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Yellow Dog Poop: What It Means

by Hanie Elfenbein, DVM iPublished on 09/30/2021 FacebookTwitterEmailPrint

No one enjoys picking up dog poop while out on a walk. In addition to the smell, there is always the fear that the bag will have a hole in it and you will end up with poop on your hand. Ugh. But, this gross chore is actually one of the best things you can do to monitor your dog’s health. Changes to dog poop—whether it’s the color, consistency, coating, or contents—may indicate a change in your dog’s health. And if you’re wondering what yellow dog poop might mean, we’ll help you make sense of your dog’s stool color. What Color Should Dog Poop Be? First things first—dog poop should be brown. The exact shade depends on what your dog eats. Sometimes if a dog’s food contains strong food dyes then the feces may be stained a variation of that color. Feces is brown because of the breakdown of a substance called bile, which is an important part of digestion. Bile is made in the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and secreted into the intestines just as food exits the stomach and starts its way through the intestines. Most bile is reabsorbed as the food material is digested, but some gets trapped. It then undergoes changes as the food material is further digested into feces which cause the originally green material to turn yellow and then brown. Digestion of food into feces is a complex process. In addition to color, the consistency, coating, and contents are all important features of poop to consider when evaluating your pet’s health. Consistency evaluates whether it is firm, formed, soft, or liquid. Coating refers to whether there is mucus, blood, or both on the surface of the feces. The contents of feces should be fairly uniform, for example finding blades of grass or pieces of a toy would be abnormal. All of these characteristics should be taken into account when evaluating your dog’s fecal health. While most people know that consistency is important, dog poop color variation is often overlooked. Why is My Dog’s Poop Yellow? Of all the colors poop can be besides the normal brown, yellow is usually one of the least concerning. Red or black poop is an emergency, while yellow poop is more like a warning sign. Here are some of the more common causes of yellow dog poop. New Food What your dog eats impacts the color of his feces. Some formulations of dog food have ingredients that make feces more yellow or a lighter shade of brown. Similarly, some types of food processing can alter the hue of feces. Switching between canned or moist food and dry kibble can also make feces look more or less yellow. Incomplete Digestion An upset stomach—from changing dog food or a dog eating something he doesn’t normally eat—can cause irritation in both the stomach and intestines. One of the ways the body handles this is to push the material out faster. Veterinarians refer to this as decreased transit time: the time it takes from eating a food to passing it as feces. Decreased transit time leads to softer feces that is yellow. The bile that is normally brown in feces hasn’t reached that stage yet and is still yellow (mustard-yellow to yellow-green). Similarly, this is why loose stool or diarrhea may be more yellow than usual. Foreign Material If your dog eats something yellow that isn’t food it will end up in his feces (if you are lucky and it doesn’t cause an intestinal blockage). For example the yellow fuzz from a tennis ball does not get digested and exits the body in feces looking the same color as it went in. Yellow Mucus A slimy coating of yellow mucus on dog poop is due to intestinal inflammation. In healthy intestines there is a protective mucus layer between the food material and the intestinal lining. When there is inflammation or damage to the intestines, this mucus layer can be shed onto the food material and eventually the feces. The yellow color is from the bile that is involved in digestion. Intestinal inflammation can result from parasites, bacterial infection, food intolerance, or sharp objects such as sticks, rocks, and bones that the dog ate. If the intestinal damage is more severe the mucus may have streaks of red blood or look an orange-yellow color. Yellow Specks or Strings Yellow specks or dots could be partially digested food such as corn or could be tapeworm eggs. Usually they are described as looking like white rice but they may also have a yellow color. Yellow or white strings could be intestinal worms. If you see something that you think is abnormal in your dog’s feces, take a picture or bring the actual sample to your veterinarian. What to Do if Your Dog’s Poop is Yellow If your dog’s poop is just a little more yellow than normal but you have recently changed his food or he has been eating something different then close monitoring is a reasonable approach. If your dog is otherwise normal—eating and drinking and acting like himself—then monitoring at home is okay. If, on the other hand, yellow poop is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, not eating or eating less, reduced energy, or not acting normal then you should have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian. Or, if the yellow poop turns into watery diarrhea then it’s time for your dog to be examined. Yellow dog poop that starts to turn orange or red means your dog needs to see the veterinarian immediately. Dogs with liver disease or other serious underlying disease who have yellow feces should be examined by a veterinarian because it could indicate worsening disease. By monitoring your dog’s poop (color, consistency, contents, and coating) you can take a proactive approach to their health. Feces is one of the first signs of disease in many of the most common ailments of dogs. So, instead of seeing picking up after your dog as a chore, think of it as an important part of being an active, vigilant pet parent. 6 Products for Better Dog Poop and Cleanup All featured products were chosen at the discretion of the Great Pet Care editorial team and not directly recommended or endorsed by the author of this article. Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase. Now that you know what can cause your dog’s waste to turn yellow, here are some solutions that can help you deal with your pup’s poop issues. While no product is designed specifically to turn yellow feces the appropriate color, improving your dog’s overall digestive health is an important first step to easier elimination and cleanup. Here are six helpful products we suggest every dog parent have on hand to help when yellow dog poop is a problem. Great Pet Great Poop Total Digestive Support for Dogs Buy at Great Pet Shop Buy at Amazon Unlike humans, who start digestion off by chewing and breaking food down in the mouth, the process of canine digestion starts in the stomach. Since dogs don’t have the enzyme in their saliva that helps break down food, they tend to gulp it down quickly. A digestive support supplement like the one from Great Pet can help get your dog’s gut in check to optimize digestion. In addition to promoting healthy bowel movements and relieving constipation, Great Poop contains probiotics and digestive enzymes for intestinal balance. That’s great news for dog moms and dads, but here’s something everyone’s sure to love: Great Poop is a tasty chicken-flavored chewable. No more hiding pills or powders in your pup’s food! Highlights

