White Specks in Dog Poop? What is it?
While talking about poop, especially dog poop, is not the most pleasant subject, it can be important. If you took your dog out to go potty and noticed some white flecks in their poop, you’re probably feeling a combination or worried and grossed out.
What are white specks in dog poop? Are they something you should be concerned about? Do they mean your dog is sick? Keep reading to discover the answer to all of these questions and help put your mind at ease about those white spots in your dog’s poop.
Why it is Important to Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Poop
While dog poop may just seem like the disgusting waste that your pup’s body gets rid of, it is actually much more than that. Your dog’s stools can actually provide you with a window into their overall health.
While poop can vary some, most dogs have their own ‘normal’ poop. The size, color, appearance, and consistency from the poop of one dog will likely be different from that of another dog, but when healthy, your dog’s poop should have a pretty consistent appearance.
If you’re familiar with how their normal poops look, then you’ll easily be able to tell when something is off. If all of a sudden the appearance changes, it can alert you to a potential problem. For example, if the stool is overly dark or loose or way too hard, it can indicate intestinal problems.
If you’re used to seeing a solid brown stool from your pooch, but one day notice white flecks in dog poop, you may feel concerned. Is this something to really worry about? In the next few sections, we’ll discuss what those white specks can be based on whether they are moving or not moving.
How to Tell What the White Specks in Dog Poop Are
The first step in determining what the white specks in your dog’s poop are, and whether they are something you should be concerned about, is to get a really close up look at them. This part isn’t going to be fun, but you’ll want to stand very close to the poop and watch it carefully for 20 to 30 seconds. Look for any signs of movement from the white flecks.
If you don’t notice any movement, you’ll want to use one other method to confirm that the white spots really aren’t moving. Grab a small stick or disposable knife and use it to move the poop around a bit. Stop pushing it periodically, and look closely again to see if you notice anything moving.
We’ll go into more detail below, but in most cases if the white spots are not moving, there typically isn’t anything to be concerned about. Moving white specks in puppy poop or adult dog poop, on the other hand, can indicate a more serious problem. If the specks are moving, you should schedule an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian.
If the White Specks in Dog Poop Are Not Moving
When you notice white specks in dog poop not moving, they could be undigested food, traces of bones, medicine capsules, or plastic shavings from various objects or toys around the house. We’ll explore each of these possibilities in the next few sections to help you learn more and determine if one of them is the cause for your dog’s mysterious poop.
Undigested Rice or Grains
If you notice that there are white specks in dog poop after eating rice, they could actually be rice. If you fed your dog chicken and rice recently, they may not have fully digested all the rice. Some foods are more difficult for dogs to fully digest than they are for humans, including rice and other grains.
If the white spots you’re seeing are indeed undigested rice or other grains, then there is probably nothing to really worry about.
Undigested Nuts or Seeds
Just as a dog’s digestive system can have trouble fully digesting rice and grains, seeds and nuts are also more difficult for them to digest. If you notice something that looks like white seeds in dog poop, they may be undigested pieces of almonds, sesame seeds, or corn.
Since these ingredients aren’t typically in dog food, it could mean that your dog has been getting into some things that they shouldn’t be. For the most part, undigested seeds or nuts in your dog’s stool aren’t concerning. However, if your pup has been getting into the pantry or trash can or finding food in other areas, that could be a concern. There are many foods that are not safe for dogs to eat, so you’ll want to make sure that everything is safely out of your dog’s reach.
Traces of Bone
Tiny white specks in dog poop can also be traces of bones from your dog’s food. If this sounds concerning or worrisome to you, it isn’t really a health concern. Even if you’re feeding your dog a really high quality dog food, if one of the ingredients is meat, there could be tiny pieces of bone that make their way into the food. These small pieces of bone won’t be digested by your dog, so they’ll pass through their system and come out with their poop.
If you don’t like the idea of your dog ingesting any pieces of bones, even tiny traces, you could consider an alternative plant-based or vegan diet for them. However, keep in mind that many experts don’t think a vegan diet is appropriate for dogs. Dogs require a large amount of protein, and meeting this need will be very difficult on a vegan diet. You should definitely consult with your veterinarian if you’re considering switching your dog to a vegan diet.
