When it comes to your pet’s health, the evidence is in the poop sometimes. Most pet parents plan to visit the vet if their pet’s poop suddenly changes size or consistency. But what if your dog’s poop suddenly turns an unusual color, like black? Is black dog poop normal or a cause for concern?
Why Black Dog Poop Happens
What Could Black Dog Poop Cause? Photography © winyoo08 | iStock / Getty Images Plus.
“A normal stool for a dog should be firm and dark brown … and the color of the stool should be fairly even from day to day, provided the dog eats regularly,” explains Dr. Dawn M. Spangler, Assistant Professor of Animal Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine, Tennessee.
While it’s relatively rare for the color of your pet’s droppings to suddenly turn a black, tarry appearance, it can actually indicate a number of digestive disorders. According to Dr. Ramon Nieves, owner of Del Mar Veterinary Hospital in Florida, this tarry black dog feces is known as melena and is usually the result of digested blood in your dog’s feces. While not actually a medical condition, melena is a symptom of another underlying health problem, such as: B. a bleeding disorder or an ulcer.
“A common complaint from pet owners is that they have discovered some blood in their pet’s stool. As veterinarians, we can use the color they describe to determine exactly where the bleeding is occurring in the GI tract … whether it is dark, light red or even black, ”explains Dr. Nieves. He notes that black dog poop typically occurs as a result of bleeding in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract; The dark color and tarry consistency of the feces mean the digestion of blood that has passed through the intestinal tract. It is also possible that your dog has ingested a significant amount of blood from the airways – for example, when he has coughed and swallowed blood from his lungs, or even had a nose bleed.
So why is Black Dog Poop … black?
Regardless of the cause, black or tarry stools indicate bleeding in the dog’s stomach or small intestine, confirms Dr. Spangler. “The stool is black because the blood has been digested, causing it to change color,” she says. The causes of melena vary widely and can range from exposure to toxins or foreign objects in the gastrointestinal system to pancreatitis and kidney failure. “Some of the most common causes of black dog poop are cancer, foreign bodies, parasites, and viral or bacterial pathogens,” adds Dr. Spangler added.
What to do about black dog poop?
This is why you should call your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice black dog poop – or if you suspect your dog has some type of gastrointestinal disorder. Symptoms such as your dog’s refusal of food or water for more than 24 hours – or if he or she has persistent vomiting or diarrhea – are always concerns, Dr. Spangler firmly. “Dogs can become dehydrated quickly, so it’s better to see a veterinarian sooner rather than later to get them the care and treatment they need,” she adds.
Pet owners should also be prepared for their dog’s general behavior, e.g. B. if your normally naughty pooch suddenly spends all day on the sofa. “Another symptom is when you pick up your pet and it whines or cries … dogs and cats get stomach cramps and pain, just like we do when something is wrong,” says Nieves.
If you’ve noticed that your pet’s feces have turned from their usual brown to black, Spangler explains that your pet’s vet may check your dog’s stool samples for intestinal parasites, evaluate abdomen x-rays, and do blood tests to determine the ultimate cause of the black color in your dog’s poop. “Treatment depends on the diagnosis,” she says, “but could include things like antiparasitics, antibiotics, antacids, or nausea medications.”
Tell us: Has your dog ever experienced black poop? What caused this black dog poop?
Thumbnail: Photography © DieterMeyrl | iStock / Getty Images Plus.