I am probably one of the few people in the world that receives daily poop photos in their inbox. People are fascinated by their pet's poop. And, in reality, you should be checking the poop status every day. Poop can tell you an awful lot about what is happening on the inside of the dog or cat. So excuse the gross factor and read on to determine what is happening inside your pet.
- Firm, slightly moist, easy to pick up, fairly small volume - Congratulations! You've won the poop contest today, with perfectly formed, healthy poop.
- Voluminous stool, fairly well formed - Most likely this pet is eating a dry kibble with a lot of fillers or grains. Kibble diets are not as well utilized by the pet, resulting in more waste passing out the back end.
- Hard, chalky white stools - too much bone content in the raw diet or too much mineral content.
- Small, flat stools, accompanied by straining to defecate - Something is blocking the way. In males, this could be an enlarged prostate compressing the bowel. Or the pet may have a mass in the bowel that is causing a partial obstruction.
- Formed but soft, squishy, and hard to pick up without leaving a smear - a little too much moisture, may need more fiber or raw ground bone in the diet if you feed raw food. Could signal inflammation.
- Not formed, soft serve custard or cow patty consistency - uh oh. Things aren't going so well. Food is not being digested and absorbed as well as it should be. Might need to make some diet changes or add digestive enzymes and probiotics.
- Liquid stool, no way you can pick up this one with your poop bag. Not much odor and may have undigested food particles in it - This pet is unable to digest the food well. This can be a sign of a multitude of problems, which could include malabsorption, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, IBS, food intolerance, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, this is Spleen Qi Deficiency. The Spleen likes food to be warm, not too wet, and easy to digest. Digestive enzymes, probiotics, and warm, easy-to-digest (think crock pot) foods would be a good addition. Pumpkin would be a great addition.
- Liquid stool with very foul odor and blood - Trouble has arrived. This pet has inflammation, big time. Bad bacteria, parasites like Giardia, or some other infectious agent is most likely present. This is the diarrhea seen with colitis, parvo virus, and HGE. A cooling diet is needed here. Fasting the pet for 24 hours to allow things to calm down would be a good idea.
- Greasy stool that is soft - probably means there is too much fat in the diet. The pet is not digesting the fat, so may signify gall bladder issues, as well.
- Stool with mucous or encased in a shiny mucous casing that looks like a sausage - definitely have inflammation in the bowel. This can be seen in pets with IBD or as an early warning sign that things are literally, heating up. One of the ingredients in the diet may not agree with the pet.
- Worms in the stool - This one is easy. Take a stool sample to your veterinarian and ask for treatment.
- Black or tarry stool - This indicates bleeding in the stomach or small intestine. This is not a good sign. Have your pet seen immediately. Ulceration, perforation, bleeding masses, or internal bleeding from a toxin or hemorrhagic disease may be the cause. This can be life threatening.
My favorite products for simple diarrhea or soft stools caused by stress are Dr. Harvey's Runs Be Done or Rx Clay. I adding a daily probiotic, digestive enzymes, and healing products for those pets that need something to soothe the bowel. My recommended diet for a short bout of loose stools includes boiled ground turkey mixed with organic pumpkin. 75% turkey to 25% pumpkin. If no improvement within 48 hours, stools are bloody or black, or if your pet is not eating or drinking, consult your veterinarian immediately.