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What is your dog's poop telling you?

Beagle going for a walk

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 constipation

If 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.

Illustration of pebble shaped poop

1. Pebble-shaped

Very hard, pebble-like, dry and crumbly

Illustration of hard poop

2. Hard

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.

Illustration of a log shaped poop

2.5 Log-shaped

Log shaped, firm and moist

The different stages of dog diarrhea 

If 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.

Illustration of very moist poop

3. Very moist

Very soft with some shape and no cracks

Illustration of partially liquid poop

4. Partially liquid

Wet with no defined shape

Illustration of liquid poop

5. Liquid

Entirely liquid with no texture

Did you know diarrhea is one of the most common reasons dogs are taken to veterinarians?

Click here to learn more

Check the color of your dog's poop

Taking a look at the color of your dog's poop can also provide an insight into whether your dog has an underlying health condition.

Illustration of dog owner picking up poo
Illustration of the ideal dog poop

Ideal color - chocolate brown

If your dog has chocolate brown colored poop and has an ideal fecal score, this indicates they have healthy bowel movements.

Illustration of red poop

Red or blood-stained

Red poop suggests bleeding and could be caused by straining to poop. You should consult your veterinarian.

Illustration of white and grey poop

White & grey

It is possible the color is the result of improper digestion of nutrients.

Illustration of poop with white spots

White spots

Little rice-like grains could be a sign of tapeworms in your dog's intestine.

Illustration of yellow and orange poop

Yellow or orange

It is possible this could be a sign of an issue with your dog's liver or biliary system.

Illustration of black poop


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.

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What is the ideal poop?

Illustration of the ideal dog poop

1. Color

Chocolate brown.


2. Consistency

Firm and not watery or loose.

3. Shape

Like a log, maintaining its shape when picked up.


4. Frequency

This varies from dog to dog, but make sure their 'normal' frequency is consistent.


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