|Purina Fecal Scoring System|
Why does it matter what poop looks like?
Our guys get a bad poop every now and then. This is more of a reflection of what they got into than an actual health issue. If the abnormalities continue though, I look into figuring out what’s behind it. When the stools are consistently or chronically abnormal, you need to investigate.
What I consider ideal poop could be best described as hand-rolled chocolate cookie dough—brown, well-shaped, firm but not hard, kind of segmented.
What’s in the consistency?
To some degree, consistency can depend on the dog and their diet. However, stool shouldn’t be consistently too hard or too loose. Which brings me back to the cookie dough.
Diarrhea is a more common problem than constipation for dogs. In fact, people often think that their dog is constipated when in fact they have diarrhea. Lots of straining with nothing coming out can be a sign of large bowel diarrhea as well as constipation. It is important not to try to treat constipation without having a solid confirmation (pun kind of intended).
Constipation may simply be caused by insufficient fiber and water intake but can also have a more serious underlying cause.
With Jasmine, I kept a detailed chart where I entered day-to-day information, including her stool quality and number of bowel movements. There are official fecal scoring charts out there, going into various amount of detail. For Jasmine, I was using 5 values with 5 being ideal and 1 being watery (Jasmine didn’t have problems with constipation). The most typical scoring system goes to 7 with 1 being constipated and 7 being watery. (I came up with my own scoring back then before I knew there were systems in place already)
Firm but not hard, dry logs that look segmented – that’s good poop in my books. With Jasmine, every time she had a poop like that, we celebrated.
Pudding – poop that loses its form once it hits the ground; there is texture to it but it doesn’t hold shape. The gut isn’t happy. When it continues for more than one or two bowel movements, it’s time to do something. Could mean intestinal parasites, such as Giardia, intestinal infections (bacterial, viral or fungal), immune/inflammatory disorders, metabolic diseases (e.g., liver failure), heart disease, cancer, and more.
Stay tuned for other aspects of poop, such as color, coating, etc.
What's in the Poop (part II)
Symptoms to Watch for In Your Dog: Diarrhea
A Tale of Many Tails—and What Came Out From Underneath (part I)
Acute Small Intestinal Diarrhea
Acute Large Intestinal Diarrhea (Acute Colitis)
hronic Large Intestinal Diarrhea
Chronic Small Intestinal Diarrhea