The ultimate guide to your dog’s poo!

It might not be everybody’s favourite subject, but you can tell a lot about your dog’s health from the characteristics of their poo.

There will always be small variations, as no animal has the perfect digestive system, but there are five main things to look out for to ensure you can spot any abnormalities if they occur. If these become regular appearances, or if your pet’s poo is constantly changing, you should take your dog to see a vet.

Shape

Should be: Log-shaped.

Look out for: Pebble or ball-shaped stools. This can be an indicator of dehydration or a sign that a dog’s joints are too stiff to stay in the correct position for long enough. Stool-softening supplements are a good way to make things easier for older dogs.

Size

Should be: All dogs are different - a Great Dane will produce a lot more poo than a Chihuahua!

Look out for: An increase in size can indicate that their food is not being fully digested, while a decrease can signal a decline in appetite due to illness or even a gastrointestinal blockage.

Colour

Should be: Chocolate brown, unless they’ve eaten something which contains food colouring.

Look out for: Lighter colours can indicate a problem with the liver’s ability to process food, while red, black or red-streaked stools may suggest bleeding within the gastrointestinal tract.

Consistency

The best way to test consistency is simply to pick it up in a plastic bag and gently squish it!

Should be: About the same consistency as dough, easy to pick up.

Look out for: Soft stools can mean your pet may be eating something they shouldn’t. If it’s too hard or prone to crumbling, your dog could be dehydrated or constipated.

Contents

A pet’s poo can contain all kinds of unpleasant items - some are harmless, but others are a sure-fire sign of digestive problems. Look out for the following:

Food particlesThese show that your pet’s stomach is struggling to digest this particular food.

GrassDogs eat this when they are suffering from digestive problems.

Hairs or hairballsYour dog may be grooming themselves a lot, which can be a sign of stress.

MucousUsually a sign of inflammation in the stomach.

WormsThese are usually roundworms, and your pet should be treated by a vet or a Flea & Worm Advisor in a Pets at Home store.

If you have any concerns at all about your pet’s stools, don’t be afraid to visit a vet with a sample – they’ll be able to use this to help determine if your dog needs any treatment, and put your mind at ease.

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