4fcdfe5adb95eca3bfbeb8153f5d3611091eaea3 Judging Dog Feces: How to Recognize Problems

Judging Dog Feces: How to Recognize Problems

There are many great moments in everyday life with your dog. Picking up your dog’s poop is certainly not one of them. However, it’s helpful to take a closer look when you dispose of your dog’s poop in dog waste bags. After all, the amount, color and consistency of your dog’s poop can tell you a lot about how your pet is doing health-wise.

In our guide, you’ll learn what criteria you should look for when assessing your dog’s stool, and what the reasons may be if the poop is altered.

How many times a day should a dog have a bowel movement?

How much, with what and how often you feed your dog influences the mass and composition of the feces. In general, if the animal defecates less, it absorbs and utilizes more nutrients. For example, if you feed your pet easily digestible and protein-rich dog food, he will only defecate small amounts.

Other factors play a role in how frequently a dog defecates. For example, dog breed and housing conditions also determine how often your four-legged friend “has to” defecate each day. On average, a dog defecates once or twice a day.
What does the consistency of dog feces say about dog health?

A healthy dog feces is well-formed, not too hard and not too soft. If the feces is hard, the animal will have a hard time passing it. There are many reasons for constipation.

Hard stools in dogs can be caused by the following:

Low fiber food
Too little fluid intake
Too little exercise
Feeding bones

The animal is struggling to push and may develop pain. If it also shows other symptoms, such as fatigue and pain, you should not wait long and ask your veterinarian for advice.

Soft poop and diarrhea can also have many triggers. Changes in diet, stressful events, intestinal inflammation or infection, for example, can be to blame for excessively thin stools. In case of acute watery diarrhea and poor general condition, contact your veterinarian quickly. Young animals in particular can quickly become dehydrated.

What makes dog feces harder?

If your vet rules out parasites and other pathological causes as the reason for your pet’s soft feces, your pet is probably not tolerating the food. You can try to find out which food is problematic for your four-legged friend by systematically changing his diet. For example, some animals do not digest a high percentage of carbohydrates in their food well.

Many veterinarians offer nutritional counseling. Here you will get recommended feeds in different compositions for your pet. They can help you get rid of soft feces in your dog.

What makes dog feces softer?

As a dog owner, you can counteract hard dog excrement and constipation, which is diet- and posture-related, with simple means:

Move your dog intensively!

Walking and training your dog will not only be fun and varied, but it will also keep your dog’s digestive system on its toes.

Give your pet enough to drink! It’s important to keep your dog hydrated through dog bowls or drinking fountains.

A dog that is fed dry food will need more drinking water than an animal that is fed primarily wet food. It is best to offer water in several places in the house and garden.

Feed your four-legged friend a balanced diet with plenty of fiber! Dietary fiber regulates digestion.

As with us humans, flaxseed, bran or psyllium help to improve digestion in dogs.

What does the dog poop color say about your dog’s health?

The color of dog feces is usually brown to dark brown. Depending on how you feed your pet, the stool may temporarily change color due to certain ingredients in the food. By the color of the dog’s feces you can also recognize diseases and quickly react with a visit to the vet. In the following you will learn what meanings the different dog feces colors can have:

Dog feces yellow or orange

If your furry friend has been eating carrots, a yellow to orange color of the feces is not surprising. However, if the feces does not change color after a short time, it may indicate that the liver is sick or the animal has bile problems. Diseases of the pancreas also cause yellowish stools. In addition, yellow-orange feces may indicate problems with changing the dog’s food. If the animal has yellow feces for a long time, present it to the veterinarian.

Dog feces white

White dog feces or light-colored dog feces may indicate that the animal’s fat digestion is disturbed. Problems with the gall bladder or pancreas may be the cause. The white color may also be from the bones your pet has recently eaten. If your pet has problems with bone feces, the settled stool will not only be white, but also crumbly. Later, the fecal balls may become rock hard. Bone feces can block the intestines as undigested bone mush. It can lead to intestinal obstruction or cause life-threatening injury to the intestines. Be sure to contact a veterinarian if your pet has trouble defecating and has white, crumbly or solid feces.
Black dog feces (tar stool dog).

If your four-legged friend’s feces are very dark to black, it may indicate that areas in the front gastrointestinal tract are bleeding. The esophagus, stomach or small intestine may be injured or diseased in black stool in dogs. The red blood pigment turns black during the digestive process and is excreted in the feces. The black dog feces is also called tar stool in dogs because it visually resembles black-brown tar. If you notice tarry stools in your pet, you should definitely consult a veterinarian.

