October 15, 2013

Let’s Talk About Poo

Posted in: Dog

Before Toby, when I saw people picking up their dog’s poo I would say to myself, ‘That’s disgusting.’ Now with Toby, most days start off with a walk to the park, a coffee in one hand and a bag of poo in the other. I have come a long way. Andrew on the other hand hates picking up Toby’s poo. Before he picks it up, he will search for the nearest bin, calculate how quickly he can get there if he sprints and then picks it up, complaining like a child the whole time. It’s such an ordeal for him.

Did you know that your dog’s poo is a great way to see if they are healthy? Your dog may look and act perfectly fine but what comes out from their bottom may be a different story.

Dog’s poo will vary depending on what you are feeding them.  But the bottom line is (pun intended), healthy stool should be firm and leave very little of the ground when you pick it up and healthy poo also doesn’t give off an offensive odor.

Healthy dog poop should never be completely liquid, covered in blood, coloured mucus or look like thick black paint or tar. If your dog is producing this kid of poo, you should know something isn’t right.

Let’s have a look at what could possibly come out of your dog’s bottom and what that means.

Diarrhoea
This is an obvious one and all dogs are going to experience it at some stage or another and usually it is nothing serious. However, if it is an occurring thing, happening a few times a week, then something isn’t right. If your dog does have diarrhoea it could be because:

– they have an infection

– they have a bad diet

– your dog is allergic to an ingredient in its food

– they can’t digest lactose in milk products

– they have ingested something toxic

– they have worms

Constipation

There are many reasons for constipation but the most important thing to remember to reduce constipation is make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water. Reasons why your pooch may suffer from constipation is because:

– you are feeding them a very high-fibre diet to a dog who doesn’t drink enough water to hydrate the fibre

– they have consumed indigestible items like wool, hair, plants, rocks, kitty litter

– they are not getting enough exercise

– they are obese, have diabetes, renal disease or liver problems

– your dog is locked in the house all day may also become constipated from holding onto faeces too long

Straining
Anything that causes constipation could cause straining, plus any inflammation of the colon, rectum, or perianal region.

Poo that is flat on one side
An enlarged prostate can press against male dog’s rectum, causing him to strain and then pass a stool that appears flat on one side due to squeezing past the obstacle. It may also have a squishy or mushy consistency, for the same reason. If you see one-side-flattened feces, have your dog’s prostate checked.

Greasy poo
This is a sign that your dog is not digesting the fat in their food.

Extremely stinky poo
Excessively stinky stools can occur for variety of reasons. Dogs that have a high meat diet give off the worst odar when making a movement. Beans and some cruciferous vegetables may cause flatulence, due to certain starches that break down poorly in the intestinal tract. Food allergies or sensitivities can result in smelly gas and stool, too. Intestinal parasites, and viruses.

Odd contents
Poop may at times contain indigestible food chunks such as raw carrot, whole nuts, or unchewed (whole) seeds. Grass is also common; dogs eat it for many reasons, one of which is to help them clear out problems in their digestive tract or to make themselves vomit because they feel sick.

Mucus
Mucus means an irritated colon. The trouble can range from mild to severe, and is caused by common culprits–“wrong” bacteria, parasites, viruses, sticks passing through, etc. If it doesn’t clear up after a bowel movement or two, you’ll need to figure out what’s up.

Absence of stool
If your dog doesn’t make a movement for a day or two, that is usually ok, however if it is longer than that or a regular occurance, they it could indicate a serious problem such as blockage due to an indigestible item consumed and there is a high chance they will need surgery.

Blood in the poo
This is definitely not a good thing to find in your dog’s feasces. It could have been caused by the dog having swallowed something that’s causing damage in the GI tract, or by a severe food allergy. It can also signify other problems, such as cancer. Red blood or mucus that looks like raspberry jam can indicate life-threatening disease. When you see bloody stool, have your dog seen by your vet right away.

Toby’s stools are pretty regular, sometimes they can be softer than usual but that has to do with the fact that Toby’s mince wasn’t completely cooked in the microwave the night before. How you experienced or are you experiencing concerns with your dog’s stools?