Guide to Types of Dog Poop: Decoding Color & Consistency

Dr. Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM
By Dr. Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM
Updated: 5/9/20242-4 minutes
man laying down on grass with white and tan hound dog

Before getting a dog, you probably didn’t spend much time thinking about dog poop. As a pet owner, though, you can become surprisingly preoccupied with it.  

Your canine companion’s stool can reveal clues about their health that may otherwise go unnoticed. The key is knowing what to look for. 

For example, a dog pooping blood is an obvious health concern. There are many other signs, however, that indicate whether your pet is healthy or may benefit from a change in diet.    

Here’s how to know if your pet has healthy dog poop. 

What Should Healthy Dog Poop Look Like? 

The next time you scoop your dog’s poop, pay attention to factors like color, consistency and shape.  

A guide to decode types of dog poop

Dog Poop Color

Wondering what the color of your dog’s stool means? Our dog poop color chart may be able to help.  

A guide to types of dog poop color

Dog Poop Consistency

The consistency of your dog’s poop is important. When you pick it up with a plastic bag, does it leave residue on the ground or does it come up clean? Also, pay attention to how it feels. Whether it’s firm, hard or soggy, consistency can provide insight into your pet’s health.  

A guide to types of dog poop consistency

Dog Poop Shape

Ideally, your dog’s poop should be log-shaped. This represents healthy digestion and internal transit. Sometimes the log shape may have segments—this is also normal.  

When dog poop shape becomes soggy or watery, it’s a sign of a disturbance in your pet’s digestive system. Try to determine the cause of your dog’s diarrhea or loose stools and check for other abnormal symptoms as well.   

Dog Poop Size

Poop size is proportional to the amount and digestibility of food your dog eats. Bigger dogs who need to consume greater amounts of food have larger poops than smaller canines. 

Larger-than-normal poops can indicate your dog has eaten more than usual (however, large, soggy stools are symptoms of diarrhea). Small, hard poops accompanied by straining to defecate usually mean your dog is constipated.  

Some types of diarrhea (small intestinal) cause larger volumes of stool to occur while other types (large intestinal) cause small volumes at an increased frequency.  

Another factor affecting dog poop size is fiber. A pet on a higher-fiber diet will likely have larger poops.  

Dog Poop Problems to Watch For 

In addition to issues like diarrhea, there are other dog stool problems that can affect your pet. Contact your veterinarian if you see any of the following conditions. 

Bloody Stool

A dog pooping blood is a sign of intestinal distress. Gastroenteritis, which refers to inflammation of the digestive tract, may be to blame. This can occur when your dog eats something harmful to them, has a parasitic or bacterial infection, or has cancer. 

Worms in Dog Poop

Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms are parasites. If your canine is infected with them, you might see evidence in their feces. For example, white segments in dog poop may be a sign of tapeworms. These can look like small grains of rice.  

Excessive Mucus in Dog Poop

A little mucus in your dog’s stool isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. It can occur naturally to help poop move through the digestive tract.  

On the other hand, if you see slimy dog poop or excessive mucus, your pet may have an infection, intestinal inflammation or perhaps ate something dangerous.   

What Does Normal Dog Poop Smell Like? 

Normal, healthy dog poop has a mild, faint odor. If the smell is foul, your pet is likely experiencing digestive upset.  

If stink becomes an ongoing problem, you might reconsider your dog’s diet. Contact your veterinarian if you’re concerned.   

How Many Times a Day Should a Dog Poop?

In general, most adult dogs poop one to two times per day on average.  

Note puppies poop more frequently and need to go out as often as every two to three hours, depending on their age and individual schedule.  

If your dog starts consistently pooping more or less than usual, this may be the result of a dietary change or health issue.  

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping? 

Healthy dogs can go up to 48 hours without pooping. Generally, going a day or two without a bowel movement isn’t cause for alarm. If more time passes or you observe straining to defecate, though, contact your veterinarian.   

Why Do Dogs Kick After They Poop?

If your dog likes to kick back with their hind legs after pooping, this is common behavior. Known as “ground scratching,” post-poop kicking may be a form of communication with other canines. It can spread their scent, as odor is released through dogs’ paw pads.  

Another possible reason for kicking is it sends visual cues. The scratches in the ground left from kicking are signs of a dog’s presence.  

Dog Diarrhea, Loose Stool & Constipation – When to Call the Veterinarian

Most canine companions experience stool problems from time to time. Whether your dog can’t poop due to constipation or has watery diarrhea, these types of issues aren’t uncommon. Often, they pass on their own within a day or two.  

If you want to help promote your dog’s digestive health or treat a bout of diarrhea, a probiotic supplement may be a good idea.  

For issues that don’t resolve on their own or go away but frequently return, contact your veterinarian.  

As a pet owner, you want your dog to be healthy and happy. While it may not be the most pleasant topic, understanding different types of dog poop can help you provide better care for your canine companion. 

For more tips from Purina experts on how to look after your canine’s digestive health, explore our other dog digestive health articles

Related articles

blonde doodle dog playing tug with person in grass
Can dogs get hay fever? Just like humans, dogs can get hay fever. Find out the symptoms & causes of hay fever in dogs and what treatment options are available.
White dog with dark stains underneath eyes
Dark-colored Shih Tzu dog taking a bath
MyPurina App - woman with dog

Reward Yourself with myPurina

Earn and redeem rewards for Purina products with the myPurina app.