Dog Knowledge

Why Is My Dog’s Poop Orange? Should I Be Worried?

why is my dog's poop orange?

Written By: Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva, VMD, cVMA | Professional Services Veterinarian, Wild Earth

As dog owners, we are all too familiar with our dog’s poop, and will often worry if we notice a change. For example, has your dog’s poop ever been orange? If so, what does this mean?

Orange dog poop can be a sign your dog needs veterinary care, or it could just mean that your dog may have eaten too much pumpkin. Let’s go through the potential causes of orange dog poop, and how to address them. 

Your Dog Recently Ate Something Orange

If you recently fed your dog an orange food like carrots or pumpkin, it’s the most likely reason your dog has orange poop. Like humans, whatever a dog eats will impact the shape, consistency, and color of their feces. Orange foods are filled with carotenoids, which give them their orange color, and these can also impact your dog’s poop color.

Other items can also cause your dog’s poop to change color. For example, if your dog got into a box of crayons, this could change the color of their poop. Although eating crayons isn’t ideal, they don’t pose a significant health risk to your pooch.

Intestinal Inflammation

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is caused by chronic irritation of the intestines, which causes inflammatory cells to invade the intestinal lining. This inflammation interferes with digestion and absorption of nutrients, and in some cases, dogs with IBD can have orange poop.

Causes

While the exact cause of IBD in dogs is not typically identified, possible causes include: 

  • Parasitic infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Reaction to a specific protein in the diet 

Symptoms

  • Chronic vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite or increased appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in stool color

Treatment

Sadly, there is no cure for IBD, but symptoms can often be managed with medications and a food change. If you suspect your pet has IBD, consult with your veterinarian immediately. 

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Gallbladder Obstruction 

The gallbladder is a small sac located near the liver. It provides the body with bile, which helps break down fats and aids in digestion in the intestine. It sends bile through a tube called a “duct.” When this duct gets obstructed, it can cause serious issues. 

Bile duct obstructions cause a reduction in bile. Without bile, your dog’s poop will change color, which may include orange. Some cases of obstructed bile ducts are caused by a mucus buildup, swelling of other organs, or diseases like gallstones. 

Causes

Bile duct obstructions can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Gallbladder mucocele or gallstones
  • Parasites 
  • Trauma
  • Liver scarring or swelling
  • Cancer
  • Pancreatitis

Symptoms

  • Change in poop color
  • Increased thirst
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Fever and lethargy
  • Diarrhea

Treatment

Treatment for bile duct obstruction is highly variable, as it depends on the underlying cause and severity.

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Liver Disease

The liver plays a central role in the body, including a role in digestion, therefore if your dog’s liver isn’t functioning properly, the consistency and color of their feces can change.

Causes

Liver disease has various causes, some of which include:

  • Infections
  • Trauma 
  • Cancer
  • Poisoning
  • Endocrine diseases
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Cysts

Symptoms

  • Increased urination and thirst
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody urine or poop
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in poop color

Treatment

The treatment your pup needs will depend on what type of liver disease is causing their problems.

Final Thoughts On Orange Dog Poop

Orange dog poop can be a sign of something serious. The only time it’s not serious is if you recently fed your dog something orange, such as carrots or pumpkin. In any other case, it’s best to take your dog to the vet if you notice orange dog poop.

Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva, VMD, cVMA

Dr. Tiffany Ruiz Dasilva is the Professional Services Veterinarian here at Wild Earth. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Brown University, and attended veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in general practice, on telehealth platforms, and in animal rehabilitation. She has worked tirelessly to gain expertise in the field of canine nutrition through numerous certifications and coursework, and plans to pursue her Masters in Animal Nutrition.

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