As a dog owner, there are lots of fun parts to having a four-legged friend in your home. But let’s be real here. There are some parts of being a dog parent that aren’t so great. And yes, we’re talking about poo. In particular, vegan dog poo!
Whether it’s the walks in the park, the constant companionship or the unconditional love, there are lots of reasons why dogs are described as man’s best friend.
No one really wants to get up close and personal with what’s fallen out of their mutt’s bottom – but it’s an essential part of being a responsible owner. Whether it’s in the back garden or out on a walk, it’s important to clean up after your canine.
And by monitoring your dog’s poo, you’ll be able to get a good idea about their health and get an early warning when it looks like something isn’t quite right.
If you change your dog’s diet, you might notice differences in their poo – especially if you’re moving from meat-based food to a vegan dog diet. Many of these changes will be for the better, but you still need to know what good and bad poo looks like.
Without further ado, let’s dig into the subject of dog poo, and how a vegan dog diet can make a difference.
What Should Healthy Poo Look Like?
No one is suggesting that you get down on all fours and take a long hard look every time your dog has a poo, but it’s a good idea to have a cursory glance every time you’re cleaning up.
Everyone’s dog is different so it’s important to know what’s normal for your pet. However, there are some general rules about what healthy dog poo should look like.
Each poo should be well-formed, and not runny or sloppy. It also shouldn’t be too dry; healthy poo is a little moist so it won’t hurt your dog straining on the way out.
The smell of your dog’s poo can also be very revealing; a particularly whiffy poo is a sign that something isn’t quite right.
Smell, texture, frequency, volume and colour should all be monitored, and any changes discussed with your vet, where indicated. If you need to see your vet about your dog’s poo, it’s useful to take a sample with you rather than relying on just a description.
A chocolate brown colour is normal for most dogs, although this may vary very slightly. Significant changes in colour should be taken seriously – and we’re going to look at this in more detail below.
My Dog’s Poo Looks White and Speckled – What Does This Mean?
Some colour changes aren’t much cause for concern but that’s not the case with white or speckled poo. This can indicate that your dog has either tapeworm or roundworm.
Tapeworm may look like white grains of rice in your dog’s poo while roundworm resembles long, white, stringy parts.
Both types of worm can be easily treated, but if you have any other animals in the house they’ll need to be treated too to prevent reinfection.
By taking the sample to the vet, they’ll be able to identify which type of worm is present, and prescribe the right treatment. You might need to go through two complete treatments to catch all stages of the worm’s life cycle.
If your dog catches fleas, it’s a good idea to treat for tapeworms at the same time. This is because fleas can carry tapeworm, infecting your dog as they bite and scratch their skin.
Why Are My Dog’s Stools Loose?
Every dog owner in the world will have found their pooch trying to eat something at point or another – canines are scavengers and love nothing more than the opportunity to scoff something down. When you’re out for a walk, it’s not always possible to stop them eating something they find while running around – and you may see the consequences of that coming out of their back side later in the day.
Loose or runny dog poo can be a direct result of eating something that doesn’t agree with them. Their body tries to get rid of it quickly, causing the watery and runny appearance.
Make sure your dog has plenty of clean, fresh water and encourage them to drink regularly. You might also want to give them a vegan dog diet consisting of a bowl of plain brown rice in lieu of their usual food to give their tummy a chance to calm down.
If your dog seems unwell or the runny poo persists for more than a day or so, make an appointment to get them checked by your vet.
The other most common reason for loose stools is a change in your dog’s food. This is very common when introducing a big change such as going from meat to plant-based food.
Many owners mistake the runny poo as a sign that the new diet doesn’t agree with the dog, but it’s usually just because they’ve introduced the change too quickly. Any change in your dog’s diet should take place gradually, giving time for your dog to get used to the different profile.
As a general rule, the change should take place over at least seven days, blending the old and new food together and gradually changing the proportions:
- Day 1 – 90% old food, 10% new food
- Day 2 – 80% old food, 20% new food
- Day 3 – 70% old food, 30% new food
And so on until your dog is completely switched over to the new food. By taking it slowly, your dog’s body will have time to adjust and you should avoid the dreaded runny poo.
Black Poo – Is That Normal?
Black poo isn’t a normal change and can indicate there’s something going on inside your pooch’s digestive system which isn’t quite right, such as a bleed in their intestine or stomach.
If you see black poo, take a sample and make an appointment with the vet ASAP.
Yellow Poo – Oh Nooo!
Lots of dog owners will have seen the unpleasant sight of yellow or orange coloured dog poo, often accompanied by a loose and runny texture.
You don’t need to be a vet to know that this isn’t quite right but the good news is that this may be a relatively benign change.
A recent change in your dog’s diet can cause the colour and texture, so consider whether you need to take things slower if you’re introducing new food.
In the minority of cases yellow poo can indicate problems with the liver or gallbladder, so if it doesn’t resolve in 24-48 hours or your dog seems unwell, book an appointment with your vet.
How Frequently Should My Dog Poo?
Just like humans, each dog has their own personal habits and there’s no single right or wrong answer. It’s important that, as their owner, you become familiar with how often your dog normally has a poo so you can spot when something is different.
A change in frequency along with any other changes in texture, colour or consistency should all be taken seriously and a vet’s opinion sought if it doesn’t resolve.
How Will My Pup’s Poo Change on a Vegan Dog Diet?
Every dog is different but some types of food may be aggravating your dog’s digestive system, even if they’re not completely allergic. This may mean that their poo is always a bit smelly, runny or not properly formed.
Conversely, your dog may be regularly constipated or struggling with sticky poos that they can’t properly push out.
A 2016 study showed that beef, dairy and chicken were the most common allergens for dogs, with grains and wheat trailing a long way behind. Many owners switch to grain-free food to try and improve their dog’s digestive health, but ironically, that may be the worst thing possible.
A vegan dog diet will eliminate the most common allergens and intolerances, and may help your dog to have a healthier, easier vegan dog poo. And with plenty of fibre, the stools are easier to pass, with a well-formed consistency which is much easier to clear up – and that can’t be a bad thing!
Will a Vegan Dog Diet Prevent My Dog’s Poo Smelling Bad?
As well as eliminating common allergens and improving the texture, one of the big wins of a plant-based vegan dog diet is the reduced smell.
Vegan dog poo has much less odour than poo from a meat dog diet, and with a good fibre content that encourages it to move through the system efficiently, there’s less opportunity for it to stagnate and smell.
Anal Gland Issues and Plant Based Diets
If you see your dog rubbing their bottom on the floor, it’s not fleas – it’s an issue with their anal glands. Some dogs are particularly prone to anal gland issues, especially smaller breeds but you can help them by switching to a plant-based diet.
The anal glands sit close to the anal opening and their job is to excrete an oily fluid onto the stool as it exits the body. Fluid in the glands can build up, causing discomfort and the tell-tale leakage. When this happens, the vet needs to express the fluid; this is a simple procedure but can be uncomfortable, especially for sensitive dogs.
By increasing the fibre in your dog’s diet by switching to vegan pet food, the stool will become larger and better formed. As it passes by the anal gland, it will exert more pressure, enabling the fluid to be more efficiently released. This can significantly reduce the number of times your vet needs to treat the anal glands, and in some dogs it may solve the problem entirely.
We’ve finished talking about your pooch’s poop – you’ll be pleased to know! – but we’ve got plenty more blogs about your dog’s health. Why not check out some of our other articles or head over to our shop to browse through the selection of delicious food for a vegan dog diet?