There is a lot of information about your dog’s health that you can get from their poop- and since you are cleaning it up every day, you might as well take a good look to make sure your pup is running at optimal health!
There are many things to consider when collecting your dog’s poop, from the consistency to the color and why it may change from time to time.
If you’ve ever seen your dog’s droppings and wondered, “Why is my dog’s poop dry and crumbly?”, you’ve come to the right place.
Most of the time, dry crumbly poop results from a dehydrated state- either the result of insufficient fiber or liquid intake. A lack of exercise can also contribute to cases of constipation.
Luckily, dry crumbly poop is usually not a serious situation and can be remedied easily by providing more water, exercise, and better diet choices.
However, if your dog has serious constipation where bowel movements are non-existent, or if the poop is white and chalky, it may be a good idea to take it to the vet to check for more serious health issues.
- What Is Considered Normal When It Comes To Stools In Dogs?
- Why Is My Dog’s Poop Dry And Crumbly?
- How Can You Tell If Your Dog’s Poop Is Normal?
- What Do Different Colored Poops Indicate?
- Change In Stool Volume
- Collecting Stool Samples
- How You Can Help Your Dog Poop Normally
- In Summary
Much like snowflakes, all dog poo is unique and varies from pup to pup- depending on various factors.
Your dog should have a regular consistency to their stool.
A dog’s stool shouldn’t be too soft or too hard. Otherwise, it may be an indication that something is off in the digestive system or intestinal tract. If this is the case, the best thing to do would be to consult a vet ASAP.
Similarly, it is not common for a dog’s stool to be inconsistent in terms of timing and frequency. Dog owners should monitor and keep track of whether their pet has had a bowel movement and note any unusual discrepancies.
Dry, hard stools can occur when the colon absorbs too much water, or if the colon muscles are too slow.
Sluggish movement causes the stool to go through the colon too slowly, resulting in constipation. Your puppy’s dry poops are likely a sign of dehydration or insufficient exercise.
They may also be indicative of a blockage in the intestines that needs immediate attention. This is caused by swallowing inedible or large objects, such as pacifiers or roach baits, and will usually be accompanied by stomach pain, inability to pass stool, and vomiting.
The cause of dry and crumbly dog poop is likely because the dog is not getting enough fiber or liquids in their diet.
It could also be a lack of exercise, so keeping them active to keep their insides healthy is essential. These are the most common causes that can be fixed relatively easily with a bit of research and the proper diet and activity levels.
If this is the state of your dog’s poop, it is best to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to avoid further damage. White, chalky poop can mean a problem with your dog’s gallbladder, intestines, or pancreas.
There are different consistencies of dog poop, and all of them say something about your dog’s health.
If there are abnormalities in your dog’s feces as well as a change in their demeanor, eating habits, or energy levels– these are all causes for concern.
Much like a human’s bowel movements, the consistency (as well as volume) is a major indicator. For dogs, there are stages of poop from hard to soft: read on below to see what it says about your dog and their digestive tract!
And yes, be aware that visual examples may be incoming.
Grainy Dog Poop
Poop that is grainy is often a symptom of a dog that is suffering from gastroenteritis (an inflammation of the GI tract) or colitis (inflammation of the colon).
Both of these conditions are relatively minor in most cases, and as long as the dog seems otherwise fine in all regards (has good energy, is eating well, isn’t vomiting or having bloody stools) then grainy poop isn’t a particularly worrisome issue.
Grainy dog poop can also be a sign of food that hasn’t been digested properly, or of parasitic infection.
A healthy poop will be well-formed, slightly moist, easy to pick up and leave no trace behind. A solid poop that leaves no trace behind means that everything runs smoothly inside and your dog is on a healthy path.
If your dog’s stool is loose, it may indicate that you have recently changed their diet and are adjusting to the changes, or are eating foods that aren’t good for them.
A loose bowel movement occasionally isn’t a big deal, but if your dog has runny stools repeatedly it’s definitely something to consider since they can become dehydrated quickly.
There are other reasons that your dog may have runny stools as well, and all of them warrant an appointment with your dog’s vet:
- Intestinal worms or parasites that may be present in your dog
- Bacterial infection in the digestive tract
- Parvo, a highly contagious virus that causes an infection in the GI tract of puppies in particular
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Food allergy
- Obstruction (such as a ham bone) lodged in the digestive tract
- Vaccination side effect in puppies
Mucus-filled, loose stool can indicate a bigger problem, such as parvovirus or parasites.
If you notice worms or eggs in stool this is also a massive indication of parasites, and your dog needs to be taken to the vet immediately.
Black, tarry, red, yellow, or green stool could mean bleeding and a problem in the anal region or intestines.
As these colors can result from digested blood, stool like this can indicate cancer or an injury in the dog’s intestinal tract and should be looked into immediately.
In this case, it is useful to keep a sample of the dog’s stool to take to the vet for further analysis.
Since your dog’s poop color matters just as much as the consistency, let’s discuss what it can mean if the stool is an abnormal color.
Black stool can indicate that there is blood in your dog’s poop, although this is not always the case.
