Even though it’s certainly not the most pleasant topic for dog parents, a dog’s poop is often an indicator of the health of your pet. Many dog owners don’t know that something is wrong with their pooch until they notice unusual stools.
It’s not so uncommon to find white specks in a dog’s stools and it’s important to figure out the cause. If the white specks in your dog’s stool aren’t moving, you should probably not worry about them, otherwise, if the white bits in your dog’s stool are moving they might be white tapeworm and in that case, you should contact your veterinary immediately
What should you do if you find white specks in your dog’s poop?
The first thing to do if you find white specks in your dog’s stools is to look closely at the stools and try to identify what these white specks are. It won’t be pleasant, but it will be necessary to rule out infections and decide whether a call to the veterinarian is due or not.
It’s not always easy to recognize what exactly these white flecks are, but a fundamental difference will be whether they’re moving or not.
If the white specks in your dog’s poop are not moving, it’s usually a good sign, because they may be remnants of food not properly digested. Since it may be hard to identify the food correctly, if you’re not sure that it’s actually undigested food, make your vet aware of the situation.
If the white specks are moving, it could mean a parasite infection. Sometimes at first look, they might appear motionless but may twitch or move suddenly, so you will need to look closely for a short while.
In that case, your dog needs to be dewormed. Some pet parents execute this process at home without consulting the vet. However, depending on the type of worm, the usual products you use might not remove the worms completely.
Your veterinarian will be able to identify the specific worm and suggest the most efficient dewormer for your dog.
What should you do if you find white specks in your puppy’s poop?
A puppy with white specks in its poop will most likely need to be dewormed.
Worming treatment for puppies should take place every two weeks until they’re 3 months old, then continue with a deworming session every month until they reach 6 months of age. After that, all dogs should be dewormed every 3 months.
A medical examination is the best way to proceed in the case of puppies because the white dots in a puppy’s poop aren’t due to worms, your veterinarian will be able to assess the situation quickly and clearly.
What do white dots in dog’s stools indicate?
Finding tiny white specks in a dog’s poop could indicate different things and it’s up to you to figure out what they could be based on your dog’s habits and diet.
Of course, a conclusive answer can only be given by a professional, but you know your dog better than anyone and are fully knowledgeable about what they do and eat every day.
Traces of undigested food
Dog food may contain traces of meat bones that don’t get properly digested and come out with the poop. Some pet parents don’t want to believe this because it is common to associate traces of bones with low-quality pet food.
Actually, all pet food that comes from meat may contain traces of tissues and bones. It’s nearly impossible to have meat food without any trace of bone, so the best thing that pet food companies can promise is that there is more meat than bone in their food.
These very small fragments of bones don’t always catch the eye. In fact, they’re usually hidden inside the feces and will most likely go unnoticed unless they get rained on or you leave them outside long enough for them to start decomposing.
If you found white specks in your dog’s stools that had been outside for a while, it’s likely that some flies may have laid their eggs in the stools and your dog has nothing to do with it.
Fly larvae, or maggots, will lay eggs in fresh dog’s stools, which will feed on the feces once they hatch. The hatching process gets quicker the warmer it is outside.
The problem is that even when the stools eventually decompose, the eggs and larvae will still contaminate your yard and they carry infections that can affect humans too, so you might want to clean after your dog as soon as they poop.
Another parasite that is most commonly the cause of white specks in the stools is the infamous tapeworm, which affects several species of animals.
Tapeworm infection in dogs.
Tapeworms are insidious parasites that cling to the walls of your dog’s intestines. They appear long, flat-shaped, and with a small head — simply speaking, they look like strings or shoelaces.
These worms can be even several feet long and are divided into segments. Younger segments form in the upper part of the body, below the head, while older segments are pushed towards the rear end.
As the tapeworms feed on your dog’s blood and nutrients, they become adults and start laying eggs, which form packets inside the rear segments of their body.
These segments eventually break away and get expelled with the stools, that’s why you can sometimes still see them move in the poop. Once they stop moving and dry up, they will look like rice grains.
Transmission of tapeworms
When segments of tapeworms expelled with dog’s stools eventually rupture, the eggs contained in them stick to the fleas which then infect other dogs. Dogs infested with fleas are therefore at risk of eating these parasites.
Dogs who spend a lot of time outside the house, are left roaming in the wild or don’t get treated for fleas and ticks regularly are therefore more at risk of being infected by tapeworms.
