Dogs usually don't pass white stools, so if you notice your pet's poop is far lighter in color than normal, it's worth checking into the cause. White stools don't always present an immediate problem, but you may still need to make some changes to ensure your pet's health.
Reasons Dogs Have White Stools
There's more than one cause for white poo, and a forgotten pile that has been laying in the yard and baking in the sun tends to turn white as it dries and breaks down. However, what your dog eats can also affect the color of his stools.
Diet High in Calcium and Other Minerals
According to an article published by Dr. Karen Becker, dogs that eat foods which are high in minerals produce stools that turn light within 24 hours and break down quicker than brown stools. If a dog's diet contains too much calcium or bones, freshly passed stools are often white and have a chalky texture. This is sometimes the case with dogs fed a raw diet.
Too much calcium in the diet can also lead to chronic constipation. If your pet has white stools, you can try:
- Feeding less ground bone in a raw diet
- Feeding one teaspoon of canned, plain pumpkin per every 10 pounds of your pet's weight with his daily meals.
Eating Inappropriate Items
Dogs are notorious for eating things they shouldn't. Inappropriate items like paper products, when consumed in large amounts, can lighten the color of your dog's stools and may even make them appear gray or white.
To combat this issue, try to limit your pet's access to anything he likes to eat other than his regular diet. For example, keep the bathroom door closed so he can't reach the tissue roll and keep boxes of tissue on a shelf.
Eating inappropriate items can be a random issue caused by curiosity or boredom, but if it's an ongoing problem, the dog could have a condition known as pica. In a case like this, it's best to consult a veterinarian who will test your pet for underlying conditions that cause pica and treat your dog either with medication, therapy or a combination of both.
Reasons Dogs Have Light Gray Stools
Gray or clay-colored stools are also a significant departure from normal brown stools and may be so light they appear almost white. According to Vet Street, gray stools may indicate a problem with the pancreas, liver or gallbladder. For example:
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is a condition where the pancreas doesn't produce a sufficient amount of digestive enzymes and without those enzymes, a dog's stools become clay-colored. This ailment is typically treated with medication and a change in diet.
- Liver disorders that cause a lack of enzymes or bile production can lead to grayish-white stools, a lack of appetite, weight loss and jaundice. These are just a few signs the liver isn't functioning normally. A veterinarian will run multiple tests to determine an accurate diagnosis, including a blood chemistry panel, complete blood count and bile acid test among others, and the treatment plan will be decided accordingly.
- Bile duct obstruction is another possibility. Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder until it is released into the small intestine via a small duct to aid digestion. When the bile duct is blocked, the lack of bile in the stools causes them to appear pale gray rather than brown. This condition is treated according to the disorder or trauma that caused it and may include the use of medication or surgery to relieve the obstruction.
Pay Attention to Your Pet's Stools
Your dog's stools can tell you a lot about his health. If they're brown and well formed, there's usually nothing to worry about. If they're gray or white, it's time to do a little investigating. Collect a sample in a sealable plastic bag and take it to your vet for examination. You just might catch a health problem before it becomes a serious issue.