Everybody poops — even your dog. No, especially your dog. When they became our best friends, their poops became our responsibility to monitor. Each puppy poop may just seem like a little extra excrement that becomes a headache to pick up (or a bummer to accidentally step in).
But each one of those doggie dingleberries is jam-packed with information about your canine companion's health.
Sometimes, those pup poops don't come out looking exactly like the emoji, and arming yourself with knowledge can be helpful to monitor your furry friend's health. Purina even makes a helpful "fecal score chart" so you can see how your dog's poop (literally) shapes up.
According to Dr. Christina Shephard, DVM, talking about poop is how many veterinarians spend much of their day. And as important as poop color is, it is merely one clue in a larger dog health mystery.
She told Cuteness, "There can be countless causes for abnormal feces, so getting information on any other symptoms [like lethargy], changes in diet, possible access to toxins [like recent pesticide spray], help us figure out the poop puzzle. Since a lot more than just the poop can be key in figuring out if/what is wrong with your pet, talking with your vet is always a good idea. "
So here's a quick rundown of what each color of the rectal rainbow can mean.
If your dog's poop is solid and a delicious chocolate color (though we don't suggest tasting to see if it tastes like chocolate), you likely have nothing to worry about. Like humans, the healthiest dog stools are deep brown, semi-solid, and log-shaped.
A few normal things can cause orange poop. Your dog could have had a major change in diet recently or food could have gone through the GI tract too quickly. But that orange color could be an indicator of a bigger problem with your dog's liver like biliary disease or some other major liver issue.
Poops that come out yellow could be caused by an upset stomach due to a diet change. It may also be a signal that there's a problem with your pup's gallbladder, liver, or pancreas. If you're sure it couldn't be a food allergy or response to a major diet change, make sure you check it out in case it's something more serious, like giardiasis.
It can be unnerving to see green come out of your dog's body, and rightly so. Like all poop discolorations, it could be caused by overeating grass or some other diet issue. But it could also be a sign of a parasite — especially if it's coming out like diarrhea.
Unless your dog has been eating rocks (and some have been known to be rock aficionados), your dogs poop should not look like a rock. Sometimes, however, it can come out grey, small, and hard. This canine constipation could be caused by dehydration issues. Extra water, a prescribed stool softener, or any other vet-approved solutions may help make those rock substances melt back to normal.
Typically, your dog's poop would never be totally white. But if you see white specs in your pup's poo poo, they could be worms.
A little bit of red in your dog's stool can come about as a result of stress, internal bowel bleeding, or parasites. Though red coloration is disconcerting, Dr. Shephard believes that a little bit of it — with no other symptoms — doesn't have to be cause for immediate concern. If it persists, however, it could indicate a larger issue. A lot of red in your dog's poop could be an indication of a serious disease like Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis that can affect even the healthiest of pups. If there's lots of red or the color is consistent in several poops, contact your vet.
Along with the color spectrum, be sure to monitor how much your dog poops, how often they're pooping, and how the poop actually looks. Dr. Shepard adds that while mucus in the poop may be unnerving, it's often just your dog's digestive tract trying to heal. However, if anything becomes too irregular with your four-legged friend's feces, be sure to monitor it and let your vet know, as well.
Unless, of course, they're pooping actual gemstones. In which case, congrats! You have a magical pet! But, for the rest of us, it's always better to be safe than sorry.