Owning a dog is a great experience, and there are a lot of moments of joy. Unfortunately, there can also be some moments of fear and anxiety, especially when it comes to your pet’s health.
If you happen to be cleaning up after your dog and notice that the feces is white, you might be worried.
White dog poop is certainly not normal, but whether or not your dog’s health is at risk could depend on the cause of the discoloration.
Why does dog poop turn white? The most common reason that dog poop turns white is normal decomposition. Once the organic materials break down, bones, gristle, and inorganic materials are left and may appear white. Other causes include mold growth, freezing temperatures, too much calcium in the diet, and digestive upset.
While most of the time there is no cause for concern, there are some medical problems that could cause your dog’s poop to be abnormal or white.
Read on to learn about all the reasons your dog’s poop could be white and what those reasons mean for his health.
Reasons Why Dog Poop Turns White
Finding white dog poop in your yard can be a little alarming and might even cause you to worry about the health of your dog.
There are many things that can make a dog’s poop white, and understanding the possible causes can help you decide if your dog needs veterinary care.
1. Normal Decomposition
When dog poop has been exposed to air and the elements for a long time, it will start to decompose. Insects and bacteria will start to multiply, and they can cause a color change.
The organic parts of the poop are the first to break down. The inorganic parts take longer to decompose and can be white or a light color.
As the dog poop continues to break down, the vitamins and minerals in it will come to the surface as the waste disappears.
2. Mold Growth
Mold can grow on dog poop easily. In fact, it’s the perfect place for mold growth. The mold can grow quickly and take in the nutrients that are found in it.
Mold is not just one color; it’s often different colors. Sometimes when mold grows on dog poop, it does change into a white color.
3. Hard Frost or Freeze
Since most dogs poop outside, dog poop is exposed to the natural elements, and if it happens to be outdoors in the wintertime, it could freeze or have frost on top.
This can give the dog poop the appearance of being white. It can also make it hard and even chalky. As the day warms up, the color may go away as the frost or ice melts from it.
4. Too Much Calcium in Diet
Your dog’s diet could cause his poop to be a different color.
If your dog’s poop is white as soon as it leaves the body and it appears to be hard and chalky, your dog could be consuming too much calcium.
This is common in raw diets that are high in bones. Dog’s that consume too much calcium may also suffer from constipation.
5. Dog Ate Something White
If your dog has eaten something white, it can appear in their poop. Dogs have a way of finding things they shouldn’t eat, and some even dig through the trash.
Your dog may have eaten the stuffing from a toy or pillow, paper, or even some type of human food that could have a reaction in the dog’s stomach and cause the poop to be white.
6. Digestive Issues
There are certain digestive issues that can cause a dog to have white poop.
Intestinal parasites, an abrupt change in diet, or eating junk food (or spoiled food) could cause mucus to build up in the intestines.
When the stool passes through, it will pick up the mucus, which can make it white.
7. Side-Effect of Medications
Some medications can cause your dog’s poop to be white. Liquid barium is one example. It is often given to dogs to make it easier to see the stomach during an X-ray.
It does pass through the digestive tract. It is a thick, white, chalky substance, and it can make a dog’s poop look the same.
8. Parasite Infection
Dogs are prone to parasite infections, and these worms (or their eggs) can show up in their feces and appear white.
The entire feces won’t be white, but you will notice white specks, spaghetti-like strands, or small segments that look like pieces of rubber bands.
If you notice any type of parasite in your dog’s poop, it’s important to talk to a vet to determine the cause and get the proper treatment.
Some worms can be very dangerous and cause serious problems if left untreated.
9. Toilet Paper
Yes, you read right – toilet paper. While this might not be the most common reason, I felt it was important to include. Many dogs (including my own) have the bad habit of eating toilet paper.
The first time it’s discovered in the poop, it can be pretty concerning – until you remember seeing a missing hunk from the TP roll a few days before.
When To Be Concerned About Your Dog’s Poop
There are a lot of things that can cause changes in your dog’s poop. Most of these things are not serious or cause for concern.
There are certain changes that can be serious and may require medical treatment. If you notice any of these issues with your dog’s poop, schedule an appointment with a vet immediately.
If It’s Bloody
A dog’s poop should never be bloody. This can be caused by a virus such as parvo, intestinal blockages, parasites, or other severe issues.
The vet will likely do a fecal swab to find out the cause of the bleeding so they can treat it properly.
If There’s Mucus
Your dog’s feces may have a small amount of mucus in it from time to time, but if you notice a lot or if it’s something that happens often, it could mean your dog has a digestive problem.
It may be related to the current diet or could be a sign of a bacterial imbalance or parasite.
If There Are Worms
Worms are common in dogs, but they can also be dangerous. If you notice worms in your dog’s poop, it means there are also worms in the intestines and stomach.
It’s important to treat the infestation before it spreads to other vital organs or becomes more dangerous.
What Does Yellow Dog Poop Mean?
If your dog’s poop appears to be yellow, it’s a sign that mucus is present in it. The cause is likely just an upset stomach caused by eating something they shouldn’t have or simple indigestion.
Monitor your dog and watch for signs of fatigue or discomfort. The condition should improve quickly, but schedule an appointment with your vet if it doesn’t.
Why Is My Dog’s Poop Gray?
If you notice your dog’s poop is gray, you should also check to see if it has a shiny, glossy, or fatty appearance.
If you notice these characteristics, it could mean your dog has a condition called exocrine pancreatic deficiency.
It means the dog’s body doesn’t produce enough enzymes to digest fat. You should make an appointment with a veterinarian for the appropriate treatment plan.
If you notice changes in your dog’s poop, it can be alarming. If your dog’s poop is white, there could be a number of causes.
It is important to understand the cause of the changes so you can determine if veterinary care is required.
If you believe your dog’s health is at risk, always consult a veterinarian before trying any treatments.