Have you ever come across the peculiar sight of white dog poop?
Your initial reaction might be confusion, concern, or even disgust. It’s an intriguing phenomenon that often leaves pet owners puzzled about their canine friend’s health.
As a seasoned veterinarian with years of experience, I’ve encountered numerous cases of white dog poop, each with its unique story and underlying causes.
While some cases of white dog poop are generally harmless, others might indicate a more serious underlying condition. So, it’s important to be able to distinguish between the two and take appropriate action.
That’s where this article comes in. You’ll learn about why your dog poops white, when you should worry and most importantly, what can be done to fix it.
Why does my dog have white poop?
If you’ve ever noticed your furry friend’s stool taking on a pale or chalky color, it may have left you wondering about the cause. There are multiple possible causes of white poop in dogs:
Excessive Calcium in your dog’s diet
An excess of calcium in your pet’s diet can result in whitish stools. This could be due to consuming too many dairy products or bones, such as those present in a raw food diet.
When dogs consume too much calcium, the unabsorbed calcium can bind with other minerals like phosphorus in their intestines, leading to white or chalky-colored stool. It’s important for pet owners to make sure their furry friends have a well-balanced diet, with the right levels of calcium and other minerals.
Raw food diet
Feeding dogs a raw food diet, which consists primarily of uncooked meat and bones can sometimes cause their stools to turn white. For the same reasons as above, this is primarily due to the high calcium content found in raw bones.
When dogs consume raw bones, the excess calcium can bind with other minerals in the digestive system, leading to a condition called hypercalcemia. This disrupts the normal absorption of fats and nutrients, resulting in malabsorption and the production of white or chalky-colored stools.
Digestive issues can sometimes manifest in the form of white dog poop. One potential cause is a lack of bile production or the presence of excess mucus in the dog’s digestive system.
When there’s not enough bile or too much mucus, your pup’s poop may look pale or white. Plus, certain health conditions like pancreatic disorders or malabsorption can mess with digestion and nutrient absorption, causing changes in color and consistency of your dog’s feces.
Certain medications can cause a dog’s stool to turn white. One example is barium, a medication administered orally during medical investigations. Barium can temporarily change the color of a dog’s poop to a whitish hue. This color change is typically temporary and will return to normal once the medication has passed through the system. Other medications, such as certain antibiotics or antacids, may also have the potential to cause a temporary whitening effect.
Intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, can cause white stools in dogs. Tapeworms are one of the most common types of parasites that infect dogs and can be contracted when bitten by infected fleas or by consuming contaminated food or water.
When tapeworms infest a dog’s intestines, they absorb nutrients from the host’s digestive system, leading to malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies. This can result in pale or white-colored stools. Additionally, tapeworms can shed segments containing eggs, which may be visible in the dog’s feces as small white segments resembling grains of rice. It is important to regularly deworm dogs and maintain good hygiene practices to prevent the infestation of intestinal parasites and minimize the risk of white stools and other health issues.
Liver disease or insufficient bile production
Liver disease or insufficient bile production can be a cause of white stools in dogs. Bile, produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, plays a crucial role in the digestion and breakdown of fats. If the liver is not functioning properly or there is a deficiency in bile production, it can impact the color and composition of the dog’s stool.
Bile gives normal stools their characteristic brown color, so when there is a lack of bile or obstruction in the bile ducts, the stools may appear a different color, including white. This can indicate an underlying issue with the liver, such as liver disease, bile duct obstruction, or a disorder affecting bile production.
Your dog ate something white
Ever heard of dietary indiscretion? It’s when our furry friends can’t resist gobbling up things they shouldn’t – like garbage, table scraps, or random objects. It can wreak havoc on their digestive system, resulting in some interesting changes in their poop!
If a dog ingests white-colored objects, it can directly impact the color of their stool. Items like bones or chew toys can contain substances that contribute to the whitening of a dog’s poop.
Environmental exposure to factors such as sunlight, humidity, and mold can potentially contribute to the discoloration of dog stools, including turning them white. When dog feces are left outdoors and exposed to sunlight, the UV rays can cause oxidation and bleaching effects, leading to a lighter appearance.
Humidity can also play a role in altering the color of dog stools, as moisture can create an environment that promotes bacterial growth and decomposition. This can result in the breakdown of pigments and the loss of color intensity. In addition, if dog feces come into contact with mold or fungi, it may cause further changes in color due to the growth of mold on the surface of the poop.
Is White Dog Poop a Concern?
The sight of white dog poop may be surprising, but it doesn’t always indicate a health issue. The context in which the color change happens is crucial. For example, is your dog’s poop coming out white or is it turning white over time?
If that’s the case, then your dog’s white poop is probably just a result of environmental changes, like being out in the sun or humidity. This is especially likely if the poop has been sitting out for a while!
