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What Should My Dog's Poop Look Like?

As pet parents, one of the best ways to monitor your dog's health is by paying attention to their poop. Your dog's stool can reveal a lot about their digestive system and overall well-being. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you understand what to look for in your dog’s poop.

The Four C’s of Poop

When evaluating your dog’s poop, focus on the four C's: color, consistency, content, and coating.


Under normal circumstances, dog stool is a chocolate-brown color. This color comes from bile, specifically a pigment called bilirubin, which is released by the gallbladder during digestion. Some minor color changes can occur due to diet or hydration, but significant color changes should be noted:

  • Black Stool: Indicates bleeding high up in the digestive tract.

  • Red Streaks: Suggest bleeding in the lower digestive tract.

  • Grey or Yellow Stool: May indicate issues with the pancreas, liver, or gallbladder.

If you notice abnormal colors persisting for more than two stools, contact your veterinarian.

Consistency, What Should My Dog's Poop Look Like?

Consistency can tell a lot about your dog's health and is often influenced by diet. Vets sometimes use a numerical fecal scoring system ranging from 1 to 7, where 1 is very hard pellets and 7 is a puddle.

  • Ideal Stool: A score of 2, firm and segmented, shaped like a caterpillar, and feels like Play-Doh when pressed.

  • Formless Stool: Indicates that the large intestine is not reabsorbing water properly.

  • Hard Stool: Can be painful to pass and may indicate dehydration.

Occasional variations in stool consistency aren’t typically a cause for concern, but persistent changes should be discussed with your vet.

Content, What Should My Dog's Poop Look Like?

The inside of a stool should look uniform. Abnormal contents may include:

  • Worms: Such as long roundworms or rice-shaped tapeworm segments. Fresh samples are important for accurate assessment, as stool left outside can attract other creatures.

  • Foreign Materials: Items like grass, plastic, or rocks indicate that your dog might be eating non-food items (pica).

  • Fur: Large amounts of fur can signal overgrooming due to stress, allergies, skin disease, or boredom.


Healthy dog poop should not have a coating or film. There should be no residue left behind when you pick up the stool. A coating of mucus can indicate large bowel inflammation, often accompanied by diarrhea. Occasional small streaks of bright red blood can appear due to straining but repeated occurrences warrant a vet visit.

When to See the Vet

Most issues with dog poop resolve within 24 hours. If your dog is otherwise acting normally, you can give them a day to see if their symptoms improve. However, if your dog shows any of the following signs, it's time to consult your vet:

  • Stops eating

  • Appears depressed

  • Continues to have abnormal digestive symptoms for more than a day

Monitoring your dog's poop is an important part of their overall health care. For more pet care tips and advice, visit

What Should My Dog's Poop Look Like?
What Should My Dog's Poop Look Like?


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