Diarrhea what’s normal and when is it time to see the vet… lets find out!
What is normal dog poop? If you can’t pick it up and hold it in your hand it is too loose. As a general rule dogs should defecate the number of meals they are fed each day, although this can vary per dog on many variables. Did you know that too many treats or in between meal snacks can alter your dog’s poop schedule? It can and can actually cause the stool to become mushy. Most medium sized dogs should have about 2-3 pieces of 1 in wide and 3-4 inch long stool. The stool should be moist, well formed and firm to the touch. As for the color of the stool a healthy dog will have a light brown or tan to dark brown colored stool. Stool color can be influenced by their diet. Black, tarry, red, yellow, or green stools are colors you should contact your veterinarian about. Your dog’s feces should smell like feces. It shouldn’t be extremely foul or overwhelming to those near by, if you notice a sudden change in smell you should monitor it for further changes.
Blood in the stool doesn’t always look like blood. Blood coming from higher up in the digestive track can often look black or brown, it can look like coffee grounds or specks on the stool. The blood is dark due to the enzymes secreted in the small intestines. If the blood is coming from the large intestine it will most likely look like normal blood. Red or pink smears or drops are seen.
When your pet develops diarrhea your vet will likely run a standard stool check known as an intestinal parasite screening, or they may do a basic blood or urine checks to make sure your pet doesn’t have an underlying medical condition as the cause for the diarrhea. Changes in diet, medications, and stress can all be factors that cause GI upset. You should always call and inform your vet when diarrhea begins. If your pet is otherwise acting normal they may instruct you to try home care with a bland diet/highly digestible diet, or to try withholding food for 12 hours (not water), and seeing how they do, adding canned pumpkin, or prescription medications to help stop diarrhea. Diarrhea can cause your pet to become dehydrated so it is important to talk to your veterinarian about medical intervention before trying at home care on your own.