Parvo Poop Smell, Color, Appearance, Diarrhea & Stages (2024)

A Jack Russell terrier puppy pooping outside.

Parvo is a virus that affects puppies and some adult dogs. Is it very dangerous and has a high fatality rate. There is no treatment or cure, and the virus must run its course.

Dogs that survive develop immunity to parvo. There are vaccinations that are administered to puppies and dogs throughout their lives that can protect dogs from developing parvo. 

What does parvo poop smell like? Parvo poop has a very strong and rotten smell. Parvo causes the lining of the intestines to shed when the dog defecates, and there is often blood in it that can give it a metallic smell. The smell is strong and lingers even after the area is cleaned.

If you are worried that your dog may have parvo and want to know the signs and symptoms of the virus, read on to learn more about it.

Does Parvo Poop Have a Smell?

Parvo poop does have a distinct smell. It smells slightly sweet with hints of blood or metal. It also smells slightly rotten and has a general sickly scent.

It smells much different than regular dog poop, and there are no other illnesses that produce this same smell.

What Does Dog Poop With Parvo Smell Like?

Dog poop with parvo smells a lot like a mixture of blood and poop.

It has a stronger scent than regular dog poop, and because it is mixed with blood and intestinal materials, it has a metallic smell that is almost overwhelming.

It also has a sweet undertone and tends to linger in the air long after the poop is gone.

Why Does Parvo Poop Smell?

Parvo poop smells so bad because it has a lot of blood, intestinal materials, and sometimes even the lining of the stomach or intestines.

The virus wreaks havoc on the dog’s digestive system, and as the virus moves through the intestines, it picks up anything inside and breaks it down. This can lead to a rotten smell. 

Parvo Diarrhea

Diarrhea is very common with parvo, and it often has a very bad smell. The diarrhea can also be bloody, and in severe cases, it can look like pure blood.

It often has a very dark and sticky consistency that makes the smell worse. The diarrhea can also be hard to clean up because of its sticky consistency.

Parvo is highly contagious, and any area that has been touched by infected vomit or diarrhea should be cleaned and disinfected immediately to prevent the spread of the virus.

Bloody Parvo Stool

It’s common for a parvo stool to be bloody. This is because the virus destroys the dog’s digestive system.

As the virus moves through the system, it pulls away at the lining of the stomach and intestines, which allows blood to enter the intestines and come out in the poop.

Bloody stool is one of the tell-tale signs of  parvo in puppies.

Does Parvo Poop Have Mucus?

Parvo poop can have mucus and often does, but it can also be runny and loose. The blood and poop mix together to create a sticky mucus that is slimy and slippery.

The mucus can appear clear or blood-colored, or it may have a white and pussy appearance.

What Does Dog Poop Look Like With Parvo?

Dog poop with parvo is usually very dark and bloody. It can be brown with specks of blood mixed in, it can be completely bloody, or it can be dark black. It is also very water and sticky.

It can sometimes have mucus that makes it appear thicker, or it can just look like common dog diarrhea.

Parvo Poop Color

Parvo poop ranges in color from brown to black. It almost always had blood mixed in with it, but the color of the blood can vary too.

Older blood that comes from inside the body is dark black, and blood that comes from the rectum or lower in the intestines will be lighter or brighter red.

Sometimes the blood covers the poop, and sometimes it just shows up in the poop.

Parvo Poop Stages

In the early stages of parvo, the poop may maintain its normal color but be runny or loose. In the next stages, it will start to become even more watery and more tinged with blood.

Many dogs stop eating once symptoms begin, so the poop will contain less waste and more water. In the later stages, it will appear very dark, bloody, and sticky.

If the dog recovers, the poop will start to become less bloody and begin to firm up. Diarrhea and small amounts of blood in the stool can linger for several days after the dog recovers. 

A fluffy puppy on a vet's table with an IV in his front leg.

Can Dogs Get Parvo From Smelling Poop?

Dogs can get parvo from smelling poop. It is highly contagious. They can even get parvo from smelling a place where parvo poop was present that wasn’t disinfected completely.

Always disinfect an infected area with bleach, and keep other pets away from sick pets or areas where sick pets have been.

Does All Dog Poop Have Parvo?

Not all dog poop has parvo. Many dogs are vaccinated as puppies, so they will not get sick from the parvo virus or pass it in their poop.

Since it’s impossible to tell if a dog has been vaccinated without asking the owner, it’s best to keep your dog away from dog poop and dogs that appear to be sick.

What Are the First Signs of Parvo in a Dog?

The first signs of parvo in dogs are usually lethargy and loss of appetite. Within a few hours, the dog may start to experience vomiting and diarrhea, and blood can appear in the stool.

Some dogs also have no desire to drink in the early stages of the virus.

How Long Should a Dog With Parvo Be Isolated?

A dog with parvo should be isolated for two weeks or 14 days from the onset of symptoms.

Even when the dog’s health improves, it should still remain isolated as it may continue to shed the virus and could potentially infect other dogs.

How Can You Tell If a Dog Has Parvo?

Dogs with parvo will have no appetite, appear lethargic, and can develop a fever. The most common sign a dog has parvo is bloody diarrhea.

Your vet can run a test to confirm if the illness is indeed parvo.


Parvo is a serious virus that can be fatal in puppies and dogs. There is no cure for parvo, and treatments are not very effective. The virus must run its course.

Keeping the dog hydrated and comfortable is the best way to help it get through the illness. Parvo is highly contagious, and sick dogs should be isolated.

Veterinary hospitalization is highly recommended for the best outcome.

Any area where the dog has been should also be disinfected with bleach. Parvo vaccinations can help protect your dog from parvo.