From the title as you will guess this post is going to be talking about your greyhound's "output". You may be wondering why this is so important? We will go on to discuss what you can determine about your dogs health from looking at their feces and the important health indicators these are.
A healthy greyhound shouldn't just look healthy on the outside it should be healthy on the inside too. Their poo is the best indicator of this.
Your dogs stool should be easy to clean up neither too large or too small. It should not be overly 'whiffy' and your dog should not have any trouble passing it. It should have a solid texture and form. Most dogs will go 1-2 times a day up to 4 is considered normal and healthy.
The colour can be a direct indication of health. Normal coluoring is light to dark brown, So where does this colour come from?
It begins with the bone marrow and the production of erythrocytes more commonly know as red blood cells. A healthy greyhounds blood count should be 45-60% red blood cells. After about 100-120 days the red blood cells start to grow old and stop functioning. Each red blood cell carries about 270 million haemoglobin molecules. There are two parts the 'Heam' and the 'Globin'. There are four globin parts to one Heam made from amino acids. In the middle of each Heam ion is a single iron atom. The tiered red blood cells are broken down in the spleen. The Globin part is broken down into individual amino acids and recycled throughout the body. The 'Haem' part of the haemoglobin is broken down into iron and a chemical called 'biliverdin. The release of chemicals during the breakdown of the red blood cells causes both the brown colour in stools and the yellow colour in urine.
Green stool or poop is a common stool color change. It may be due to bile pigment in the stool because diarrhea moves food too quickly thorough the intestine so the chemical can't break down, or the green color may be due to certain foods like green, leafy vegetables or green food coloring.
Red or black colored stool may be a sign of bleeding in the GI tract (from the esophagus, stomach, small intestine or colon) and should not be ignored
The presence of grass. This is an indication your dog feels it has an upset stomach. Grass cannot be fully digested by greyhounds and helps 'clean out' their gastrointestinal tract.
Other colour changes can be caused by the presence of excessive levels of food dye in your dog's kibble. This is usually seen in but not always cheaper or poorer quality brands. Where possible buy a dog food that is artificial colourant free.
Hard stools can be a sign of constipation, bones or rawhydes in the diet or lack of water. Rawhyde treats are full of chemicals and should be avoided. Bones in the diet will cause firm stools that naturaly helps keeping your dog's anal glands clear.
Mucose either formed or liquid indicates an irritation or inflmamation of the intestines. The mucos is secreted by the inteatines to help protect them. For soft stools see our secrion on dioreha.
Whilst your dogs feces will smell an overly whiffy stool can be a sign of divestive probelms or cotpophagia (see below).
There are many factors that can cause this. We will go into them more in a feuture post.
If your dog does get diarroea do not feed them untill ther stomach has settled. Provied them with plenty of fresh clean water.
In young and elderly greyhounds it can become a serious probelm very quickly. If so do not hesitate to contact your vet.
We will be doing a sperte post on worms so for now we will talk abour the main two you are likely to see in your dog's stools.
•Tape worm: visiable segments that reseble grains of rice will be present in the stool. They will be rectangular and flat with a straight head. These are parts of the main worm being "shed".
•Round worm: long round worms with a pointed head/tail. The length and thickness of the worm will indicate the age/how long the dog has has it. These will not always be seen in the stool if present in the dog.
Both can be easily treated with worming tablets.
Corpophagia. What is it and how do I treat it?
Corophagia is the consumption of feces by your dog. There are multiple reasons why your dog can start doing this:
Allelomimetic Behaviour: doing the same as others do
Your dog may have seen this behavior exhibited another dog such as it's mother or kennel mate. A classic case of "monkey see monkey do". A dog that is prone to coping bad habits should ideally be kennels with a clean and tidy dog. This will encourage good behavior.
Nutritional deficiencies: the most common cause of corpophagia
Dogs fed on poor quality kibble may be lacking in essential micro and macro nutrients. Missing out on key vitamins and minerals can often lead to a dog attempting to fill the void with its own poo. Overfeeding, especially food with a high fat content, can sometimes spark this behaviour.
Medical problems: there are various medical issues that can cause this
The main medical issue is the failure to properly absorb nutrients. Especially in older dogs.
Older dogs can also be at a higher risk of problems such as pancreatic or intestinal issues. Any of these could bring on corpophagia. In these cases treating the underlying issue will treat the corpophagia.
Taste: some find the taste appealing
If this is the case putting a little Tobasco or pepper on the stools will act as a deterrent. This will change their taste association stopping the habit.
Attention seeking: the attention junkie
Some dogs love the attention that the owners reaction may bring. Its important to make sure your behavior is not encouraging the habit.
Maternal behavior: if
If exhibited by the mother this is an important part of caring for her pups.
She has to stimulate the pups to toilet in the first few weeks. She will eat and drink the resulting feces and urine. This keeps the den clean and prevents the scent of the feces from attracting predators. The pups can see this and may copy another case of "monkey see monkey do".
Bad habit: simply just cant kick it
Once a dog has started this behavior it can be very hard for it to 'kick' the habit. So how do we help them kick it?
Prevention is key. Promptly cleaning up after your dog has gone to the toilet will minimize its chances to eat it.
The use of a muzzle with a guard or attaching a second muzzle to the front will prevent them form being able to eat it. Tho be sure to make sure of a comfortable fit, that they are still getting enough air and that they can still access water.
Adding paw paw, pineapple, yogurt, cottage cheese, tomattos or breath freshener to the dog’s food will help with any nutritional deficiencies and stop the bad behaviour.