Let’s talk Labrador poop! It is not something many of us like to talk about, but it can be an important indicator of the health of your dog. It is important to keep a close eye on what your dog’s poop looks like right now and in the years to come. We understand it is not a pleasant way to spend your time, but it only takes a few seconds to look for changes in your dog’s stools. The size, texture, color, and shape all tell an important story about the general health of your Labrador.
Healthy Labrador poop is moist, dark brown, with a firm play-dough type consistency, and a mild smell. If your Labrador’s poop has the following characteristics, it can be a sign of a possible health problem: strong, sickening smell; a loose or runny consistency; contains worms or foreign objects; shriveled and rock-hard; consistent mucus coating; or an unusual color.
Most people will only pay attention when their Labrador has a bad bout of diarrhea, but there are other tell-tale signs to look out for in your pet’s poop that can indicate possible poor health. If you want to learn more about how to promote healthy poop from your Labrador and what abnormal poop characteristics really mean, read on.
What the Poop! What Does My Labrador’s Poop Characteristics Mean?
Let’s take our poop talk to the next level. What makes for healthy Labrador poop and why? Why does one Labrador have healthy poop while another does not? Understanding the different characteristics of your Lab’s poop can put you in a better position to care for your pet and ensure a long, healthy and happy life for her.
If your Labrador is healthy and happy, you will see it in its poop. Here is what to look for in healthy poop characteristics.
A dog that is getting the right amount of nutrients and hydration will have a firm stool that has a play-dough type of consistency. If the poop seems to be moist and has a firm shape, there is nothing to worry about. Do not panic if you see one loose stool happen occasionally. Take note of the consistency and then check the next few times your dog ‘goes’ to see if it is getting runnier or if it has corrected itself. Much like us humans, sometimes dogs just have an off “poop day.”
The color of your Labrador’s poop is actually very telling. You can glean important health information about your pet just by noting a change in color. Healthy dog poop color is often described as “chocolate brown”. If it is a dark brown color, your pet is doing well.
The shape of a healthy Labrador poop is only best described as “log-like”. It should not have weird shapes and formations – that may be a sign that something is wrong. Each poop should be a longish log-like shape. If it is not, then you need to take note of the appearance. Is the poop small and hard like pellets? Is it gnarled and misshapen? Paying attention is important.
Obviously, for Labrador poop to smell is completely normal. Healthy Labrador poop should usually have a mild odor that lingers but is not too strong or difficult to deal with. You should be able to pick it up or clean it away without feeling an overwhelming urge to gag. If your dog’s poop smell is overly strong and is making you feel ill, it is a good idea to investigate the underlying cause of the unusually foul smell.
The Absence of Mucus
Most Labrador owners find the topic of mucus confusing. All dogs produce mucus at one time or another throughout their lives. In fact, it happens all the time in their bowels; you just usually do not see it. The supply of mucus that comes from the bowels helps the stool to move along its exit route without any hold-ups. Without the natural production of mucus, passing stool would be fairly difficult and painful process for your Lab.
However, there is such a thing as too much mucus, so be on the lookout for that. When collecting a stool sample from the lawn, you should not see a trail or glob of mucus left behind. And if you do, it should only be visible in the very short term. Healthy dog poop does not have mucus and if it does, it should only be a small amount for a day or so. If your dog is producing a lot of mucus for longer than just a day, it is time to see the vet.
Abnormal Labrador Poop
Poop may also tell a tale of poor health or at least a temporary discomfort that your dog is experiencing. If your Labrador has any of the following signs in its poop, it is time to pay attention and consult with your local vet.
Loose stools, runny stools, and diarrhea can be signs that something may not be completely right with your Labrador. Often this type of stool is a sign that your dog is eating something that does not agree with her or is possibly contaminating her system. If your dog recently has gotten into the trash, been fed scraps by someone, or has eaten something that she should not have eaten, it could present itself in the form of loose or runny stool.
If this is the only wayward sign that your pet is showing, there is probably no cause to see the veterinarian immediately unless the situation becomes extreme (uncontrollable diarrhea, for example). Instead, monitor your pet for a day or two to see if the situation worsens or gets better. It may be a short-term problem, but if it persists, make sure to keep your pet hydrated and see your vet as soon as possible. Loose and runny stools can also be a sign of an allergy.
A hard stool is an indicator of too much insoluble fiber in the diet and possible dehydration. Watch your pet for a day or two to see if the problem gets better by changing your pet’s diet and increasing her access to fresh, cool water.
The Color of Abnormal Dog Poop:
A change in the normal color of your pet’s poop can indicate that something is wrong, but the specific color can tell a story. Pay attention to whether your Labrador’s poop is not chocolate brown but rather one of the following colors:
- Green. Although no conclusive reason has been found for why they do it, dogs with upset stomachs may eat grass in an attempt to soothe it. If your dog’s poop has a green hue, it may be a sign that he is trying to cure a sore or upset tummy. If you see this green hue in your Lab’s stools, it is time to investigate the matter further.
Related: If you like to learn more about the theories and behavior surrounding why dogs eat grass, be sure to check out our informative article, Why Do Labradors Eat Grass?
- Yellow. Finding yellow stools can be alarming for Labrador owners and it means something quite important. Yellow color in her stools may indicate gallbladder, liver, or pancreas problems. If you encounter yellow poop, do not wait to see if the situation improves – call the vet immediately.
- Streaks of red. Unfortunately, when you find red streaks in your pet’s poop, it is a sign of internal bleeding in your pet. Most often this is a sign of bleeding that originates in the lower intestinal tract. When you encounter poops with red streaks, make an appointment with your vet for further investigation.
