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Why you must take your pet's poop seriously

It’s crucial to keep your pet’s digestive system in good shape—learn to look for signs of what could be wrong

It’s crucial to keep your pet’s digestive system in good shape.
It’s crucial to keep your pet’s digestive system in good shape. (iStockphoto)

An indication of your pet’s good health is well-formed, brown stool that has been passed easily and is easy to scoop. Any deviation could be a sign that your pet is not feeling well.

You must be aware of the typical appearance of your pet’s excrement in order to recognise any abnormalities. For the colour of the faeces holds a lot of information about the pet’s digestive system. The colour of typical faeces can range from pale to dark brown. If blood is seen in the stool or after passing stool, it indicates that the large intestine has been injured. This could be due to worms. Constipation could also be the cause. Colitis, an inflammatory disorder of the large intestine, can also cause some apparent fresh blood in the faeces. The same kind of bleeding will happen if there are growths or tumours in your pet’s large intestine.

Black faeces typically denotes a stomach or small intestinal bleed. When blood is digested, it turns the faeces black or tarry. Black stools can be caused by a variety of conditions, including gastric ulcers, intestinal worms, stomach and small intestine tumours, exposure to poisons, and consumption of foreign bodies such as bones. Sometimes, intestinal bleeding is not just related to gastrointestinal problems. It could also be because of parasite and viral infections or kidney failure.

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Poop that is green or yellow could be a sign that food is moving through your pet’s digestive system too quickly. It could signal something as simple as a stomach upset, or it could even be an indication of liver or gallbladder disease. Grey stools, while extremely uncommon, nearly always indicate pancreatic diseases.

If you notice white, tiny particles in the faeces, it’s time to deworm the pet. Those are essentially worms.

When examining the colour of the poop, it’s crucial to keep in mind what your pet has eaten recently. I have had pet parents call frantically to tell me about their dog’s red poop after it has eaten a lot of beetroot.

The consistency of the excrement is another crucial sign—the volume and consistency will depend on how much fibre the pet gets from its food. Gastrointestinal disease, infection, parasites or toxicity lead to loose, watery stools or diarrhoea.

The list is lengthy. If there is blood present, it may become lethal if not treated right away. Parvovirus infections in newborn puppies are characterised by bloody, watery, pungent excrement, and the resultant dehydration can be fatal.

Soft, mushy consistency will alert you to a digestion problem. Either the diet is unbalanced or your pet cannot effectively digest the food. It can be an indication of a food allergy, a sudden change in diet type, or a deficiency in fibre. On the other side, hard, dry, crumbly poop is a sign of constipation brought on by a lack of fibre or water consumption.

Additionally, a vet visit is necessary if the pet has any difficulty in passing faeces or if it takes multiple attempts. Cats will frequently show their discomfort by using their litter box for longer periods, returning to them frequently, or defecating outside them.

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It’s crucial to keep your pet’s digestive system in good shape. Their overall wellbeing and ability to absorb nutrients are dependent on it. Prioritise a good diet. If you choose to feed your pet home-cooked meals, consult a veterinarian or pet nutritionist to determine the appropriate amounts of meat and fibre so that your pet doesn’t experience any nutritional deficits. Make the switch between two foods gradually if you are doing so. Make certain that your pet has access to enough water. Prebiotics and probiotics can be added regularly to meals to aid in digestion.

Don’t give table leftovers to your pet. This is one of the most frequent reasons for stomach disturbance. Any food allergies should be noted and sorted. Deworm your pet every three months and prevent them from picking up or ingesting foreign objects. Don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian.

Nameeta Nadkarni is a practising veterinary soft tissue surgeon and pet blogger from Mumbai.

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