Tell me how you sting, I’ll tell you who you are… The way he kicks it out, the way it looks, what he does with it next: dog poo is full of vital information about your animal’s shape.
The modest and the shameless
Don’t be surprised if this is your first: unlike humans, dogs don’t really need to hide to do their business. Tano, Julie’s cursinu, even has “a knack for popping in the middle of the pedestrian crossing, it takes time, the light turns green… in short, this dog is too embarrassing”. And let’s talk about Macbeth, Elisabeth’s first dog, a Westie specialist in climbing who, above all, wanted to be noticed: “He loved to pop up high. He would put his rear end against a wall and raise his hind legs as high as he could! Sometimes his excrement even remained stuck several centimeters from the ground.
But not everyone is like that: “My Jack Russell is super docile and doesn’t do anything as long as he’s in a human’s field of vision… explains Charlène. I have to rely on the swelling of his belly to deduce whether he had a good bowel movement or not”.
In reality, it is not so much a matter of modesty as a technique for escaping the vulnerability inherent in this situation. In fact, the fact of excrement is absolutely not a taboo for animals, and especially not for dogs that have even developed a real passion for excrement: their innate, but also those of other species.
Poop, a dog’s passion
The notion of disgust or filth that this evokes in us is not actually shared by dogs. A faeces is sniffed with interest, to find some hidden messages, but it can also be eaten: this is coprophagy. Up to 6 months, it is quite normal for a dog to try to eat almost all the excrement it finds: it is a way of exploring the world like no other. It is normal to continue eating the neighbor’s cat droppings, horse droppings or even human droppings found in a thicket. Since the diet and the digestive process are specific to each species, in the feces of others there are very nutritious proteins, very attractive volatile fatty acids, partially digested fibers… Enough to make particularly appetizing dishes.
But when a dog as an adult eats its own or other dogs’ feces, it is no longer normal. Although coprophagia is not associated with any nutritional deficiency, it is a symptom of other more or less serious things – from the desire to play or to be noticed, to boredom, anxiety or depression.
A health slider
In any case, a careful and regular examination of excrement is a good way to ensure your animal’s health. Poop is actually a reflection of a good diet, good digestion, or an underlying disease. We are talking about volume, color, texture, appearance, smell, consistency. Beautiful stools will be well cast, emitted regularly, slightly moist and with an admittedly unpleasant but not pestilential smell. The amount will depend on the food: an animal fed on meat feed will have larger stools than on household food.
Any abnormal color should be called: raspberry red or black indicates the presence of blood, respectively fresh (coming from the intestine) or digested (rather of stomach origin). The mastic color is often associated with a problem of malabsorption, which is found on the side of the pancreas; orange will point more towards the liver or gall bladder. And of course we monitor the presence of foreign bodies or worms!
Having a dog in town, whether it’s a Chihuahua or a Newfoundland, is picking up its poop. It can even become a militant act, as for Sandrine, who lives in Moulins la Marche in Orne, with Popeye and Olive, two French bulldogs: “I like to go with my little bag full of feces to prove that I collect up”. There is the poop bag, or the newspaper that you slip under your dog’s bottom when it gets into position. Everyone has their own technique. But we do not leave the public road soiled by his dog, even if it is 7 in the morning and there is no witness. This is valid on the asphalt, at the foot of trees, on grassy borders… where other dogs will walk and walk in the uncollected excrement. If all dog owners followed these few rules of good behavior, it would promote better integration of the animal into the city. Too many dog owners reject everyone else’s efforts despite the risk of fines (usually €35, except in Cannes where an uncollected poo can cost €450).