Your Dog's Waste & His Health
Some characteristics of stool to become familiar with are color, consistency, frequency and any additions like blood, mucus or non-food materials.
Color of stools may vary slightly, so get to know what's normal for your pet. Bright red kibble may result in red poop due to food dyes. Bowel movements that are green may be due to infections, while gray can indicate digestion problems. Stools containing fresh, red blood occur with bleeding in the colon or rectum, while those that are dark and tar-like suggest bleeding in the stomach or upper intestinal tract. Certain material like plants, hair, bones, or plastic may come out in the stool virtually unchanged. This material can give you insight into your pet's eating habits, which may need monitoring.
Loose stool or an increase in volume or frequency signals diarrhea. Causes of diarrhea can be due to parasites, viruses, raiding the garbage or systemic illness. An occasional bout of diarrhea is not usually worrisome. However, if it doesn't clear up within a couple days, keeps recurring, or if your pet acts sick, it's time to seek veterinary help.
If you look down and see white wigglers, think worms. Tapeworms look like white rice or, if dried out, like sesame seeds. Roundworms may look like spaghetti. Giardia, coccidia and other intestinal parasites may cause loose, cow pie-type stools containing mucus or blood. Parasites can be transmitted to people so use proper hygiene when cleaning up. To diagnose what creature inhabits the intestines of your pet, take a stool sample to your veterinarian. Changes in your pet's stool or habits should prompt you to talk with your veterinarian, especially if the change is accompanied by pain, weight loss, or a pet that acts sick.