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Health & Wellness

When you should see the vet about mucus in your dog’s poop

Sometimes mucus in dog poop can be normal, but it’s often worth a trip to the vet.

You may not spend much time checking out your dog’s poop, but if you’re out for a walk, stop to pick up your dog’s business and notice something that looks like mucus in their stool, it’s worth investigating further. 

While a bit of mucus in your dog’s stool can be perfectly normal, if there’s a lot, or if it’s bright yellow or tinged with blood, there may be a more serious underlying issue. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve noticed mucus in your dog’s poop.

What does mucus in dogs’ poop look like?

If you’ve ever had a bad cold with a lot of snot, the same appearance of that snot may be what mucus looks like in your dog’s poop. 

“Mucus is usually white to pale yellow and should warrant seeing a vet if it's more present than usual, but isn't overly alarming,” Dr. Emily Singer, VMD, an on-staff veterinarian at Fetch, says.

A little bit of mucus in your dog’s stool may be perfectly normal. That’s why it’s actually a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s poop regularly. By knowing what’s normal for your pet, you’ll be more able to gauge when a change takes place, and something looks amiss.

Why is my dog pooping mucus?

And while mucus likely indicates that your dog’s not feeling top-notch, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to panic.

“Mucus in a dog’s stool is typically a sign of colitis, which is when their colon is inflamed. This has many possible underlying causes like stress, recent and usually sudden diet change, dietary indiscretion (like eating food that’s not their normal diet, such as getting table food or eating something outside) and intestinal parasites,” Dr. Singler explains.

So if you notice mucus in your dog’s poop today, but you know your dog stole a plate of fried chicken off the counter last night, you probably already know the culprit. That said, it’s important to keep an eye on the stool and look for other signs of sickness, just in case something more serious is going on.

RELATED: This is why dogs eat poop and how to stop them

What to do if there’s bloody mucus in a dog’s stool

If the mucus you’re seeing is new, substantial and sticks around for a day or two, it’s time to call the vet. But there are some scenarios in which you should see your vet ASAP

“If the mucus is bright yellow, it could indicate that the dog is jaundiced due to another underlying disease unless your dog has eaten something yellow. Blood can sometimes be present as well, and this is often because the lining of the colon, which is also called the large intestine, is irritated and bleeding as a result. A vet should see dogs with bloody stool or unexplained bright yellow stool,” Dr. Singler says.

And, of course, there’s no way to know the underlying cause of bloody or yellow mucus in a dog’s poop without a complete vet examination, which is why it’s so important to seek care. “Blood can be associated with other problems like a polyp, a tumor, anal sac gland inflammation or infection or an injury to the rectal or anal tissue,” Dr. Singler shares.

Aside from the mucus, you'll want to contact your veterinarian if your pet shows other signs of sickness. “If a dog has watery, bloody diarrhea, see the vet right away. The same is true for vomiting repeatedly, not eating or not being able to hold food down, seeming lethargic or showing signs of being in pain, Dr. Singler explains. “A dog with less severe signs but still has a softer stool and either is going very frequently or having blood in the stool should still be seen promptly, but it may not be urgent.”

Treatment options for mucus in dog poop

While treatment for mucus in dog poop will depend on the underlying cause, there are a few things that a vet might suggest before and after your vet appointment. “Collecting a sample and keeping track of a dog’s bowel movements are important things to do at home before an appointment,” Dr. Singler says. “In some cases, vets will recommend feeding smaller, more frequent meals, feeding a bland diet as directed by a vet and making sure the pup stays hydrated.” In most cases, the affected poop will clear fairly quickly, and your pup will return to normal.

“Seeing these changes in a dog’s stool can often be very distressing for a pet parent, and they may assume that it means their dog has cancer or something very serious. While this isn't usually the case, it’s still best to see a vet for any change in the stool to determine if treatment is needed,” Dr. Singler shares. 

And as always, being conscious of your dog’s habits and keeping track of changes is essential to staying on top of your dog’s health. The more you can communicate to your vet when changes occur, the easier it will be to find the root cause of potential health issues.

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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