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What should a healthy dog poo look like?

It can be hard as a dog owner to know what a healthy dog poo looks like, so we asked our expert Naturopath and Pet Nutritionist, Narelle Cooke, who is quite used to talking about poop with people about their own, and their pet’s poop, on a daily basis.

Narelle:  Talking about what a healthy dog poo looks like is a really important topic as a dog’s faeces (or poop) actually does tell us a lot about them, including their diet, as well as their overall health and wellbeing, just like it does for us humans.

What should be looking out for when it comes to our dog’s poo?

Narelle: Well, to start with, colour can give you a great insight into your dog’s health and digestive system.

A light to dark brown colour is really what we’re looking for when it comes to the perfect, healthy dog poo.

If the stool is white or has a chalk-like consistency, chances are you’re feeding too much calcium in their diet, usually from excess bones. While bones are great for our dogs, we have to be careful not to overfeed them.

A grey colour may indicate too much fat in the diet, or an issue with the dog’s pancreas.

If you see colours such as orange or green, it could be as simple as too many carrots or the dog is eating a lot of grass, but it could also be an indication of more serious conditions relating to the gallbladder and liver.

If you ever see bright red or even a darker black tar-looking stool, this generally indicates the presence of blood. So you’d definitely want to talk to your vet if you see any of those last few that I’ve mentioned.

What about consistency?

Narelle: The ideal healthy dog poo should be a slightly moist, but firm, well formed log shape, whether that’s continuous or in segments. Which basically means that it should be easy to pick up without leaving any residue on the ground.

What you don’t want to see is very hard, dry pellets – this could be due to inadequate water intake or inappropriate levels of fibre.

You don’t want to see regular sloppy or smelly poo’s. From my experience, this is often due to dogs eating a dry dog food diet that may be too high in starchy carbohydrates that aren’t as well absorbed by the system, which then creates a larger amount of softer stools or it may even contribute to a condition such as IBS.

And, you definitely don’t want to see diarrhoea on a regular basis, particularly if it’s very water, as this is often a sign of infection and can quickly lead to dehydration, especially in puppies.

And while we’re talking about consistency of dog poop, a recent study found that a raw meat-based diet lead to an improvement in what’s called a faecal score, which meant that there was less poop overall, due to the diet being more digestible for the dogs, and the stools had a better form or consistency, indicating improved colonic health.

Other things to look out for in a dog’s poo?

Narelle: As any pet parent no doubt knows, we can often see some interesting contents in our dog’s poop from time to time. This might include things such as grass, leaves, rocks, parts of their toys, or other random household items!

But you don’t want to be seeing worms – and if that’s the case, you definitely need to treat appropriately with parasite control.

If you see a lot of mucous ongoing, that may be a sign of inflammation and infection.

If you see your dog straining to go, but nothing’s coming out and they also seem distressed or in pain, it could be that they’ve eaten something and it’s caused a blockage, so absolutely off to the vet for that.

And, as I mentioned previously, if you see any signs of blood, straight to the vet.

If you want to know more about ensuring your dog has healthy dog poo head to the Big Dog Resource Centre for their dog poop guide and download their Doo Doo Diary.

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