💩 Occasionally, pet owners and our customers ask us about the meaning of their dog’s poo. We all know that whatever comes out from our canine’s tummy most likely is due to what goes into it. (Note: Food usually is the reason for poop problems, but there are other non-food related factors too). We’ll look into 8 poop issues and share what they mean below. We’ll cover non-food related reasons too. 💩
Why you should learn the meanings of your dog’s poop
Most pet owners will rather explore home remedies first to resolve minor problems with their pets. Our dog’s stools are one of the most significant and frequent indicators of its health. Even our Rara also poo at least twice a day. 😂 So our dog’s stools can help to update us about the state of its health.
If anything happens to our dog’s poop in the future, we are the first line of diagnosing. If you know the stool meaning, you will be able to better manage your dog’s pooping situation! 💪
Here we go – 8 different poop or stool meanings
1) Lao sai – Watery poo (Diarrhea)
Ok, let’s start with lao sai. (Some of you may not feel very pleasant as you are reading this 😅). One of the more common poop problems is when your dog’s poo becomes spurts of liquid. When you see that your dog lets out a puddle of poop, the potential cause can vary. Some of the more common causes can be:
- Food related – Your dog probably cannot accept or adapt to the sudden switch to the new dog food. This may not necessarily mean that the new dog food is a big NO, but it may also mean that the transition is not gradual enough. Try giving 1-2 more days, while drastically reducing the amount of new dog food (mix with original). If there is still no improvement in the poop, then stop the new dog food. If the poop improves in form and becomes more solid, then it’s great news. You can then slowly increase the new portion gradually until it completely replaces the original food.
- Another example could be eating something that should not be eaten, given your dog’s unique body condition. This will require some food elimination to sieve out the culprit ingredient.
- Environmental – It could be some stressful event like a new family member, change of environment or living conditions.
- Other types of consumption – It may be because of medication, or consumption of water that is not suitable for drinking.
- An early warning sign of disease or infection – A more extreme possibility is that your dog’s poop may indicate something serious in the body.
Most of us will want to adopt a “wait and see” approach, hoping that the symptoms can become better. But the symptom can be minor, or it can be the start of something serious. We cannot regret it later when it is too late. So let’s try to strike a balance. Here’s our (and most vets’) advice: If the situation does not improve after 2-3 bowel movements, it is time to visit the vet.
2) Soft, loose stools (Loses shape when picked up)
If your dog suddenly has soft, loose poop, there are usually 2 questions to ask as a pet owner.
- First, have you suddenly introduced or changed a new type of food to your dog’s diet? It can be due to a sudden switch from feeding kibbles to fresh food. Or brand A kibbles to brand B kibbles. If your dog develops loose stools because of this, it is usually not a bad thing. However, to be kinder to your dog’s stomach, it is always advisable to introduce any type of food in a slower, gradual transition. It may be very tempting to stop the change immediately, but pets’ bodies take time to adjust. Give a few days, and monitor your dog’s poop. If the poop is still loose, perhaps an alteration to the diet may be required (may not be a wholesale change). Otherwise, start again by feeding just ¼ of the new food and keeping ¾ of the existing food.
- The second question to ask is whether your dog has consumed food that its body is not accustomed to. It may be a once-off treat, or something that your dog bit away when no one was watching. This may be difficult to trace, but it is an important process to remember before considering other measures. Too many parents become easily alarmed when they notice a slight change in their dog’s poop.
We also note that some pet owners are worried of soft poop and rather stick to only 1 type of food permanently. We also do not encourage that, because to have a comprehensive and balanced diet over time, dogs need to have more variety in their food intake. Eating with variety helps them develop a stronger, resilient body and reduces allergies risks. If you are worried about soft stools, start small by feeding bit by bit. See if there is any adverse reaction before gradually increasing feeding amounts.
3) Very hard, pebble-like stools (Constipation)
Very hard stools are not a good sight and not a positive sign for your dog either. However, fret not, as it is quite common for dogs to experience constipation.
One of the most common reasons for constipation is due to a predominantly dry kibble diet. There are usually too much dietary fibre present in kibbles and they do not contain any water. Some dry food manufacturing companies even use sawdust to bind kibbles.
Here are some of the typical causes for very hard stools:
- Food related – Dry dog food diets are lacking in moisture and often too high in dietary fibre. Think of yourself eating biscuits a whole day. Your poop next day will also likely to be hard.
- Not enough water – Your dog probably needs to drink more water or are feeling dehydrated. Try to get your dog to drink more water. We have some interesting ways to make Rara drink more water and we’ll share more separately! It is important to make sure your dog hydrates sufficiently.
- External body condition – There may be insufficient grooming especially at the back end, which means matted hair near the back side which makes pooing difficult.
- Habitual reasons – Lazy dogs who do not exercise enough can also pass out hard stools. Same for those who have tendency to self groom excessively, and you can see if the poop contains dog hair.
- More serious issues – There may be infection in the anal glands, or some hard foreign objects which are stuck in the intestinal tract, such as bones, gravel, or plastic. This may be hard to detect, and if you have ruled out the above reasons, then it may be better to seek a doc’s opinion.
4) Poops in large amounts
One of the main reason for large, voluminous amount of poops is due to processed kibbles. Sometimes, the amount of poop is comparable to ours’! 😂 Kibbles usually contain high amounts of carbohydrates and fibre, such as soybean, beet pulp, and rice hulls. Higher carbohydrates and fibre mean more poop. It’s like us eating more rice and bread, and in the end passing more motion.
