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5 Signs To Watch For in Your Dog's Poop

 by jaime on 24 Jun 2014 |
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Numerous conversations can make the average individual uncomfortable. When it comes to matters of health, many people shy away from the conversation about stool and what it says about their health. The same conversation can and should be had regarding your dog's health. As odd as it may seem, taking a few moments to pay attention to your dog's stool can reveal a lot about its health.
 
When you bring your dog to its annual visit with the veterinarian, the vet will examine the dog's stool as part of the process of analyzing its overall health. You can keep tabs on your dog's health in between visits by keeping an eye on the color, shape, consistency, size, and content of its stool.
 
Color
Your dog's stool should consistently be a chocolate-brown color. Unless you feed your dog dry food with special coloring in it, there is no good reason for its stool to be different colors. Streaks of bright red coloring or red fluid are a sign of blood present in the stool. Stools that are black or tar-like in appearance could signal internal bleeding in your dog's gastrointestinal tract. A lighter color, such as tan, could be a sign of liver disease.
 
Shape
The shape of dog stool should be that of a log. If your pet is dropping stools in the shape of small balls or pebbles during elimination, it could be a sign of kidney disease. Dogs suffering from kidney disease often fail to get proper hydration on a daily basis, resulting in stool that has this unusual shape. Diarrhea is not a definitive sign of a chronic illness, but when it occurs you should keep a close eye on your dog's eliminations for a few days to ensure its stool returns to normal.
 
Consistency
When you are cleaning your dog's stool from the yard, it should be easy to pick up and have the consistency of dough. As mentioned above, diarrhea is a clear sign of distress. If your dog's stool is too firm it can be a sign of dehydration, constipation, or both.
 
Size
Different dog breeds will have different stool sizes, so owners need to be aware of the common stool size for their breed. Stool size should be consistent on a weekly basis and correlate to the amount of food the dog is consuming each day. If your dog is eliminating in higher volumes it could be a sign that it is struggling to properly digest its food. Conversely, smaller volumes of stool are a sign that your dog may not be eating enough food.
 
Content
Finally, as you clean your dog's stool from the yard it is worth looking at the content of its eliminations. If the stool appears to be covered with a filmy mucous it could be a sign that your dog has colitis. Undigested food particles are a sign that your dog may be struggling to digest all of the ingredients in its food. The presence of hair in stool can result from excessive grooming that occurs, in some pets, when stress levels are high or allergies are bothersome.
 
The most important thing to remember is that your dog should have consistent stool over long periods of time. Humans and animals alike are prone to daily variations, but consistent variations over long periods of time are cause for concern.

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