Mucus, worms, and blood… oh my! If you are a pet owner, you understand that poop is just part of owning an animal.
Fortunately, it can be managed with some observation and diligence. Why is the quality of poop so important, you may ask? While it’s not the most glamorous topic to discuss, it’s important to understand the world of dog (and cat!) poop, to better understand the overall health of our fur babies. In this article, we’ll discuss the significance of mucus, worms, and blood that might be present in your pet’s waste, and how their presence might impact your pet’s well-being.
Before we delve into the more alarming elements of poop, let’s discuss what normal animal waste constitutes. Typically, healthy dog feces should be brown in color, well-formed, and have a relatively firm consistency. Various factors such as diet can influence the appearance, texture, and quality of your pet’s stool. When it comes to evaluating the quality of your pet’s poop, consider PetMD‘s Four C’s: color, consistency, content and coating.
Color: In normal circumstances, your pup’s feces should be a chocolate-brown color. Minor deviations might be the cause of your pet’s diet, hydration, or dye consumption, but you typically shouldn’t see any substantial changes. Be sure to keep an eye out for black, red, grey, or yellow stools, as these colors might be the result of underlying health issues.
Consistency: Closely related to diet, the consistency of your dog’s poop reveals a ton about their overall health! The majority of veterinarians measure stool value from a 1 to a 7: 1 representing hard pellets and 7 representing a liquid puddle. Ideally, your pup’s poop will be at a 2, firm, shaped like a caterpillar, and a texture like Play-Doh. The occasional too-soft or too-hard stool isn’t something to be alarmed about, but if the unusual consistencies persist, it might be cause to contact your vet.
Content: The inside of your dog’s stool should look the same as the outside. Items like worms, foreign materials (grass, sock bits, rocks, etc.), and fur might indicate that your pup is dealing with stress, allergies, skin disease, and even boredom.
Coating: A healthy dog’s poop should be absent of any coating or film (in other words, if you are picking up off the grass, there shouldn’t be anything left behind!).
Mucus in Dog Poop
If you’ve noticed mucus in your dog’s feces, don’t panic just yet! A small amount of mucus coating the stool is relatively common and not necessarily a cause for concern. Mucus is actually produced by the intestines to aid in the smooth passage of waste through the digestive tract. On the other hand, if you observe an excessive amount of mucus, accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or a change in appetite, it could indicate an underlying issue. Potential causes of increased mucus in dog poop include gastrointestinal infections, dietary indiscretions, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or parasites. If you have any concerns, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and guidance.
Worms in Dog Poop
If you notice worms in your dog’s stool, it is vital to address the issue as soon as possible. Intestinal parasites, such as roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms, are unfortunately common in dogs. Dogs can acquire these worms through various means, including ingestion of contaminated food, water, or feces, as well as through infected animals or fleas.
Visible worms in dog poop or around the anal area are a clean sign of an infestation. Symptoms can include weight loss, a dull coat, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Routine deworming, as recommended by your veterinarian, is crucial in preventing and treating these pesky parasites. Proper sanitation, such as regular poop scooping and maintaining a clean environment, can also help reduce the risk of reinfection.
Blood in Dog Poop
Understandably, the presence of blood in your dog’s feces can be alarming, but it’s crucial to remain calm and take appropriate action. Blood in dog poop, also known as hematochezia, can manifest as red streaks or specks, or the entire stool may appear dark and tarry (also referred to as melena). There are several potential reasons for blood in dog poop, including:
- Minor issues: Small amounts of blood may result from dietary changes, consuming something abrasive, or mild irritation in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Monitor your dog closely and consult your vet if the issue persists or worsens.
- Parasites: Some intestinal parasites, such as hookworms and whipworms, can cause bleeding in the digestive tract. Routine deworming and fecal examinations are essential to maintain your dog’s health.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): IBD is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to bleeding and other digestive disturbances. A thorough examination by your veterinarian is necessary to diagnose and manage this condition.
- Tumors or polyps: While less common, the presence of blood in dog poop could also be indicative of benign or malignant growths in the gastrointestinal tract.
Understanding the various aspects of your dog’s poop can be immensely beneficial for their health. Paying attention to changes in color, consistency, the presence of mucus, worms, or blood can provide valuable insights into your canine companion’s well-being. Remember, if you notice any consistent abnormality, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. By staying vigilant and proactive, you can help ensure your furry friend’s digestive health, overall happiness, and for you, peace of mind!