By Claudia Bensimoun
If you’re wondering how healthy your pup is, take a look at his poop. Shape, size, content, and color, and consistency can give you an indication if there are any internal issues that you may have overlooked with your veterinarian.
Chances are, if you keep an eye on the characteristics of your dog’s poop, you’ll be able to track any health issues that your furry best friend may be experiencing. So if you’re picking up after Fido, keep in mind that poop color and consistency can be an indicator of serious health problems. In this blog, we’re going to discuss digestive disease and the importance of the 4 C’s. Color, content, consistency, and coating when exploring your dog’s health.
Changes in Color, Consistency, or Frequency of Feces
Signs of a digestive disease can include diarrhea, drooling, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, bleeding, bloating, shock, and dehydration. Healthy dog poop should be firm in consistency and should not have any coating. If you see changes in color, texture, or frequency of bowel movements, it may indicate digestive problems.
Black, tarry feces can be a sign of bleeding in the stomach or small intestine. If your pup strains during a bowel movement, there may be inflammation of the anus and rectum. Abdominal distention (bloating) may result from the accumulation of gas, fluid, or ingested food. This is usually caused by reduced activity of the muscles during digestion. If your pup is distended, it may be due to a foreign object or the intussusception of part of the intestines. It could also come from overeating.
Gastrointestinal tests are useful because they can check for any vitamin deficiencies like vitamin B that usually result from a GI issue. The trypsin-like immunoreactivity test contains your dog to see if the exocrine pancreas is functioning correctly. This part of the pancreas is responsible for producing and excreting digestive enzymes necessary for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
Many digestive issues in dogs can be caused by overeating, chemicals, or obstruction caused by swallowing foreign objects, consuming a low-quality diet, or injuring the digestive system. Digestive system disease may be due to enzyme deficiencies, digestive tract injury from gastric ulcers, or congenital disabilities. Symptoms may include:
. Kidney, liver, or adrenal disease
Your vet may use drugs to stop diarrhea or correct constipation. Replacement of fluids and electrolytes may be another treatment method for dehydration from excessive diarrhea and vomiting.
Bacterial & Parasitic Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases are spread in various ways, and although both people and their pets all have intestinal microorganisms in the digestive tract, mostly in the small intestines, that tend to come about a few hours after birth, they’re beneficial and help with digestion and to prevent infection in some cases.
Nonetheless, if these organisms multiply suddenly, like in times of stress or under unhygienic conditions, a dog with a weak immune system could become affected. Your vet will need to diagnose the specific infectious disease and identify the organism causing the infection.
Parasites can cause severe diseases and decrease your dog’s overall energy levels. Your vet needs to diagnose parasitic infections early on because some are transmissible to humans, and they also can be easily confused with other illnesses.
Poop Color and Your Dog’s Health
If your pup is healthy, his poop will be the same color, consistency, and size most of the time. Veterinarians have a dog poop guide that goes by the 4 Cs: Color, consistency, coating, and contents. Here’s the take on the 4 C’s:
This is one of the first things you’ll notice when you scoop up your dog’s poop. Your dog’s poop needs to be firm in consistency, yet soft as well. If your dog’s poop is watery, then he may be suffering from an upset stomach, just like humans. On the other hand, if your dog is constipated, then the poop will be hard, and he’ll strain with each bowel movement. Consult with your veterinarian for a change of diet.
A dog’s poop should not have any coating around it. If there is a coating of mucus or blood, you’ll need to consult with your vet as soon as possible. If your dog has mucus or coating in his poop, it may signal roundworm, Guardia, colitis, or something else.
Always check your dog’s poop to see if there’s anything extraordinary. You could find signs of worms or something that he’s eaten and shouldn’t have. Reach out to your vet if you have any concerns.
Color is always an indicator of your dog’s health and numerous health conditions linked to a dog’s poop’s particular shade. Your dog’s diet will also affect the color of his poop, just as it does with humans. The standard color of a dog’s poop should be dark brown. Here’s the take on the different colors in dog poop.
