Tell me how you poop, I’ll tell you who you are… The way he kicks it out, what it looks like, what he does with it next: dog poop is full of vital information about the shape of your animal.
The modest and the shameless
Don’t be surprised if this is your first: unlike humans, dogs don’t really need to hide to do their business. Tano, Julie’s cursinu, even has “a knack for pooping in the middle of the pedestrian crossing, it takes time, the light turns green… in short, this dog is too embarrassing”. And let’s talk about Macbeth, Elisabeth’s first dog, a Westie specialist in rock climbing, who above all wanted to be noticed: “He loved popping up high. He would put his hindquarters against a wall and raise his hind legs as high as he could! Sometimes, his droppings even remained stuck several centimeters from the ground.
But not everyone is like that: “My Jack Russell is super modest and doesn’t do anything as long as he’s in a human’s field of vision… explains Charlène. I have to rely on the swelling of his belly to deduce if he had a good bowel movement or not”.
In reality, it is not so much a question of modesty as of a technique for escaping the vulnerability inseparable from this situation. Indeed, the fact of defecating is absolutely not a taboo for animals, and especially not for dogs who have even developed a real passion for droppings: those of their congeners but also those of other species.
Poop, a dog’s passion
The notion of disgust or dirt that this evokes in us is indeed not shared by canids. A poop is sniffed with interest, to find some hidden messages, but it can also be ingested: it is coprophagia. Up to 6 months, it is quite normal for a dog to seek to eat almost all the excrement it finds: it is a way like no other to explore the world. Then continuing to eat the neighbour’s cat droppings, horse droppings, or even human excrement found in a thicket is normal. The diet and the digestive process being specific to each species, there persists in the stools of others very nutritious proteins, very attractive volatile fatty acids, partially digested fibers… Enough to make particularly appetizing dishes.
But when, as an adult, a dog eats its own faeces or those of other dogs, it is no longer normal. Although coprophagia is not associated with any nutritional deficiency, it is then a symptom of other more or less serious things – from the urge to gamble or to be noticed, to boredom, anxiety or depression. .
A health slider
In any case, a careful and regular examination of droppings is a good way to ensure the health of your animal. Poop is indeed a reflection of a good diet, good digestion or an underlying disease. We are talking about volume, color, texture, appearance, smell, consistency. Beautiful stools will be well molded, emitted regularly, slightly damp and with an admittedly unpleasant but not pestilential odor. The quantity will depend on the food: an animal fed with kibble will have larger stools than with household food.
Any abnormal color should call out: raspberry red or black indicates the presence of blood, respectively fresh (coming from the intestine) or digested (rather of stomach origin). The mastic color is often linked to a problem of malabsorption, to be found on the side of the pancreas; orange will point more towards the liver or gallbladder. And of course, we monitor the presence of foreign bodies or worms!
Having a dog in town, whether it’s a Chihuahua or a Newfoundland, is picking up its poop. It can even become a militant act as for Sandrine, living in Moulins la Marche in the Orne, with Popeye and Olive, two French bulldogs: “I like to walk with my little bag full of poo to prove that I pick up”. There is the poop bag, or the newspaper that you slip under your dog’s buttocks when he gets into position. Everyone has their own technique. But we do not leave the public road soiled by his dog, even if it is 7 am and there is no witness. This is valid on the asphalt, at the foot of trees, on grassy borders… where other dogs will go and walk in the uncollected excrement. If all dog owners followed these few rules of good conduct, it would promote better integration of the animal in the city. Too many dog owners negate the efforts of everyone else, despite the risk of fines (35 euros usually, except in Cannes, where an uncollected droppings can cost 450 euros).