Black Dog Poop: Causes & Treatments

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If you own a dog, you probably see them as a member of your family, and it can certainly be nerve-wracking if something is wrong with them. For example, you might notice that your dog’s poop is black. Black dog poop might not seem like that big of a deal, but it can actually indicate that something is seriously wrong with your pup.

So, why is my dog’s poop black? There are a variety of reasons why you may be dealing with black stool in dogs, and it is important to take the right steps so you can determine the proper treatment for your dog and make sure it’s nothing serious.

If you have any questions about dark dog poop, take a look at a few important points below, and do not forget to reach out to a veterinary professional who can help you. 

Black dog poop can be a sign of a serious health issue so it shouldn’t be overlooked

Black Dog Poop Should Not Be Overlooked

Black dog poop can be a sign of a serious health issue in your dog, so it’s definitely not something that should be overlooked. You can actually learn a lot from your dog's health by taking a look at his or her stool. 

For example, by taking a look at the consistency of your dog's poop, you can figure out how they are doing internally. Like if you notice that your dog's poop is continuously dry, then there is a chance you could be dealing with dog dehydration. On the other hand, if you feel like the stool looks a bit runny, then you might be dealing with dog diarrhea.

All of these are potential health issues, and if you notice your dog’s poop is black, then you might be dealing with a serious issue. It is critical to understand what healthy dog poop looks like so that you can quickly identify when there might be something wrong with your dog’s health. Healthy dog poop is typically brown and firm.

This problem might be even more serious if you see dark stool in conjunction with several other health issues. A few examples include:

  • Vomiting: If you notice dog vomit in addition to hard, black stool, it could be a sign of a serious digestive issue. This is something that needs to be addressed by a trained veterinary professional.
  • Diarrhea: If you notice that your dog has diarrhea that is dark and black, it could be a sign of several potential issues. For example, your dog may have ingested something toxic, your dog might have an infection, or there might even be internal bleeding.
  • Inability to eat or drink water in 24 hours: If your dog has black stool combined with an inability to eat or drink anything, this could also be a sign of a serious digestive issue. In this case, it is important to seek help from a veterinary expert.

Potential causes of black dog poop

Black Dog Poop Causes

So what are the potential causes of black dog poop? By identifying the appropriate cause of your dog’s poop, it is possible to find the right treatment. There are several possible reasons why your dog's poop might be black, such as: 

  • Digestive problems: There is a chance that your dog's poop might be black because of digestive issues. For example, your dog might be suffering from dog constipation. Or, your dog may have developed some diarrhea. This is why it is important for you to pay attention to the consistency of the poop in addition to the color. 
  • Dehydration: There is also a chance that your dog might be a bit dehydrated. If your dog is dehydrated, the poop might not have as much moisture, which can impact the consistency. Even though dehydration can lead to dog constipation, it can also lead to black poop. Make sure that your dog is drinking enough water throughout the course of the day to prevent this.
  • Internal stomach bleeding: The biggest concern associated with black dog stool is that your dog might have internal bleeding. Internal bleeding is a serious issue, and dark dog poop could indicate that there is digested blood coming from somewhere else in the GI tract. That blood could be coming from the esophagus, the stomach, or anywhere in the intestines. If you feel like the poop is not only black, but also sticky, that is a sign that you need to take your dog to the veterinarian right away. Internal bleeding is a serious issue, and it is something that has to be addressed immediately. There are plenty of reasons why your dog might have internal bleeding, ranging from foreign bodies to medication side effects. Your dog may also develop internal bleeding due to trauma, such as falling down the stairs or being hit by a car. 
  • Parasites: If your dog’s poop is black, there is a chance that they may be suffering from a parasitic infection. Parasites are not unusual, and they can cause your dog's poop to turn black. Parasites can also be stealing important nutrients from your dog, so it is important to bring them to the vet so they can get properly evaluated. 
  • A toxin ingestion: It is also important to be aware that if your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, this could cause their poop to turn black. A toxin ingestion could lead to black feces, and you should contact a vet immediately if you suspect toxin ingestion. 
  • Activated charcoal: If your dog is being treated for a different health condition, the medication could also cause their poop to turn black. For example, activated charcoal can be used to treat pancreatitis, and that could cause your dog’s poop to turn black. 

