All About Pet Poop

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You can tell a lot about your pet’s health by paying attention to the little things. Besides looking at their coat quality, activity level, and muscle conditioning, watching their bathroom habits can hold a lot of valuable information.

Pet poop can also hold a lot of secrets about your furry friend, and Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates is here to unlock them for you. 

Pet Poop Basics

When you come to visit us, we often ask some seemingly intimate questions about your pet’s bowel movements, such as:

  • How many bowel movements does your pet have per day?
  • Does your pet ever struggle with a bowel movement?
  • What is the consistency of your pet’s poop? (Check it out, there is even a fecal scoring system for you more scientific types!)
  • Is there ever blood or mucous present?
  • Does your pet ever experience fecal accidents or urgency?
  • What color and odors are normal for your pet?

We may also ask about your pet’s appetite, how much and what they eat in an average day, and evaluate body condition. Knowing the answers to some of these basic questions can help us to hunt down a problem, and can alert you that you may need to give us a call

What’s in a Poop?

There are a few main types of pet poop that we see. Deciphering their meaning can be straightforward, but sometimes it’s a little more complicated than that. Some stool types that we see include:

Soft yet formed – Many times softer stools (think soft serve ice cream) indicate something is up with your pet’s digestive tract’s normal function. Dietary changes such as a new treat or nibbling on something naughty out in the yard can result in squishy stools. An occasional soft stool is no big deal, but if it’s persistent or recurrent let us know so that we can rule out things like food intolerances or intestinal parasites.

Liquid – Very liquid stool is an indication that something is upsetting your pet’s normal digestive function dramatically. Many systemic conditions can cause this, and if your pet has more than two liquid stools in a 24 hour period, it is considered a pet emergency

Hard pebbles – Very hard, small stools indicate that your pet is dehydrated. Definitely encourage water intake and let us know if the problem is persistent.

Voluminous – A much larger than normal bowel movement may just reflect a large or fibrous meal recently. Persistent large stools can occur with diets high in fiber or other non-digestible products.

Stinky – Poop stinks, but there is no arguing that some is smellier than others. A very smelly stool is often the result of a diet change and may indicate that your pet is not fully digesting the nutrients in the food. These may also occur when the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients is impaired, such as with inflammatory bowel disease. Many dogs with this problem may also be poop eaters

Mucous or blood – Mucous or small amounts of frank blood are often indicative of inflammation of the colon, or colitis. This finding should be addressed with one of our veterinarians

Foreign material – If you are seeing sticks, rocks, fabric in your pet’s stools, it is a good warning that your pet is eating things that they shouldn’t be. If your pet seems fine otherwise, do your due diligence to remove access to potential foreign bodies. If your pet is sick, it’s important to come see us right away.

When a pet is having problems with their bowels, it is helpful for you to bring us a fecal sample so that we can see what things look like and perform a thorough fecal test

The more you can share with us about your pet’s stools, the better! Don’t worry, it takes a whole lot more than a conversation about pet poop to gross us out – we want to have healthy and happy patients no matter what conversation is needed to get us there.