What you need to know about dog poo

Author picture Pawshake

Up until the 1990's it was public gripe number one: dog poo on the pavement. Those were the days! Since the introduction of tougher laws, however, most responsible dog owners now clean up after their four legged friends. But scooping up your dog's poop is actually more beneficial than you might think. Indeed, your pooch's poo reveals a great deal about his current state of health. So, time to overcome your reservations, grab a bag and start studying the brown stuff!

If you love your dog then you'd do well to keep a close eye on his bowel movements and check the composition of his poo. If you make use of a dog sitting or dog walking service, then ask them to report exactly 'what' your dog did during their care and what it looked like. Request that your dog sitter leaves a note for example, containing brief information about the walk, your dog's behaviour and his poo. That way you'll notice and can respond to any abnormal patterns much more quickly

Photo: Flickr

What does healthy dog poo look like?

Normal 'healthy' dog excrement is solid and dark brown in colour. Whilst it shouldn't be too hard, you should be able to pick it up relatively easily. Stools that are too soft can result in problems with the anal glands - two sacks located close to the anus, which are filled with a foul smelling substance that gives the poo its marking scent. Every time your dog excretes a solid poo, his anal sacks are emptied. If his poo is too soft, however, then the anal glands may become clogged, causing itching and irritation. Conversely, if it's too hard, it can lead to pain and constipation. On average dogs poo once or twice a day.

When should you be worried?

If your dog's poo (suddenly) takes on a different colour, becomes too soft or too hard, or starts to really smell, then it's likely an issue with diet. Rubbish in means rubbish out ... So, make sure  you feed your dog a quality kibble or food with a high quality protein and little in the way of added fillers, such as cereals that make his poo soft. Plenty of exercise, regular worming and a stress-free life are also conducive to a healthy poo production ;-)

Photo: Flickr

If your dog develops diarrhoea, however, or starts to have frequent bowel movements or become constipated, then there's probably more to it. There are a number of possible causes: an infection, a virus, worms, parasites or even a food allergy. Always consult your vet if you have any concerns.

So, grab his lead and bring some bags - it's time to get up close and personal with your pooch's poo! Providing a dog sitting or dog walking service? Then don't forget to supply the owner with regular information on the dog's bowel movements. Examining your dog's poo might take some getting used to, but isn't your faithful friend worth it?

Happy dog walking ;-)