Does your dog take any oral medications? If so, the tiny white flecks you’re seeing in their poop could be pieces of the pills’ casings. A dog’s stomach doesn’t always fully break these casings down. The undigested pieces will come out with the poop.
Plastic Shavings from Chewing on Toys or Other Objects
In some cases, if you see dog poop with white spots, your dog’s toys could be the culprit. When dogs bite and gnaw on some chew toys, particularly synthetic toy bones, tiny pieces of plastic may come off. Since these pieces will be on the dog’s teeth or somewhere else in their mouth, it is likely that they will be swallowed. If this happens, the dog’s digestive system won’t be able to digest the plastic pieces, so they’ll be expelled from the body with the poop.
Chewedr off pieces from othIf your dog tends to chew on other plastic items around the house, they may also be to blame for the white spots you see. If chewing scrapes any of the plastic off from the items, then those plastic pieces can come out with their poop.
If the White Specks in Dog Poop Are Moving
Now we know the main things that can cause non-moving white spots in a dog’s poop. Let’s move on to covering some of the things that could result in poop with white spots that are moving. Fly eggs and worms are the two main possibilities; we’ll look into each of these in more detail below.
Did you notice white balls in dog poop that wasn’t freshly dropped by your pup? If you have a fenced backyard and let your dog out on their own and go out later to clean up, the white spots could be fly larvae. Flies sometimes lay their eggs on dog poop.
Seeing fly eggs on your dog’s poop is pretty gross. However, the good news is that it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with your dog. Although, having fly eggs or fly larvae right outside (or inside) your home isn’t very good either.
To avoid this problem in the future, try to go out with your dog when they poop. This way you can pick up the poop right away before flies have a chance to lay eggs on it.
Finally, if you see moving white spots in your dog’s feces, it could also be worms. Out of all the possibilities we’ve shared, this is the one you really don’t want. Worms are one type of parasites that can live within a dog’s body. They take some of the dog’s resources to live, which can cause a variety of problems. Some of the other signs of worms that you can be on the lookout for include diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy, weight loss, appetite changes, dry coat, vomiting, and an overall poor appearance.
If you suspect that your dog has worms, you’ll want to bring them into the vet right away. Their vet will take a stool sample and examine it to identify which type of worm your dog has. Then, they’ll prescribe a dewormer that targets that specific worm species.
Types of Worms in Dogs and Their Symptoms
Like we mentioned above, bringing your dog to the vet if you suspect they have worms is important. Your vet will diagnose the type of worm they have using a stool sample. We’ll share a little more about some of the more common types of worms and some of the symptoms that come with each type. This can help you be more prepared for your vet visit.
Even if you think you know what type of worm your dog has, you should still bring them to the vet. Many of the dewormers are only effective against specific species, so if you guess wrong, the treatment you give your dog may not do anything.
If your dog is infected with tapeworms, you may not even know. For the most part, tapeworms don’t cause any noticeable symptoms in dogs. Some dogs may try to scoot their butt across the floor when they have tapeworms. This is due to the irritation that passing the tapeworm segments in their stool can cause.
You may be able to see these tapeworm segments in your dog’s poop. Tapeworms grow in a dog’s intestines. As they get larger, they shed their proglottids, or body segments. These segments are very small (comparable to a grain of rice). They also hold tapeworm eggs, which get released as the proglottids make their way out of your dog’s body in the poop.
Roundworms may also show up in your dog’s poop. This type of worm will look white to light brown in your dog’s poop. They will likely look like small pieces of spaghetti.
If your dog has roundworms, you’ll likely see other symptoms of it. Some common symptoms of roundworm include irregular stools, vomiting, and pain around the abdomen. Your dog’s overall appearance may also change. Rather than looking happy and healthy, he may look weaker or like he’s lost some weight.
You may be able to spot hookworms in your dog’s poop, but it isn’t all that likely due to their smaller size. Often, it will be necessary for your vet to test your dog’s stool sample to diagnose hookworms.
