Thursday, April 5, 2018

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Mucus in the Stool

As one of the recent questions in my Dog Health Issues group, a member asked what does mucus in the stool mean. Of course, what people are really looking for is an easy answer and an easy remedy. But it rarely works that way.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Mucus in the Stool

What is mucus?


Mucus is a slimy substance normally produced by the lining of body cavities and passageways for the purpose of lubrication, cleaning, maintaining hydration, and protection. That includes the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Mucosal surfaces in the gut are part of the immune system, designed to detect and kill pathogenic organisms that may be trying to make their way through the gut lining. Mucus is produced in the intestine all the time.

Normally, however, it isn't noticeable in the feces.

Healthy poop does not have any visible coating on it.


Dog healthy stool

Both solid stool or diarrhea can come with visible mucus. 


How concerned you should be, depends on what else is going on. If the poop looks otherwise normal and your dog is their regular happy self, the problem could have been caused by some temporary irritation of the gut lining. When Cookie decides to munch on too much grass, she is likely to poop out some of the blades later covered in mucus; clear cause and effect. Any other dietary indiscretion can do this.

A lot of mucus, diarrhea and other concerning signs.


In general mucus in the stool points to a problem in the large intestine. But with serious conditions, this rule doesn't necessarily apply.

Besides dietary indiscretions, things that can cause excessive mucus in the poop include intestinal infections, parasites, toxins, adverse food reaction, foreign bodies, IBS, IBD, colitis, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and even cancer. As you can see, you cannot figure out the cause based on finding mucus in the stool alone.

If your dog also presents with diarrhea, pain, blood in the stool, vomiting, lethargy or any other concerning signs, or is very old, very young or has a preexisting medical condition, seek veterinary attention quickly.

If your dog has mucus in the stool persistently, seek a diagnosis. Jasmine had mucusy stools frequently, along with other issues, and eventually was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:

26 comments

  1. A very important and informative post, thanks for sharing. I hate to say this but sometimes I feel like I'm obsessed with Red's poop!! Having had a few bouts of pancreatitis, I'm terrified to ever find diarrhea. She's definitely had mucous and I know that means a colon issue. Love the graphics!

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    1. I hear you; I think most of us "hard core" pet parents are pretty obsessed with dog poop. I don't think it's a bad thing :-)

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  2. Mr. N can be prone to stomach upsets so it's one of the things I watch out for. If there's a couple of symptoms together, it's vet time!

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    1. You're quite on top of it. Yes, everything needs to be evaluated in context.

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  3. Ruby has occasionally had some mucus in her stool but not regularly. This is really helpful and I will definitely check in with our vet if it happens again.

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    1. As I mentioned, if it happens every now and then, it could be from something that didn't sit well or should have been eaten at all. Cookie, for example, tolerates grass well but when she eats too much or pieces that are too big, the gut defends itself from the irritation but covering the bits with generous amount of mucus.

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  4. Hmm I never owned a pup, however this makes me realize that other than blood, I wouldnt know to check for mucus in the stool. Thanks for this informative post.

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    1. I'd imagine that cats can have mucus in the stool as well. The main difference is that one doesn't always look at what's in the litter box while you do notice what you're picking up into a baggie.

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  5. I have seen mucus on Bernie's poops. Usually after his Addison's flares up. The first time I saw the coating...I'd say shiny but clearly gooey...I was freaking out. Like what Invasion of the Body Snatchers alien has possessed my pup? Matthew explained it to me and I felt better. And now I'm the dog mom who regularly checks all poops.

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    1. LOL to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers :-) But I can see what you mean; the first time I saw mucus in Jasmine's stool I wasn't sure what I was looking at either.

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  6. Once in a blue moon I've seen some mucus in my dog's stool. I'll have to pay more attention going forward.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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    1. Once in a blue moon likely doesn't mean anything other that something has gone through that didn't agree with the gut. Such as the certain amount or size of grass in Cookie's case.

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  7. It must be a sign of a pet parent to be always observing their stool. I definitely did it for Harley and Shasta and continue to do so with all of our family and friend's dogs too. Great information!

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    1. I think it is, yes, at least a part of it - poop obsession LOL For a good reason, though.

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  8. I don't know if I've ever noticed mucus on the stools from the girls. Is the reasoning you've given for dogs applicable for cats, too?

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    1. Theoretically at least, yes. Every living creature has mucus tissue in the same places which works the same way.

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  9. I probably study my dog's poop more than the average pet person after having owned a petsitting service for many years and studying poop from pets that were fed different diets. Mucous definitely should be noted in the overall health of the dog. Thanks for writing on this.

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    1. Paying attention to poop is important. So interesting, getting to study poops from so many different dogs on different diets :-)

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  10. On occasion, Junior and Sulley will have a tiny bit of slimy mucus-like stuff on their stool. It’s rare, but usually in conjunction with loose stool. I have chalked it up to them being raw fed and sometimes something doesn’t agree with them. I will usually fast them for a meal and they are back on track with normal stool in a day or two. I appreciate this article as I had never given this much thought before.

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    1. Yes, it often comes with loose stool, further indication something didn't sit well.

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  11. Congrats on the awards for your book- well deserved. I keep a close eye on Kilo's stool and pee as have human kids with digestive issues. So far so good. Have not seen any mucus etc but good to know what to look for.

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    1. Thank you :-) Amazing you never found mucus on the stools - your pups have some very healthy, well-adjusted guts :-)

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  12. Echo sometimes gets mucus in his stool. He has a very sensitive stomach. He goes to the vet in May for his check up and his stomach issues will definitely be something I bring up.

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    1. It's the same idea as with a runny nose. The body is trying to flush something out as well as protect itself from it.

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  13. Great post. And, at the risk of sounding odd, that's the cutest poop cartoon I've seen. Our dog's poo can help us to decipher mysteries about them. My husband and I always have the "how was their poop?" conversation so we can be sure we are aware of any possible changes. While not frequent, we have had situations where mucous presented itself, and it did wind up pointing to a bigger issue. We knew to take action quickly, which helped.

    Thanks again for sharing this.

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    1. HAHA, thank you, I had these custom-drawn for my book :-)

      There is indeed a lot of information in the things that leave the body, which includes poo or pee. Always gotta know what the poop was like.

      A bit of mucus doesn't need to mean much but it CAN mean the beginning of big trouble.

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