Symptoms of tapeworms
Tapeworms feed off your dog slowly over time, so most dogs don’t ever show any sign of discomfort even if there is a full infestation going on.
Usually, pet parents realize there is an ongoing tapeworm infection when they notice the segments in the stools. Especially if you find white specks in a dog’s diarrhea that look like sesame seeds or rice grains, the combination of liquid stools and specks is a clear symptom of infection.
When dogs do show symptoms of tapeworm infection, they’re usually among the following:
- Obsessive licking of the anus
- Dragging their butt across the floor
- Increased appetite without weight gain
- Weight loss without lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Poor skin condition
Since adult tapeworms can reach great lengths, in some rare cases they can cause gastrointestinal obstruction.
Diagnosis of tapeworms
If you see traces of what could be tapeworms in your dog’s feces or around your dog’s anus, bring a fresh sample of stools to your veterinarian to be analyzed.
Tapeworms are easily recognizable through proper analysis because their eggs are larger than most other intestinal parasites.
As mentioned previously, the eggs are contained in segments of the worms when they are expelled from the stools. Unless the segment ruptures and the eggs come out, it may be hard for a single fecal test to come out positive for tapeworms.
Even if a first test comes out negative, your dog may be infected, all the same, it’s just that the eggs are still hidden. It will be important to run several tests on several fresh samples in order to be sure whether your dog is infected or not.
As an alternative, you can use the ‘adhesive tape test’. Your veterinarian will put a piece of tape across your dog’s anus and remove it slowly and gently, then they can place the tape under a microscope and check for signs of eggs or other organisms.
Treatments for tapeworms
You may be thinking that once your dog has been diagnosed with tapeworms, it will be enough to do a deworming treatment and be done with it, but unfortunately, the situation could turn out more complicated than you think.
Most deworming products are great at removing segments of this parasite but may leave the heads intact. The heads of the tapeworms cling to the lining of your dog’s intestines and it’s where all new segments are born from.
If you don’t destroy the head, tapeworms infection will return over and over, which is why it will be important that your veterinarian correctly identifies the type of tapeworm and suggests the best treatment for your specific case.
A good tapeworm treatment will remove the adult worms from the gastrointestinal tract (heads included), eliminate all eggs and larvae, and also work as a prevention treatment to avoid future tapeworm infections.
Now that you know how disgusting and uncomfortable for your dog a tapeworm infection can be, you must do your best so that it doesn’t happen again.
- Make sure your dog’s environment is completely free from all fleas/ticks/lice.
- When they’re outside, keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t bite/eat wild animals like rodents, birds, or rats.
- If you can’t watch them when they’re outside, make sure they stay in a limited space that is completely safe and free from other animals.
- Don’t let them go through your garbage.
What dog poop can tell you about your pet’s health?
Stools can tell you a lot about the health status of your pet. Everything they eat and a lot of what happens inside their body will be noticeable in the stools.
Therefore (and this may be the most unpleasant advice ever) you should know and monitor your dog’s poop.
Stools come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and consistency, but if you know what your dog’s normal poop is like, it will be easy and quick to recognize when something’s wrong.
Even when your dog looks completely fine, check their poop closely every now and then to establish what your dog’s normal feces look like. Depending on their diet, the dog’s stools may change a lot.
For example, a dog that is mainly on a dry food diet will have very big stools with a strong smell. Sometimes, this is due to the fact that their body has not digested the nutrients properly, but it’s fairly normal.
On the other hand, a dog that is on a raw food diet has smaller feces with a weaker scent. Whenever you’re in doubt, you can ask your veterinarian what is the average appearance of the feces for a dog that is on your dog’s diet.
Very dark stools, tarry stools, or diarrhea are always a sign of trouble and should not be overlooked. Constipation is to be taken seriously as well because your dog may be dehydrated or have a gastrointestinal blockage.
Is my dog sick if I find white specks in the stools?
As we said before while finding white spots in your dog’s stools is not always a bad sign, it can be sometimes a symptom of gastrointestinal parasite infection, so it should not be overlooked.
If you can’t assess what the white specks in the feces are, the safest way is to bring a fresh sample to your veterinarian and let them analyze it.
Make sure you know exactly what your dog’s normal stools look like, so you can tell right away when something is out of the ordinary.
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