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What does your pet’s poop say about their health?

What does your pet’s poop say about their health?

Did you know that 1st April marks the start of international pooper scooper week? No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke – this week really is all about dog poo! And while it may sound like a joke, there’s an important reason behind it.

Dog poo is not a fertiliser; it contains several parasites and bacteria that can harm the environment and other animals if disposed of incorrectly.

And when you scoop your dog’s poop, you can use it as a measure of your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. Here’s how.

Checking your pet’s poop

As you pick up their poop this international pooper scooper week, use it to gain insight into your dog’s general health. When checking your dog’s poop, four key markers provide insight into your dog’s health:

Colour

The perfect dog poo should be a chocolate shade of light to medium brown. If your dog’s poop suddenly changes colour, don’t panic, but do think about what they’re eaten and continue to monitor their bowel movements.

Poo that is pink, red, or purple can indicate bleeding in the lower digestive tract, while black poo can indicate bleeding higher up in the tract.

A regular poo could have a yellow tint, often caused by something your dog has eaten. But a poo that is wholly yellow or orange signifies issues with the liver, pancreas, or gallbladder.

If your dog overeats grass, they may produce a green poo. But this colour can also indicate parasites or an issue with the gallbladder.

Consistency

Veterinarians often use the faecal scoring system to define the consistency of your dog’s poop on a scale of 1-7, where one is hard pellets and seven is liquid. The ideal poop has a consistency of two, though three is also considered normal – where the poop is solid and tubular. If pressed, the poop should hold its form; a formless sample indicates that the large intestine is not reabsorbing water properly.

Poop that is too hard most often indicates constipation, a lack of fibre, or dehydration. However, if the poop is white, it could show that your dog’s diet is too high in calcium.

On the other hand, runny poop or diarrhoea can occur if your dog is stressed or has experienced a change in their diet. A one-off episode of diarrhoea is typical. Still, suppose it continues several times, is accompanied by symptoms of illness, or contains any blood. In that case, you should contact your vet straight away, as this could point to other conditions such as giardia, parasites, or viruses.

Content

A little bit of undigested food in your dog’s poop is no big deal, but repeated or large amounts could indicate digestive issues. The same applies to foreign objects such as glass or plastic; it’s not unusual for your dog to swallow something unusual, but it’s crucial to ensure that it’s a one-off, not a symptom of pica. Also, foreign objects can cause damage as they pass through the digestive tract, so keep an eye out for signs of impact, such as blood in the poop.

In addition, small amounts of fur are standard, but significant or persistent amounts are linked to overgrooming, which could be a sign of stress or illness. While small, rice-like spots signify that your dog has worms and will require a deworming treatment.

Coating

Dog poop should have an even consistency with no film or coating. When you scoop the poop up, you should be able to remove the vast majority of the residue. If there’s a mucus coating or significant residue left behind, it could point to irritation in the large bowel.

This can be a sign of colitis, an inflammation of the colon or large intestine. If this is the case, the poop is often runny, may contain blood, and could be accompanied by vomiting. As colitis has a variety of causes, you’ll need to consult with a vet to discover the underlying health issue.

dog poo digestive health signs

The link between dog poop & digestive health

A dog’s poop says a lot about their overall health, but particularly their gut. Because the gut is considered the second brain of the body, it’s important to ensure it’s fighting fit!

Firm, well-formed stools typically indicate good gut health and proper digestion. So if their poop is showing signs of tummy trouble, consider a probiotic digestive supplement for dogs.

Here are just a few benefits of probiotics for dogs:

  • Probiotics can help balance the composition of good and bad bacteria. This balance is crucial for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall gut health.
  • Probiotics aid in the breakdown of food, facilitating better digestion. Improved digestion can lead to more efficient nutrient absorption and reduced digestive discomfort for the dog.
  • Beyond gut health, probiotics may have additional benefits for dogs, such as supporting skin health, reducing allergic reactions, and improving oral hygiene.

When choosing a probiotic for your fur friend, look for one that’s formulated by veterinarians and pet nutritionists. And as always, consult your Vet when deciding on the best course of action.

dog poo bags

The importance of dog poo bags

Pooper scooper week isn’t just about the health of your pet; it’s also about taking care of our environment. No one wants to live in streets covered in dog poop; it’s smelly and unpleasant. But it also has severe implications for the environment:

  • Dog waste left in the street can take up to 12 months to completely break down. During this time, rainwater washes over it, contaminating the local water and drainage systems.
  • Other animals are exposed to the parasites and bacteria contained in dog poop, including giardia, e.coli, salmonella, parvovirus, and distemper.
  • Dog poop is not a fertiliser; when left on lawns, it will burn the grass due to the nitrogen and phosphorus within it.
  • The parasites and bacteria contained in the dog poo can contaminate the surrounding soil for years. Not only do you place other people’s pets at risk, but you also place gardeners and children who play in the garden at risk of contamination.

Aside from environmental factors, it is just a common courtesy to clean up after your dog and keep the area safe and clean for others.

Still, cleaning up dog poop can carry environmental implications of its own due to the vast number of plastic bags that are added to landfill every year. So what’s the solution? Sourcing quality dog poo bags that are effective and good for the environment.

These products don’t have to break the bank. You can buy biodegradable dog poo bags for as little as 9 cents per bag! The difference between using a biodegradable product and a regular plastic bag is significant for the environment. When a product is “landfill biodegradable,” it means that microorganisms will completely break down the bag and its contents after exposure to landfill.

Alternatively, you can turn to plant-based products, such as Beco’s eco-friendly dog poo bags, that allow you to compost your dog’s poo at home – even better for the environment! Just ensure you know what you’re doing with home composting, and never use animal faeces to fertilise edible plants.

Beco compostable dog poo bags
dog poo bags

Dog poo might not be a glamorous topic, but it is an important one. So, let’s use international pooper scooper week to keep our pets healthy and our environments clean.

So go! Scoop that poop and follow the 4 C’s.

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