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Dog poo colours: what do they mean?
A gorgeous, golden Cocker Spaniel, with wild hair on the top of his head, sits looking happy with himself in the long grass.

Dog poo colours: what do they mean?

Dr David Tweedle, My Family Pet Vet and Clinical Director at Natures Vet in Somerset, reveals all he knows about the colours of dog poo…

Dave Tweedle, My Family Vets

“You can tell quite a lot from the colour of your dog’s poo. The colour can be an indicator of health problems or illnesses so it’s useful to keep an eye on your dog’s poo and to know which colours are a cause for concern.

Shows a colour wheel of poo colours - 1. Black; cause: Darkened blood; threat level: potentially major. 2. Grey; cause: fat in poo; threat level: moderate. 3. White specked; cause: tapeworms; threat: moderate. 4. Red; cause: various (detail in text below); threat level: major-minor. 5. Pink/purple; cause: gastroenteritis; threat level: major. 6. Yellow; cause: Food intolerance; threat level: minor. 7. Orange; cause: digestion issues; threat: minor-moderate.8. Green; cause grass; threat level: minor. 9. Brown; cause normal poo!; threat level: none.

Black (or very dark) dog poo

Dark or black dog poo can be a sign of internal bleeding. It’s dark in colour because the blood isn’t fresh – it has been digested by your dog. Possible causes include stomach ulcers or trouble with your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

If your dog’s poo is often this colour and you notice that they’re losing weight too, you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

Grey dog poo

Did you give your dog a sausage, or fatty treat?

Grey poo is usually a sign that the dog’s digestive system is struggling to break down fats. In these cases, the poo will have a slimy appearance. Dogs’ digestive systems aren’t really built for fatty foods, so you should really avoid giving them things like sausages, burgers and cheese as snacks.

If your dog’s poo is grey/slimy and you haven’t given them anything fatty to eat, keep an eye out. If this happens for a while and you’re concerned, have a chat with your vet. Oh, and double check your dog isn’t stealing anything from the bin!

Dog poo specked with white

I hate to say it, but if a dog’s poo is flecked with lots of little white bits, the dog has got tapeworms! You’ll need to worm them as soon as possible, making sure you’re treating them against tapeworms and not just any old worms. Give your vet a call if you get lost or need more help.

Red, pink or purple dog poo

Poo streaked with red can be a sign of colitis, anal gland infection, rectal injury or a cut on the dog’s anus. Keep an eye out and get in touch with your vet if this is a regular occurrence.

Pink or purple-coloured poo (imagine the colour of jam – disgusting I know) can be a sign of gastroenteritis, so contact your vet right away if you come across this.

Yellow dog poo

This is usually a sign of food intolerance and may occur if you’ve recently changed your dog’s diet, or if they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t. Try to introduce dietary changes gradually, over the course of a few weeks rather than simply switching over. If yellow poo continues, or if you don’t know of any reason your dog wouldn’t be tolerating their food, have a chat with your vet.

Orange dog poo

This may indicate a liver or biliary problem. When poo comes out orange, the dog’s digestive system is essentially getting rid of it from the body earlier than usual, before it’s had the chance to become the usual brown.

Green dog poo

If your dog has been out playing in the grass, or if you know they like to eat grass, you can probably put green poo down to that.

Green poo can also be a sign of poisons or parasites. Contact your vet immediately if your dog is vomiting or appears generally restless, but if they appear completely healthy, green poo is likely nothing to worry about.

Brown dog poo

Congratulations, your dog’s poo is as it should be!

A completely healthy poo will be a traditional brown and won’t be too hard or too soft. If you have any questions about your dog’s poo, don’t hesitate to give your vet a call.

Further info on poisonous plants to dogs

Dogs & poisonous plants

Garden plants poisonous to dogs

What to do if your dog has food poisoning

Preventing herbicide poisoning in dogs

Autumn plants toxic to dogs

Spring tips to keep your doggy safe

Protecting your dog from pests and insects

Foods your dog can and can’t eat

10 springtime hazards for dogs

Dog friendly garden

Christmas foods to keep away from your dog

Dog poo colours: what do they mean?


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