It is also not always the case that blood in the stool will be bright red and readily apparent. Typically, dark, tarry colored poop can mean that there is blood present and that the issue is in the digestive tract, small intestines, or stomach.
Other causes for black stool can be the ingestion of toxins, liver dysfunction, or if you have recently given your dog activated charcoal.
Green poop can be an indication that your dog has rapid bowel transit, which is when the food moves too quickly through the digestive tract. Since it moves so quickly, the liver doesn’t absorb the usual bile.
Green poop can also be the result of eating grass or green-colored dental treats.
As indicated above, white chalky poop signifies an issue with your dog’s gallbladder, intestines, or pancreas. There is a likelihood that the dog’s body is not producing the necessary enzymes that it should be.
Orange stool is a good indicator that your dog has just eaten a large number of carrots that has temporarily turned its poop the same color.
Keep an eye on the color, and if your dog loves carrots, hold off on giving them as a treat until you know whether it is a more severe issue.
It can also be an indication that the dog has pancreatitis, if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as a bloated stomach, stomach pain, and lethargy.
Red poop is likely an indication of blood being present.
If it is bright red blood, it is more than likely due to bleeding in the large intestine or anal glands.
The cause for the bleeding can vary between worm infestation, inflammation of the large intestine lining, or other injuries or causes relating to the large intestine.
Red in the stool can also mean that something is stuck, such a pin, bone, or something else the dog has ingested. The only other reason for red poop is if your dog ate something dark red in significant quantities.
Blood in a dog’s stool can also resemble coffee grounds and appear darker- almost black- if it has been partially digested.
Another great way to keep tabs on your dog’s health is to track the number of times they poop each day, and to monitor if that number remains consistent.
Like with people, regular bowel movements in dogs are a good thing and indicate that everything inside is working as it should be. If your dog begins pooping more or less than usual, it may mean that something is wrong.
If your dog’s poops are increasing, it could simply be that they are eating more food than usual.
Perhaps you are increasing their food portions, or someone else in the house is giving them more treats (Reese’s Pieces!) than usual.
It can however also mean that they are not digesting or absorbing food properly.
It is most likely that they are eating more than usual, and as it is bad for them to carry extra weight make sure they have a set feeding schedule.
If your dog is pooping less frequently, it could be because they are not eating as much as before.
It could be that another animal is eating their food.
If that’s not a possibility, it may be eating less food if you’ve recently switched to a new brand, or if it has simply gotten tired of the food they are always being fed.
If you have changed their food, it may not enjoy the new meal as much and is therefore eating less. If the food is an improved product, it is also possible that it is more nutritious- resulting in a smaller amount of overall food intake needed.
There is a right way to collect a stool sample from your dog if you are concerned and need to take it to the vet for analysis.
Make sure to use a clean bag and put the poop in a plastic container with a lid and store it in the fridge until you leave for the vet. Do not use a stick or other potentially contaminated article to put poop in a bag, as this may spoil the results.
If the poop is runny, consider using a clean plastic spoon to scoop some poop into a container. Anything you use to collect poop is to be thrown out after, and you should wash your hands thoroughly.
As mentioned already, take your dog to the vet if you think there is something medically wrong; do not try to guess your way through it!
However, there are some home remedies you can use to help your dog’s stool return to normal if it’s been inconsistent for a short while.
Like it or not, diarrhea is a natural part of all animals’ bodies when toxins need to be flushed out. If being runny is the only issue with your dog’s poop, you can do the following things to help:
- Drink water to help keep fluid levels up. Dehydration is a nasty side-effect of diarrhea, and it can cause a slew of ailments from fatigue to organ failure. Ensure your dog drinks plenty of water, adding broth if need be, to entice them into drinking.
- Pumpkin is excellent for the runs, and dogs love it. You can buy canned pumpkin at the grocery store and add it to their meals, or simply give it straight. Add pumpkin according to your dog’s size to help ease stomach upset. It is also full of vitamins and minerals and loads of fiber to keep your dog healthy.
- Raw Goat milk is a good supplement when a dog has an upset stomach. It enhances nutrients and minerals and aids in digestion for animals with stomach sensitivity issues. Raw goat milk is also great for hydration because dogs love the taste. Also, raw goat milk helps with sensitive skin issues in dogs as well.
- Activated charcoal will help with the treatment of dog intoxication; find it at almost all drug stores. Follow directions depending on your dog’s weight and add to your pet’s drinking water. Before using this product, you’ll want to check with your vet first to see if it is truly appropriate for the situation.
A healthy dog will produce darkish brown poop that is firm (but not too hard) and which will leave no mark on the ground when you pick it up. It will have an odor, but it shouldn’t be incredibly intense.
For poop that tells you that your dog is healthy, keep your puppy well hydrated, set a lean diet appropriate for their size and breed, and give them lots of exercise.
A dog that produces regular, healthy poop will be a happier, healthier dog, so it’s best to keep a regular eye on your dog’s stools.
It will help you determine if they are getting enough nutrients, whether they are free of infestations, and if their organs and intestines are in good health.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.