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

Healthy dog poop is typically brown.

What makes poop brown is bile—fluid 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 commercial diets will make dogs produce what you would otherwise consider 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, it happens—poop color other than shades of brown is a red flag.

When the poop is not brown

Color changes 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
Dog Poop Color: Pale

Pale or clay-colored stools (acholia) can develop due to 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. In addition, pale stools can indicate a lack of bile production or flow, suggesting liver and/or gallbladder disease.

Further reading: Weight Loss, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (Maldigestion): My dog is Always Hungry and Losing Weight

You might observe orange stool when:

  • your dog has biliary system blockage
  • blood cells are rupturing within the circulatory system.

Further reading: Orange Stool in a Dog: Sunny’s Orange Stools

Yellow or greenish
Dog Poop Color: Yellow

You need to distinguish between mucus in the stool and actual stool color. Mucus can be r yellow or greenish, but it is a different situation.

Further reading: Mucus in Dog Stool

Yellow or greenish stools are sometimes produced when the material passes 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.

Further reading: Is Tarry Stool an Emergency? Melena in Dogs

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.

Further reading: Blood in Dog Stool

Bright green
Dog Poop Color: Green

Eating large quantities of grass can give your dog’s poop a green appearance—it would be dark green, and you should be able to detect the grass.

However, bright green stools are serious. It could mean that your dog ate a certain type of rat poison. The manufacturer adds a green die to aid in its identification). Naturally, this means an immediate trip to a vet.

Further, green poop can be a symptom of:

  • intestinal parasites
  • bacterial infection

If you find rice-like specks or spaghetti-like strands, you’re probably looking at worms—tapeworms or roundworms. Those are the only two types you can observe with your own eyes.

Tapeworms can appear as actual worms or, as they dry, rice.

Further reading: Polka Dot Dog Poop

Related articles:
My Dog’s Poop: What Can You Learn from Your Dog’s Stool
Dog Poop Consistency

Further reading:
Dog Poop Color Chart | What Each Color Means
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.

  1. This absolutely nails a major worry for dog parents – ‘How is my dog doing’? Because poop tells you quickly if something is wrong. You know what is ‘normal’ for your dog, you know what you feed them and how it affects their digestion so any deviation from this needs thought and investigation.

    You really need to make the poop chart into a printable. It tackles a tricky subject in a way the fussiest human can hope with. Even printed off and kept in a drawer it is a quick reference for the dog mom or dad.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, I didn’t know that bright green could mean rat poison. Our neighbor put some rat poison out and although our dogs don’t go in his yard, I’m worried that a squirrel or other animal might bring it into our yard. Dogs’ bodies give us lots of clues if we just pay attention.

  3. Excellent breakdown on stool color and what it could mean! Keeping track of your pet’s stool color and consistency is very important so you know when possible problems are occurring where you might need to make a vet visit! I also wanted to add that on top of white-grey stools being an indicator of issues with the pancreas (EPI) – if it isn’t loose but more hard it can also been an indicator of too much calcium or minerals within the diet which happens a lot with dogs fed bones or unbalanced homemade diets.

  4. Great post and I watch her poop all the time to make sure they are ok, Layla is on an amazing supplement that helps with bowel movement and has made a really great difference

  5. Very informative. This is important for dog owners to know, as unpleasant as the topic may be. I can’t even with those images, haha, with their little sad faces.

  6. Great information! I’m always looking at my dog’s poop. I know it’s a window into how he really feels. I adopted him with a sensitive stomach. He eats pumpkin twice a day. The first time I saw his orange poop, I was a bit startled. Then I remembered how much pumpkin he has to eat (per the vet) and I was put at ease. However, I did discuss it with my vet at his next visit. Of course, he laughed at me. I didn’t even bother to tell him how my dog has greenish poop with eats dental treats. I figured my ego didn’t need the hit. This is really good information. I’ve looked for this exact sort of thing many times. Thank you for putting it together so precisely.

  7. Well it’s not the most pleasant topic to discuss, but a necessary one. Just like with humans, taking note of stool and it’s appearance is important to check. Just as you’ve discussed, it’s a window into what is going on inside the body. I expected to read about differing colors but you had me stumped with the polka dots (worms). Yikes! Thanks for sharing this informative post. Will pin and share!

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