An important health indicator of your pet is their faeces. The ideal stool is log shaped, holds its shape, has a squishy consistency, and is chocolate brown in colour. So, what can we tell by the appearance of our pet’s faeces? When looking at your pet’s faeces, there are 5 indicators to look at.
The first indicator is the colour
A normal stool will have a brown colour. Different shades are acceptable, though the most seen colour is chocolate brown.
If your pet has green stool, there could be several reasons for this. Green stool is seen when a pet has parasites, gallbladder issues, or an intestinal infection. The issue could also be less severe, for example when they have eaten too much grass. If your pet continues to eat a lot of grass, this could point to stress or stomach issues.
This colour is usually seen when there are liver or bile duct issues. When your pet has yellow or orange stool which can not be explained by their diet, a vet appointment should be made. A slight yellow brown colour is most likely normal. In some cases, orange stool can be explained by eating certain foods, like pumpkin or carrot. In raw-fed dogs orange poop might happen if there is too much organ meat in their diet.
When your pet’s stool is either pinkish or red, a vet appointment needs to be made. This colour of stool is seen when a pet has intestinal issues, infections, polyps, or trauma to their rectum.
Purple stool can be seen when your pet has eaten some richly coloured vegetables. If your pet hasn’t eaten anything that could explain the colour, a vet visit is needed. As cats are obligate carnivores, the chances of them eating vegetables that could explain the purple colour are minimal, so when a cat has a purple stool, they need to be seen by a vet.
This colour of faeces can be seen if a pet has too much fat in their diet. It could also mean that your pet has bile duct issues or a pancreatic problem.
As digested blood turns black, black stool usually indicates bleeding in the upper GI tract or stomach. If you notice your pet is having black stool, they need to see a vet as soon as possible. In raw fed dogs stool might turn dark or black if there is a high percentage of (darker) meat in their diet, like beef or venison. It can also be seen when organ meat is fed like liver.
When faeces are white, this is usually a sign of too much calcium in the pet’s diet. This color in stool is often seen when a pet ate a bone.
The second indicator is consistency
A healthy stool is log shaped, and has a squishy consistency, but holds its form. Other forms of stool you might see in your pet are:
When a pet has diarrhoea, the stool will have no form and will be watery. There are many reasons why a pet has diarrhoea, from simple things like a change of diet to more severe underlying health issues. Ongoing and/or severe diarrhoea needs to be investigated. Diarrhoea in young, or old animals, requires a swift vet visit due to the risk of dehydration. If the diarrhoea is combined with odd colours or blood, it will require an emergency vet visit.
Constipation, hard stool
When a pet has a hard stool, the stool will usually have the shape of a ball or several small balls. This is often seen when a pet’s diet lacks fibre, or they are dehydrated. Underlying reasons could also be kidney or digestive issues. If your pet has an ongoing hard stool or is constipated, a vet visit is needed to find the underlying issue of the hard stool.
The amount of stool your pet produces should relate to the amount they eat. A sudden drop or rise in amount could indicate an issue.
The third indicator is content
When looking at your pet’s faeces, have a look at the content that might be in, and on it. If you spot white specks or rice-like dots, it could mean that your pet is having parasites. If your pet has parasites, it will need to be dewormed. Faeces that have lots of inedible bits, like plastic or other unusual objects, could mean that your pet has a (partial) blockage. If you have a pet that tends to eat inedible objects, make sure to keep your house tidy and anything inedible out of reach. A pet that over-grooms might have furry faeces. In rare cases, when a pet ingests too much fur, they can end up with a blockage. Red streaks are often caused by a tear or trauma at the anus and need to be investigated.
The fourth indicator is coating
If your pet’s faeces have a mucus coating, this is a sign of inflammation, often linked to gastrointestinal issues. There could be several reasons for the inflammation, like parasites, a virus, or allergies. An investigation will be needed to determine the cause and treat the underlying issue.
The fifth indicator is smell
If your pet’s stool suddenly has an unusual smell, this could indicate a digestive problem. If the issue is ongoing, this needs to be investigated.
Dog and cat poop
Not the most favourite topic of many pet owners, but an important indicator of our pets’ health. Through this article, we hope to have pointed out the importance of tracking your pet’s toilet habits and give an idea of what different types of stools could mean. When caring for pets, we always keep a close eye on their stool, and in the daily report, this also will be mentioned. If you wish to know more about our puppy sitting, dog walking, pet relocation or dog training services, feel free to contact us.