  • No need to purchase multiple supplements and vitamins to balance your dog’s gut health

  • Contains a high-quality fiber which may help with gas relief

  • Infused with probiotics and prebiotics for a healthy immune system

  • Soft chew is bite-sized (about one-half inch) and packed with yummy chicken flavor

  • Generous 120-count container requires no refrigeration

Things to Consider

  • Single flavor available at this time

  • Smaller dogs require one chew per day, but larger pups may need five or more

Sample buyer review: “I purchased because my dog was having poo issues on a consistent basis. She was miserable and in discomfort. I started her on this supplement (saw an advertisement & researched the product) and, seriously, within a week, she is feeling great and having a bowel movement at least once a day. It didn’t give her a loose, runny urgent poop; just a good ‘healthy’ one and NO pain. I give her one chew with each meal, and she gobbles them right up!” Vetrinex Labs Advanced Digestive Enzymes + Probiotics Buy at Amazon Proper digestion takes time. But if your dog’s digestion is rushed, the bile that normally helps turn your dog’s poop brown may not have enough time to do its job, and that could lead to yellow poop. Vetrinex Labs’ proprietary two-in-one blend of enzymes and probiotics helps regulate digestive function, promote good gut health, and improve the consistency and color of your dog’s waste. Just scoop and sprinkle the powder on your pet’s food and let the beneficial bacteria and enzymes get to work. Within just a few weeks, this tasteless, odorless formula aids indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, and even poop eating. Highlights

  • Contains 3 billion CFUs per scoop

  • Fortified with prebiotic inulin to support good bacteria

  • Proprietary enzyme blend includes protease, amylase, lipase, and bromelain

  • 120 to 240 servings per jar (depending on size)

  • Made in the USA

  • 100% vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free

  • Veterinarian recommended

  • Lifetime, money-back satisfaction guarantee

Things to Consider

  • It can take up to 2-4 weeks for benefits to be seen in some dogs

  • May not help some pets, depending on the underlying cause of the symptoms

Sample buyer review: “I’ve been looking for this powdered probiotic stuff for a while now. It seems that a lot of companies just offer the treat form, but I like to also put some in his daily food (freeze-dried raw diet). My dog is so regular when he is on the probiotic powder! This is easy to use with the little scoop, and my dog likes the flavor also.” Dr. Harvey’s Runs Be Done Digestive Tract Supplement Buy at Amazon Even the most balanced digestive tracts can go awry from time to time. Doggy diarrhea is never fun to deal with, especially when it happens unexpectedly. Keep a jar of Dr. Harvey’s Runs Be Done on hand in the event of diarrhea and loose stool. This potent and soothing supplement gets right to work with pumpkin, slippery elm, pectin, bentonite clay, and other healing herbs. Unlike canned pumpkin that often goes to waste, Runs Be Done is a convenient powder that can be used as needed, then stored in a cool, dry place until needed again. Highlights

  • Contains no preservatives, fillers, by-products, salt, sugar, artificial, or synthetic ingredients

  • Each container holds 94 scoops, so it will last a long time

  • Made in the United States

  • Many holistic veterinarians recommend the combination of whole foods and herbs in Runs Be Done for bothersome bellies

