why is my dog's poop orange?

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

Unfortunately, we dog owners are all too familiar with dog poop. Every time we go out for a stroll with our dogs, they leave a pile of poop that we have to deal with. But what happens if you notice something odd, like orange dog poop?

Orange dog poop can be a sign your dog needs veterinary care, but it could also be the case that your dog just ate something that upset its stomach. Let’s go through the potential causes of orange dog poop and how to best resolve any issues. 

Why Is My Dog’s Poop Orange?

There are many potential reasons for your dogs poop to be orange or a shade of red. Some reasons could mean that your dog is struggling with a health condition but there are also potential causes that aren’t as alarming. Below are a few of the most common reasons that your dog’s poop is orange.

Your Dog Recently Ate Something Orange

If you recently fed your dog something orange 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 its excrement. Orange foods are filled with carotenoids, which give them an orange color that impacts your dog’s poop color.

Other items will also cause your dog’s poop to change color. For example, if your dog got into a box of crayons or ate a candle, it could change the color of its poop. Although eating these items isn’t ideal, they don’t pose a significant health risk to your pooch. 

Dealing with orange poop caused by a dietary change or naughty eating habits is an easy fix. Stop feeding the orange foods to your dog and wait for their normal poop color to return. 

Intestinal Inflammation

Intestinal inflammation, often called inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), is an uncomfortable condition for anyone, dogs included. IBS in dogs is caused by chronic irritation of the intestines. The chronic irritation causes the intestine to swell with inflammatory cells. 

In some cases, dogs that have IBS will have orange poop. Although orange poop may be alarming, the most pressing concern you should have is ensuring your dog isn’t in pain. 

Causes

Researchers don’t have a good understanding of the causes of IBS in dogs. As of now, many think the cause is either:

  • Parasitic infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Allergies
  • Reaction to diet or changes in diet

Symptoms

  • Chronic vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in stool color
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence 

Treatment

Sadly, there isn’t a set-in-stone method for treating IBS in dogs. Vets will often recommend diet changes or medication if the problem doesn’t resolve with a diet change. Aside from diet changes, vets will often recommend treatments like:

  • Fiber supplements
  • Antibiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin injections

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

Gallbladder obstructions can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Fibrotic scarring 
  • Liver scarring
  • Liver swelling
  • Cancer, especially pancreatic, liver, or colon cancer
  • Pancreatitis 

Symptoms

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

Treatment

Gallbladder obstructions almost always require surgery to repair. In some cases, gallbladder removal is necessary to regain a good quality of life. If the problem is due to cancer, they will need chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. 

Liver Disease

The liver is essential for a functioning digestive system. If your dog has some sort of liver disease, it can change the consistency and color of its excrement. There are generally two types of liver disease—acute and chronic. 

Chronic liver disease develops over time. You may not notice your dog is unwell for a while. Chronic liver conditions have underlying causes, such as cancer or hepatitis. Symptoms can take weeks or even months to develop.

Acute liver diseases come on suddenly, usually within a few days to a week. They are often caused by viral infections or by eating medications or other substances, such as acetaminophen or some types of mushrooms. Large amounts of some medications are poisonous to dogs and humans.

Causes

Liver disease has various causes, including:

  • Infections
  • Liver scarring caused by trauma
  • Cancer
  • Eating poisonous substances
  • Diabetes or other hormonal diseases
  • 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. For example, cancer treatments will be wildly different from the treatment for poison ingestion. Some common treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy for cancer
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Surgery to remove tumors or cysts
  • Medication to control symptoms
  • Fluid injections and diet changes

Helping Your Dog With An Upset Stomach 

Many people have heard that feeding your dog chicken and rice is a good way to help an upset stomach. And that’s right—cooked chicken and rice can help relieve discomfort due to normal stomach bugs or discomfort. But it does come with an unintended side effect. 

Sometimes, chicken and rice will cause your dog’s poop to turn orange. Most people feed their dogs chicken and rice when they have an upset stomach or diarrhea. These problems can cause food to move too quickly through its digestive system.

When food moves quickly through the digestive system, it doesn’t mix with bile. When there’s no mixture of bile in their food, it can make your dog’s poop orange. But don’t worry! Once their stomach issues resolve and you stop feeding your dog chicken and rice, their poop will return to a normal color.

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.