A-Z of dog wellbeing: Poop

One of the less glamorous ‘joys’ of having a dog means you’re regularly scooping up poop.

While it’s not fun, it is important because the colour and consistency of your dog’s poop can give you a lot of information about what’s going on inside their body, so its important to pay attention to what you’re picking up.

While the occasional poop problem may not be cause for concern, knowing what’s normal for your dog makes it easy to tell when something is wrong.

It looks like a cigar

If your dog’s poo looks like a cigar – a firm chocolate-brown log that you can pick up between finger and thumb (in a poo bag of course!) is a good sign that things in your dog’s digestive tract are normal. It’ll have a mild odour, but it shouldn’t smell so evil that picking it up makes you feel sick!

It’s huge and smells awful

The amount of waste your dog produces is proportional to the amount of indigestible content in his food. This problem typically comes from low-quality kibble as dogs don’t need carbohydrates from cereals and this is what makes up the bulk of many dog foods as it’s cheap and helps to shape the biscuits.

Dogs evolved to eat mostly meat, so the proportion of ingredients in their food can affect their poop and a review of their food might be worthwhile. Take a look at the Diet blog for some useful tips!

It’s loose or liquid-like

Dogs most often get an upset stomach from eating something they shouldn’t but once the offending item has past through their systems, the poop problem should clear up on its own.

If your dog gets frequent loose stools it could mean that their food isn’t being absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, which could point to a food allergy or intolerance, parasite, bacterial infection, or inflammatory bowel disease. So if the diarrhoea doesn’t clear up on its own after a couple of days, it’s time to call the vet.

It’s small and hard, like pebbles

Tiny, rock-like stools that your dog strains to pass are a sign that your dog is constipated. They could be eating too much insoluble fibre (found in vegetables) or not consuming enough liquid, which can bung up their insides, or if they have a food which includes bone, there may be too much bone in their diet. Ingredients found in low-quality dry foods can cause the same problem.  If they don’t drink much you could try soaking half their dry food in a little warm water to increase the water quantity.

If your dog licks themselves and ingests lots of long hair (often because of itchy skin) this could end up blocking their systems like a fur-ball.  Chronic health problems like osteoarthritis can also be a cause; if your dog has pain in the hips or hind legs, and struggles to maintain the squatting posture to poop properly, then holding it in can cause constipation.

If your dog has had trouble going for more than a day or two, always call the vet because it may be a sign of an intestinal obstruction, which can happen when they eat a foreign object (like a rock or a sock), which can be life threatening when untreated.

It’s coated in slime

The slime is a lubricating mucus that is created if your dog has inflammation of the lower intestinal tract that may be caused by a food intolerances, worms, stress, infection, a foreign body, irritable bowel disease or bowel cancer, so if it persists for more than a couple of days, please speak to your vet.  They may want you to take a sample in for testing.

If your dog can tolerate dairy then adding a natural probiotic such as live natural yogurt for a couple of days may help the good bugs to overcome a mild problem.

It’s an odd colour

If your dog’s poo is any colour other than chocolate-brown then there could be something wrong.

  • Red streaks could be blood so check their bottom for cuts.
  • White spots that look like rice grains could be a sign of tapeworm.
  • Green could indicate a bile or gallbladder problem, or over-consumption of grass.
  • Black, tarry poop could be a sign of an upper GI bleed.
  • Yellow-orange or clay-like poop may be a symptom of liver disease.
  • Grey stools may indicate of pancreas problems.
  • Turquoise or blue-green stools could mean that your dog ingested rat poisoning.
  • White may indicate too much calcium or bone in your dogs diet.

If you notice any of these colours, call your vet immediately.


Those who already feed a natural diet will be well aware of the numerous benefits of feeding as Mother Nature intended but you may not be aware of one major plus to feeding a biologically appropriate diet: much less poo!

If you’d like to review your dog’s diet and see if you could help them have better poos with a more natural diet then please get in touch for a Canine Nutrition Review.