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What different colored poop tells you about your dog’s health

Dog owners tend to be more familiar with their dog’s poop than they’d like to be, but it’s for good reason too – the frequency, consistency, volume and color all give you insights into your dog’s digestive health and overall wellbeing.

Aside from troubling signs like diarrhea or constipation, the color of your dog’s poop can be early warning signs of something more serious.

Below is a rough guideline on what the color of your dog’s stool means:

  • Chocolate brown: healthy and normal, and the ideal situation
  • Black or tarry: may contain digested blood (also known as melena); usually caused by bleeding in the upper digestive tract, 
  • Green: may suggest a liver or gall bladder problem, or could be a result of eating too much grass
  • Red streaks or red stool: suggests inflammation in the colon/large bowel and bleeding
  • Grey/pale and fatty looking: may suggest a pancreas problem
  • White spots (rice-grain-like and moving): possibly tapeworm eggs

Consistency of stool varies even in healthy dogs, and stool tends to be softer after a dog has passed its initial bowel movement. This is related to a shorter transit time along their gastrointestinal tract after the bowel movement has started. 

Persistently soft-formed stool (like soft-serve ice cream) or even more liquid stool is considered abnormal, and worth investigating with your vet. Different diets will give different stool consistency, but any diarrhea should not be prolonged (more than a day) regardless of diet.