Updated - Jun 20th, 2023
Your pup’s poop can offer clues into their health and wellness, so when you spot mucus in dog poop, it can feel a little off.
Mucus in dog poop can mean many different things, depending on volume, color, frequency, and associated symptoms. So, how do you know if the mucus you see is harmless, or if it points to a problematic health issue? Here’s what you need to know about mucus in dog poop.
- A little mucus in dog poop can be a sign of normal digestion, while excessive amounts might indicate something more serious, such as stress, dietary sensitivities, bacterial or parasitic infections, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or colitis.
- Don’t panic if you spot mucus in your dog’s stool. Monitor your pup for accompanying symptoms, and call your vet if you see anything worrisome like diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, gas, bloating, or bloody or black stools.
- Follow your vet’s treatment plan – which might include a special diet, medications, or supplements – to help minimize future occurrences of mucus in your dog’s poop.
What does mucus in dog poop look like?
Now – for the appealing part!
If you spot a small amount of mucus in your dog’s poop – and if your pup is otherwise healthy and happy – you can check with your vet about administering at-home remedies such as probiotics, extra fiber, or some canned pumpkin to help resolve the issue.
However, if you see excessive mucus in your dog’s poop – or if the mucus is accompanied by bloody stools, diarrhea, bloating, or gas – contact your vet without delay. They’ll likely want to perform basic tests like a stool analysis and bloodwork to get a better idea of your dog’s health. Depending on associated symptoms, your vet may recommend additional tests, such as an abdominal X-ray or ultrasound, endoscopy, or intestinal biopsy.
What are the common causes of mucus in dog poop?
A little bit of mucus in your dog’s poop is normal – it’s just the lubrication that helps stool pass through their intestines.
More significant amounts of mucus in your dog’s feces can often suggest colitis, an inflammation of the colon. Signs of colitis include:
- Stool that’s semi-formed or liquid
- Smaller amounts of poop
- Straining during defecation
- A slight amount of bright red blood as your pup passes stool
“Colitis tends to flare up from time to time when dogs are exposed to specific triggers, such as foods they’re sensitive to, or shifts in routine,” says Dr. Simon.
Along with colitis, a number of causes can underlie an onset of mucus in dog poop:
Your dog’s diet might be to blame for stomach upset. “Food allergies are not uncommon,” says Dr. Simon. “The most likely culprits include chicken, beef, dairy, grains, and peas.”
If you suspect your dog has food allergies, Dr. Simon suggests feeding them “a hydrolyzed protein diet exclusively for a trial of eight weeks to see if signs improve.” Unfortunately, that means no other treats or foods for Buddy throughout the trial diet’s duration. Vets often prescribe hydrolyzed dog food to treat conditions like food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Remember, dogs can be sensitive to sudden diet changes. If you want to switch up your dog’s food, be sure to introduce any new food slowly. Mix in a little with your pup’s old kibble, gradually adding more over several days.
Sometimes pooches gobble up things they shouldn’t, like dirt, grass, rocks, socks – or even poop. These non-food items can upset their intestinal tract and lead to mucus in their stool.
If your dog regularly consumes feces or other non-food items, be sure to contact your vet: it could be a sign your pup is malnourished or has a condition like thyroid disease, diabetes, or parasites.
Another cause of mucus in dog poop is a bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Along with mucus in their stool, pups that are sick from a bacteria will often experience:
If you notice any of these symptoms, call your vet to book an appointment: bacterial infections must be treated with medication.
Dogs that eat a raw meat diet are at greater risk of developing an infection from bacteria like salmonella or listeria – and their owners are at risk when they dish up the food, too. Because of the high potential for disease, many animal hospitals and kennels won’t accept dogs fed a raw diet.
To keep your pet and family safe from harmful bacteria, it’s best to avoid raw meat in your dog’s food altogether.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
A bit of a misnomer, inflammatory bowel disease is a syndrome, not a disease. It’s the result of a type of allergic reaction that inflames the GI tract, causing chronic vomiting when it affects the stomach, and chronic diarrhea when it impacts the intestines. This diarrhea can often be tinged with mucus.