Hookworms can be very serious. And, while you may not see the evidence of them in your dog’s poop, your dog will most likely be displaying other symptoms. These can include bloody stools, abdominal pain, weight loss, a dry or dull coat, and coughing.
Hookworms can be found on the intestine’s lining. They feed off of a dog’s blood by injecting substances into the dog’s tissue that make the blood thinner. If this sounds serious, it certainly can be. Dogs with hookworms can lose too much blood since their blood doesn’t clot like it is supposed to. Anemia or pale gums in a dog can indicate that they have hookworms.
Whipworms will not be visible in a dog’s stool. However, they are very dangerous and can cause a lot of problems for your pup. Some of the symptoms of a whipworm infestation include weight loss, vomiting, and excessive gas.
Whipworms are very small, only about ¼ of an inch. They can be found in a dog’s large intestines, hanging along the intestinal wall. Whipworms can make a dog very uncomfortable and should be treated right away. The longer it takes for a dog to get treatment, the more whipworms there will be. This will not only cause more pain and discomfort for your dog, but it can also lead to other diseases and problems.
Heartworms are another type of worm that you won’t see evidence of in your dog’s poop. Just because you won’t be able to see these worms, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t a serious concern. In fact, if left untreated for long enough, heartworms can be life-threatening for a dog.
Heartworms, which are typically caused by mosquitoes, can impact a dog’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. They can survive in dogs for up to 7 years, and the symptoms your dog feels will progressively worsen over the time they have heartworms.
Heartworms may first present as a very mild cough. As the symptoms progress, you may notice that your dog is getting tired out more easily than they used to.
Later, the cough will worsen and become much more regular. Your dog may be visibly having trouble breathing as well. If the heartworms still go untreated, the disease will become even more serious. Since the female heartworms will be laying new eggs and new worms will be hatching, they can eventually build up so much that they prevent the dog’s blood from properly flowing back to their heart. Known as caval syndrome, this clearly is very serious and life-threatening.
Surgery can be performed to remove the heartworms when it gets to this stage. However, there are a lot of risks to the surgery. Plus, many dogs still end up dying from caval syndrome.
The key to treating heartworms is acting quickly. Bring your dog to the vet as soon as they start showing any signs, such as coughing, getting tired out more quickly, or having trouble breathing. If your dog isn’t already on a monthly heartworm preventative, you should talk with your vet about starting one right away.
Should I Bring My Dog to the Vet for White Specks in Their Poop?
As we shared above, if the specks in the poop aren’t moving, it is likely nothing to be worried about. Not moving white specks in dog poop are likely just traces of bone, undigested food, or medication capsules. If the specks aren’t moving, you should continue to observe your dog’s poop over the next several days to make sure nothing changes and that you don’t begin to notice motion.
If the white things in dog poop do move, then you will want to bring your dog into the vet. Moving white spots in poop are often worms, which will require treatment from the vet.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to bring your dog in, err on the side of caution. Reach out to your vet’s office and see if they think you should bring in your dog. Some may also request that you bring in a stool sample. They can test the sample to make sure it is free of worms.
Little White Specks in Dog Poop – Closing Words
In many cases, those little white specks you see in your dog’s poop are harmless. However, if the specks are moving, it can be an indication that your dog has worms. In this case, you’ll want to get them into the vet as quickly as possible to begin treatment.
If you see white spots in dog poop that are not moving, they could be tiny remains of bone from your dog’s food, undigested rice, grains, nuts, seeds, or other foods, medication capsules, or plastic shavings from toys. If the white spots are moving, they could be worms or possibly fly eggs.
Parasite eggs will be very tiny and hard to see in dog poop. If you are able to see them, they will look like very tiny white seeds or specks.
In many cases, parasites in dog poop will look like white grains of rice or tiny spots. When you stare at the poop closely, the white spots may move around.
If you notice white flecks in your stool, they could be undigested food, a sign of malabsorption, pieces of medication capsules, parasites, or signs of a fungal infection. If you are concerned about white specks in your stool, you should reach out to your physician.