Dog outside in a yellow field of flowers.

It might seem like the staff at BEEVET Animal Hospital is a little bit too into your dog’s poop, especially when we ask you to bring in samples to your visits. The truth is that your pet’s feces can tell us a lot about your their overall health. Keep reading to learn all about healthy dog poop.

Healthy Dog Poop

While maybe not the most delightful substance, dog feces are a natural byproduct of metabolism. They are made of water, undigested material, and biological waste products, including bile and bilirubin, which give it its characteristic brown color.

While normal variations exist, healthy dog poop has some common qualities. If you are wondering what your dog’s poop should look like, you should be seeing:

  • A brown color
  • A soft, formed consistency, often segmented
  • Uniform content
  • No extraneous coating such as blood or mucous

Keeping tabs on what is normal for your dog can be very helpful. How often does your pet defecate? Is there any straining? Does your pet have good control of their bowels? All of this information can be good information for you to share.

Dog Stool Tests

It may not seem important to bring a sample of your pet’s stool to its next exam, but the fecal examination can be a very important part of your pet’s routine health care. 

When you bring us a sample of poop, we are able to evaluate overall health. We can also perform testing for intestinal parasites. Many pets are infected with some type of parasite at some point in their life. Some of these can even be contagious to people. 

Routine dog stool tests can help to eliminate these infections, increasing your pet’s quality of life. In fact CAPC (the Companion Animal Parasite Council) recommends that fecal exams be performed on all puppies and kittens four times during the first year of life and two times per year in adult years.

Pets can be exposed to intestinal parasites via other animals in the same environment (stray dogs and cats, foxes, coyotes). This can happen when they are doing things such as eating off of the ground, drinking out of standing water, grooming themselves, and playing with items on the ground. Sometimes parasites are also transmitted when dogs and cats eat infected prey such as rabbits or mice.

Thankfully, many pets are on a monthly preventive product that helps to eliminate some infections. There is not any product in existence that is perfect, however, and no single product protects against all types of parasites. Because parasite infections can greatly affect your pet’s health (and put your family at risk), be sure to bring along that stool sample to your next veterinarian visit. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

When to Worry

While there can be normal variations in your dog’s stools, there are some variations that should make you worry.

Call us right away if your dog:

  • Is straining to defecate
  • Is having accidents in the house
  • Is having very watery stools or diarrhea more than twice in 24 hours
  • Has noticeable blood in the stool 
  • If there is visible foreign material or fur in the stool
  • If you see worms (yuck!)

Dog poop may not be the world’s most pleasant topic, but it is an important one. Abnormal stools can indicate digestive malfunctions, parasites, and other metabolic and endocrine conditions. If you think something is wrong, we should definitely check it out. After all, you have the scoop on your dog’s poop!