Dog Poop Color: Why Is My Dog’s Poop Weird Color?

Healthy dog poop is typically brown.

What makes poop brown is bile, a fluid released from the gallbladder. Bile aids in the digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. It also helps eliminate certain waste products from the body.

There can be some variation in color depending on what your dog ate. You might notice that particularly when you’re feeding a variety of foods.  Some manufactured diets will make dogs produce what might otherwise be considered abnormal stool. For example, a prescription, soy-based hydrolyzed diet can make formed feces extremely light. However, if your dog is consistently on one type of food, their poop should reflect that.

Dog Poop Color

Unless your dog just ate a box of crayons—yes, that can happen, it happened with Roxy—poop that is any color other than shades of brown is often a red flag that something is wrong.

When the poop is not brown

Changes in color usually go hand in hand with changes in consistency. In other words, if your dog’s stool has a weird color, it is also likely to be runny.

Pale or clay-colored

Pale or clay-colored stools (acholia) can develop as a result of gallbladder, liver, or pancreatic disease.

For example, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) may result in clay-colored diarrhea, caused by the pancreas being unable to produce the enzymes needed to digest food and inflammation and swelling blocking the passage of bile. Pale stools can indicate a lack of bile production or flow, suggesting liver and/or gallbladder disease.

Orange stools can be seen when a dog’s biliary system is blocked or when his or her blood cells are rupturing within the circulatory system.

Yellow or greenish

Yellow or greenish stools are sometimes produced when the material is passing through the intestinal tract more quickly than normal. It can be seen with Giardia,  intestinal parasites or infections, and many other conditions.

Black, tarry stool (melena) signifies bleeding in the upper digestive tract or respiratory tract (with the blood being coughed up and swallowed). The black, tarry appearance is due to the presence of digested blood.

Potential causes range from GI ulcers, trauma, foreign bodies, infections, tumors, blood clotting disorders, kidney failure and more.

Bright red streaks/bloody stool (hematochezia) indicate bleeding in the lower GI tract and can be caused by enteritis (inflammation or infection of the small intestine), colitis (inflammation or infection of the colon/large intestine) or conditions affecting the anus or anal glands.

Jasmine sometimes got blood in her stool when her IBD was acting up. Enteritis and colitis can be caused by IBD, intestinal parasites, infections, foreign bodies, stress, and more.

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) is a common cause of bloody diarrhea in dogs. This is a serious condition that can occur very quickly and be fatal if left untreated.

Bloody diarrhea in puppies could mean the dreaded Parvo, particularly if your pup is also vomiting and lethargic. In older dogs, it could be a sign of cancer.

Bright green

Pale or clay-colored stools (acholia) can develop as a result of gallbladder, liver, or pancreatic disease.

Bright green stools could mean that your dog ate certain types of rat poison (the green dye is added to aid in its identification).  This means an immediate trip to a vet.

Pale or clay-colored stools (acholia) can develop as a result of gallbladder, liver, or pancreatic disease.

if you find rice-like specks or spaghetti-like strands, you’re probably looking at worms.


Related articles:
Dog Poop Consistency

Further reading:
Why Does My Veterinarian Want a Poop Sample?

Categories: DiagnosesDog careDog health advocacyPoop

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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