Furthermore, both our dogs’ and our own bodies are unable to absorb the “not-so-useful” nutrients from the food we eat, such as carbohydrates. If the body does not absorb the food, they pass out as stool. So if your dog ejects lots of poop frequently, it may mean that it is not absorbing its food fully. In that case, you need to inspect and question the quality of the food.
5) Poop is very smelly
If you have been feeding kibbles all this while, try to switch to home cooked food for a few meals. Or you can try freeze-dried, raw or dehydrated options. And compare your dog’s poop smell.
Actually, dogs eating kibbles tend to produce stinkier poop because they are not used to absorbing bigger amounts of grains, starches and “grain-free” options containing peas and potatoes. When these food are not absorbed fully, your dog’s digestive system does not know what to do with the food, and they pass out eventually as poop.
6) Mucus in / around dog’s stool
If you see your dog’s stool that looks slimy with a coating of mucus-like substance around or in it – it may make you worried. Common issues may be due to an inflamed colon or mild inflammation in the gut. It may also be due to parvovirus or parasites. While it is advisable to be careful, there is usually a good chance that the mucus will clear up after a few rounds of bowel movement (a couple of days). If after a couple of days, your dog’s poop still contains mucus, you can then consider next course of action, ie. visit vet.
But before that, try to give your dog a 1-2 days to restore balance in its body on its own (Remember, if you want to “wait-and-see”, 2-3 bowel movements is the max!) If the poop is still the same, please visit your favourite vet.
7) Dog pooping blood
Stay calm if you see blood in your dog’s poop! The colour can be fresh red or very dark red. However, the causes can range from relatively minor to very serious.
A minor issue will be because the stools are too hard which causes abrasion when it is coming out.
A more serious case will be due to parasites or worms in your dog’s body which is causing wounds. Extreme issues will be due to the presence of possible ulcers or tumours.
Again, if after 2-3 bowel movements and blood still persists, it’s time to bring your dog to the clinic. Don’t wait any longer! Don’t let any potential health problems deteriorate. Bring a sample of the blood stained poop if possible too. (This will be helpful for further diagnosing!)
Extra – 8) Coprophagia – My dog is eating its own poop!
The medical name of dog eating own poop is called coprophagia. 🔍
This is more of a behavioural issue than issues with the poop itself. But if your dog is eating its own poo, it may be due to any of the following:
- Behavioural – Your dog may be seeking attention, too bored, got inspired by other dogs or think that eating poo is a way to please you. Stressful dogs or dogs who love cleanliness may also display poop-eating actions.
- Nourishment – There may be a deficiency in certain nutrients like enzymes or trace minerals which makes a dog eat its own poop. It may be trying to replenish its nutrient needs by eating its own poop. Underfeeding may also be another reason that causes this too. Dogs are very simple, they are just trying to replenish their body’s energy!
- Medical-related – It may be due to parasites in your dog’s body which is absorbing the food that is inside its body. This makes your dog crave for its stool to “claim” back its nutrients. More serious diseases like diabetes, thyroid issues can also make your dog extra hungry.
Common Remedies to Improve Your Dog’s Poop (Under Normal Situations)
As Rara’s pawrents, we would like to share a few friendly tips to try to improve your dog’s poop. These are meant to be considered with caution, and only during the initial discovery of the poop problem. If the poop problem has persisted for more than 2 days, do consider seeking a veterinarian’s advice.
If your dog’s poop is lao sai (diarrhea, watery poop)
Feed some plain, steamed food that is gentle in your dog’s stomach. You can consider steaming food like broccoli and pumpkin, together with your dog’s preferred meat and mix together. During this period, giving slightly more vegetables or starches is alright, as the purpose is to help cleanse the body and solidify the stools.
Feeding bones is also another option. A couple of raw or dehydrated chicken or duck feet or wings (do not feed cooked – feed raw, dehydrated, or freeze-dried) may help.
You can also give some pre and probiotics to help with maldigestion, especially diarrhea issues.
If your dog’s has soft or loose stools
Feed the current food (especially if it is new) less per meal. Continue for a few meals and monitor the condition of the poop for a couple of days. See if the loose stool improves.
You may want to consider adding a small quantity of mashed steam pumpkin to your dog’s current (new) food.
Give plenty of clean water during this period too.
If your dog’s poop is extremely hard (constipation)
Get your dog to drink more water! If your dog drinks by itself from the bowl, then it is great. If your dog refuses to drink, you can consider adding some water to his favourite food, or giving some steamed vegetable and meat broth.
Our Rara has this problem of not wanting to drink more water. As Rara is on homecooked food diet, we sometimes also add warm water to her food to make it taste like soup spoon. We also make her water bowl more ‘palatable’ by adding some meat-related stuff (gravy, juice, tiny meat bits) to water and she will slurp it all. 😅 These are our ways to let her drink more water. 😊
You can also add some dietary fibre like green leafy vegetables or mashed steamed pumpkin to your dog’s food.
When to call the vet because of diarrhoea, loose stool or constipation?
If after more than 2 bowel movements or more than 2 days and the diarrhea or constipation still persists.
When the diarrhea or constipation occurs irregularly, especially when your dog recovers and then experiencing the same problem again (more than 2-3 times). This can potentially indicate a presence of worms.
When the diarrhea or constipation comes with blood, and lasts more than 2-3 bowel movements (or more than 2 days).
If your dog experiences vomiting, fever or behavioural change together with diarrhea or constipation – then you need to consult the vet immediately.
If you want to read more about understanding your dog’s poop, you can read this article.
Let’s learn more about our dog’s poop and their meanings, so that we can act swiftly when an issue arises! 💪