If you are reading this, you are a pooper.
If you have a dog, cat, horse, or other mammal, you see and clean up lots of poop.
I don’t know much about reptiles but I do know whatever goes in must come out, so they are poopers too.
I can tell you that my Budgies are an eating and pooping machines, and I buy chicken manure by the truck load, so I know that birds are poopers too.
You see, we are all biological creatures, what we eat and drink nourishes our cells, and is necessary for the proper function of our bodies, and what we cannot use we eliminate. Poop, feces, scat, manure, crap, excrement, are all commonly used words depending on the social setting, context of conversation, ones knowledge, or the need to be the ‘one upper’. For those that are a bit more creative and have a sense of humor, there is actually a Poop Thesaurus .
Now if you are a dog owner, and this is what I am going to focus on, you become a connoisseur of poop whether you were planning on it or not. And if we are being honest here, which I think is happening, you also notice other dogs poop and become very judgmental over time of the quality or lack there of. It just happens.
The old adage ‘shit happens’ is actually a mantra all dog owners should live by. And be glad for it ‘happening’, because if it isn’t happening you have bigger worries on your hands and potentially huge veterinary bills.
If your puppy or adult dog poops inside, it is not a dog issue it is a human management issue. And again, first and foremost be grateful for poop, it means your dog is functioning, maybe not in the right space, but that is your problem not theirs.
THE ESSENTIAL LIST – food and water
1 – FOOD – So what a dog eats matters a whole awful lot. You can try to be cheap and feed crap, but in turn will be cleaning up crap. If you have ever talked with a professional pooper scooper, they will tell you that they eventually become quality dog food distributors so they can actually scoop the poop and not be grossed out by it.
Species specific food or an optimal diet, in the case of dogs, translates to RAW FOOD. You can feed nice kibble (dry dog food) but it is not optimal, it is simply food made by humans for dogs, for human convenience. Dogs by definition are predators and opportunistic scavengers, not astronauts that need to eat things that are freeze-dried, dehydrated, baked, and come out of zip sealed bags.
Dog food is actually; raw meat (variety), raw bones (size appropriate), raw organ meats (variety), some vegetables and fruit but minimal. Dogs can tolerate other foods like buttered toast, pumpkin pie, turkey sandwiches, sticks of butter left on the counter, and anything they can find in the trash can, or dead and decaying out on the trail. But here is the clarification, if a dog is fed optimally, they do not need to scavenge for nutrition that is lacking in their diet.
It is insane or rather irresponsible for anyone in the canine health care world to suggest that something that is twice baked, heavily processed, from unknown sources or origin, not living, comes in a bag, and has at least twenty plus ingredients, none of which are native to the canine diet, is healthier than a complete raw diet.
What goes in must come out, and as Rubeus Hagrid says ‘better out than in’.
2 – WATER – What a dog drinks matters, and how much of the right stuff (water) matters maybe the most.
Never restrict a dogs need to drink water, ever. Some dogs are thirstier than others, some dogs are like camels and drink very little. Know your dog.
Always have a bowl of water available in the main area of the house, and if you have a split level or multi level house, one bowl on each floor is what I recommend. If you have a yard or yards, have tubs or buckets or gigantic bowls of water available. If you haven’t caught on yet, here it is in the simplest of forms, have water every place for your dog.
You do not want a dehydrated dog.
What does this have to do with poop? Lots actually.
Symptoms of a dehydrated dogs can be diarrhea or constipation, lethargy, poor cognitive function (meaning – does not make good choices), excessive drooling, panting, lack of appetite, and the list goes on and on and on. Small dogs and active dogs are the most affected.
In order for there to be poop in the yard, your dog needs to be eating and drinking to help things move along. They go together.
Never restrict your dog from drinking.
Someone will say something about this, I know it already, SO, if your dog is excessively drinking, and their urine is no longer urine but clear water, you have problems, go to your veterinary. This is not common, but can be a sign of poor renal function, or failure. There, said.
ONE WRONG POOP DOES NOT A DISASTER MAKE! We get weird poops from time to time, our dogs are allowed weird poops from time to time. Dietary changes, stress, growth spurts, hormonal peaks, vaccinations, teething, and viruses all change our gut health, and in turn our poop health. But if you are noticing your dog’s poop not coming back to what you know as normal within a reasonable amount of time, please see your veterinarian.
THE TEXTURE GUIDE TO POOP
1 – Separate Hard Lumps (grape like) – dehydrated dog, constipation.
2 – Corn Meal texture (grainy) – undigested or lightly digested food, parasites, low digestive fire
3 – Gelatinous (mucous) – irritated bowel, parasites, or stress
4 – Soft blob – usually a dietary change or dumpster diving (indiscriminate eating)
5 – Formed but greasy (slimy) – too much of the wrong type of fat, or fat not being digested properly
6 – Watery (no form, literally brown water) – lots of things from stress (very common), a viral infection, or a load of parasites.
7 – Firm log – usually kibble fed diet
8 – Firm log with mush at the end – over feeding
9 – Furry – eating the hides of animals (mousing, gophering, rabbiting) or ingesting their own fur some how (dogs are not preeners like cats by the way)
10 – Fluffy, airy, ragged edge, mushy blob – on the uphill side of diarrhea, watch for changes in the environment, food, and emotional/social health.
11 – Soft, thin, rope like – signs of straining, bowel obstruction, infection, dietary change
THE COLOR GUIDE TO POOP
1 – White – bone fed dogs if raw feeding, high calcium intake. If not feeding a raw diet white can be a sign of fat malabsorption, pancreatitis, or an irritated bowel.
2 – Rainbow – Crayola crayons, scrunchies, legos, fruit loops, chunks of uncooked vegetables.
3 – Yellow – virus, giardia, gall bladder dysfunction
4 – Fluorescent orange – parasites, liver dysfunction, bacterial infection
5 – Black – some raw fed dogs have super dark stools, but BLACK is generally a sign of digested blood, or internal bleeding, or an old internal injury.
6 – Red (blood) – active issue in the intestine, anal area. If you are feeding cooked beets in your dogs food, this can also cause red poop, know your dog.
7 – Green – too much veggies in the diet, bile isn’t broken down due to rapid transit of waste material, over antibiotic use, poor gut flora.
8 – Clay color – low liver function, poor bile output, OR from using aluminum hydroxide (antacid).
9 – Brown – the normal poop color, healthy gut function and flora. The color of leather, of various chocolates, and various types of mocha coffee. Brown poop varies ever so slightly in shades and hues of brown.
THE ODOR GUIDE TO POOP
1 – Rotten egg or heavy sulfur smell – giardia
2 – Foul smelling (not just normal poop smell, but room clearing smell) – malabsorption, change in diet, indiscriminate eating of trash like stuff.
3 – Acidic smelling (makes your eyes water) – a diet that is not serving your dog, poor gut flora, lacking good digestive fire.
4 – Normal poop smell (smells like poop, not great, but then again it is) – all is well.
If you are living life and getting out there, and are intentional and are working towards building your knowledge on canine health, than things will usually go more better than not.