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What should dog poop look like?


When your dog is healthy, his poop shows it. It can be large, firm and range in shades of brown. A sudden change, like blood in your dog’s stool, tells you something is wrong. Keep reading to learn how you can spot health problems simply by looking at your dog’s poop.


“The proof of a pet’s digestive health is in the poop,” says Purina Senior Research Nutritionist Gail Czarnecki-Maulden. There are several ways to evaluate your dog’s digestive health:


Frequency: Your dog should poop at least one time a day.


Color: May depend on the food you feed your dog


Consistency: Firm stools are ideal


What does blood in dog stool look like?


If your dog is pooping blood, it is a sign of a problem. Blood in your dog's poop (or stool) can show up in a couple of ways.


  • Bright red with streaks
  • Black and tar-like


What can blood in dog stool mean?

If your dog is pooping blood, or you suspect he is, call your veterinarian. No worries about sharing too many details. The more thorough your description, the easier it will be for your veterinarian to determine what is happening.


Blood in your dog's poop (or stool) can show up in a couple of ways:


Black and tar-like: May indicate blood that has been digested


Bright red with streaks: May indicate that a little blood has been digested, if at all


How will your veterinarian evaluate your dog’s stool?

Your veterinarian may ask you to bring a sample of your dog’s poop. And he or she will ask you what you’ve noticed: diarrhoea, straining, or a change in frequency or mucus in the poop.


How are dog stools evaluated for health?

There are many characteristics to look at beyond the presence of blood in dog stool. They include:


  • Stool form
  • Odor
  • Fecal density
  • Stickiness
  • Food digestibility
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Stool bacterial levels
  • Composition
  • Presence of parasites


What role does microflora play in your dog’s digestive health?

“A healthy gut microflora balance can help promote a healthy immune system, healthy digestibility and good stool quality,” explains Czarnecki-Maulden. A good balance of microflora in your dog's digestive system can also:


  • Produce nutrients
  • Promote nutrient absorption
  • Boost overall health


How to promote your dog’s digestive health?

You don’t have to wait until your dog has a digestive issue. Here are some proactive steps you can take today:


  • Pay attention to your dog’s poop
  • Determine what is normal for him or her
  • Take note of blood or mucus in your dog’s poop
  • Talk to your veterinarian about changes you see


Switch Your Pet’s Food Responsibly

To avoid digestive upsets, transition your pet’s food slowly over 7-10 days. Each day gradually add more of your pet’s new food as you decrease the amount of the previous food.

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