This is a serious question given the frequency we have of collecting and disposing of said extrusion from our beloved fur kids' bottom.
Let’s start with a healthy poo:
Firm but not hard, slightly moist – it should leave a damp spot where it has been on the concrete, but no residue, no poo is left behind. While the dog should need to push to get it out, but not strain or have discomfort. The poo should not have an offensive odour, beyond smelling like ‘poo’.
The crusty poo:
A dog fed a diet of lots of bones will have a drier poo, indeed the Petfood industry at one time had as its objective a ‘kickable poo’ achieved by adding amongst other things more calcium to the processed dog food/kibble.
With the tendency of ‘BARF’ being interpreted as ‘Bones’ many dogs end up with little else. The poo will be chalky, white even, and dry and crumbly. This is a sign that your dog has too much calcium and really needs a few vegetables and grains to loosen things up. Just like us, they need good gut health, good bacteria to grow in their bowel so adding more fibre is a good move for these dogs. Also, an oversupply of calcium interferes with Zinc absorption so you set up an unhealthy chain of issues.
Sloppy Joes poo:
We have all experienced the runs, the slops, the jelly belly, the compulsive trots. Beanie is one of these. Sensitive to the extreme in her digestion and gives me heaps of grief.
The causes are numerous, from Irritable Bowel, Irritable Gut, food intolerance, dicky liver, anxiety, stress, etc. So treating this can be more complicated but it starts with getting the diet right and building up a healthy tolerance and gut bacteria.
If it is intermittent it is in some ways easier, as it is possible to isolate the trigger or triggers. This is Beanie. Occasional bouts of runny bums and I can usually trace it back to an event (food or stress).
What to do? I take her diet back to simple foods, chicken and rice (white Basmati) cooked in chicken stock, and try to keep her fluids up. I add Slippery Elm to her food as well (1/8 teaspoon – more for heavier dogs) as this helps heal the gut lining. It usually passes in a few days.
The constant sloppy poo is disheartening for the bag bearer not to mention how the dog feels (do they know?). You really do need to get to the bottom (!) of it, and that involves doing some detective work. It is almost invariably diet-related, food intolerance, or digestive inadequacy. Beanie for instance cannot tolerate raw food or bones and even to the degree of the cooked cartilage bits on chicken (most dogs find this delicious!) will give her a few days of the jelly belly poo.
Often dogs find kibble very difficult to digest, and if kibble is your preferred diet I suggest you try to improve it and see if it makes a difference. I wrote a post on the 5 steps to improve commercial pet food here.
Food intolerance is a big topic but the easiest way to start is with an elimination diet, much like what I do with Beanie, make a very simple meal, one protein & one grain, cooked (raw can be part of the problem) for a couple of weeks and see if it settles. If not, swap the protein source. Once you have stable poo then you can adapt by adding new foods. I strongly suggest you use Wellbeing Essentials to stabilise and heal the gut, it adds pre & probiotics and good dietary fibres. Adding a probiotic and Slippery Elm can also assist.
Clearly ‘poo’ and its permutations are a larger topic than one post, so I will continue to explore this topic with another post in the future.