  • Does not contain any grains

  • Can be fed on a daily basis or used as a supplement when needed

Things to Consider

  • Must be added to food

  • Dosage depends on the weight of your dog

Sample buyer review: “I’m so happy and thankful to have found Dr. Harvey’s products. It’s really made a difference in my senior dog’s overall wellbeing and health. I’ve spoken to Dr. Harvey many, many times due to my poor pup’s GI issues. Recently my dog had severe diarrhea and I felt helpless and was not sure he would get better. I was in a really dark place but Dr. Harvey spoke to me every day to help me through that time.” PPOGPP Non-Breakable Pet Pooper Scooper For Dogs Buy at Amazon Poop happens. Thankfully, products like the PPOGPP pet pooper scooper make clean-up a breeze. With its ergonomic handle, double-spring design, and foldability factor, this durable, user-friendly poop solution is the only scooper you’ll ever need. The unit features a sliding lock, so you can fold it for travel and storage, or extend it fully and lock it into place. Forget having to fumble with flimsy bags or bend down to retrieve smelly dog waste — the super-simple, one-handed operation of this scooper is every pet parent’s dream come true. Highlights

  • Two-foot extension arm keeps pet parents away from the stink and mess of dog poop

  • Easily picks up waste from grass, concrete, gravel, dirt, and more

  • Non-stick and easy to rinse clean

  • Folds in half so the unit takes up less space

  • Thick premium materials are durable and won’t easily break

  • Handy collect and release mechanism for effortless waste collection and disposal

Things to Consider

  • Use with a waste bag over the scooper to minimize the need for cleanup

  • Poop may get stuck to the unit’s “teeth”

Sample buyer review: “I just can’t like it enough. I cleaned two bags of poop out of our backyard. This was easy & convenient to use. Super user-friendly. I would 1000000% recommend you buy this. I can promise you I’ll even be taking it on our walks to pick up messes while we’re out.” Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags Buy at Great Pet Shop Buy at Amazon Buy at Petco Most pet parents don’t think about the durability and features of a poop bag until that bag fails. Earth Rated has thousands of five-star reviews for good reason: They work. These durable, oversized bags are available in scented or unscented varieties, regular or compostable, and measure up to 18 microns thick so they never fail. It’s easy to get excited about Earth Rated because these bags are leak-proof, and the light lavender-scented version keeps the stink away. Plus, the company uses recycled materials in their packaging and roll cores and supports animals in need through an annual blanket donation that benefits shelters across the country. Highlights

  • Available in standard roll or in grab-and-go and easy-tie varieties

  • Enviro-friendly packaging and roll cores made with recycled materials

  • Lavender scented version is not overpowering but keeps the smell away

  • Extra strong material won’t let you down when picking up and carrying dog waste

  • Rolls fit easily into standard leash dispensers

Things to Consider

  • Stock up and save so you don’t have to reorder frequently

  • For those with smell sensitivities, choose unscented bags for dependable cleanup without added smells

Sample buyer review: “With big dogs come big poops. Being a proud Newfoundland mommy, I’ve been through many a poop bag in my day (literally through, because Newf poop is heavy and so many bags are too flimsy to support it), and these are the absolute best. Not only are they thick enough that I trust them not to break, but they mask the smell so well!” Nummy Tum Tum Pure Pumpkin For Pets Buy at Amazon Veterinarians will often suggest adding pumpkin to a dog’s diet if your pup has diarrhea or constipation. As long as the product contains 100 percent pumpkin without added salt or sugar, like Nummy Tum Tum, it’s safe to feed to your dog. Nummy Tum Tum’s canned organic pumpkin is sourced from local farms. It can be used as a food topper or on its own as a tasty treat. Since it is high in antioxidants, your dog’s overall health benefits, too. Highlights

  • Made of USDA 100 percent organic pure pumpkin

  • Grown and processed according to the same high standards as Nummy Tum Tum’s human grade products

  • Contains a mere 5.25 calories per tablespoon

  • Can be frozen inside your dog’s stuffable KONG toys for added flavor and fun

  • Suitable for dogs of all life stages

  • Super smooth puree consistency

Things to Consider

  • Once opened, the can is safe in the refrigerator for three days

  • The serving size required varies according to your dog’s weight

Sample buyer review: “Both my dogs had loose stools, this pumpkin food mixed in fixed them all up now they’re both normal, very pleased with this product.”low Dog Poop: What It Means | Great Pet Care

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