Have you been noticing white specks in your dog’s poop?
If so, you may be understandably concerned.
The truth is that there are many possible reasons for the presence of white specks in a dog’s stool, some more serious than others.
In this article, we will first explain the many potential causes for these white specks, and explain the steps you need to take to address each cause.
Why Are There White Specks in My Dog’s Poop?
If you notice white specks in your dog’s poop, it’s important that you take notice.
While there may be a very simple and harmless explanation for these specks, in some cases they can actually indicate a serious health problem that must be addressed head on.
One question that must be answered is this: Are the white specks stationary or are they moving?
While specks that do NOT move are usually not a cause for alarm, specks that ARE moving may be another matter altogether.
Here are just some of the reasons for white specks in your dog’s poop.
Stationary Specks—Specks that Are Not Moving
There are many possible reasons for non-moving white specks to appear in your dog’s poop.
Here are just a few of those reasons:
White specks in your dog’s poop may actually be the result of bones—bones that were chewed up, swallowed and then passed through the digestive system of your pet.
There are many reasons why bone fragments, which are not easily digestible, may be in your dog’s stool.
Here are just a few of those reasons:
- The bone you gave your dog splintered. If you regularly treat your dog to bones left over from the meals you prepare, you may want to think twice about this practice. Certain types of bones can splinter as your dog chews on them. These fragments can then be swallowed by your dog, thus forcing his digestive system to deal with aftermath. A dog’s digestive system cannot totally process these bones, which is why the remnants of said bones can then be witnessed in your dog’s feces. Even worse, bones that splinter may get stuck in your dog’s windpipe or esophagus, causing him to choke. Therefore, if you want to give your dog a bone to chew on, make sure it is a store-bought one that has been treated to prevent splintering.
- Your dog ate an animal. If your dog killed and ate a small animal, the bones of that animal can then show up in your dog’s poop. Dogs, especially outdoor dogs in rural areas, have a smorgasbord of animals to choose from, including birds, mice, rats and other rodents.
- Low-quality dog food. If the food you give your dog is of lower quality, there may actually be bone fragments in it—fragments that can wind up in your dog’s poop. To avoid this, you may want to upgrade to a higher-quality dog food. Try reading reviews online about the healthiest and most easily digestible brands of food for dogs of your particular breed.
Some yards boast plants and trees whose flowers and pollen are white in color.
Some of these materials are very, very small, and when the seasons begin to turn, they can litter your yard with white specks.
Dogs that regularly play and eat in these outdoor conditions may not be able to avoid ingesting some of this plant material.
As a result, some of these white-colored specks can begin showing up in their feces.
This is not a huge cause for concern, but if the sight bothers you, make sure to rake, mow and blow your dog’s yard frequently to prevent these white specks from becoming too prolific.
Small Food Particles
In some cases, the cause of white specks in your dog’s poop can be totally benign.
Such is the case when small particles of food dot the landscape.
While most traditional dog foods do not contain any food particles that would regularly cause these white dots, dogs that are permitted to eat table scraps may very well ingest these types of particles.
When some types of food are not totally digested by the dog’s digestive tract—foods like rice, grains and seeds—they can sometimes come out the back end either totally or partially intact.
As with the previous example, this is not cause for alarm.
Dead Worms (Parasites)
If your dog has been having problems with intestinal worms—hookworms, roundworms, whipworms or tapeworms—and your vet has prescribed a de-worming medication, you may begin to notice non-active white specks in your dog’s poop.
Anti-worm medications work to paralyze worms in the intestinal tract.
This paralysis, or death sentence, forces them to give up their grip on the intestinal walls where they feed on blood and partially digested food.
Once that grip is released, the dead parasites can then move through the digestive system, ultimately emerging in your dog’s waste.
In cases such as these, the presence of white specks can actually be good news—an indication that the de-wormer your dog is taking is doing its prescribed job.
Moving Specks in Your Dog’s Poop
While stationary or non-moving specks in your dog’s poop are usually not cause for alarm, specks that are moving are another story.
Moving white specks usually means that your dog has an active parasite outbreak in his digestive system.
Unfortunately, worms in dogs are very common.
They can be spread through soil, feces, fleas, mosquitos and even passed along to puppies by their mothers during the nursing process.
Thus, if you see white specks in your dog’s poop, it is very important that you inspect the stool very carefully.
Watch it for some time to see if the specks you are noticing are actually moving. If they are, it is probably time to take your dog to the vet to be examined.
So, what types of worms or parasites can show up in your dog’s poop in the form of moving white specks?
Here are just a couple of the potential culprits:
- Roundworms. Roundworms in dogs are usually the result of mother-to-puppy transmission. They are typically passed from mother to puppy either before birth or during the nursing process. Roundworms attach to the small intestines of dogs and feed on digested or partially digested food remnants. In great number, roundworms can begin to cause malnutrition in puppies and adult dogs, as they feed on nutrients that would otherwise be used by the dog.
- Hookworms. Hookworms also live in the small intestines of dogs and puppies. Their food source is the blood they get from attaching themselves to the walls of the intestine with the help of three sets of teeth. When hookworms are permitted to proliferate in your pet, they can cause anemia and all the problematic symptoms that go with that condition.
What to Do about the White Specks in Your Dog Poop
As you might imagine, the plan of action after noticing white specks in your dog’s poop will depend largely on a number of factors, particularly whether the specks are moving or not.
If the specks are stationary, they are probably caused by bone fragments, rice, grain, seeds, or white-colored plant materials.
In this case, only the bone fragments are a real cause for concern, because if your dog has access to these bones it may present a very real choking risk in the future.
Therefore, you should avoid giving dogs meat and poultry bones.
Instead, purchase a bone made of rawhide or other materials that have been treated to ensure no harmful fragments can be chewed loose and consumed.
If the white specks in your dog are moving, the culprit is almost certainly parasitic worms.
While almost all dogs will be infected with worms at some point in their life, a massive outbreak of these parasites can be detrimental to your dog’s health.
If you notice these moving white specks, you should first check your dog for other symptoms as well—symptoms that could indicate a serious worm infection.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Diarrhea. Very loose stool, coupled with white specks, is a sign that intestinal worms are harming the digestive process. Diarrhea is one of the classic symptoms of a parasitic infection. In addition to checking for moving white specks, inspect the stool for blood, usually in the form of bright red or purple dots in the poop. Diarrhea in dogs, just as with humans, could quickly lead to dehydration, so make sure your dog has ample access to water as a way to replenish his fluids.
- Fatigue. If your dog suddenly doesn’t have the energy he once had, intestinal worms could be to blame. Fatigue can be the result of dehydration and anemia—anemia caused by blood loss in the form of hookworms, whipworms and other parasites.
- Vomiting. Along with diarrhea, vomiting can be a hallmark of an intestinal worm infestation. Vomiting can also lead to dehydration, fatigue and other unwanted symptoms.
A worm infestation can also result in a potbelly-like appearance in your dog, especially in the advanced stages of the infestation.
This is especially true with roundworm infections.
Bottom line: If you notice white specks in your dog’s poop, your first task is to inspect the poop very carefully to see if the specks are moving or stationary.
If the latter is true, the cause of those specks is probably harmless.
However, if the white specks in your dog’s poop are moving—and if your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms outlined above—you should definitely take him to the veterinarian for examination.
Vets have a number of great medications at their disposal—meds that can rid your dog of the various types of parasites that may unknowingly enter their digestive tract.