What’s The Scoop on Poop?
Everybody poops! It’s just a fact of life. It is, however, a very useful tool in assessing the health of your pet. The zookeepers at the St Louis Zoo rate each animal’s poop on a daily basis. This way they can easily tell if an animal’s health has changed based on changes in their poop. You can do the same with your pet.
Here are some helpful signs to look for when analyzing your pet’s poop.
Color: The color of poo is usually shades of brown. Dogs on a higher protein diet (and most cats) will have dark brown poo. A pale yellow or greenish tint may indicate a digestive system issue (often parasites) and should be checked out with a vet. A stool with more white is common in raw fed pets. Very dark, almost black tar-like stools or stools with any bright red could indicate blood in the stool and should be checked out with a vet.
Consistency: Poo should be compact, firm and moist. Any deviations should be watched carefully. Diarrhea (watery, loose stools) can be caused by many different situations; too rich a diet, something from the house or yard, parasites, infection, allergies or any number of other issues. Chronic or severe diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration and a visit to the vet is definitely in order. Constipation is indicated by small hard or crumbly poops and straining by the dog or cat. This can be a sign of either dehydration, lack of exercise or a blockage of some kind. If you suspect a blockage please get your pet to a vet immediately.
Smell: In general, poo should have only a mild odor and not have a strong or distinctive smell. This could indicate a digestive disorder or a poor quality and poorly digested diet
Quantity: Poo should be relatively small and compact. Big lofty voluminous poos can be an indication of a poor diet where your pet is not getting enough nutrients and most of the diet is coming out as poo. Also, firm and compact stools help express the anal glands with each elimination keeping your pet’s anal glands constantly cleaned out avoiding any impaction.
Parasites: You should take in your pet’s fecal samples on at least an annual basis or when you suspect there may be an issue. Your vet will be able to discover any parasites long before you see anything moving or crawling around.
Abnormal Signs: Look for any foreign objects in the poo. Strings, grass, small objects like crayons, are an immediate indication that your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t have. Is your pet licking his behind excessively? Is she straining or scooting outside (or inside)? This could also be an indication that their anal glands may be impacted. A visit to your vet is in order to have them examine your dog.
Monitoring your pet’s poo should be just like taking a walk. It’s easy way to keep tabs on the health of your pet. Once you understand what their normal range is and their normal behavior then you’ll be more easily be able to identify any potential health issues.
Do you have an issue with your dog eating poop? Click here for great advice from Dr Karen Becker! We have a number of solutions at our shops to help you with this potential dog habit!