Picking up poop is an unpleasant task dog owners have to perform. While it might seem trivial, monitoring your dog’s stool is a vital part of being a responsible dog owner.
The poop’s color, frequency, and consistency often indicate the dog’s health. A healthy dog should defecate slightly brown poop that isn’t too hard or runny.
Orange dog poop might indicate a number of underlying medical problems, or it may just be a result of the pigment in a dog’s food .
Causes of Orange Dog Poop
Orange dog poop often indicates issues with the liver, bile duct, and gallbladder. In other situations, it might be because food passes quickly through the dog’s digestive system. Some dogs can also produce orange poop after consuming chicken or rice.
Liver diseases in dogs can either be chronic or acute.
Chronic liver problems occur gradually and might be due to underlying conditions like cancer. Acute liver issues appear suddenly.
Liver diseases affect the production of bile. Any changes in the release of bile will alter the dog’s poop color.
Causes of Liver Diseases
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Trauma to the liver (injuries, heatstroke, accidents)
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer)
- Ingestion of poisonous substances like toxic mushrooms and ragwort
- Endocrine diseases like diabetes
- Cysts that block the bile duct
- Liver shunt in pups
Some dog breeds are prone to congenital conditions which may affect their livers. Copper buildup in the liver isn’t uncommon in breeds like Golden retrievers, German shepherds, and Yorkshire Terriers.
- Increased thirst due to frequent peeing
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Jaundice (the skin, tongue, eyes, and gums turn orangish)
- Appetite and weight loss
- Behavioral change (irritability, depression, lethargy)
- Blood in urine or stool
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Discoloration of poop
In the latter stages of liver failure, dogs might develop neurological problems like disorientation.
Treatment of liver issues in dogs varies depending on the diagnosis. Before treatment, the vet will run several tests to identify the exact liver issue. Some of the tests include x-rays and ultrasound scans. The findings will influence the treatment modality.
Treatment options include:
- Chemotherapy or radiation in case of liver cancer
- Fluid therapy
- Antibiotics to fight the bacterial infection
- Surgery to get rid of tumors or cysts
- Medication to control inflammation and vomiting
- Diet changes
If your pooch’s poop is orange and displays the mentioned symptoms, they might be suffering from liver issues.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD is a condition where the dog’s gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed consistently. Inflammatory cells inhabit the intestinal tract and cause changes to the tract’s lining. This inflammation, in turn, affects the normal absorption of food.
Dogs suffering from IBD often excrete orange stool. Sometimes they eject normal poop, but orange mucus coats the poop.
Causes of IBD
It’s still unclear what causes IBD in dogs. No one knows whether it’s a disease or a response to underlying conditions. Suspected causes include:
- Food allergies (meat, milk proteins, artificial coloring, additives)
- Weak immune system
- Chronic vomiting and diarrhea
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Severe abdominal discomfort
- Discoloration of poop
- Loose stool
- Flatulence or a rumbly stomach
- Picky eating
- Heartburn and acid reflux
You won’t find an effective cure for dog IBD. Instead, the vet might recommend medication and diet changes to try to manage it. Here’s what the vet might suggest:
- Fiber supplements to improve fecal texture
- Probiotics (good gut bacteria)
- B12 injections
- Antibiotics to reduce inflammation
- Fecal microbiota transplant
- Food trials
Bile Duct Obstruction (Cholestasis)
Cholestasis is a condition in which the dog’s bile duct gets obstructed. Such obstructions will impede the flow of bile from the liver to the duodenum.
The primary functions of bile are to assist in digestion, fat absorption and to remove unwanted wastes. Bile is therefore responsible for changing the dog’s stool to the standard brown color.
In the absence of bile, the dog’s poop will discolorize. Dogs might be suffering from cholestasis if their stool is orange or covered in orange slime.
Two types of cholestasis infect dogs, intrahepatic and extrahepatic cholestasis. The former occurs when bile ceases to flow within the liver, while the latter refers to obstruction of bile flow outside the liver.
Causes of Intrahepatic Cholestasis
- Inflammation of the liver canaliculi
- Liver cell carcinoma
Causes of Extrahepatic Cholestasis
- Gallstone formation
- Duodenal cancer
- Pancreatic carcinomas
- Increased thirst (polydipsia)
- Discolored poop
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
Orange Pigment in Food
Orange stool in a dog might be a result of what the dog ingests. If dogs suddenly develop this problem after changing their diet, the new food or treat could be the primary culprit.
Food that contains artificial orange pigments will undoubtedly result in orange dog poop. The same happens if dogs consume foods rich in natural dyes.
Carotenoids are among the most prevalent natural food pigments. You’ll find these orange pigments in carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, beef liver, asparagus, collard greens, tomatoes, watermelon, broccoli, and squash. If dogs consume such food, expect them to produce orange poop.
Some brands infuse artificial orange colors into dog treats. A dog is likely to excrete orange stool if they heavily feast on such delicacies.
Dogs are sometimes curious and will ingest odd things, and consuming objects like orange chalks, crayons, and markers will tinge on the dog’s stool.
It isn’t advisable to let dogs ingest inedible objects, as these objects alter the dog’s poop color and might cause severe health complications like intestinal obstruction.
Dogs, like human beings, are susceptible to stomach upsets and indigestion problems. Bouts of watery, orange stool might indicate food intolerance in dogs.
In most cases, dogs will show signs of food intolerance when they change their diet. The new diet might harbor ingredients the dog’s system deems foreign. The dog might also be allergic to the latest ingredients.
Symptoms of Food Intolerance
- Severe stomach pain
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loose stool
- Skin irritation
- Mucus and blood in stool
Food intolerance might be a common theme if you fail to identify which ingredients are problematic to your pup.
Instead of guessing which ingredients are safe, head to the vet and request an allergy test. From the findings, you may be able to tell the problem-causing component.
Consuming Chicken and Rice
One common way of solving diarrhea in dogs is by feeding them rice and chicken. These two meals have binding properties that stabilize runny dog stool.
Despite their benefits, these foods alter the color of dog stool. Dogs might excrete orange poop after they consume chicken or rice. The color change might be a reaction to this new diet. It can also be due to parasitic infection from undercooked chicken.
The poop’s color change is only temporary. Dogs will excrete the normal, brown stool once the chicken and rice clear from their systems.
The 4Cs of Dog Poop
Although dogs don’t talk, their poop tells a lot about their overall health. Dog owners can diagnose their pets by just having a glance at their poop. During poop examination, you need to apply the 4Cs—consistency, coating, color, and content.
Average dog poop shouldn’t be too hard or soft. Stool consistency ranges from 1 to 5. One depicts a runny stool, while 5 indicates firm, cylindrical poop. The optimal consistency is at 5.
A dog’s poop shouldn’t have any coating. The presence of mucus or blood might indicate problems.
Anything other than brown poop warrants further investigation.
The presence of fur, worms, or other foreign material is usually an indication of issues.
When To Go To the Vet
Dogs will experience changes in the color, consistency, content, and coating of their poop at some stage in their life. You shouldn’t be worried if there is a temporary change in your dog’s stool or if you suddenly notice orange dog poop. Go to the vet if your dog regularly passes orange, runny, or very hard poop.