Checking a dog’s poop is no one's idea of a good time! However, as a pet parent, it’s essential to do so - poop can tell all about your pup’s health. If you spot mucus in dog poop, your pooch might be ill. Let’s talk about what’s normal in terms of dog poop, and what can be causing the mucus.
Have a dog? Part of your daily routine is scooping up poop. That means you know it pretty well and should notice any changes. In fact, you should really make a point of monitoring it on a weekly, or even daily, basis. A dog’s poop is basically a window to their health, after all!
“I’ll be the first to admit that I stand outside watching each and every performance of my dogs’ “poop show.” This isn’t just a weird sort of voyeurism—rather, it’s a good way to know what’s going on with a dog’s health.” says Dr Shea Cox to The Bark.
Before we delve further into the yucky subject of mucus in dog poop, it might help you to understand what’s actually normal when it comes to your pup’s toilet habits.
Normal dog poop: 4 things to watch out for
“If you, too, like to see what’s coming off the production line, keep in mind that the number-one rule of thumb when considering canine elimination is reproducibility. Stools should generally have the same colour, size and consistency each and every time.” continues Dr Cox.
We couldn’t agree more with Dr Cox. There’s no such thing as the perfect dog poop - it can vary greatly with day-to-day diet and lifestyle changes.
The most important thing to monitor is changes in your dog’s poop. If you notice something is different and it’s not going away, it’s time to head to the vet.
Here are 4 things to watch out for when it comes to dog poop:
Colour: Brown shades of poop are normal. Black, red, orange or yellow stools are a cause for concern.
Smell: Poop smells, of course! But if your dog’s poop suddenly smells overpowering strange, something suspicious could be going on.
Sound: A stomach rumble every now and then is fine - noisy, excessive farts or digestion noises aren’t.
Texture: Dog poop should be firm in consistency. A runny or hard stool once in a while is fine, but if it becomes a regular occurrence, get your pup checked out.
Causes of mucus in dog poop
“The presence of mucus is actually very normal. It's common to see a little bit of a slimy, jelly-like substance in your dog's stool. Glands in the intestinal tract naturally produce mucus to help keep the colon lubricated and moist to help the stools pass along.” explains Adrienne Janet Farricelli, author of Brain Training for Dogs, to Pet Helpful.
“However, excessive mucus accompanied by blood in the stool, diarrhoea, vomiting and/or other symptoms is a cause for concern.”
Let’s take a closer look at some of the common causes of mucus in dog poop:
A number of gastrointestinal infections can cause mucus in dog poop. Whether it’s caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi, your pooch might experience runny stools, sickness, disinterest in food and of course, mucus in their poop. Keep an eye out for yellowish bile in their vomit, too - this is characteristic of gastroenteritis.
Eating something bad
We all know how much dogs love to eat - anything and everything! Mucus in dog poop may just be caused by eating something bad from a rubbish bin or off the floor. In this case, they should recover fairly quickly with fasting and a bland diet.
Unfortunately, poisoning can occur if a dog consumes a toxic substance. This could be anything from human medications to alcohol or caffeine. Poisoning is serious and should be addressed by a vet immediately - look out for signs such as seizures, fainting and chronic vomiting.
Wiggly worms in your dog’s body? Yuck! Parasites in dogs are both disgusting and dangerous. Whipworms, tapeworms and giardia can all lead to mucus in dog poop and will need to be treated with a simple dewormer. Another common symptom such is smelly diarrhoea.
Have you changed your dog’s diet recently? This is a simple cause of mucus in dog poop. A dog’s digestive system is surprisingly sensitive and will sometimes react to new and unfamiliar foods. Try to introduce this new food slowly by swapping it in slowly. If symptoms persist, your pooch might be allergic to something and will need a food allergy test.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Dogs can get IBS (sometimes known as IBD) too! Flare-ups are often triggered by stressful events and should be treated through stress relief and dietary changes. The most obvious symptom is severe diarrhoea, but you may also notice mucus in your dog’s stool.
We know - no one wants to hear or talk about cancer when it comes to dogs. However, a common symptom of dog cancer changes in bowel habits - including mucus in dog poop, blood in the stools or black stools. If the mucus persists, it’s important to head to the vet for a checkup - remember, the earlier you catch it, the better.
Other causes of mucus in dog poop:
- Crohn’s disease
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
Mucus in dog poop: what to do
First things first - don’t freak out! While mucus in dog poop can be a symptom of a serious disease, it’s most likely to be something minor and easily treatable.
The best thing you can do if the mucus persists is head to the vet. It’s only he/she who can make a formal diagnosis - plus, it’s best to get it sorted sooner rather than later.
Remember, if your dog is displaying other signs of illness such as not eating their food, vomiting or appearing worryingly lethargic, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.
If the mucus in dog poop episode is short and resolves on its own in a couple of days, you don’t need to go to the vet. In these cases, it’s most likely down to your pooch eating something funny. If you suspect this is the case, try fasting for 24 hours (no more than 12 for a puppy) and feeding them a bland diet for a few days after.
Understanding what's normal when it comes to dog poop and knowing the causes of mucus in dog poop means you're a dedicated pet parent - well done! We hope your dog's toilet troubles resolve themselves soon.