Is my pet's poo normal?

HAPPY PETS: It's important to check your dog or cat's poos to ensure their wellbeing and health. Photo: Petbarn
HAPPY PETS: It's important to check your dog or cat's poos to ensure their wellbeing and health. Photo: Petbarn

Did you know your pet's poo is a reliable indicator of health and wellbeing? It may sound a little gross, but retailer Petbarn and Greencross Vets are calling on Australians to help improve the wellbeing of their cats and dogs by looking for clues in their bowel movements.

The aim is to help pet owners, of which 62 per cent of the population identify as, to understand the signs of a poor diet. Poo is a good indicator of the wellbeing of cats and dogs, but many people don't know what to look for or don't regularly check their pets' toileting.

"We know poo can be a taboo subject but it's the first place a poor diet shows up when it comes to our furry friends," Greencross Vets chief veterinary officer Veronica Monaghan said. "It can be easy to judge what is a healthy poo if you know what you're looking for but with many of us unsure, poor health in our pets may go undetected. We're encouraging pet owners across the country to improve their pet's quality of life and come chat to us about the signs of a perfect poo."

There are certain signs to be on the look out for, according to Greencross Vets regional clinical director Dr Adam Sternberg. "Just like us humans, your pet's poo offers clues about whether they have a healthy digestive system," he said. "A healthy dog or cat will produce less smelly, smaller and firmer poos that are comfortable for them to pass and easy for you to clean up. If pet parents are concerned about their pet's poo, a simple stool test can help identify the cause."

Each pet is different and will have individual nutrition needs, so it's important to see a vet about a tailor-made food program to address any issues.

Seven things to look for to indicate healthy pet poo:

  • Odour - smell should be a mild smell which is not offensive
  • Coating - no coating, but it should be moist and shiny
  • Size - should be proportionate to size of animal
  • Colour - can range from light to dark brown
  • Texture - pliable but leaves no residue when picked up
  • Frequency - one to three times daily
  • Contents - a little bit of grass and hair is fine

Things to keep an eye out for which could indicate problems include:

  • Worms
  • Foreign materials
  • A lot of grass or fur
  • Undigested food
  • Mucus
  • Overly hard or soft texture