Dogs can be pretty expressive, but when something is ailing them, they may not actively show it.
It’s up to us to determine if something is wrong. And when it comes to that, some of the clearest and most obvious signs of health issues come from observing their poop.
Dogs may not tell you that they’re experiencing tummy pain, but when you know they have “the runs” then it’s time to go for treatment.
What about dog stool?
As a pet owner, it’s important to know what normal poop looks like.
Roughly speaking, any fecal excretion that isn’t solid enough to be held in a person’s hand is a cause for concern. The same concern could be levied if there’s a change in the dog’s bowel movement patterns.
Generally, they should defecate the same number of times that they are fed in a day. Normal poop size can range from 3 to 4 inches long and about 1 inch wide. Healthy dog poop is moist and firm.
At the same time, dog poop normally ranges from light to dark brown.
Different colors are a cause for concern unless you know the dog ingested food that is heavy in artificial colors (in which case the fecal color may be affected).
The smell of normal dog poop shouldn’t change suddenly, too — if it does, either something has changed in your dog’s diet or something changed in how their food was processed. This change is especially apparent when they eat excess fat.
A very sure sign that something is wrong is when you find traces of blood on your dog’s feces. However, fecal blood isn’t always a streak of red.
Sometimes, they appear as dark brown or black streaks or flecks. This is true when the blood comes from the small intestine. When the blood traces are red, the bleeding is mostly in the large intestine.
This blood is often caused by both constipation and diarrhea. As such, this change should be reported to your vet.
It’s true that most cases of the runs are mild and heal by themselves, but there are more serious types caused by infection, parasites, and others.
For these diseases, loose stool is often the first sign. Furthermore, watery stool can cause too much water loss which can ultimately lead to lethal dehydration.
If the diarrhea isn’t causing your dog to behave strangely, then you may ask your vet if you can do home therapy.
The first aid is usually to withhold any food for 12 hours. Limit only food, not water. If the dog has improved after 12 hours, then you may reintroduce some bland food every 2-4 hours. These usually consist of equal parts sweet potato or canned pumpkin, and some ground cooked turkey.
A good herbal remedy is slippery elm, measured at ½ teaspoons per 10 pounds of your pet’s weight. You may add this directly to their meals.
If diarrhea does not subside, or if it resurfaces, contact your vet immediately. They may need to do a fecal sample and some basic tests to discover the reason behind the runs.
Once your dog is cleared of the disease, your vet would usually advise you to take your dog through some lifestyle changes. This may include changing their diet, putting them on probiotics, reducing their stress, or putting them on prescription meds.
While doing the treatment, it’s important to be patient and to note every change. This can save your dog’s life, or at least save you from further worries and expenses!