However, if you are certain that the poop is coming out of your dog’s back end white-colored, then there may be another cause. While a one off episode of white poop might not be anything to worry about, persistently white stools, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, might be a cause for concern.
White feces can be a sign of liver disease, insufficient bile production, pancreatic issues, or malabsorption disorders. If your dog consistently has white stools, it is recommended to seek veterinary advice for a thorough examination and appropriate diagnosis.
Why Does Dog Poop Turn White Over Time?
If you’ve ever noticed your dog’s feces turning white over time, you might have wondered why this is. This phenomenon is actually a natural process influenced by different environmental factors.
The Impact of Sunlight
Sun exposure plays a significant role in the discoloration of dog feces. The sun triggers photodegradation, which breaks down organic matter and often results in a whitish color change to the stool.
Influence of Humidity and Mold Growth
Apart from sunlight, humidity can also lead to this transformation. In moist conditions, mold may start growing on the surface, appearing as light-colored patches against darker stools.
This doesn’t necessarily mean there are digestive issues with your canine friend; but instead signifies that their waste has been exposed for too long without proper disposal.
Natural Decomposition Process
Biological materials undergo decomposition due to bacterial action over time. During this breakdown or putrefaction phase, different stages marked by varying color changes occur. One such stage could be when pooch droppings turn pale or even starkly bleach-like tones if left unattended outdoors.
The shift from brown to shades of grey or even pure whiteness isn’t instant but happens gradually over time, depending on these environmental factors.
When to See a Vet about White Dog Poop?
If your dog’s poop is consistently appearing white, it might be an indication of potential health issues that require immediate attention from a veterinarian. Here are some reasons why you’d want to see the vet about your dog’s white poop:
Persistent Changes in Stool Color – A single occurrence of white stool is not necessarily alarming. However, if you notice this change persisting over several bowel movements, it would be wise to seek professional advice. Monitor the situation for 24-48hours, and if your dog’s white stools don’t resolve then see a vet.
Symptoms Accompanying White Feces – Beyond just the unusual coloration of your pet’s poop, other symptoms could indicate a more severe underlying cause of your dog’s white poop. These include blood in the stools, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and not eating.
A veterinarian can help figure out the reason behind the white stools and give guidance on the necessary treatment options to address any underlying conditions.
How to treat white poop in dogs
Treating white poop in dogs depends on the underlying cause. If your dog has only just recently started pooping white and they are otherwise fine in themself and showing no other symptoms, then there are some remedies to try at home. However, if these do not work, or if your dog is showing any of the symptoms mentioned above, then treatment will need to be carried out at your vets.
Home remedies for white dog poop
1. Dietary adjustments – Your canine friend’s diet plays a crucial role in their digestive health and stool coloration. If your dog is fed a raw food diet then swapping to a more balanced dog-specific food might help clear up their white stools and improve their digestion. Similarly, if they consume a lot of bones high in calcium, try cutting these out of your dog’s diet.
2. Prevent dietary indiscretion – In cases where dogs have been consuming non-food items (dietary indiscretion), preventing access to these objects becomes critical in preventing white stools and other digestive issues.
3. Keep parasite treatments up to date – Parasites such as worms, particularly tapeworms, can cause malabsorption and digestive issues, leading to abnormal stool color. Keeping your dog’s parasite treatments up to date is crucial in preventing white stools.
Vet treatment of white dog poop
1. Review Medications – Sometimes medications can contribute to changes in dog poop coloration, often resulting in pasty or chalky poo. A thorough review by a veterinary professional will help identify if any current medicines taken by our four-legged pals are leading towards lighter stools.
2. Treatment of malabsorption – Improper absorption of food due to conditions such as liver disease, gall bladder problems or infections will need specific treatments prescribed by your vet. This could involve liver supportive medication or antibiotics to name a few. Diagnosing the underlying condition is essential in these cases to ensure that the right treatment plan is implemented.
What does it mean if there are white specks in my dog’s poop?
Though there may be some overlap, the presence of white specks in your dog’s poop (as opposed to completely white poop) can indicate a few different causes. These could include parasite infection, bone fragments, foreign objects, or even fly larvae.
Determining whether your dog’s poop is uniformly white throughout or if it has a few white specks in it is important, as this will help to identify the underlying cause. We have a whole article dedicated to white specks in dog poop for more information.
How do you treat white poop in dogs?
Treatment depends on the cause. This could involve dietary changes, medications for infections or digestive issues, or removing any ingested foreign objects.
Why is my dog’s poop pale and crumbly?
Pale and crumbly dog poop can indicate excessive calcium intake, often from a raw food diet with too many bones. Consult your vet to adjust their diet accordingly.
Why is my dog pooping white foam?
Frothy or foamy diarrhea with bubbles in a dog may indicate an infection or malabsorption issue. Foamy poop can also occur due to inflammation in the large intestine caused by food allergies, parasitic infections, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or liver disease.