Other signs of IBD include weight loss and poor appetite. Vets usually diagnose IBD through tissue biopsies obtained from surgery. While there’s no cure for this health condition, it can be treated with medication, diet, and vitamin supplements.
Parasites like roundworms, hookworms, or whipworms can cause large intestinal diarrhea, which is sometimes accompanied by mucus or blood. Giardia, a microscopic parasite found in water or other substances contaminated with fecal matter, often causes diarrhea or loose stools with a lot of mucus.
Giardia frequently infects puppies. If your puppy develops diarrhea, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately. Puppies can become dehydrated quickly and often need extra care to help get their immune and digestive systems back on track.
A less common cause of mucus in stool is cancer of the GI tract. If you see blood in your pup’s poop, or if the stool looks black or tarry, contact your vet, who can perform tests to look for intestinal tumors.
Stress is a common culprit behind mucus in dog poop. Some pups’ stomachs are particularly sensitive to stressful situations like a change in routine or anything that causes fear, frustration, or anxiety. And when dogs feel stressed, colitis can flare up.
“Dogs may experience bouts of colitis when in kennels or when their diet is abruptly changed,” Dr. Simon says. “Those susceptible to colitis usually benefit from a low-stress lifestyle and highly digestible diet,” she adds.
What should I do if I see mucus in my dog’s stool?
“If you see mucus in your dog’s stool, don’t panic,” Dr. Simon advises. “It’s very common.”
Still, she says it’s important to monitor your pup after spotting mucus in their stool. Look for any other clues that can help identify what’s going on, such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, or blood in the stool.
If the mucus resolves quickly and your furry friend is behaving normally, there’s probably nothing to worry about. However, if you see any concerning symptoms, it’s best to contact your vet and schedule an appointment.
To help diagnose the cause, your DVM might:
- Request a stool sample
- Perform an exam
- Take an X-ray or abdominal ultrasound
Some signs that accompany mucus are more worrisome, including weight loss, profuse diarrhea, lethargy, or a reduced appetite. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, call your vet immediately.
How can I help my dog’s digestive system heal?
Your vet will likely prescribe a course of treatment tailored to the underlying cause of your dog’s digestive upset. Such treatment might consist of a special diet, medication, supplements – or all three.
Pups with chronic colitis will usually benefit from less stress and a bland diet that’s easy to digest. It’s wise to work with your vet to plan this diet, but most include:
- High-quality, highly digestible protein
- Healthy dietary fat
- Dietary fiber
- Plenty of water
“Dogs with food sensitivities may require a hypoallergenic, hydrolyzed diet,” says Dr. Simon. “And it can also help to provide a course of probiotics to ensure the gut microbiome is healthy.”
Follow your vet’s prescribed treatment plan – and boost your pet’s health through quality diet and regular exercise – to minimize future occurrences of mucus in their poop.
And of course, lots of TLC goes a long way toward helping your best friend feel their best again.
Mucus in dog poop FAQs
Why does my dog’s poop have mucus in it?
There are many possible causes of mucus in dog poop. Common ones include stress, dietary changes, bacterial or parasitic infections, and colitis. Often, a little bit of mucus in your dog’s stool is a result of normal intestinal lubrication and isn’t a cause for concern.
When should I worry about mucus in my dog’s stool?
If you spot excessive mucus in your dog’s poop, or if the mucus is accompanied by symptoms like blood in the stool, diarrhea, vomiting, or bloating, contact your vet for an appointment. They’ll conduct tests to determine the underlying cause and set your pup on a path to treatment.
What should I do if my dog is experiencing diarrhea with mucus in it?
Diarrhea with mucus can be a sign of colitis, IBD, bacterial infection, or another disease. If your pet is experiencing diarrhea with mucus, it’s best to set up an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to make sure your dog receives appropriate care.
Is mucus in dog poop normal?
A small amount of mucus in dog poop is normal in an otherwise healthy pet. However, if the volume increases, or if the mucus is accompanied by symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, gas, bloating, or bloody or black stools, seek immediate veterinary care. Not only do responsible pet parents keep an eye on their pup’s poop, but they also make sure their furry friend gets the best care pawsible.
Pumpkin Dog Insurance Plans come with extensive accident and illness coverage that doesn’t decline with age – providing lifelong care for pups and peace of mind for pet owners.