The appearance of your dog’s faeces can be more important than you may think! Yes…I am back talking about the topic of poo again! The size, shape, texture and colour of your dog’s poo can reveal a lot of information about your pet’s health and gastrointestinal status. This article will reveal what it may represent if your dog’s faeces appear greasy, shiny and somewhat ‘glittery.’ And I won’t be stating the obvious, your dog eating glitter!
Table of contents
- What should a healthy dog poo look like?
- What does it mean if my dog’s poo is shiny/greasy?
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What should a healthy dog poo look like?
As dog owners, we are faced daily with the unpleasant task of picking up our dog’s poo! As annoying as this chore is, it provides us with a great opportunity for faecal assessment. Remembering my acronym for ‘faeces’ can give you some idea of what is normal:
It is difficult to describe a normal faecal consistency, but ‘play-doh’ may be a good comparison, not too hard and not too soft.
A normal poo should be shaped like a small log. If your dog starts to produce very small volumes of faeces this may indicate a problem.
A normal poo should NOT have any external coating such as mucus or blood.
In normal dogs, their poo colour is usually light-chocolate brown. Red, black or yellowy stools are a cause for concern and you should contact your Vet if you notice these abnormal colour changes.
Sometimes it is necessary to dissect your dog’s poo to look for things like worms, undigested foods, fur or foreign body materials.
Let’s be honest, every dog poo smells! A normal poo should carry a mild odour, very foul smelling poos could indicate a problem.
Normal faeces is composed of water, bacteria, salts, mucous, protein, and fats.
What does it mean if my dog’s poo is shiny/greasy?
If your dog has a change in stool appearance or consistency and/or you are concerned your pet is unwell, please contact your local Veterinarian immediately. Shiny or greasy looking faeces may indicate a higher stool fat content, also termed ‘steatorrhea.’ Additionally, this could mean that your dog isn’t absorbing food or their nutrients correctly and it could be a cause for concern. There are many disease processes which could be occurring when your dog is producing shiny looking faeces, below lists some of these conditions (this is not an exhaustive list):
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
There are two main roles of the pancreas, in simple terms these are to produce insulin and digestive enzymes. EPI is a serious condition where some of the cells of the pancreas do not produce digestive enzymes. One of the main clinical signs is the production of pale, greasy, smelling poos due to the undigested foods. Other signs include weight loss and appetite increases, and the condition is usually diagnosed with blood tests. German shepherds are over-represented with this condition.
A very greasy or shiny looking poo can be a sign of too much fat in your dog’s diet. Too much fat in your dog’s diet can be a massive trigger for a common condition called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be a painful, life-threatening condition. As well as greasy, sometimes yellow coloured faeces, your pets other symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain and lethargy. So please try to avoid feeding your dog left overs from the Sunday roast as high amounts of fat could trigger pancreatitis!
Colitis is a common presentation in first opinion practices. Owners are usually very quick to notice signs of colitis, as it usually results in diarrhoea (and with this brings a lot of mess and stress!), accompanied by mucusy/greasy faeces. The term ‘Itis’ represents inflammation, therefore ‘colitis’ means inflammation of the colon. There can be many causes of colitis, including dietary indiscretion, sudden diet changes, stress factors etc.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
IBD is a common condition seen in the human medical field, but also in the veterinary field. This is usually a chronic condition, quite similar to Crohn’s disease in people. IBD is a little bit like an internal allergic reaction within the gut and it can be debilitating for your dog, often resulting in chronic diarrhoea with variable faecal consistency.
Feeding fatty foods
Ingesting foods that have a very high fat content will consequently lead to a higher fat content in your dog’s faeces.
To conclude, your dog’s poo consistency tells you a lot about your canine friend’s gut health! Greasy and shiny faeces can indicate a health concern so contact your Vet if you detect these abnormalities. As weird as it may seem, your Vet may find it useful seeing a photograph of your dog’s poo, so get your cameras at the ready!