive problems, as it may be a sign that your dog isn’t digesting his food properly (and as a result, not absorbing the necessary nutrients).
As with size, the frequency of your dog’s bathroom breaks depends on a few factors including size, age, diet, activity level, and amount of time spent outside. Generally speaking, your dog should be pooping at least once per day—some dogs even go three times or more.
As long as your dog’s poop is looking normal and his habits are consistent, multiple bowel movements shouldn’t typically be a cause for concern.
Poop Problems: When to be Concerned
Every dog is different… and so is every dog’s poop. You’re the most familiar with your dog and his habits, so it’s up to you as a pet owner to identify when your pup’s poop may be telling you something important about his health.
Common signs of concern include:
Color abnormalities. Different colors can mean different things; if your dog’s poop looks black, gray, yellow, green, or has signs of blood, you should get him checked out by the vet.
Harder or softer stools than usual
Abnormal content: undigested food; worms; mucus coating; grass; hair; other foreign objects.
Changes in frequency (for example, suddenly needing to go 4-5 times per day when he used to only go once or twice).
- Straining when trying to go—a tell-tale sign of constipation.
How to Improve Your Dog’s Poop
When it comes to addressing your dog’s poop problems, the solution depends on the specific issue. If your dog has diarrhea, stool softeners aren’t exactly helpful; if your dog has worms, more fiber isn’t going to make them disappear.
Talk to your vet to determine the issue and address it appropriately. The solution to your dog’s poop problems may include taking prescription medications, transitioning to new food, getting hydrated, exercising more (moving gets things moving, after all), taking dietary supplements, or something else altogether.
PetHonesty’s Super Pooper Chews are vet-recommended to support your dog’s digestive and immune health with natural ingredients including probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and fiber. Give your pup these tasty soft chews up to 30 minutes before mealtime to support his stools!