Veterinarians are no strangers to discolored dog poop, in fact, I’ve spent many days devoted to it. However, one that may surprise dog owners isn’t the brightly colored green or orange but rather white dog poop. Whether you’re looking out a uniformly colored white dog poop or dog poop with white specks, let’s look into possible causes and what you should do.
What is Causing White Dog Poop?
Color aside, when deciding whether your dog’s white poop is a problem, you’ll want to look at its other features as well. Consistency, odor, and frequency may all clue you in to the cause of white dog poop. Along with that, you’ll want to take note if your dog is showing any other signs that will help guide you as to whether your dog’s white poop is a cause for concern or not. Things like vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy, weight loss, and a poor hair coat are other signs that may accompany white dog poop or dog poop with white specks. Some causes of white dog poop include:
- Old poop that has leached in the sun
- Side effect of medication
- Ate something he shouldn’t have
- Too much calcium in the diet
- Internal parasites
- Digestive issues
When is White Dog Poop Not a Concern?
Even though any discoloration to your dog’s poop may be alarming, there are certain times when white dog poop is no big deal. If the consistency of the feces is normal, you only notice it once, or your dog isn’t showing any other signs, chances are his white poop isn’t a cause for concern. Causes of this type of white poop may be:
- Old poop that’s leached in the sun: Dog poop tends to turn white with age. A few days out in the sun can cause pigments to break down, leaving white dog poop behind. High humidity can also bring on mold growth that will give dog poop a white appearance. If you have white dog poop in your yard, estimate how long it’s been there. Older poop will be dried out, possibly fuzzy if it has mold growing on it, and have less odor.
Tip: If you have a lot of old, white dog poop in your yard, it’s time to clean up. Leaving dog poop around can transmit interal parasites and increase the likelihood that your dog will experimentally try to eat it.
- Side effect of a medication: There are a few medications that may cause your dog’s poop to turn white. The main one is barium. Liquid barium is used by veterinarains in imaging studies because it shows up on an x-ray. Barium may be given to your dog to better visualized the digestive tract, analyze swallowing and digestion time, or to visualize the bladder. If your dog has recently been given barium, expect some white poops until it clears the system, usually within a day or two. White dog poop from barium should be uniformly white and normal consistency.
When is White Dog Poop a Concern?
If you know that the white dog poop you just saw is fresh and your pup hasn’t had any recent medications, it’s time to dig a little deeper. The consistency, odor, frequency and other signs that your dog may be showing can help clue you in. Note any change in appetite, weight loss, vomiting, or lethargy. Also, dog poop with white specks is a common issue that can be resolved with a quick veterinary visit.
- Ate something he shouldn’t have: Puppies are the main culprits for this type of white dog poop, however, any dog may have an issue. Eating something white can also turn dog poop white. Crayons, socks, or landscaping rocks can all cause white dog poop. You will likely see the white object in the feces, so expect it to be a little lumpy or misshapen in consistency. Your dog may also show signs of vomiting, decreased appetite, a painful abdomen, or constipation depending on the object that he ate. It’s best to have a vet check this one out as you never know what else he may have gotten ahold of and larger, undigestible objects may require surgical removal.
- Too much calcium in the diet: High-quality commercial dog foods should contain the proper amount of calcium, not too much and not too little. However, if you’re feeding your dog a raw or homemade diet, he may be getting too much calcium which can lead to white dog poop. High calcium can also cause constipation, so feces may be small and hard and your dog may strain when trying to pass it.
High calcium can be a concern in growing puppies, so it’s important to make sure your homemade diet is complete and balanced. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to formulate an at-home recipe.
- Internal parasites: If you’re noticing white specks in your dog’s poop, you’re probably dealing with internal parasites. Don’t worry, your dog isn’t alone in this one, 1/3 to ½ of dogs carry some kind of internal parasite around at any given time. The internal worm cycle starts with ingestion of eggs in the environment. From there, the eggs mature and the adult worms attach to the lining of the intestines. They lay eggs that are passed along out of the body in poop.
When these eggs come out they appear as white specks in the poop. On closer look, they may look like thin spaghetti noodles or grains of rice, depending on the worm species. The feces may look normal or have a runnier consistency. There may be some blood as well. Severe infestations can cause weight loss, a dry and brittle hair coat, and a dog may vomit worms.
If you notice white specks in dog poop, take a sample and your dog to the vet. They will be able to prescribe a safe and effective dewormer.
- Digestive issues: Anytime your dog’s digestive system is out of whack, you may see some abnormal poop. White poop is no different. White poop may get its color from excessive mucous or from improper digestion. Issues with the intestines, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder may all produce white or grey dog poop. It may also be greasy, mucousy, runny or soft. Dogs may also vomit, not want to eat, lose weight, or have yellowing of the skin and eyes. Any of these issues require veterinary intervention as they can become very serious very quickly if left untreated.
What Should You Do If Your Dog’s Poop is White?
One white dog poop is usually not going to be an issue. However, if white dog poop becomes a pattern, it’s time to start doing something about it.
- First thing’s first, if you’re noticing a lot of old, white dog poop in your yard, get your pooper scooper to work! Cleaning up old dog feces will help prevent the spread of internal worms, bacteria, and keep your dog from eating it.
- If your pup recently had barium from your veterinarian, just wait it out. The white poop should pass within a day or two.
- If you know your dog ate something white, contact your vet. Depending on what it is and the size, they may have your dog try to pass it or they may provide a little assistance. Larger objects may need surgical removal and end up costing you $1,000-$2,000. Keep your garbage locked up and store laundry and other small items well out of reach.
- Make sure your raw or homemade diet is complete and balanced without too much calcium. While high calcium diets may cause white dog poop and constipation in adult dogs, they can be very detrimental to a puppy’s skeletal development.
- Get those white specks checked out by a vet. Bring a sample of the dog poop with white specks and your dog to the vet for a fecal and deworming prescription. Look to pay $50-$150.
Now, if your dog is having other signs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, or not wanting to eat, you may be looking at something more serious. Issues with the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, or intestines can all lead to dog poop that is white, mucousy, greasy, or runny. There aren’t any at-home treatments for these kinds of issues, so get your dog to the vet. They will run diagnostics such as blood work, imaging, and fecal tests to determine the cause. Treatment may include a diet change, antibiotics, fluids, anti-inflammatories, supplementation, or surgery. Cost could be anywhere from $200 to over $2,000.
When to See a Vet for White Dog Poop
There can be the occassional one-and-done cases of white dog poop, so if this is the first time you’ve seen it and your dog is acting normally, you may choose to monitor it for a day or two, However, most cases of white dog poop are going to require some veterinary intervention. There aren’t a lot of at-home cures. So, anytime you notice white dog poop that you know is fresh and there hasn’t been any recent barium administration, talk to your vet.
White specks in the dog poop are more than likely worms, but don’t try to treat them yourself. Over-the-counter dewormers are not only less effective, they can also be dangerous to your pup. Let your vet take a look to determine the species and stick with prescription dewormers to ensure your dog’s safety.
Any abnormal white dog poop should warrant a veterinary visit. Runny or greasy white dog poop can indicate something serious going on with your dog’s digestive system that will need to be diagnosed and treated by a professional.
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Finally, anytime you’re at all concerned about the color or consistency of your dog’s poop or his accompanying behaviors, talk to your veterinarian.
- Monitoring your dog’s poop every day is one of the best ways to catch any abnormalities early on.
- One abnormal bowel movement without any other signs is usually nothing to worry about. However, repeat abnormalities or other signs warrant looking into.
- Your vet may ask for an annual fecal sample to screen for internal parasites and other issues.
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