Green dog feces

Green stool in your four-legged friend is often the result of green vegetables in the food. Or your furry friend has eaten too much grass in the garden. Sometimes the green color indicates gallbladder problems. If the feces is discolored for a long time, consult your veterinarian.

Dog feces red

Red feces are considered an alarm sign that there is blood in the feces. Bright blood occurs when the anus is injured or the posterior colon is bleeding. However, before you let your veterinarian determine the cause, consider what your pet has been eating lately. Individual foods, such as beet, will also stain the dog’s poop red. If you notice bloody stool in your dog, you must present him to the vet promptly.

Dog feces gray

Your dog’s feces may be grayish or clay-colored if there are problems with bile. However, even with the grayish color, it is possible that certain foods are lingering. If the discoloration persists for several days, you better go to your vet and ask for advice.

Dog problems with bowel movements:Possible causes:
Mucous stoolIn case of frequent occurrence: – Feed intolerances – Intestinal diseases
Pencil stoolNarrowing in the area of the rectum
Fatty StoolBile flow disorder – pancreas disease
Worms in dog fecesroundworms: light brown to white worms – tapeworms: rice grain-like structures
Yellow dog diarrheaInfestation with giardia – Inflammations in the gastrointestinal tract – Diseases of the liver – Diseases of the bile ducts – Diseases of the pancreas

Dog excrement slimy – what is behind it?

Occasional mucus in dog feces is usually harmless. The intestinal walls produce transparent to white mucus. However, if your four-legged friend secretes dog excrement with mucus, you should become attentive. Have you recently changed the feeding regime for your pet? Frequent mucous dog feces can be an indication of food intolerance. Intestinal diseases, for example, can also be to blame for the dog’s mucous stools. Especially if the mucus is discolored yellow or red, a veterinarian should clarify the cause.

Pencil stool in dogs – what is the cause?

Pencil stool in dogs refers to dog feces that are very narrow and resemble the shape of a pencil. It occurs mainly when the intestinal lumen in the rectal area is severely narrowed and the animal has difficulty emptying its feces. Since malignant diseases can be behind it, a veterinarian should examine your quadruped.

Fatty stools in dogs – when does it occur?

Bile secretion disorders and pancreatic diseases cause fatty stools in dogs. Fatty stools are greasy and often voluminous. They are often yellowish in color and are accompanied by diarrhea. They usually contain undigested food components. Present your four-legged friend to the veterinarian if he is suffering from fatty stools.

Worms in dog feces – which ones can you recognize?

In the fight against worms in dogs, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and hookworms play an important role in Germany. Sometimes you can detect worms in a dog’s feces. They look like this:

Roundworms: You’ll see roundworms as white to light brown worms in your dog’s feces. They can be up to twenty centimeters long. The roundworm Toxocara canis is the worm most commonly found in dogs.

Tapeworms: You can also spot the tapeworm in your dog’s poop. If your pet is infected with the tapeworm, you may find white grains in the dog’s feces or on its hindquarters. The rice grain-like structures represent so-called segments of the tapeworm, which is attached to the intestinal wall.


Even if your dog is symptom-free and you do not detect any worms in the feces, a fecal examination for parasites is useful. With a “worm check” that comes back negative, you can save your pet unnecessary worming. If worms are found, you know you need to treat your dog.

=> Discuss taking the samples with your vet. As a rule, you have to take fresh feces on three consecutive days and store them in a cool place.

Yellow diarrhea in dogs – what can be the trigger?

Yellow diarrhea in dogs can be an indication that your four-legged friend is infested with giardia. Giardia are single-celled parasites that damage the mucous membrane of the small intestine. The cause of the yellowish diarrhea can also be inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract or diseases of the liver, bile ducts or pancreas. It is best to take your pet to the vet.
More dog problems with bowel movements at a glance

Conclusion about dog feces

You can learn a lot about how your pet is doing via observing your dog’s bowel movements. Fortunately, few changes in the dog’s feces are cause for concern. However, it’s important that you keep an eye on the appearance of your dog’s feces. Consult your veterinarian once too often rather than once too little. Because if the feces are altered, serious illnesses can also become apparent. To help you remember the frequency, shape and color of the feces, you can write them down in a kind of diary. This way you can keep track of your pet’s reactions to food changes over a longer period of time.

Some foods must not be eaten by the dog under any circumstances. You can find out what these are in our guide “Caution: twenty toxic foods for dogs”.


Are you also interested in how to detect diseases in cats from their feces? Then learn more about this in our guide “Assessing cat feces – How to recognize diseases in the stool of your cat!

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