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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

What should dog faeces look like? What colour is normal? How often does a dog defecate? Where do you have to clean up dog excrement? Even if some people find it disgusting, as a dog owner it is important to keep an eye on the excrements of your four-legged friend. This is because some diseases can be detected and treated in time. To keep an eye on your dog’s health, enter the faeces values in the pet profile. Everything you need to know about dog excrement can be found here. 

How is faeces produced and what does it consist of?

The journey of faeces begins in the mouth. There, the food is mixed with saliva. In the stomach, the food pulp is then broken down, moistened and bacteria are partly killed by the stomach acid. In the small intestine, the food is broken down enzymatically and nutrients are absorbed. In the large intestine, nutrients are still absorbed into the body and water is reabsorbed, making the faeces more solid. As soon as the rectum is filled, the faeces are deposited.

This consists of indigestible food residues (mostly fibre), rejected cells of the intestinal mucosa and microorganisms of the intestinal flora.

What do I have to watch out for with dog excrement?

  • Frequency of dropping
  • Shape and consistency
  • Colour
  • Unusual content (worms, blood, mucus, but even if something inedible has been ingested, this should be excreted)
  • Odour

Record what the faeces look like every day in the pet profile to quickly detect changes.

How often does the dog defecate?

Newborn puppies cannot yet defecate on their own. The reflex to do so is triggered by the mother dog licking the anal region.

A healthy adult dog defecates once or twice a day, depending on what it is fed. Significantly more frequent defecation may indicate poorly digestible food or illness. Less defecation may indicate constipation, but even if less food has been eaten, defecation may only occur every other day.

Of course, this is strongly influenced by the amount of food fed, the quality of the food, how well the dog can digest the food, how active the dog is and much more. Puppies defecate even more frequently.

How should the dog faeces be shaped?

The faeces can be shaped or unshaped. Ideally, it should be sausage-like. The dog sausage can be formed in one piece or segmented, i.e. divided.

If constipated, several smaller balls of faeces form, which are often difficult to eliminate.

If the faeces are too soft, they lose their shape depending on the severity of the diarrhoea. It can be anything from somewhat misshapen, to a pile without contours, to a watery varnish.

Enter the faecal form in the pet profile to keep an eye on health.

What consistency should dog excrement have?

A distinction can be made here between liquid, soft and hard. The consistency should be soft. In this case, the faeces retain their shape when picked up, are compact and feel like soft dough when crushed. The surface of the dog’s poop should be slightly moist, which can cause the poop to leave a slight residue when picked up.

Excessively hard poop is very dry, harder to crush and leaves no residue.

Liquid droppings can be difficult or impossible to pick up, depending on the degree of liquid. It is very watery.

If the faeces are covered with a layer of mucus, this may indicate an inflammation in the colon. An infestation with endoparasites (e.g. giardia) is also possible. Mucus can also occur when changing to a new food or after a hard-to-digest food.

Record the faecal consistency in your animal profile.

What is the normal colour of dog faeces?

The colour is related to the food ingested. But some shades can also be an indication of a disease.

A nice dog faeces has chocolate-brown tones. Depending on the food, it can be lighter or darker.

Green tones can appear after eating a lot of grass or green vegetables. Otherwise it can be a sign of problems with the gall bladder.

Orange to yellowish is also an indication of difficulties with the gall bladder or liver. Often associated with impaired fat digestion.

Grey, greasy faeces can also indicate biliary or pancreatic disease.

Red faeces can be normal after eating beetroot or other red vegetables. In this case, the whole faeces is coloured. If only red streaks are visible, this could be fresh blood. This can occur if there is an injury to the anus or intestines.

White faeces can occur after too many bones have been given, and the faeces are usually hard. Single white spots could indicate a worm infestation.

Black, tarry faeces may be a sign of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, as digested blood turns the faeces black. This could be an emergency and should be checked with a vet immediately.

What should I do if the dog excrement has changed?

If the consistency is only slightly different, there is no need to panic. But if it is not back to normal the next day, have your pet examined. Especially in case of changes in colour (without the influence of food), diarrhoea or constipation, a vet should be consulted. It is best to take a faecal sample with you, so that the specialists can get an idea and, if necessary, examine the faeces directly. Please do not try to treat your pet yourself. Even if you mean well, sometimes the opposite can happen. Always consult your veterinarian.

Enter all values in the pet profile to be aware of diseases.

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What does dog excrement smell like?

Admittedly, this is not very appetising, but the smell also tells you a lot. Dogs sniff the faeces of their fellow species because they get some information from it. This is part of communication and is quite normal. However, make sure that your pet does not sniff extensively at a pile of diarrhoea or even eat faeces in order to avoid infection.

Of course, dog excrement smells distinctly of faeces. But if it is extremely smelly or putrid, this can be a sign of harmful bacteria, giardia or other causes of health problems. The smell depends on the type of food, among other things. Flatulence also indicates that the dog has digestive problems and may not be able to digest its food properly. Intolerances and allergies can also lead to flatulence and foul-smelling faeces.

Are you obliged to remove dog excrement?

In general, dog excrement must be removed to prevent pollution and the spread of diseases. There are different regulations and laws everywhere, so check with your local municipality. Especially in public areas, it is important to pay attention to cleanliness. Leaving faeces lying around can also cost you a fine.

Fun fact: Dogs prefer to defecate along the north-south axis.



Dog faeces provide information about the health of the animal and about the digestibility of the food. It is therefore worth taking a close look and keeping a record of it.