What your dog's poop says about their health


From colour to consistency, your dog’s poop has a story to tell. Here’s what you should know in time for your next walk

What your dog's poop says about their health



Dog poop quick takeaways

  • Your dog's poop colour, consistency, and size offer clues about their health.
  • Ask your vet if you notice blood, worms, or any persistent changes in their poop.
  • Diet changes, like switching to raw food, can improve your dog’s digestive wellbeing and their poop quality. Win-win!


Picking up after your dog is just another part of being a pet parent. You likely do it on autopilot, for good reason – dog owners will scoop somewhere between 6,000 to 11,000 poops* over their beloved pet’s life.

But paying attention to the colour, consistency, and size of your dog’s poop can give you valuable insight into their health.

Here’s what’s normal, when to see a vet, and what you can do to support your dog’s digestive health.


What is healthy dog poop?

Let's start with the basics. The gold standard of dog poop is chocolate brown – think milk chocolate, not dark – firm but not too hard, and log-shaped. Size-wise, it should be about proportionate to your dog's size and diet.

Any change in your dog’s poop without a change in their diet could signal something is amiss.


What does the colour of your dog’s poop mean?

The hue of your dog’s poop might be the first thing you notice. While an odd colour doesn’t necessarily spell trouble, anything other than chocolate brown is worth noting:

  • Green: Usually indicates your pup ate something green, like grass. It's generally nothing to worry about unless it persists.
  • Orange: This could be a sign of issues in the liver or bile ducts – definitely worth a vet visit.
  • Black: Dark, tar-like poop might indicate bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract – time to see the vet ASAP.
  • Red streaks: Blood may be alarming, but don’t panic – the culprit is often a minor irritation. It’s still wise to get things checked out since blood can also be a sign of something more serious like a parasite.
  • White: This could indicate a liver problem or even a parasite infestation. A vet visit is in order.

Dog Poo Chart - Colour

What does the consistency of your dog’s poop mean?

The texture of your dog’s poop also tells a story. The perfect consistency is type 2 or 3 on the Bristol Stool Chart (yes, there’s a chart detailing the different consistency of poop). That’s to say, sausage-shaped with a few lumps or cracks on the surface.

It should be easy to pick up – firm, but not too hard. Here are some signs something’s up:

  • Dry, round pebble: Separate round poops that are hard to pass are a sure sign of constipation.
  • Thin, hard ribbons: Thin ribbons are another hallmark of constipation.
  • Soggy or moist: Very wet poops that are hard to pick up could indicate the beginning stages of diarrhea.
  • Loose or liquid: This is a sign of more serious diarrhea, and counterintuitively can also be accompanied by straining.
  • Oily: Oily poop may signal your dog isn’t absorbing the fats in their diet.


What else should you watch for?

Smell: While it’ll never smell like daisies, if your dog’s poop really stinks, their gut may have high levels of bacteria.

Whether you’ve just noticed a new smell or you’ve always pinched your nose, talk to your vet.

Size: Naturally, your dog’s size corresponds to the size of their poop. Their diet also influences the amount. A high-protein diet tends to result in smaller poops, while diets with more fillers or grains can lead to larger stools.

Ask your vet for advice if your dog’s poops suddenly get bigger or smaller unexpectedly.


Why is there mucus in your dog’s poop?

A little mucus in your dog’s poop is normal – it helps lubricate your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

But, a very slimy coating could be a sign of inflammation or irritation in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Go ahead and give the vet a ring.

You might notice other things in your dog’s poo, and this chart can help you decide whether or not to get it checked out:



What should you do if your dog is constipated?

Constipation can be a common problem for dogs. It usually happens when they eat something they can’t digest. If your dog is straining to pass hard, dry, thin and smelly poop, they’re likely constipated.

To get things moving again, try upping their water and fibre intake – we recommend organic, canned pumpkin for a dog-friendly source of fibre. If the issue lasts over 24 hours, a trip to the vet is in order.


What if your dog has diarrhea?

While diarrhea could have several causes, most of the time, it’s nothing serious. If there are no other symptoms, like lethargy, vomiting, or blood in their poop, you might want to try treating their diarrhoea at home first.

Instead of their usual meals, feed your dog bland proteins like chicken, white fish or rabbit. Make sure they’re drinking enough water – try adding some water to their normal meals f they need some coaxing.

If the diarrhea doesn’t clear up after 2 days, or you notice any other symptoms like being unable to settle or vomiting, talk to your vet.


When should you call the vet?

As pet parents, we’ve all been there – it’s hard to know what warrants a trip to the vet and what can be treated at home. So, to recap, here are some non-negotiable signs your dog should see a vet:

  • Multiple soft or loose stools
  • Bloody poop
  • Softer than usual poops that persist for a few days
  • Worms, which can look like grains of rice in your dog’s poop
  • Any significant changes in colour
  • Not passing any poop for 48 hours

If you can, bring along a sample of their poop.


How can dietary changes affect your dog’s poop?

Changing your dog's diet is nearly guaranteed to have some downstream effects. If you're switching things up, take a gradual approach to avoid any digestive upsets.

Here’s what to expect depending on what you change:

Change in volume: What goes in must come out, so upping or reducing their food volume should change how much poop you’re picking up.

Increased fibre: Adding more fibre to your dog's diet, like extra veg, can bulk up their stool and make it more solid.

Switching protein sources: If you switch your dog to a different protein source, like from chicken to fish, it might take their digestive system a bit of time to adjust. This could lead to temporary changes in the consistency and colour of their poop.

Introduction of new foods: Introducing new foods, especially ones that your dog's stomach isn't used to, can cause some digestive upset and possibly lead to looser stools until their system gets used to it.

Change in meal schedule: Believe it or not, even changing the timing of your dog's meals can affect their poop. Consistency in meal times helps regulate their digestive system, so switching things up could throw it off a bit.

Quality of food: Upgrading your dog's food to a higher-quality option can lead to firmer and healthier poops. On the flip side, if you downgrade to a lower-quality food, you might notice more inconsistency in their stool.


Can a raw diet change your dog’s poop?

Raw food diets are great for promoting your dog’s digestive wellbeing. They can be easier to digest, helping your dog absorb all the nutrients they need. They come with many benefits outside of digestion too.

As a bonus, they often result in firmer, less smelly poops that are easier to pick up. That’s a win for both you and your pooch! Firmer poop can also help with anal gland issues, encouraging the glands to express themselves as they pass.

But don’t take our word for it – see the benefits for yourself. With Nature’s Menu, you can create a complete, balanced raw meal plan to fit your dog’s precise needs.


The bottom line

Remember, your dog's poop can tell you a lot about their health. Keep an eye on colour, consistency, and any other changes, and when in doubt, always ask your veterinarian for advice.

Try our personalised meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients to help keep your dog healthy and happy.


*Source: ‘New York's Poop Scoop Law: Dogs, the Dirt, and Due Process’ by Michael Brandow, 2008.