The day started out fine, but on the morning walk you notice your dog's poop is yellow. This is odd and it's natural that you worry. Questions race through your mind. What does it mean? Should you be worried? And do you know how to treat yellow stoolin dogs? This article aims to answer those questions.
Normal dog poop is brown, and a yellow stool is unusual. But what do we mean by yellow?
The yellow color can range from a browny-mustard through to a more vivid, almost fluorescent yellow. This color can either be down to something the dog ate that was yellow in color and poorly digestible (for example, that missing wax crayon) or due to the presence of bile.
To tell the two apart, check out if the color is patchy or spread evenly through the stool. The scavenged yellow crayon is going to be in lumps with brown poop around it. Whilst the stool containing bile pigments is more evenly colored.
The liver produces bile, which is then stored in a little sac called the gallbladder. This sac empties via a small duct into the first part of the small intestine. After a meal, the gallbladder contracts to squirt bile into the gut to help with the digestion of fats. The job of bile is to break down fats into smaller units called fatty acids, which can pass across the gut wall. The bile is also absorbed from the gut, recycled in the liver, and stored once again in the gallbladder ready to go round again.
As mentioned at the start, yellow dog poop is not normal. This is because the bile is recycled and shouldn't get as far as the stool. When it does, this means food has passed through the gut too fast for the bile to reabsorb. So the next question is to ask why the gut transit time (the time taken for food to get from A to B) has sped up.
Anything that irritates the gut and causes inflammation or spasm, speeds up gut transit time. Some of the more common reasons are:
Less common reasons include cancer, liver disease, or gallbladder problems.
How to treat yellow dog poop in dogs depends on how well they are and how long the problem has been there. For waggy, happy dogs with yellow stools, the trick is to treat them for simple diarrhea. This is because diarrhea is simply faeces that passed through the gut too quickly, without giving enough time for fluid to be reabsorbed and make a formed poop. Since simple cases of yellow stool are also down to a super-speedy gut transit time, they should respond to treatment for simple diarrhea.
This treatment includes:
How to treat yellow stool in dogs with a problem that has gone on for some time is slightly different. These dogs may have an underlying problem that needs veterinary help. By finding and treating this condition, this corrects the issue and makes for normal poop. The vet starts with a thorough history and examines the dog. This guides what further tests (if any) are needed, such as blood tests, faecal analysis, or an ultrasound scan of the belly.
Yellow stool can be the result of a simple stomach upset, which causes the gut to contract and push everything along too quickly. These dogs may have diarrhea but are otherwise bright and bouncy. The problem often gets better within 24–48 hours with simple treatment for dog diarrhea. If the problem carries on longer than this, then the dog should see a vet (no matter what color the poop). Also, if the dog has a stomach upset but is not drinking, vomits, or is under the weather (or if you are plain worried), again, the dog should see the vet.
Dogs that seem otherwise well but have a yellow stool should see the vet if the problem persists for several days. This can be a sign that the gut isn't working and needs investigation. Seeing the vet sooner rather than later means treatment is more likely to work well.
So if your dog has a yellow stool, don't panic. Know that how to treat yellow stool may be simple—but if the problem persists or the dog seems unwell, always contact the vet.