Green dog poop – what is it, and what should you do about it? If you have a dog, odds are that you’re intimately familiar with their poop. If they’re constipated, suffering from diarrhea, or pooping out something they shouldn’t…. you’re well aware.
All that time you’ve spent holding your nose and bending down with plastic bags? Think of it as training to help you understand more about your dog’s poo.
While dog poo isn’t anyone’s favorite subject, keeping tabs on their poop is a great thing.
Your pup can’t tell you how they’re feeling, but their bowel movements can give you clues about their health. By looking at their poop, you can spot potential liver disease, parasites, bacteria, pancreatic insufficiency, and so much more.
Did your dog recently pass a green bowel movement? Read on to discover exactly why this is happening and what you can do about it.
What Healthy Dog Poop Should Look Like
Before we address your dog’s green poo, let’s quickly touch on what healthy dog waste should look like. As a guide, let’s focus on the 4 C’s of dog poop: color, content, consistency, and coating.1
These elements can vary depending on what you’re feeding your dog. For example, a dog who eats kibble vs. a raw diet will produce different waste. Check your pup’s poo regularly, so you know what’s normal for your own dog.
Color: Chocolate Brown Poop is Ideal
Your dog’s poop should be chocolate brown.2 The exact color may vary depending on your dog’s diet, but as a rule, you want to see Tootsie Roll-colored poops. Okay, that’s a little gross, but It does paint a clear picture, doesn’t it?
While food can cause slight variations in color, your dog’s poop actually gets its brown color from bile. Bile is a digestive fluid that’s produced in the liver. It’s stored in the gallbladder, and released into the gut through a bile duct when it’s needed.3,4
Some color variation is normal. But sudden or drastic changes should alert you that something is going on in your dog’s body. When in doubt, always call your vet.
Here are a few non-brown poop colors you may see and what they mean:
Green Dog Poop
Green poop can be caused by something harmless, like eating grass. It might also be the result of something life-threatening, like eating rat poison. More on this in a moment.
Bright red streaks may mean there is bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior, and contact your vet if it doesn’t quickly resolve itself.5
Black or Maroon
Dark, tarry stools are usually caused by bleeding somewhere higher up in the GI tract, such as the stomach or small intestine.6 Don’t ignore this. Call your vet right away.
Hard, chalky, white stools could mean one of two things. One, it could be a sign that your dog is getting too much calcium in their diet.7 If you think this is the cause, talk to your vet about changing your dog’s diet. This could lead to chronic constipation.8
Two, if dogs eat a large amount of raw food like meat and bones, their poop will look white.9 This is normal and should not cause concern.
Yellow Dog Poop
Pale yellow dog poop may be caused by problems with the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas. It could also mean that the stool passed too quickly from the small intestine to the colon.10 Call your vet for tests right away.
Most pet owners know the consistency of healthy dog poo from all the times they’ve picked it up with waste bags. It should feel like Play-doh – when you scoop it up, it keeps its shape, but it’s not too firm. It looks moist, but not greasy.
If your dog’s poop is too soft or too hard, there may be cause for concern. Runny dog poo, or diarrhea, can be a symptom of several things, including:
- Dog food intolerance
- A bacterial or viral infection
Hard, dry stools are a sign of constipation, dietary problems, or dehydration.12,13
A healthy pile of dog poop should look moist, but not greasy. If there is mucus coating your dog’s stool, there could be an issue with your dog’s pancreas.14 Call your vet.
Healthy dog feces should be pure brown without foreign objects, worms, or parasites.
Does your dog’s poop contain foreign objects like fur, wood, or pieces of plastic? They probably ate something they shouldn’t have. Keep an eye on your pup’s behavior. There’s a good chance it will pass through the intestinal tract without issue. Larger objects, though, can become lodged along the way.15
Worms and Parasites
If your dog has worms, you may be able to see them in his poop.
Small white spots that look like grains of rice may be a sign of tapeworms.16
You may also be able to see roundworms and hookworms with the naked eye. They look like off-white, spaghetti-shaped parasites.17
If you suspect your dog has worms, call your vet and do not touch the feces. Keep in mind, many parasites and bacteria can only be seen with a vet’s microscope.18
If you know that your dog recently ate fur or bones, you should expect to see that in his poop. This should not cause concern.
Remember, you want to know what’s normal for your own dog so you can quickly spot irregularities.
Green Dog Poop: Everything You Need To Know
What Causes Green Dog Poop?
There are a few different explanations for why your dog’s poop is green, and they range from harmless to urgent. Knowing this, you should always stay on the safe side. Call your veterinarian if you notice something is off.
1. Eating Grass or Green Leaves
Eating grass is one of the most common causes of green dog poop.19 If your dog has green poop, you may not have to look any further than the grass or leaves he’s been snacking on.
Grass contains chlorophyll. This green pigment can pass through the intestinal tract and turn your pup’s poop green.
