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The Scoop on Poop

By Jasmine Hall

A simple way to keep track of your companions health and give us valuable insight into their general wellbeing is to monitor their stools on a daily basis. Stools can be a direct reflection of what your companion has eaten and it is imperative to  monitor stools to make it easier to establish when there are any changes that could be indicative of any issues. It is important to inspect fresh stools as this will give the most accurate insight, as raw fed stools can discolour and disintegrate at a much faster rate than kibble fed stools. Read on to familiarise yourself with what type of stools you may encounter and how, if applicable, to fix any issues.

Normal Stool

Stools from a raw fed companion typically tend to be much smaller in size, but they should still be firm and well formed. They should be relatively low in odour, especially compared to stools from a kibble fed companion. Raw fed pets tend to pass a lower volume and frequency of faeces than when kibble fed. Dogs typically tend to excrete daily, whereas cats may have 2-3 days between each stool passed. Normal stools can vary in colour depending on the majority of meats fed. Lighter meats produce lighter stools, just as darker meat will produce dark stools. Normal stools will start to turn white incredibly quickly due to the high mineral content and will naturally start to disintegrate within 24 hours of leaving the body.

White/Chalky Stool

White and/or chalky stools that are fresh may indicate a diet that has been too high in calcium/bone. Mild constipation may also happen with this and will require some adjustments to the diet. Don’t forget to make sure that you’re inspecting fresh stools as often bone heavy stools can be confused with faeces that are starting to naturally break down. If you have fresh white/chalky poo, a boneless meal, adding extra fluids to the meal and exercise can all help to get things moving and back on track.

Soft Stools

It's not uncommon for companions to have a one off soft stool with no apparent cause, usually this clears up by the next faeces excreted. However, sometimes when you have a stool which is a bit soft with no or very little structure, this may be a result of any dietary changes or an unbalanced diet. If you're unsure about your pet’s overall diet, feel free to pop a question in the group and we'll be sure to help accordingly. It's important to keep in mind that soft stools can also reflect the diet change, especially if early on in transition. However, if the issue does not resolve itself and you can be certain that the diet is not responsible, then we suggest seeking veterinary advice to rule out any underlying issues.

Dark and/or Tar-Like Stool

If your companion has produced a stool which is dark, sticky and tar-like in texture, this could indicate that too much organ or other rich food items have been fed or introduced too quickly. Check your measurements are correct with what you are feeding and if applicable, reduce the amount fed in the diet. You can also reduce the amount fed and slowly build up to larger quantities if necessary, such as in terms of liver and secreting organs. It's important to note that red/dark meats can also have a darkening effect on the stools, but the texture and formation of the stool is important to look out for.

However, another cause of this particular kind of stool could be old blood, perhaps along the gastrointestinal tract. This could also indicate further concerning health issues if the problem is persistent. A full vet examination would be recommended if the issue does not right itself within 1-2 days of addressing the diet.

Bloody Stool

As intimidating as it may look, some fresh blood on the stool can be fairly common and can have quite a simple explanation. Sometimes if the dog may be constipated or straining too hard when trying to pass faeces, it can cause a tear on the way out and subsequently be responsible for some minor blood being present on stools. As above, this should clear within 1-2 days and/or by addressing the diet if applicable.

However, if you have stool which contains blood clots or a significant amount of blood throughout the stool, then unfortunately this may be an indication of more serious health issues and should receive medical attention.

Greasy or Grey Stool

Stools that appear grey in colour or have a greasy appearance can indicate a diet which is too high in fat. This needs to be addressed immediately as pancreatitis can be triggered by a diet high in fat. Try opting for leaner proteins to bring the overall fat content down and seek veterinary advice if the problem persists.

Diarrhoea

There are many possible causes for diarrhoea and it is important to familiarise yourself with what true diarrhoea looks like. Not all soft stools are diarrhoea, as indicated above. True diarrhoea has no form and is very loose and liquid like which can quickly dehydrate your pet. When faced with diarrhoea, it's important to keep your companion hydrated and quickly assess what may have caused the loose stool. If there are no apparent causes and it persists for more than 24 hours with no improvement, we recommend seeking veterinary advice.

When Should I Worry?

It's not uncommon for even healthy pets to have the odd bout of loose or soft stool with no apparent cause, although this should generally clear up within 24 hours. If your companion otherwise seems fine and has regular energy levels, supervision is adequate while the episode passes. However, if the diarrhoea is chronic and your pet’s behaviour has changed, they appear sluggish, they are running a temperature or there are other concerning factors, your pet may become quite ill and it's imperative to seek veterinary treatment, especially in younger or older companions.

If you are ever worried regarding your pets' stool and would like some reassurance, please feel free to enquire in the group! Photos are a great visual and we accept these to provide the most accurate insight and appropriate advice.

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