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What Should Puppy Poop Look Like?

Puppy poop; the less you see it, the better right? Puppy stool may not be the most pleasant topic, but healthy puppy poop is a sign of a healthy puppy.

One way for dog parents to track their puppies’ health problems is by taking a good look at their poop. A puppy’s poop indicates what’s going on in their bodies and, most vets use it to evaluate its well-being.

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Evaluating Puppy Poop

Puppy poop tells a lot as it is the direct result of the things they ingest. As a new and young puppy parent, you probably are more familiar with your pup’s mess; after all, you must be cleaning a lot of it every day.

If you are well-attuned to the poop’s appearance, you may be able to see poop that just looks wrong sometimes. But for you to notice that something’s not right means that you must be checking for something, right?

Well, when evaluating your pup’s poop, here are some of the things you should watch out for.

1. Color

A healthy puppy stool should range from medium to a chocolate-brown color. Any color besides brown should be alarming.

A dog’s normal digestion involves the gall bladder releasing bile juice to help break down the food. The bile juice has a pigment known as bilirubin that causes abnormal poop color, which could be due to diet, hydration, or dyes in your pet’s food.

puppy learning to poop in the correct place_andre valentim_shutterstock
Image Credit: Andre Valentim, Shutterstock

Some of the alarming color patterns include:

  • Black – A dark or nearly black poop is an indication that the pup is bleeding high up in the gastrointestinal tract. It may result from ulcers, cancer, or a tumor in the stomach or small intestines.
  • Red or Blood Streaked – A red tinge in your puppy’s stool could be fresh blood, which is a sign of bleeding in the lower part of the digestive tract-probably the large intestine or anal glands. However, the red coloration could be because your pup has ingested something with a robust dye or medication. Similarly, bloody stool could be a sign of parasite infestation as parasites like giardia and coccidia produce blood in the poop. Parvo also causes blood-streaked stools and may require surgery.  The good thing is, you can’t ignore a bloody puppy poop because, while regular poo has an odor, the blood-streaked stool has a nastier smell.
  • Grey or Yellow – Although rare, grey or yellow dog poo that appears greasy may indicate issues with the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, or food sensitivity that warrants immediate medical attention.
  • Green – If you notice green matter, then your puppy is eating plenty of grass. Although grass isn’t much of an issue, it could indicate an upset system.
  • White – White puppy stool is normal, especially if it’s been sitting on the ground for some time. Sometimes, puppy stool turns white if it eats lots of calcium from feeding on too many bones or a raw diet. You may want to puppy-proof your home because white poop could also result from eating paper towels or tissue paper. Although not alarming, if the matter begins showing in the stool, your pet could be constipating due to blockage.
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2. Consistency/Texture

Usually, vets use a numerical system from 1-7 to assign scores to a puppy’s stool. A score of 1 indicates hard pellets, while 7 is a puddle. An ideal puppy stool score is 2-a firm, not soft or hard, and a segmented piece that often appears caterpillar-shaped.

dog poop_xtotha_shutterstock
Image Credit: Xtotha, Shutterstock
  • Formless and Soft – This is often a score of 7, which means the puppy is suffering from diarrhea, a liquid puddle of poop that has no form at all. Formless stool means that the large intestines are not reabsorbing excess water or the pup has ingested something other than puppy food. Watery diarrhea could be a sign of parasites or a viral infection such as parvo. And, if other symptoms such as vomiting accompany watery diarrhea, check for dehydration. Dehydration is common in puppies and may require emergency vet care.
  • Hard Stool – Hard poo that is painful to pass may indicate constipation. Most constipation causes include stress, mainly due to moving homes, lack of fiber in the diet, and lack of water prompting dehydration. Constipation also occurs if your puppy swallows a stiff object that blocks the intestinal tract or if matted-hair blocks your pup’s anus. You may require to clip or shave the fur around your puppy’s anus to create room to pass poop. A super-hard or super-soft stool is usually no cause for concern, especially if the pet’s behavior is regular. However, find a vet if it persists for over a day.
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3. Content

Unfortunately, puppies are curious, and just like infant humans, there’s no telling what they may swallow as they explore their surroundings.

However, there’s only one way to get the inside of a poop-dissecting it. Normal stool shouldn’t look otherwise on the inside, but here are some peculiar contents you may find:

  • Intestinal Parasites – You may find roundworms, which look like long and skinny spaghetti-like fragments. On the other hand, tapeworms appear tiny and rice-shaped and usually come out in segments. Check for signs of worms, although they do may not always show beforehand. Once they start showing in your pup’s poo, they’ve been in its body for quite some time. You may also notice eggs around the anus after it releases the segments.
  • Foreign Materials – You may not know that your puppy is digging in the trash until you find bits of grass, sock bits, rocks, tiny sticks, bits of bark, seeds, and plastic. Most dogs experience pica, the eating of non-food objects. Luckily, seeing them in the stool means that your dog may not need surgery to remove them. Also, you may notice whole pieces of food in the stool, which may result from absorption and digestion issues. Whole food pieces are typical among young puppies as they are still getting used to ingesting solid food, and their system is still adapting to the switch from milk, to soft food, to kibbles. Plus, dogs generally find some foods like corn, wheat, or soy difficult to digest, and you may require to reconsider your puppy’s diet altogether.
  • Fur – If you notice hairy stool, it is a sign that you need to groom your puppy. Puppies may ingest excess fur in their food due to stress, allergies, skin disease, or even loneliness.
Dog pooping
Image Credit: Kittibowornphatnon, Shutterstock
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4. Coating

  • Mucus – Puppy stool shouldn’t have a covering or a film such as mucus over it. A filmy appearance or if you tend to leave a trail after picking poop indicates that bowel inflammation or parasite infestation. Diarrhea and blood-streaks often accompany such stool, which indicates that your puppy is straining to defecate.
  • Greasy Appearance – A greasy stool is a sign of too much fat in the pup’s system. You could be feeding it excess fat or an indication of an underlying health problem, although liver problems and pancreatitis are most common in mature dogs. Consult your vet if it persists for over a day.
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5. Quantity & Frequency

It’s normal if your puppy defecates five times a day as the younger the puppy, the more the bowel movement. The frequency reduces with age to just a couple per day or once a day if it reaches adulthood.

If you think your pup is pooping more than you think, check if you are overfeeding it, if the food is highly fibrous, excess treats, or consider a change in puppy food.

You’ll have a baseline from which to begin if you monitor how often your healthy puppy defecates in a day by counting the number of poop it produces within 24 hours. The quantity and frequency of poop do not indicate a medical concern-your pup is healthy as long as the poo is consistent.

However, the size of your puppy’s poop should be relative to its size and weight. You should find smaller or larger than normal stool concerning as small poop may indicate constipation while huge stool may reveal that the pup’s absorption capacity is failing.

Dog with Poop Bag
Image Credit: otsphoto, shutterstock

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Summary

While it’s vital to monitor every dog’s stool throughout their lives, it is imperative throughout their puppy ages as they tend to be more prone to a host of health issues during this stage. As gross as it may be, it’ll help you discover underlying health issues and help you create a befitting diet for your puppy friend.

There’s no need for immediate worry if you notice unfamiliar stool, as long as your puppy is feeding, drinking, and behaving normally. However, it would be best to alert your vet if the issues do not clear within 24 hours.

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Featured Image: Chaisit Rattanachusri, Shutterstock