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Labrador retriever pooping on grass

The essentials

  • Most dogs poop once or twice a day — Puppies poop more frequently, sometimes going as much as five times a day.
  • Chocolate brown poop is normal — At the risk of spoiling an indulgent treat, normal dog poop should resemble a solid milk chocolate bar.
  • Healthy dog poop leaves little residue — While it shouldn’t be rock-hard, dog poop should have a defined log shape.

Poop stinks, but it belongs in every dog’s daily routine. Color and texture are the biggest tell-tale signs of a problem. A healthy dog should have slightly soft brown feces that only leave a little residue when scooped. Here’s a dog poop chart that breaks down what different types of dog poop mean and when it might be time to go to the vet.

Dog poop colors, meaning, and causes

Every dog’s poop is slightly different according to their diet, size, and individual factors. For this reason, it’s important to familiarize yourself with what’s normal for them so that you have the most accurate gauge for detecting problems as soon as they appear.


Poop is usually supposed to be various shades of brown. Abnormally colored poop, or brown poop with white specks, is usually cause for concern.

Dog poop color chart


The consistency of your dog’s fecal matter will likely be your first clue that something’s wrong. A healthy bowel movement will be compact, moist, log-shaped, and able to retain its shape somewhat when picked up.

In contrast, bowel movements that take a lot of effort and appear pellet-like, hard, or dry typically indicate constipation.

If they’re experiencing diarrhea, the stool will be loose and without a defined shape. Waste that forms piles rather than logs is considered mild diarrhea. Bowel movements that are watery puddles are more severe.

Here’s a fecal scoring chart outlining the different types of poop consistency for dogs. Number 3 out of 7 is considered normal — 1 and 2 indicate constipation, and all numbers above 4 signify diarrhea.

Dog poop consistency chart

Frequency and size

Dogs should typically have one to two bowel movements per day. That being said, you know your dog’s digestive habits best, so you should be looking for abnormal behavior for your dog.

While most dogs poop once or twice a day, their normal differs slightly according to their diet and medical conditions. Thus, a baseline “normal” for one dog might look like pooping 2 times a day, but another dog might only poop once daily. You should also look out for:

  • Small, strenuous bowel movements. If these occur several times a day, your dog may have inflammation of the large intestine.
  • Large bowel movements. Several of these within a short time may suggest inflammation in the small intestine.

When is it time to see a vet? 

Anytime your dog’s poop deviates from their normal routine, you should try to remember if they might’ve eaten anything that’s not a regular part of their diet.

For example, if your dog ate green cupcake frosting, that might be why their poop is green — not an issue with their gallbladder. If you can’t determine a dietary cause or if the event repeats, you should call the vet to see what to do next.

👉 Dark red stools indicate bleeding in the upper GI tract, which is a medical emergency. Always call your vet immediately if you spot black or maroon stools. 

How to collect a stool sample

While your vet may be able to produce a stool sample in-office, your visit will go smoother if you bring one. To collect a stool sample, you’ll need to:

  • Find a container — A plastic bag or container works. Just make sure you won’t need it back.
  • Wait until your dog does their business — If you need a sample in a hurry, taking your dog on a walk usually stimulates their bowels quickly.
  • Collect the poop — If you’re using a plastic bag, turn it inside out and use it like a glove, turning it right side outwards when you’ve collected the sample. If you are placing the poop in another container, you might want to use gloves to scoop the poop.
  • Label the container — Write your pet’s name on the container, along with your name and phone number. If you’re not heading to the vet immediately, store the specimen in the refrigerator until you go.

While dog poop might not be the most exciting aspect of pet ownership, it’s a good idea to keep up with the color, consistency, and frequency. Your pup’s bathroom habits can provide the first hints of when they’re not feeling well, which helps you give them the medical attention they need to stay healthy.

Frequently asked questions

What does unhealthy poop look like in dogs?

Normal stool is dark brown, solid, and easy to scoop but not rock hard. Unhealthy poop either squishes when you pick it up or feels like rocky pebbles. It may also have hints of other colors, like yellow, red, or green. If your dog has tapeworms, you may also see them as tiny white flecks in their poop that look like rice.

What is Type 4 dog poop?

Chocolate brown poop that matches Type 3 or Type 4 in the dog poop texture chart is considered normal. Anything above or below indicates diarrhea or constipation.

What does dog poop look like if your dog has pancreatitis?

Orange or yellow-tinted poop may indicate pancreatitis. However, it could also be something benign, such as indigestion. Call your vet if you notice yellow or any discolored poop to see what to do next, and take note of any other unusual symptoms.

How do you examine a healthy dog’s poop?

When you scoop your dog’s poop on a walk or when they go in your yard, take note of the color and texture. Poop is a solid indicator of your dog’s health condition.

Can a dog poop way too much?

Yes. Pooping more than three times a day can mean something is wrong with your dog, especially if you observe a weird color or texture each time. Puppies poop way more than that — up to five times a day is considered normal as long as the color and texture is okay.