What Does Grassy Poop Look Like?
Grassy poop may or may not have actual pieces of undigested grass in it. It will likely be loose, but it shouldn’t contain streaks of blood or a mucus coating. Go back to your 4 C’s – if the poop looks green and has another issue listed above, call your vet.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Many veterinarians think that dogs eat grass to soothe an upset stomach. Grass typically makes a dog vomit, which might be exactly what they want if something isn’t sitting right. Others think that dogs may get extra nutrients from grass or that they just like the way it tastes.20
Either way, most experts agree that letting your dog eat grass is probably fine in moderation.21 Dogs usually nibble on grass. If you see your dog chowing down, there may be an underlying disease that needs your attention.
Should You Be Concerned?
Now, an occasional green poop caused by eating too much grass should not cause too much concern.
You may want to look at your pet’s diet to make sure they’re getting the essential nutrients that they need. You may also want to see your vet to make sure your dog doesn’t have an underlying gastrointestinal disease.
Look for more symptoms. If your pet seems lethargic and experiences diarrhea, weight loss, and grass-induced vomiting all at the same time, call your vet.22
2. Diet Changes
Did you recently change your dog’s food? If your dog has green, runny stools, this may be due to digestive disturbances caused by a sudden change in diet.23
Your dog has likely eaten some weird things. So, Fido must have an iron stomach, right? Well, nope.
The truth is that changes in diet can easily cause diarrhea and other digestive issues.24
It can take a dog’s digestive system a few days to adapt to new proteins in various dog foods.25 Because of this, it’s always a good idea to introduce new food slowly, over the period of 5-7 days.26 You can do this by mixing in their new food with their old food and slowly increasing the ratio of new to old over time.
Should You Be Concerned?
If you think a change in diet may be the culprit for your pup’s green stools, look for other symptoms of imbalance.
If your dog seems to feel okay – and he’s not lethargic, vomiting, or refusing to eat – then there is no need to be overly concerned. If he shows any other symptoms or diarrhea doesn’t go away on its own after a few hours, call your vet.
3. Rodent Poison
If you notice a bright green or blue stool, there’s a chance that your dog might have ingested mouse or rat poison.27 These poisons give off a good smell to attract rodents. Unfortunately, they can also seem like a yummy treat for curious dogs.
Some types of rat poison are dyed bright green. This way, they’re easily spotted and aren’t mistaken for something else.
Fortunately, this dye can also give your dog’s poop a bright green or blue color. This will help alert you to the potential presence of poison.28
Should You Be Concerned?
Your dog may seem fine at first, but the rat bait will damage your dog’s health over time and should not be ignored. Rat poison works to stop a rat’s blood from clotting, and it will have the same effect on your dog.29
If you think your dog may have eaten rat bait – even if you’re not sure, take them to the vet immediately. If you have a bottle of the rat poison in question, take it with you to show to your vet.
There are many different toxins on the market. Knowing the exact ingredients can help your vet determine the best treatment for your pet.30
4. Your Dog’s Green Poop Could Be Caused By Fat In His Diet
If your dog’s stool looks greenish gray and slightly greasy, it could be a sign that there’s too much fat in your dog’s diet. If ignored, this surplus of fat can lead to pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas.31
The green tint could also be caused by a bile or gallbladder problem. This is common in dogs who have trouble digesting fats in their diet.32
Either way, you may want to speak with your vet about changing your dog’s diet.
Should You Be Concerned?
If you notice that your dog’s poop has this greasy quality, you should always call your vet.
5. Green Poop Could Be a Sign of Giardia
Giardia is a relatively common parasite that can cause green poop. Usually, it will show up in puppies or dogs who have been around a lot of other animals – in a dog shelter, for example.
Dogs can get giardia from feces-contaminated water. They may also get it from the waste of another animal who’s infected with the parasite.33
Green poop typically isn’t the only symptom of giardia. Other symptoms include weight loss, sporadic diarrhea that lasts for a long time, and greasy-looking poop that may also be covered in mucus. If infected, your dog’s poo will likely be soft or runny; it may or may not contain blood.34
Should You Be Concerned?
Yes, contact your vet immediately. You dog can pass this parasite to you, so be careful to wash your hands and avoid handling your dog’s feces.
Is It Always a Bad Thing If My Dog Passes Green Stool?
Should you sound the alarm bells if you spot a green poop? It depends.
If you think the green poop is the result of an overzealous grass snack, you may be okay waiting a few hours. It may clear up on its own. Greenish, soft diarrhea is also common and if you can pinpoint a cause, it shouldn’t cause too much concern.
Keep an eye out for other symptoms beyond the green stool. If your dog is showing signs of lethargy, constipation, or vomiting, call your vet.
If you believe the green poop could be caused by anything else, call your vet and get an expert opinion.
If you suspect that there is any chance that your dog swallowed rat poison, take your dog to the vet immediately.
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