The Down and Dirty on Poop

by Rebecca Reid • Posted in: Awareness/ PR, Education

bobo-whatpoopsaysDog poop may not be the most appetizing of subjects, but if you want to keep your dog as fit and healthy as possible then it’s important to monitor their bowel movements. All responsible dog owners will agree that when it comes to dog poop, it’s important to check it and it’s important to pick it up and dispose of it properly.

Dog poop that is left on the ground is the third largest cause of water pollution in the United States, and the US Environmental Protection Agency consider dog poop to be as dangerous to the environment as chemical and oil spills. The easiest way to prevent this problem is to pick up your dog’s droppings, wrap them in a plastic bag so no harmful toxins can seep out, and dispose of them in the nearest trash can.

When you’re scooping your dog’s poop or cleaning out the litter box, be sure to give the feces a once-over. The deposits your animal leaves behind, particularly if you have a young pet, will provide a good indicator of many different aspects of their health.

So what does a healthy  poop actually look like? Here’s everything you need to know:

Tony-PoopLet’s Talk About Consistency

The consistency of your animal’s droppings is an important health indicator. Although there is no such thing as the right consistency for dog poop, you will find that a healthy dog has relatively firm bowel movements. Healthy puppies will have slightly looser poops, because most puppy specialized food formulas are full of a huge number of minerals and vitamins that will loosen the bowel movements.

But as a general rule, a healthy poop should hold its shape and be easy for its owner to pick up and dispose of. If your pet is suffering regularly with diarrhea, this is a sign that something is not right and you’re dealing with a problem. Parasitic worms, food allergies, and even more serious conditions such as cancer all have diarrhea as a key symptom. Tough, brittle poop also indicates a problem: this is often a sign of dehydration. Be sure that your pet has enough water available to him throughout the day and if this doesn’t improve the situation, please seek professional help. 

Snausage-PoopThe Color Is Key

Poop is brown: that seems simple, right? But actually, the color and shade of  poop can tell you a lot about his health. Most animals have a lot of protein in their diet, and if this is true of your four legged friend then it’s likely that their poop will be dark brown. There are a few variants of this theme. If your dog has a green or yellow tinge to their poop then this could be a sign that they have a digestive system issue (usually parasitic worms or another intestinal parasite) and should be seen by your vet.  Alternatively, poops that are black with a tar-like consistency or vibrant with fresh red blood can be a sign of a more serious problem and, again, you should like your animal companion to see the vet. If you do notice a change in the color or consistency of your pet’s poop then it’s always worth getting it checked out if you’re concerned: the sooner any problems are picked up and intervention is started, the more likely it is that the treatment will be a success.

arnold- poopHow Often Should Dogs Poop

Dogs poop fairly regularly, and as a general rule you should expect your puppy to produce a stool twice a day, around an hour after eating. According to the American Animal Hospital, it is normal for a canine to defecate within a short period of time after eating a meal.

Dogs, like children, are creatures of habit so once your pet has set a regular pooping routine (be that once, twice, or three times a day) it should be a cause for concern if they then change their routine and begin going to the bathroom either considerably more or considerably less. If this is the case then head to the vets. Pooping a lot in itself isn’t a cause for concern though. Some dogs do poop a lot, so if you’re concerned about your dog because he goes up to five or six times a day then don’t be. As long as this is normal for your pet, and something that happens regularly, there’s no cause for concern.

Keeping Your Family Safe

Being aware of your dog’s poop is important not only for the four legged members of your family, but for the two legged members as well. Several diseases can be very commonly transmitted through dog poop, such as E coli, roundworms and salmonella. These diseases are very dangerous for your family, particularly if you have young children. The easiest and best way to prevent these illnesses from being spread is to scoop up your dog’s poop as soon as possible and dispose of it properly.

Article written by Emma Gilchrist who after taking a short sabbatical to raise her two children and also look after her menagerie of pets, she now divides her time between writing articles on all sorts of wide ranging topics and teaching her children the joy of looking after animals.