Let’s admit it: The least interesting job as a pet owner is disposing of your dog’s poop. It can be gross and worst-smelling at times.
The situation gets more hectic if you see the color of your dog’s poop is black, and you are not able to understand the reason behind it.
Many dog owners do not bother about the color of their dog’s poop, but lesser do they know that most health problems are detected early through the type and color of the dog’s feces.
The black color of your dog’s poop can result from various reasons, including improper diet, lack of fiber and other nutrients, digestive orders, or internal health issues, which should not be ignored.
In this article, you will learn about the normal color of a dog’s poop, what causes a dog’s poop to be black, and what you should do if you witness this in your dog.
Let’s get right into it. Shall we?
Table of Content
The Normal Color of Dog Poop
Nothing will make this topic less gross, so we better dive into the topic straight away. Before knowing about the abnormalities in a dog’s poop and why they get black, we should try and understand what a normal poop looks like.
Every individual dog will have a different standard of normal poop, depending on their health and lifestyle.
Ideally, the look and smell tell the history and cause of such poop. Color, shape, consistency, and size are factors to determine the normalcy of the poop.
The ideal poop will be well formed and segmented, from dark brownish to light brownish in color, and when lifted, should leave no trace behind. If any of the mentioned characteristics is missing from your dog’s poop, it is a sign that your dog is not completely healthy.
Check the shape of the dog’s poop; it should be very similar to the shape of a human’s poop; the size may differ depending on the size of the dog.
The shape of the dog’s poop should be hard, long logs; if it appears to be running, it means it may have diarrhea, and dropping like little rounds may mean the dog has dehydration.
Another way to understand the health of your dog through its poop is by looking at the color of the poop.
If the color is like chocolate, deep brown, or even light brown at times means a dog is healthy; if the poop turns slightly red, orange, black, green, yellow, or white, it means all is not well with the dog.
Other determining factors are the content and amount of the poop. If your dog poop has the contents of the last meal, then it is nothing to worry about, but if the poop contains mucus or parasites, it is a trouble call.
The amount of a dog’s poop is exactly proportional to how much the dog eats. If the dog is pooping a lot despite eating in less quantity, it means the fiber in the diet is excessive, and less pooping will mean the dog is constipated.
Lastly, the smell tells us the story. If the dog poop smells, it means everything is alright, but the smell should not be fetid; like humans, it should be moderately stinky but not a lot.
Why is My Dog’s Poop Black?
Now that you know what should be the standard of a healthy dog’s poop let us know why dogs poop black and whether it is a matter of concern for the pet owners.
If your dog’s poop color has turned black for the first time and your dog is acting normal, keep a close eye on your dog’s stools for the next 3 to 4 days. If the poop gets back to its normal dark brown color, it is probably nothing to worry about.
If the stool continues to be black, then it is a matter of concern. The black color poop generally happens because of an internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
It turns more like tar as the body tries its best to digest the blood through small intestines. Red poop is because of the fresh blood in the lower digestive tract.
Blood-mixed stools in dogs, especially black-colored poops, are caused by issues in the upper intestines and are known as melena. Dogs with melena may produce black tarred-like feces in small quantities over a long period or will produce big logs of black poop in regular intervals.
6 Causes of Black Dog Poop
There are various reasons why dogs produce black-colored poop, and some are even serious. Below are some most common causes for a dog’s black poop.
1. Internal Bleeding
One of the most common causes of a dog’s black poop is internal bleeding. When there is internal bleeding in the digestive tract or simply in smaller intestines, the resulting feces will be black and tarred-like.
Dog’s blood in the tract may have been ingested if a dog has coughed blood and swallowed it or from nose bleeding. Some other reasons why blood is present in the tract are ulcers and parasites. Ulcer in the stomach causes bleeding, which gets into the upper digestive tract and causes stools to go black.
Parasites like tapeworms cause internal bleeding, which ultimately leads to black stools. If you see a black poop of your dog, it is best to consult a veterinarian.
A dog’s diet plays a vital role in maintaining a dog’s overall health. A dog’s pooping is directly proportional to the diet they are on. Excessive fiber, or any nutrient for that matter, causes a dog’s stools to differentiate from normal.
If your dog has eaten something which contains blood or charcoal, then the stool may result in black. Eating raw meat or spicy food, or any other black-colored items that they should not, may result in the excretion of black-colored stools.
Keep an eye out for what they eat and their diet. Keep everything at a moderate level and ask for a professional’s advice if you are having trouble deciding the diet.
3. Medicinal Reaction
Many medicines are known to cause damage to dog’s guts, and excessive medications can cause internal bleeding, which will ultimately result in black stools.
NSAIDs can result in a change of stool color in dogs, and let the vet know, just in case if they want to change the dosage or the medication.
4. Organ Diseases
In dogs, organs like the liver, kidney, and pancreas, if infected, can cause the excretion of black-colored stools.
But you will already know if your dog has been suffering from kidney failure, as black stools are the last of the symptoms in dogs with this disease. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, weight loss, or loss of appetite, they may be subjected to a bigger health issue. Contact your vet as soon as possible.
One reason for blood in the gut is maybe because your dog is suffering from cancer. This unfortunate disease will cause immense pain and discomfort to your dog, and one sign of this disease is the turning black of the stools.
Vomiting with blood or pale gums, lethargic behavior, or loss of appetite are some signs of cancer.
6. Some Other Causes of Dog’s Black Poop
Tumors: Tumors can be one reason for black stools, although it depends on where the tumor is located.
Blood Clotting Disorder: Blood clotting disorders are another reason for black feces in dogs.
Mother Dogs: Mumma dogs who are recovering after delivery of puppies will excrete in black feces, and it is totally understandable.
If you see your dog pooping black, consult a vet at the earliest to prevent any severe health issues in your dog.
What to do if Your Dog’s Poop is Black?
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to take care of your pooch, and if any disease takes place, get it treated at the earliest.
If you see your dog pooping in black color for the first time, do not ignore it; keep monitoring the stools along with all other behavior of your dog.
If the black stool reoccurs, then take some of the stools in a polybag and seal it. Also, take the photographs from a mobile or any other gadget and keep them for vet’s use in the future.
After collecting the stool sample, contact the vet and inform them about the situation in detail. Also, make a note of any instructions they will give and follow them to the point.
When you visit a vet, let them know when your dog has passed a black stool and if there is any change in the dog’s normal behavior, walking or sitting style, or anything different you have observed.
A vet will ask you about the diet your dog is getting and if there are any ongoing medications for your dog.
One important caution: do not exceed the time frame of 12 hours to show the stool sample of your dog to a veterinarian. The earliest you show, the better it is.
Although black poop is a very rare occurrence, it can never be normal. It is a probable sign of many various diseases and health issues. It is better to get it checked at the earliest.
Yes, sometimes it goes away on its own if it is caused by minor irritation. In most cases, it needs immediate medical attention.
Black poop can sometimes be dangerous for a dog’s overall health. Black stools in dogs are a symptom of a much bigger health issue. It alone is not fatal, but it may be a result of a fatal disease.
If your dog is pooping in black color, it may be a bigger issue than it seems. This article covered all information related to a dog’s poop. You learned how does a normal dog poop look like and why is your dog pooping in black color.
Take this article as a guide to understand what causes a dog to poop in black color and what to do if you face this kind of situation.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.