Like humans, a dog’s fecal matter provides insight into their health. When cleaning up, keeping an eye out goes a long way in identifying health problems. Recently my dog’s poop became dry, crumbly, and inconsistent.
At first, I thought the problem would disappear, but it lingered for more than three days. What’s more, my pet experienced difficulty every time he passed stool. A vet visit helped me understand why dog poop is dry and crumbly and how to help him.
Dry and crumbly poop is not normal. It can be due to dehydration, regular self-grooming, not eating enough fiber, and lack of exercise. Instead, it should be moist, easy to pick up, chocolate brown, shaped like a log, and without anything else like mucus.
Why Dog Poop Is Dry and Crumbly?
Here are reasons dog poop is dry and crumbly:
The primary reason dog poop is dry and crumbly poop is constipation. The condition makes colon muscles sluggish due to dehydration or lack of fiber, causing your dog to strain when passing stool. Adding fiber to your dog’s diet and encouraging him to drink water is the best way to solve the problem as they make the stool smooth and moist.
Blockage in the Intestines
Dry and crumbly poop may also be a sign of a blockage in the intestines. It happens when your pup swallows large or inedible objects like roach baits and pacifiers and is accompanied by vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation.
If your dog self-grooms regularly, he may swallow lots of hair, making the stool dry and crumbly. My dog had developed a tendency of self-grooming, which led to dry and crumbly stool. I learned that bathing him two to three times a week reduced his self-grooming habit as it reduced itching and kept his body clean.
Another reason your pup has dry and crumbly stool is that he isn’t getting enough exercise. Regular activity keeps the insides healthy, allowing poop to get out without much difficulty.
Dogs strain to defecate when the poop is dry and crumbly, and if they strain too much or for too long, they may develop prolapse, a condition that causes the rectum to pop out.
How Should Normal Dog Poop Look?
Before looking at treating dry and crumbly poop, I needed to understand what normal stool looks like. As expected, dog stool varies from one dog to another depending on the diet and volume of food. However, a few features indicate dog poop is normal:
Normal stool shouldn’t be too soft or too dry, and it should be consistent. My dog defecates two to three times a day, so it indicated a huge problem when he reduced the number to one. Sometimes the dog poops many times, which shows he’s eating more food or the body isn’t absorbing food correctly.
Normal dog poop is brown, but you may notice changes depending on the diet. For example, if your pup has been eating carrots or grass, the poop color might be orange or green. Orange poop is also a telltale sign of inflammation of the pancreas.
Green poop, on the other hand, shows the dog’s gut is moving too fast, and the bile pigments don’t have enough time to reabsorb food from the gut. Other unusual colors like red, black, yellow, and tarry indicate a problem in the intestines or anal region.
Normal dog poop has the shape of a log. It’s well-formed, easy to pick up, slightly moist, and doesn’t leave traces behind. If it’s hard, pebble-like, and difficult for your dog to get out, he might be dehydrated.
Normal dog poop has a mild odor. If it’s strong or unusual, it indicates poorly digested food or a digestive disorder.
What to Do if Your Dog’s Poop Is Dry and Crumbly?
Knowing why your dog’s poop is dry and crumbly is the first step to addressing the problem. Most pet owners panic and rush their pups to a vet clinic, but some home remedies can ease the problem:
If the main problem is constipation, ensure your pup takes enough water. Try mixing it with bone broth to add taste and avoid additional stomach problems. My dog was too lethargic to drink water, so I administered it with a syringe in the corners of his mouth.
Regular exercise keeps a dog healthy and improves bowel movement. If you’re too busy, hire a dog walker or schedule a specific period to walk to a nearby park. Playing games like fetch and racing also keep the body active.
Besides bathing once or twice a week, I cut my dog’s hair using clippers. I mentioned that self-grooming could lead to intestinal blockage, causing him to develop dry and crumbly poop. Cutting hair reduces the amount he removes when self-grooming.
While at it, remove any hair blocking the anus to expose and allow it to perform its functions properly.
Add a Stool Softener or Laxative
Besides hydrating and adding fiber to a dog’s diet, I found stool softeners pretty effective at treating dry and crumbly stool. Stool softeners are potent in fiber which eases bowel movement and smoothens the stool.
Serve Canned Dog Food
If you’ve been serving your pup dry dog food, it might be time to switch to canned food. It’s softer and has a higher moisture content which helps regulate the digestive system and create softer poop. Be sure to mix it up with regular food to avoid upsetting his stomach.
Add Pumpkin Puree
If you’re looking for a more natural source of fiber, pumpkin puree is an excellent alternative. It’s rich in fiber and moisture, which regulates the digestive tract. Be sure to feed him with natural pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. I feed my dog the puree straight from the can to create the illusion of a tasty treat.
Use Dietary Fiber Supplements
Supplements also increase fiber which goes a long way in softening stool and regulating bowel movements. Be sure to consult your vet to find the right type and dosage.
Visit a Vet
With adequate water intake, a well-balanced diet, daily exercise, and other remedies, constipation resolves within 48 hours. If it doesn’t, or your dog shows signs of pain or discomfort, visit a vet clinic. The vet may perform a physical examination, blood tests, ultrasounds, or X-rays to identify other problems and prescribe a suitable treatment.
I was oblivious to the extremities of dry and crumbly poop and hoped the problem would resolve naturally until it was too late. I also realized the importance of checking my dog’s poop every time he relieves himself. Is it moist, well-formed, easy to clean, has a mild odor, the right color, and shape?
Or is it dry, crumbly, and pebble-like?
Early intervention is critical to restoring your dog’s health. Don’t wait until your pet writhes in pain to help him. Remember, when in doubt, always contact your veterinarian!