Remember that you also need to pay attention to how often your dog is eating. If your dog goes more than 24 hours without eating or drinking, this could also cause his or her poop to turn black. You should reach out to a veterinarian for help if you notice that your dog's poop is changing color. 

Black Dog Poop Treatment

So, if your dog's poop is turning black, what do you need to do? The specific treatment is going to depend on the reason why your dog's poop is black, which is why it’s important to reach out to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner the veterinarian determines the appropriate treatment, the faster your dog will recover.

There are several important tests that the veterinarian may decide to run, depending on your dog’s health history and their physical exam. Some of the tests that your veterinarian might want to perform include:

  • CBC (Complete Blood Count): Your veterinarian may decide to run a CBC. A CBC is important because they can detect the presence of an infection. Your veterinarian may also decide to run a CBC to see if red blood cells are being destroyed, which could be a cause of the change in stool color.
  • Urine Tests: The veterinarian might also decide to run a urine test. A urine test is important for figuring out if your dog is dehydrated. The veterinarian may also decide to run a urine test to see if your dog has a metabolic issue.
  • Chemistry panel: Your veterinarian may also decide to run tests to take a look at your dog’s organ function by running a chemistry panel. For example, they may look at your dog's pancreas to make sure it is functioning appropriately. A chemistry panel can also be used to make sure there are not any liver problems.

The ultimate course of treatment will depend on the cause of your dog’s black poop

These are just a few of the many tests that your veterinarian may decide to run. The ultimate course of treatment will depend on the cause of your dog’s black poop. For example, your veterinarian may decide to prescribe antibiotics if he or she detects an infection in your dog’s blood. Or, if the tests show that your dog’s liver or pancreas are struggling, then the veterinarian may decide to intervene with a different treatment. It is important for you to ask any questions you might have. That way, you understand exactly what has to happen for your dog to get better.

Make Sure To Check Your Dog’s Poop Regularly

There are a lot of potential reasons why your dog has black stool. Even though it is concerning to notice that your dog's poop is changing color, this is not something that you need to handle on your own. By reaching out to a veterinarian, you can make sure that your dog has a comprehensive evaluation that can put him or her in the best position possible to recover.

The sooner your dog is properly diagnosed, the faster he or she will recover, so you need to take a look at your dog's poop regularly. As you pick up your dog’s poop, take a second to look for abnormalities or changes. For example, if you notice that your dog's poop is turning black, this is something that you need to keep an eye on. If you notice that the consistency is changing, this might be something you need to bring up with the veterinarian. You need to take note of any changes, write them down, and possibly take a picture if you want to get more information from a veterinarian.

Do not forget that you also need to pay attention to possible diarrhea or constipation. If you feel like the poop is runny, this is something that needs to be addressed. Or, if you feel like your dog is dehydrated, which can lead to dry poop, this is something that you need to think about as well. 

Finally, remember that this is not something that you need to handle on your own. You can always reach out to a veterinarian for more information if you feel like your dog is developing potential health problems. 

Graphic: A dog pooping on the grass

Final Notes

As a pet owner, it’s crucial to have a veterinarian on hand who you trust and who can answer any pet health questions you may have. If you are in need of a veterinarian who can meet with you as quickly as possible, check out Dutch. 

Dutch is an online pet telehealth service that connects pet owners with licensed veterinarians from the comfort of their home. Dutch partners with a network of licensed vets who can help with everything from recommending home remedies for dog constipation to prescribing medication for black dog poop. With Dutch, you can get your dog diagnosed and treated, and even get medication delivered directly to your door. With experienced, compassionate professionals, Dutch will help you get necessary information you need to nurse your dog back to health in no time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $15/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.