Dog Stool: Holisticmonkey
Dog poop, urine, and bathroom behavior can tell you a lot about your dog's health.
Chances are, you don't pay much attention to how often your dog does her business or what the results of that business (including dog poop color) look like. Dog stool is gross, it stinks and it belongs outside or in a designated indoor spot. But what else can dog feces tell you? Surprisingly, quite a lot.
"A dog's bowel and urinary habits are outward signs of her health status," says Bess Pierce, DVM, associate professor of community practice at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. "It is important to monitor the amount, frequency, color and consistency of dog feces and urine, giving particular attention to changes in normal pattern."
Determining that normal pattern may take time, because bathroom behavior and dog stool varies from dog to dog. Still, most dogs' bathroom behavior fits within a range, starting with their needing to take two to four bathroom breaks each day. As to what they produce during those bathroom breaks:
- Dog urine should be light to medium yellow in color without a strong, objectionable odor
- Dog poop should be moderately firm to firm, and the dog poop color should be a shade of brown.
At times, though, your dog's behavior and feces or urine may vary from that range. When that happens, your dog's body may be signaling the onset of a health problem. Here are some common variations and what they might mean:
1. Straining to urinate.
A dog who tries but can't produce much urine may have urinary stones, which can be fatal if left untreated. See a veterinarian immediately.
2. Very dark urine.
Extremely dark yellow or rust-colored urine may contain blood, which indicates the possibility of a urinary tract infection (UTI). A visit to the vet is in order.
3. Housetraining lapses.
A dog who suddenly starts urinating all over the house also needs to see a veterinarian. The problem could be a UTI or, if she's also drinking a lot of water, it could be a serious condition such as kidney disease, diabetes or Cushing's disease.
4. Straining to defecate.
If your dog's been trying to defecate for a day or so, but can't, she may have a bowel obstruction. Call your veterinarian. If she's vomiting, call sooner.
5. Dog diarrhea.
Runny, stinky dog poop may or may not be serious. Don't feed your dog for a day or so, but make sure she has plenty of water. After a day, start her on a bland diet such as a mixture of boiled rice and hamburger. If your dog still has the trots after two days, put in a call to your vet. If she's vomiting, call sooner. And if she's a young puppy who vomits more than once an hour over a half-day period, bring her to her vet immediately. (More info on Dog Diarrhea)
6. Very dark or black dog poop.
Black dog stool or very dark brown dog stool may signal bleeding in the upper intestinal tract, which can result from many possible problems. A veterinarian's attention is needed.
7. Grey dog feces.
Cement-colored stool may mean that a dog is suffering from an obstruction of the bile duct. The obstruction could have one of several causes -- but, in any case, necessitates a visit to the vet.
8. Changes in poop shape.
If your dog's stool is shaped like thin strips, her large intestine or rectum may be narrowed for some reason. On the other hand, very large stools may indicate a problem in the small intestine. Either way, a visit to the vet is in order. (Find a local vet)
For more information on your pet's health, check out the PetVet Disease and Symptom Finder.