As a pet owner, picking up your dog's poop is a regular occurrence.
But did you know your dog's poop can also provide a good indication of their digestive and overall health? It's good to have an initial understanding of what is usual for your dog's poop so you can spot the changes to look out for, such as variations in color and consistency.
What consistency should you be looking for?
Dog poop can be broken up into different categories; too hard, ideal, and too soft or liquid.
If your dog's poop isn't an ideal consistency, it could be a sign of a gastrointestinal illness that may require further advice and treatment. Treatment for a gastrointestinal illness will vary for every dog, taking into account their individual needs and medical conditions, but can frequently include a change to their diet.
Paying attention to your dog's poop is important and you can assess your dog's poop at home using our 5-stage dog fecal scoring chart below. Using a dog fecal scoring chart can help you identify if you need to take your dog to a veterinarian for an examination, to make sure their digestive system is functioning as it should be.
At stages 1 - 2, look out for the different phases of dog constipation, stage 2.5 represents the ideal dog poop consistency, while stages 3 - 5 highlight the different phases of dog diarrhea.
The different stages of dog constipationIf you see any of the following textures in your dog's poop it could be a sign that their poop is too hard. Your veterinarian can suggest tailored dietary changes such as increasing the fiber in your dog's diet or increasing water intake.
Hard with visible cracks
What is an ideal consistency?If your dog has moist, compact and easy to pick up poop, this is the ideal consistency and texture.
Log shaped, firm and moist
The different stages of dog diarrheaIf your dog's poop is very wet or has the consistency of liquid, it could be a sign that something isn't quite right. If this is an ongoing issue for your dog, it's important to speak to your veterinarian as it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
Entirely liquid with no texture
Check the color of your dog's poopTaking a look at the color of your dog's poop can also provide an insight into whether your dog has an underlying health condition.
Black or tarry poop could indicate your dog has internal bleeding in their stomach or small intestine.
If your dog's poop shows any of these colors you need to speak to your veterinarian as soon as possible so they can diagnose the problem and assess whether further tests or treatment are necessary.
What is the ideal poop?
Firm and not watery or loose.
Like a log, maintaining its shape when picked up.
This varies from dog to dog, but make sure their 'normal' frequency is consistent.