Black or Maroon Colored Dog Poop
If your pup’s poop is a charcoal color, he may be suffering from intestinal bleeding stemming from the gastrointestinal tract. If you notice black poop, this means that the blood has been digested. You should call your vet immediately. Your pup may have an ulcer.
Raw food diets may result in white dog poop. This is because the diet is high in calcium or bone. This is not healthy for your dog, and you should call your vet if this continues.
This is definitely an unusual color for dog poop, but reach out to your vet if you see this; it could indicate a biliary or a liver issue. This is serious, and an immediate veterinary consult is needed.
The take on yellow dog poop may stem from various things like a stomach upset or food intolerance. Check your dog’s diet and see if any new changes have been made. Yellow dog poop needs to be looked into in case your dog has developed a food intolerance.
This stems from maldigestion, and the chances are that your dog’s poop is both gray and greasy. Your vet may run tests for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. (EPI) to check how well your dog’s pancreas is functioning. This is treatable, and your dog should be treated right away for this.
With green dog poop, chances are your pup has consumed a large amount of grass. Parasites or other health issues may be at play here, so you’ll need to keep a careful eye out and visit your vet if this continues.
Brown poop and red streaks may be indicative of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. (HGE) This can kill your pup, so it’s best to visit your vet immediately for prompt medical treatment. You’ll need to also examine your yard or garden to see how many bloody stools your dog has passed.
Your veterinarian will do a full examination to check for hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, and malabsorption, a bacterial disorder in your dog to rule out other severe conditions.
White and black poop means worms if the white bits look like rice. If this is the case, de-worm your dog and consult with your vet.
What are The Benefits of Probiotics?
With millions of dogs consuming commercial dog food diets, many don’t get enough probiotics, enzymes, and prebiotics. To optimize your dog’s digestive health, you’ll need to add all three and give them to your pup every day to ensure digestive tract health in your dog. This helps to minimize bloat, leaky gut syndrome, and other digestive conditions in dogs. Probiotics may help support healthy gut flora, help reduce colic, and, most importantly, enable support dogs’ immune systems.
What to Look for in a Probiotic?
. Probiotics (multi-strained blend)
. Prebiotics (to support flora)
. Digestive enzymes
. Trace minerals
. Essential fatty acids
. Sources of B vitamins
A 2018 study adds that probiotic Bacillus eliminates Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that can cause serious antibiotic-resistant infections. The researchers explain that “Probiotics frequently are recommended as dietary supplements to improve digestive health,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This is one of the first studies to describe precisely how they may work to provide health benefits. The possibility that oral Bacillus might be an effective alternative to antibiotic treatment for some conditions is scientifically intriguing and definitely worthy of further exploration.” Interestingly, the study concluded that “Probiotic Bacillus given every two days eliminated S. aureus in the guts of the mice.”
Studies indicate that there is growing evidence that supports the use of probiotics in pets. Healthy bacteria via probiotics in the form of a natural supplement may allow for the following:
. Positively impact liver disease.
. Reduce allergy symptoms
. Reduce yeast-associated issues
. Reduce gassiness
. Benefit chronic GI abnormalities
. Improve breath
. Aid in regulating bowel function to prevent diarrhea and constipation
. Improve coat and skin condition
. Improve health and focus
. Improve mood
Suppose your pup is prone to developing diarrhea or having digestive issues due to stress, illness, or antibiotics. In that case, it may be worth considering supplementing with probiotics and additional supplements for optimal gut health and as an immune system boost.
Probiotics for pets are also useful when given a few days ahead of antibiotics. Probiotics withBifidobacterium Bifidum reduces the need for antibiotics by 10%, according to a study.
Probiotics are beneficial for all life stages, from puppyhood to mature and senior dogs, to combat everything from itching, inflammation, diarrhea, digestive issues, and gut health. Although pet parents look for commercial dog food with added probiotics, it’s good to keep in mind that positively- processed dog food will not have any specialty ingredients left over after the manufacturing process.
With your dog’s diet being the foundation of good health together with regular veterinary care and exercise, it’s always great to consider adding high-quality probiotic supplements to restore the microbiome, most especially during stressful periods in your dog’s life.