Whether you like it or not, as a dog parent, you’re probably all too familiar with your beloved pooch’s poop, from all the picking up you’re doing.
Luckily though, all that familiarity pays off, because your dog’s poop can be an excellent indicator of your fluffball’s health.
However, as you go about your poop-picking duties, you may have noticed that your dog, along with last night’s kibble, is pooping quite a bit of mucus.
Is this a cause for worry or did your doggo just get into the jelly meant for tonight’s dessert? Read on to find out!
First things first—mucus in your dog’s stool is completely normal (we’ll get into the abnormal situations a little bit later).
The mucus that you’re seeing in your dog’s poop is actually repurposed dead skin cells that make the process of pooping much smoother (pun totally intended).
This jelly-like substance, produced in the lower part of the intestinal glands, goes a long way in preventing constipation and straining in your pet’s bowel movements.
What you see in the poop, 90% of the time, is a little bit of leftover slime that’s made its way from the colon into the stool.
In fact, 90% of the time, you won’t even notice the mucus in your dog’s poop, unless you’re deeply investigating your pooch’s poop (responsible dog parent—we get it!).
Mucus can be of different types, each an indicator of your dog’s health.
Here’s a low-down on the different types of mucus that can be present in your dog’s feces:
- Colorless Mucus: This is the clear, sticky jelly-like thing we just talked about. It could cover all or part of the feces and even be in the feces itself.
- White Mucus: White mucus is also extremely common in dog poop and is generally harmless unless you’re mistaking intestinal worms for mucus!
- Green Mucus: This could either be due to colored food or bacterial infection and may warrant a visit to the vet.
- Black Mucus: Black, tarry mucus is a sign of bleeding in the upper intestine or stomach. In such a case, visit the vet immediately.
- Red Mucus: Well, this isn’t mucus so much as it is blood. Fresh or clotted blood in the feces is a sign of lower intestinal bleeding, burst blood vessels, and inflammation, and needs medical attention.
- Gray Mucus: Gray mucus is a sign of excessive fat levels in the blood.
You have cause to worry if the mucus present in your dog’s poop is any of the harmful colors mentioned earlier.
Even if the mucus is colorless, it can be a cause for worry if it occurs too often, in exorbitant amounts, and smells different than usual. Some vets recommend immediate medical attention even for excessive amounts of mucus in a single instance.
Ultimately, any change in your dog’s poop and mucus composition (volume, smell, or color) could signal a problem that’s developing or already at hand, and warrants attention and monitoring, especially if accompanied by any of the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- The expulsion of mucus alone
- Loss of both appetite and thirst
Remember, old and very young dogs need special attention in such cases, as do dogs with pre-existing health conditions—health conditions can decline very quickly in these groups.
There can be many causes behind the mucus in your dog’s stool—some completely natural while others can be a bit more worrisome.
One of the most common and simple causes behind the jelly in your dog’s poop is a sudden dietary change.
This could stem from something as simple as you forgetting to restock your dog’s usual kibble or feeding them even one single meal that’s different from the usual menu or deciding to change their diet.
Of course, it could totally also happen when your dog sneakily wolfs down that bit of leftover steak from the neighbor’s trash, that one time you looked away for all of one second.
However, jelly mucus in your dog’s poop can also be caused by more complex reasons such as food allergies/intolerances or ingesting something toxic.
At the end of the day, unusual foods can disrupt your dog’s gastrointestinal processes and lead to excessive mucus production (all the excess mucus is produced so that the problematic bit of food is expelled faster).
Generally, cases are mild and can be treated efficiently with the right care, which usually involves returning to the old diet or transitioning slowly to the new diet, or simply just waiting for the food to digest.
Serious cases, characterized by severe diarrhea and vomiting, require a bit more intensive care.
The No.1 universal causer of health issues—and it doesn’t leave our beloved furballs alone, either.
Stress causes the intestine to inflame and push its contents out at a faster rate (commonly known as colitis), at the cost of the food being processed properly.
For the bacteria in the gut, it’s party time, as the improperly processed food means that they have more nutrients to feast on than usual.
For your dog, this means diarrhea and mucus-filled poop.
Identify whether your dog is stressed—it could be a one-time event because of a thunderstorm or fireworks, for example, or it could be a sign of constant anxiety and stress, caused by factors such as separation anxiety or other nervous behavior.
Bacterial infections in the large intestine, commonly caused by our infamous friends E.Coli and Salmonella, cause sensitivity in the area, which leads to the production of more mucus than usual.
Bacterial infections are more prevalent among dogs that are fed a raw diet; however, your dog could just as easily pick this up by interacting with other infected dogs (all it takes is the sniffing of a common surface).
A loss in appetite and vomiting, along with the mucus in the poop, are signs of bacterial infection and can be treated quickly with the right medical care.
Parasitic infection, on the other hand, is a tougher nut to crack.
Parasites such as roundworms and whipworms are especially common in young dogs and rescued dogs. Resistant to the usual deworming medicines, they can be slightly tougher to treat than bacterial infections.
Such infections can also cause diarrhea and mucus-covered poop.
Irritable bowel disease (IBD) is caused by irritation or inflammation in the colon or large intestine and afflicts dogs just as much as humans.
IBD can be caused by a range of underlying factors, such as infections, stress, or a change in diet.
When mucus in the poop is accompanied by vomiting, weight loss, lethargy, and diarrhea, you can be sure that it’s IBD that you’re dealing with.
However, while IBD is painful and frustrating, it is treatable. A vet-recommended diet is generally the solution to all pet IBD problems.
Also Read: Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea at Night?
Mucus in your dog’s poop could indicate a host of serious conditions, ranging from parvovirus to cancer.
Puppies are the hardest hit by parvovirus, as at their age, they haven’t yet had the chance to complete their full range of vaccinations. Diarrhea, lethargy, and vomiting accompany jelly-like mucus in the poop.
Unfortunately, putting down a parvo patient is the only humane thing left to do.
A blood-borne disease, leishmania symptoms include lethargy, nosebleeds, weight loss, and skin problems, along with mucus in the feces.
Thick globs of blood in a jelly-like form appear in your dog’s feces in this condition, which is also known as Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome (AHDS). This could be accompanied by abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue.
HGE is more common among small dogs and could be life-threatening.
The bad news is that vets don’t yet know what causes HGE. The good news, though, is that immediate medical attention could lead to a full recovery.
Apart from these, jelly mucus in your dog’s feces could also be a sign of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract or granulomatous colitis (common in Boxers).
Also Read: How Often Do Puppies Poop?
As it turns out, jelly mucus in your dog’s poop is completely normal, till such a point where it becomes excessive, smelly, and colored.
In such cases, visit your vet immediately!
Depending on the underlying cause, treatment for the condition will vary, with some of the aforementioned conditions also requiring long-term treatment and more than one visit to the vet.
However, if the amount of mucus isn’t too much and your dog is displaying no other symptoms mentioned earlier, a bit of rest, additional probiotics and fiber, and a bland diet of homemade food (boiled white meat, white rice, and so on) till the condition passes (usually in a couple of days or a week, at most) will do the trick.
It bears repeating—for puppies, old dogs, and dogs with pre-existing conditions, even the slightest bit of abnormality in mucus requires immediate medical attention.
Additionally, if mucoid poops recur, medical attention is a must, even if your dog is completely normal between two instances—such a case could indicate a continuing problem in the gut.