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What Should My Dog’s Poop Look Like?

You handle your dog’s poop several times a day. But do you ever stop to think about it? Probably not, or people would say you were weird. However, your dog’s feces can help you determine if they are healthy, on food that agrees with them, and a host of other things that can help you determine if your dog’ systems are functioning normally.

Christina Chambreau, DVM, CVH is an internationally known homeopathic veterinarian, lecturer and author, using homeopathy in her veterinary practice in 1983 (UGA grad in 1980).  She is a co-founder of the Academy Of Veterinary Homeopathy, was on the faculty of the National Center for Homeopathy Summer School for 10 years, is associate editor for the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal and adjunct faculty for the Maryland Veterinary Technician Program. She also teaches classes to lay and professional audiences on Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced Homeopathy for Animals, as well as diet, toxins, healthy animal lifestyles, Flower essences, Reiki, energy healing, homeopathy and living a life that sustains the planet. (www.MyHealthyAnimals.com)

She answered our questions about what your dog’s poop is telling you AND how you can improve their health homeopathically.

The “Perfect” Poop

We humans do not all have the same bowel movements, and neither do dogs. Therefore, there is no “perfect” poop as far as color, consistency, size, and frequency that you should look for in your dog’s stool.

“When should you worry about your dog’s stool? Basically when it is different than what she normally passes,” answered Dr. Chambreau. She went on to explain that as a holistic vet, she looks at the whole animal and her system, rather than one symptom at a time.

“If a dog has a more liquid poop one day, yet is eating and active, I may suggest increasing the probiotics, fasting for one meal, or another mild approach,” she added.

Things to Look For

If you need to keep track of your dog's stool, try to have them go on rock or concrete, which makes it easier to see then tall grass
If you need to keep track of your dog’s stool, try to have them go on rock or concrete, which makes it easier to see then tall grass

Below is a nice list that Dr. Chambreau complied for us showing some common things to look for in your dog’s stool and what it may mean for your dog’s health.

Mucus on the stool (formed or watery) indicates an irritation or inflammation of the intestines which produce the mucus to protect the sensitive absorptive cells. Think what has happened recently – ate a lot of grass; had a birthday party and scavenged food and paper and ribbon; ate more bones than usual; was eating the mulch or sticks; etc. That would explain a few days of mucus.

Rock hard stool can be from diet (too many raw bones being fed, rawhides (often have chemicals in them), lack of water, secondary to constipation (retaining stool in the colon or rectum for too long).

Black fresh stools are of concern. They could black from something eaten, but often it means there was bleeding in the stomach or front part of the intestine. When the blood is digested, it becomes black.

Red stools could mean blood or that your dog ate beets. Looking carefully and not panicking will allow you to tell if it is blood. When there has been a lot of straining from constipation or diarrhea, blood vessels can break and you will see drops or streaks of blood. While of concern, this is no need to panic. If you have a puppy or the dog is acting lethargic or vomiting, bloody stool with a distinctive horrible odor does indicate parvo virus disease, so head to your integrative veterinarian while you administer Reiki.

Rarely do we see the orange or green stools indicating gall bladder issues. While diet can cause those color changes, it should be transient.

You will notice tapeworms as small white segments looking like grains of rice – near the anus, on the stools or on your furniture. If they dry out they are more like flat, brown rice. The veterinarian may have just told you the stool is negative for parasites because the eggs are inside those “rice grains” and would not float to the surface in the fecal.

Many dogs pass undigested food, especially corn and other grains (not a natural nor healthy food for any dog to eat, especially the GMO ones). If you frequently see undigested foods that are not grains, it may indicate gut allergies or other digestive disorders, so pay attention to how the dog feels in general.

White stools can indicate pancreatic insufficiency if they are white when being passed. However, healthy dogs on a wonderful raw meaty bone diet may pass firm to very soft stools that become white as they dry, then fall apart into powder (saves having to clean up yard).

Size of stool. Big stools (often thought normal) indicate that a lot of the diet is not being absorbed. My raw fed cat has stools the size of the tip of my little finger twice a day and is super healthy. On a raw meat diet the stools will be much smaller and may be soft or even liquid occasionally.

Frequency of stool. Again, every dog is different. Most go 1-2 times a day, but some very healthy dogs may go up to 4 times a day. If there is a change in frequency, evaluate overall health and ask for health if needed.

 

What Can You Do To Improve Your Dog’s Health

A lot of the times, if your dog is having trouble going to the bathroom, or his stools are just do not look healthy, you may need to add or subtract items from their diet. It is always good to ask your vet about allergy testing and eliminate anything your dog may be allergic to. Or, it maybe you need to feed a higher quality food; as Dr. Chambreau pointed out above, the more waste your dog is eating in terms of indigestible or “junk” food, the more waste comes out.

Follow the 7 keys to healthy animals

  • Feed a fresh food diet from local sources
  • minimize toxins from pesticides, vaccines, flea “preventatives”, etc
  • learn totally safe healing methods you can do yourself – Reiki, acupressure, Healing Touch for Animals, Tellington T Touch, flower essences, essential oil therapy.
  • Learn fairly safe methods by studying with an expert – herbs, homeopathy, Chinese herbs
  • Form a healing team with an integrative veterinarian, intuitive/animal communicator, other holistic healers.
  • Have holistic books to get more information on the following treatments.

For diarrhea

  • Fast for 24 hours if they are well otherwise
  • Marshmallow root made into a slurry with water. (Many people use slippery elm which is not as sustainable.)
  • Flower essences such as Bach crab apple and Rescue Remedy; spirit Essence Happy Tummy; green hope essences; anaflora; petessences;

For constipation

  • Marshmallow root made into a slurry with water or just put into the diet.
  • Flower essences such as Bach crab apple and Rescue Remedy; spirit Essence Happy Tummy; green hope essences; anaflora; petessences;
  • Canned pumpkin (or freshly cooked and well pureed)
  • Organic, drinkable aloe vera, or squeezings from a fresh plant.

Want More Information?

There is a wonderful DVD – Eat, Drink and Wag Your Tail available at www.homevet.com that has a “poop detective” section where children with magnifying glasses are on a field trip examining stools. It also covers the benefits of feeding a fresh food diet (which can be cheaper than commercial foods and not that hard).

 

About the Author

Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.

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Written by Kristina Lotz
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