Cat, dog, or human — as different as we are, we all have one thing in common: we poop. Pet waste isn’t the most pleasant topic, but we can learn quite a bit from our pet’s bathroom habits. Here’s the scoop on pet poop.
The color of your pet’s poop indicates their health
Characteristics of your pet’s poop, such as the color or consistency, can tell you about your pet’s health. Knowing what each color means can help you identify possible issues.
- Brown: healthy and normal
- Red: bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, anus, or rectum
- Green: bacterial infection, parasites, upset stomach, or eating too much grass
- Yellow or orange: liver, gallbladder, or pancreas issues
- Black: bleeding in the stomach, small intestines, or GI tract
- White spots: worms
If your pet’s poop is not brown and shaped like a sausage with a firm consistency, then your pet may be experiencing an illness. Reach out to your veterinarian and look for other symptoms in your pet.
Pet waste is a pollutant
Cleaning up your pet’s poop is more than a neighborhood courtesy. It helps prevent contamination of our water. Pet waste is classified as a dangerous pollutant and it is a significant source of water pollution.
Your pet’s poop may be home to salmonella, E. coli, and other harmful bacteria. If you don’t pick up your pet’s waste, it can wash into storm drains and contaminate water sources such as rivers or oceans. The dangerous bacteria in the waste can reach people, other animals, and marine life.
Be sure to stay stocked up on poop bags and always pick up your pet’s waste. If you use biodegradable bags, you still have to throw your pet’s poop into the trash. Leaving infected poop on the ground can lead to parasite eggs entering the soil and staying there for years. Even after the poop is gone, people or animals that touch the soil risk an infection.
Your pet’s bathroom routine may vary
The frequency and time that your pet poops can vary from pet to pet. In general, pets should be pooping once or twice a day. Routines can differ, so be sure to pay attention to your specific pet and learn their patterns.
Your pet’s age can affect how often they need a bathroom break. Older pets may poop daily or less. An adult dog will usually poop once a day, but two or three times is still normal. A new puppy or kitten could poop up to 5 times a day!
Every pet is different, but if you notice sudden changes in your pet’s waste habits, then it may be a good idea to talk to your veterinarian.
Cats can experience “poo-phoria”
Have you seen your cat start speeding around your home after visiting the litter box? She might be experiencing the post-poop zoomies, known as “poo-phoria.” This term was coined by Dr. Anish Sheth, a gastroenterologist. It refers to the euphoric feeling after passing a particularly large poop.
This feeling is the result of the vagus nerve, which connects the brainstems to the colon. After passing the stool, the vagus nerve fires up, leading to a lower heart rate and blood pressure and decreased blood flow to the brain. Then, a mild lightheadedness results in a euphoric feeling.