Everything you need to know about dog poop

From colour to consistency, shape to size… Here’s everything you didn't want to know, but need to know, about dog poop.

From colour to consistency, shape to size… Here’s everything you didn't want to know, but need to know, about dog poop.

Written by
Mubina Pirmohamed
Insurance expert
5 min read
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Why is a dog’s poop important? 

Your dog’s poo perhaps isn’t something you want to think about, let alone look at, in too much detail, but it can be a good clue to your pet’s overall health. 

Knowing what your dog’s poop should look like will help you quickly identify any issues. That way you can make sure your dog stays in tip-top condition.

What should dog poop ideally look like? 

This is going to depend on your pet. Each dog is different, so it’s about knowing what’s normal for your animal. Get to know what’s typical for him – that way, you can tell at a glance if things aren’t looking as they should.

Your dog’s poo: what to look for 

When it comes to healthy dog poop, there are certain things you should be looking for in terms of shape, size, colour and consistency, here’s what you need know: 

What colour should dog poop be? 

Dog’s poo can come in all kinds of colours: yellow, black – even green, if they’ve been eating too much grass. But ideally it should be a chocolatey shade of brown. 

What size should my dog’s poop be? 

This will depend how big your dog is, and how much they eat. You may also find it changes according to what type of food they eat – tinned food may lead to larger, softer poos than dried food, while raw food can cause constipation in some dogs. 

What consistency should dog poop be? 

Dog poo should be smooth and easy to pick up. If it’s very hard, like a pebble, your dog may be dehydrated or constipated. Anything too liquid indicates that your dog has diarrhoea. 

What shape should dog poop be? 

Generally speaking, a log shape is ideal.

How to tell if your dog is constipated  

If your dog strains to poop, it could well mean they are constipated. This is something you should keep an eye on, as if he gets too bunged up, it could potentially be serious.

If it’s been a couple of days and your dog still hasn’t pooped, call the vet, who may give you dog laxatives. If the laxatives don’t work, your dog may have to go in for an enema. This is something your pet insurance will likely cover.  

There are lots of reasons your dog might be constipated, some more serious than others. A change in diet is enough to give some dogs constipation. It can also be fairly common in older dogs

What does it mean if my dog has diarrhoea? 

Diarrhoea in dogs isn’t uncommon, but that’s not to say you should ignore it. There are lots of reasons your dog might have an upset stomach. Here are some of them:

  • Eating the wrong food – this could be something not intended for dogs, but even switching to a different brand of dog food can cause the runs.
  • Drinking contaminated water – dogs often drink from puddles and ponds, which can cause tummy upsets.
  • Taking medication – certain medicines can affect your dog’s stools.

If your dog’s diarrhoea is persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms, like vomiting or lethargy, you should see your vet. Similarly, if your pet has bloody diarrhoea, make an appointment with your vet.

What should I do if my dog’s poop has blood in it? 

If you find blood in your dog’s stool, it’s a sign that something is wrong. This could be something as simple as a cut around the anus, or it could mean a digestive problem. 

Either way, if your puppy is pooping blood, it’s a sign that you need to call the vet.

Frequently asked questions

Why does my dog eat poop?

Dogs can be pretty gross creatures, eating other animals’ poop, or even the contents of a baby’s nappy. There are a few theories as to why your dog might do this. It might be that your dog is: 

  • Greedy
  • Unwell
  • Looking for attention
  • Anxious

But lots of dogs do this at some point or another, so it usually isn’t something to worry about too much.

What does it mean if my dog is scooting around on its bum?

If your dog is scooting around on its bottom, it could mean that something in its anal area is itchy, sore, or irritated. Have a quick look to see if there’s an obvious cause. 

Scooting is often a sign that your dog has worms. If you’re not sure, consult your vet.

My new puppy has diarrhoea – is this normal?

Dealing with puppy diarrhoea isn’t much fun. However, there are a number of reasons it could be happening. It’s always worth ruling out the following:

  • A change in diet

A new brand of dog food, or switching to a different diet, is likely to affect your puppy’s poo. Think about whether they’ve eaten anything new in the past couple of days.

  • Stress

Puppies can get anxious, particularly in new environments. Have you taken them anywhere out of the ordinary?

  • Parasites

Puppies can get parasites, which sometimes give them diarrhoea. If you think this could be the problem, take your puppy to the vet. 

Keep an eye out for other symptoms, too. Is your puppy vomiting? How is he in himself? Is he energetic and cheerful? If not, there may be something wrong.

There are worms in my dog’s poo – what do I do?

Dogs are prone to getting worms. You may spot what look like small grains of rice in your dog’s poo, in which case, you’ll need to call the vet for treatment. 

But worms aren’t always visible to the human eye. So here are some other signs to look for:  

  • A bloated belly
  • Your dog being hungry all the time, but still losing weight
  • Scooting along the ground 

Worms can make your dog pretty sick, so it’s best to get them treated as quickly as possible.

Why do dogs roll in poop?

If you take your dog for a walk in the countryside, you may notice that he likes to roll in cow pats – or, even worse, fox poo. What’s the reason for this?

Some people say it’s your dog trying to hide its own scent, so he can be a better hunter. Others say it’s a way of marking the territory with their own scent. Another theory is that, well, they just like the smell of poo…

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