- Black. If your Labrador is pooping black stools, it is important to pay attention immediately – a trip to the vet is essential. Black-colored poop is a sign of possible internal bleeding – potentially from the small intestine or the stomach.
- Maroon. If your Labrador has dark-maroon stools, it is also a sign of possible stomach and small intestine bleeding. The dark maroon color is the blood that has changed color. It is important to consult with your vet immediately if you see this.
- While. Labradors who have a diet that is high in raw foods, bones, or calcium may produce white poop. This can also be a sign of constipation or a diet that lacks enough nutrients. You may need to see your vet if your dog’s poop starts showing white. You can also change your dog’s diet to see if this corrects the color of her stools and improves her general health and condition.
- White spots. Labradors who have small white spots/dots in their stool may have worms. Deworming your dog may solve the problem in a few days. Otherwise, you will need to make an appointment with your local vet to look into the situation further.
Related: If you’re curious about the dangers of you Lab contracting worms and what steps you can take to prevent it, you’ll definitely want to check out our in-depth article, How Do Dogs Get Worms?
The shape of your Labrador’s poop is also a sign of ill or good health. As already mentioned, a healthy Labrador poop is log-like in shape. An unhealthy Labrador poop might be stringy, twisted, long and thin, or pellet-like. Often this is a sign of dehydration, lack of essential oils and nutrients, or disease.
It is quite difficult to determine the underlying cause of strangely shaped dog poop without the help of a qualified vet and an understanding of the dog’s health history. If your Labrador suddenly has strange poop shapes, consult with your vet about possible causes.
If your Labrador’s poop smells particularly bad, you might wonder what the problem is. Healthy Labrador’s poop will smell, but the smell should be mild and manageable. If you feed your pooch a type of kibble, this could be the underlying cause of bad-smelling poop. Some kibble foods contain too much fiber and a lot of nutrients that your Lab’s system just can’t absorb well and make use of.
Related: We’ve done extensive research into Labrador foods, eating behaviors, and which foods to avoid feeding your Lab. Here are 4 articles to keep you super-informed on some important Labrador food topics:
Because of this, the excess nutrients pass through the digestive system and out the other side as waste. This leaves more waste matter which produces a stronger, fouler smell. Dog foods that have high levels of grain, starch, potato, or peas often cause this smelly poop problem. Other than diet, your dog’s poop could smell because it has impacted anal sacs. Sometimes when a dog’s poop is hard it can activate the anal sacs which secrete a smelly liquid. This is sometimes the cause of the foul smell.
If it turns out that the anal sacs are the problem, you can consult your vet about having them expressed. Some pet owners even opt to have them removed but there are potential health risks involved with that course of action. Once they have been emptied, you should be free from the foul smell for a while.
The Presence of Mucus
What is coating your pet’s poop is very telling. In most instances, you know what an irregular looking poop looks like. If mucus is coating each poop, you need to pay attention. Mucus is not always a sign of something wrong with your Labrador, but sometimes it is. After all, dogs are all designed with a mucus-producing lower intestinal tract that manufactures clear slimy mucus. The purpose of this is to keep the colon well lubricated so that waste products can pass through the system with ease.
Sometimes the slime accumulates and simply pops out when your dog poops, which is completely normal if it only happens occasionally. If it keeps happening or if the mucus seems to be excessive, you will need to consult your vet about possible causes. If your dog has an excessive supply of mucus or her stools are regularly coated in mucus, it could be a sign of various things including food allergies, colitis, and inflammation of the lower intestine.
My Labrador Has Abnormal Poop – Now What?
When you realize that your Labrador’s poop is abnormal you will probably turn to the internet to search for answers and advice. Unfortunately, this is a good way to find a myriad of things to panic about. The first step to helping your dog is not to panic. Then collect a stool sample, which you will take along with you to your vet. Even if your vet does not initially request it, take a stool sample as it may shorten the treatment time and help you get to the bottom of the problem more quickly.
It is vitally important to take a fresh stool sample to the vet, so wait for your pet to ‘do her business’ and quickly collect the sample. Old stools that have been sitting on the damp grass, in the hot sun, or compromised by insects and bugs will not be a good sample for the vet.
How to Collect a Stool Sample
Collecting a stool sample may not be fun, but if you are prepared and you know what to do, it can be a quick and easy process. Just put your mind to it, and do it. Below is a step by step guide on how to collect a stool sample:
Step 1: Grab your mobile phone and take a photo of the stool. This can help the vet better understand the condition and consistency of the stool before you started working with it.
Step 2: Wear a pair of gloves to gently pick up the stool sample. Of course, if you are dealing with a runny stool, you will need to use a utensil to scoop some of the poop up. A poop scoop or small hand spade can prove useful. You can even use a spoon if you do not have anything else to use.
Step 3: Carefully place the stool in a shallow, plastic container with a lid so that it is easy for the vet to see and get access to. You do not want to break up the sample or mix it up too much, so be careful with the sample while dealing with it. Remember, you want the vet to view the stool in much the same way as you found it.
Step 4: Place the lid on the container or cover it in cling wrap and refrigerate it until it is time to head to the vet.
It goes without saying that no one really likes to discuss the ins and outs of dog poop. That being said, by simply paying attention to your dog’s poop, you might save her life. Unfortunately, our pets can’t clearly tell us how they are feeling and what is wrong – a lot of it is about guesswork and careful attention from their owners. If you want to ensure that your Labrador lives a long, healthy, and happy life, check on his poop every so often. You won’t regret it.