While it might not be the most exciting part of owning a dog, your four-legged friend's poo can tell you a lot about their health. Normal, healthy dog poo tends to be firm and a little moist.
Making yourself familiar with what your dog's normal, healthy stool looks like means you'll be able to look out for any changes and be alert to health problems that might not have shown up in your pooch's behaviour yet.
However, even if you know what your dog's stool should look like, identifying changes and deciding what they mean can be confusing.
So, the experts from the pet healthcare specialist Bob Martin take you through the most frequently Googled questions about dog poo, so you'll know exactly what you should be looking for.
Why is there blood in my dog's poo?
It's natural to become worried if you see blood in your dog's poop, but it's important to remember that there are lots of things that could be causing this.
Common reasons for finding blood in your dog's stools include constipation, allergies, eating something unsuitable for their digestive system, bacterial or viral infection, injury or colitis.
It is also possible that it could be a sign of something more serious like cancer, haemorrhagic gastroenteritis, or blockages, so you should check with your vet to make sure that these conditions can be ruled out.
If it's possible to take a sample of your dog's poop to show to your vet, this will help them decide what the problem might be.
Your vet can then help you make changes to your dog's diet which could alleviate the issue, such as adding more fluid to stop dehydration, which can exacerbate any dietary issues.
What causes worms in dog poo?
Keeping an eye on your dog's poo is a good way of spotting if they have worms. In the very early stages of infection, the worms are hidden inside your dog's gut, so it is very difficult to tell they are there.
But later, mature tapeworms start shedding segments filled with eggs, which then irritate your poor pooch's bottom as they poo.
When your dog has pooped, the worms appear like grains of rice in their stool, so this is what you should be looking for as a warning sign.
Another clear sign of worms is your dog dragging their bottom along the floor, also known as 'scooting'.
This is due to the irritation caused by the worms. As well as keeping an eye on their stools, make sure to deworm your pup by giving them a high-quality worming treatment regularly.
Why is my dog's poo white?
There are quite a few different things that could cause your pooch's poo to turn white, so it's useful to think about your dog's diet, any medication, and whether they could've picked up a parasitic infection.
Conditions that can lead to white poo are things like high calcium diets or other dietary issues, medication side effects, or illness.
High calcium diets can trigger digestive problems, which in turn leads to white poop. Raw diets are especially high in calcium, and this can cause white or very pale stools that are also hard.
This is because too much calcium results in poorer digestion, and constipation. So, examine your dog's diet first off, to see whether it needs tweaking to aid proper digestion.
Lastly, be aware that very white or pale grey poop can be a sign of internal illness, as it means your pup is not digesting their food properly.
For instance, the liver produces bile that turns poo brown, but if this isn't being produced, or the gallbladder isn’t pumping it through the pup's digestive system, white poo will result.
Light grey poo can be caused by a pancreas not working properly. If you are concerned about either of these scenarios, definitely check with your vet.
Why is my dog's poo yellow?
Usually, yellow poo is a sign of food intolerance in your dog, so if you spot it, it's a good idea to consider any changes you might have made to their diet recently.
If you’ve changed their brand of food, what extra treats you give them, consider reversing the change until you know what the problem might be.
If the problem persists, consult your vet to see if they can help you identify specific food intolerances that might be upsetting your pooch's stomach.
It's also possible that your dog has snacked on something they shouldn't have while out on a walk, or exploring the garden.
So, if you haven’t made any changes to their diet recently, this might be the reason. Monitor them for a few days, and if their stools go back to normal, then they have digested the strange food — you can also double-check this with your vet if you're unsure.
What does mucus in dog poo mean?
Other digestive issues, such as mucus in your dog's poo, can also cause their stools to look pale or white. Again, examine your dog's diet, and if you're worried they may have eaten something unsuitable on a walk, check with your vet.
Often, this can be easy to mix up with white or pale grey stools, but mucus won't make your dog's poop as pale as things like internal illness, so remember that you're looking for a less exaggerated colour.
Mucus in your dog's poo means that they are not digesting their food properly. This could be due to a change in diet, or a reaction to medicine.
As usual, your first reaction should be to analyse their diet, but you should also consider if anything else might be disturbing their digestive system. Regular mealtimes will aid good digestion, and reducing your dog's stress levels will also help.
What causes green dog poo?
Green dog poo may be caused by poisons or parasites, but it's actually far more likely that this is just happening because your dog has eaten too much grass! They might do this while on walks, or while they are running around in the garden.
Dogs will often snack on things while out and about, and sometimes it can be tricky to keep track of what exactly they are eating.
Your dog eating more grass than usual isn't anything to worry about, as it's usually harmless, but if you're concerned about the quantity you can take them to the vet for a check-up.
If your dog is displaying symptoms such as vomiting or acting restlessly, then you should always take them to the vet to check that their digestive system is working correctly.
It may be that they have simply eaten too much grass, and need to take it easy for a few days, or they may have accidentally consumed another plant that isn't so suitable for dogs.
Chris Socratous, Brand Manager at Bob Martin says:
"While it might not be the most pleasant task, checking your dog's poo regularly will help you spot any problems, such as worms, early on. So, it's important to make a point of taking a quick look each time before you pick it up and dispose of it.
"Even if you don't see any signs of worms in your dog's poo, remember that it's still important to worm your pet regularly. Prevention is always better than cure, so by keeping up to date with their worming treatments, you can stop any problems before they start."
"Some types of worms can actually pass from dogs to humans, even though it's quite rare. You can protect yourself by being careful not to touch your dog's poo — using a scooping tool can help — and by washing or sanitising your hands as soon as possible after disposing of it."
"Cleaning up the poo quickly will reduce the chances of your pet then trying to eat it, so make sure that you have the proper equipment to clean up after your dog to hand. Installing a biodegradable waste disposal system in your garden can make the process easier."