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Why is My Dog’s Poop Dry and Powdery? 9 Possible Reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

hungarian vizsla dog poops in the green park

Dogs are mammals and as such, they go through the same bodily functions that humans do. One of these functions is the production and elimination of feces. Normally, dog feces are composed of fresh bacteria, moisture, and fecal matter. We are used to dogs’ poop being wet and smelly. However, sometimes this mixture can become dry and powdery.

Dry, powdery dog poop is usually a sign that something has gone quite wrong with your dog’s digestion. There are a few reasons for this puzzling phenomenon. Read on to find out why sometimes dog poop can become drier than normal, what this can mean for the health of your dog, and what you need to do to treat the problem.Divider 2

The 9 Reasons Why Your Dog’s Poop is Dry and Powdery

1. Dehydration

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Dehydration in dogs is a condition that results when the body doesn’t have enough water to function properly. Dogs may become dehydrated for a variety of reasons, including illness, excessive urination, excessive exercise, vomiting, or exposure to heat or sunlight. One common sign of dehydration is dry, powdery feces. Other symptoms of dehydration in dogs include a lack of energy, lethargy, dry mouth and tongue, and sunken eyes.

Constipation occurs when the dog’s body is unable to supply enough moisture to keep the feces from becoming hard and crusty. Severe or ongoing dehydration can also lead to other, more serious health problems, such as kidney failure. If your dog has dry, powdery poops, make sure they are drinking enough water!

2. Your Dog Needs More Fiber

Constipation in dogs is typically caused by a lack of fiber in the diet and that results in your dog’s bowels not moving regularly. Feces that remain in the colon for a long time become drier, harder, and harder to pass. Dry powdery poop is often a sign that the dog is constipated. If your dog is constipated, you may need to add more fiber to their diet or give them a laxative to help them get relief.

Treatment for constipation depends on the underlying cause. Speak to your veterinarian before adding supplementary fiber—if your dog’s dry powdery poops are caused by something else, additional fiber may end up making the problem worse.

3. Your Dog Ate Something They Shouldn’t Have

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Image credit: Fran__, Pixabay

Blockages in the intestines are another common cause of dry powdery poops in dogs. Bowel obstruction in dogs is a blockage in the intestines that prevents the passage of food and feces. In many cases, obstruction is caused by a dog’s inability to pass poorly digestible, often firm matter such as garbage, hair, or bones mixed with feces. Dogs with bowel obstruction will often show symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and lack of appetite. The feces may also become dry and powdery.

If left untreated, a bowel obstruction can lead to serious health complications. Treatment for bowel obstruction depends on the cause of the obstruction but may include surgery, medications, or dietary changes.

4. Your Dog is Stressed Out

Stress can lead to a number of physical problems in dogs, including dry, powdery poop. One possibility could be that the dog is experiencing stress and is anxious about going to the bathroom in front of people or other animals. This may be caused by a stressful environment or previous bad experiences.

The reluctance to defecate in dogs is usually due to fear or anxiety, however, dogs that are kept in kennels or cages may also be reluctant to defecate because they do not have enough space to move around. When your dog fights their natural urge to go, their poop sits inside getting drier, more powdery, and harder to pass.

5. Painful Elimination

American Show Line German Shepherds
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Dogs may be reluctant to poop out of fear that it might cause them pain, and dry powdery poop can develop when they refuse to defecate. If your dog experiences pain when they go due to another issue, such as an anal gland infection, colitis, or another medical condition, they might suppress their natural urge to poop.

6. Your Dog May Have a Tumor

Symptoms of gastrointestinal tumor obstruction in dogs can include vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, and lethargy. A gastrointestinal tumor is a mass or growth occurring in the intestine, making it difficult for your dog to poop, and resulting in dry and powdery stools. Treatment for a bowel obstruction usually includes surgery to remove the tumor or blockage. Without treatment, the dog may die from the obstruction.

7. Compression of the Colon

sad dog
Image Credit: Zbigniew Bielecki, Pexels

If something outside your dog’s bowels is pressing down on them, this can slow down the transit of waste matter through their bodies. As your dog’s feces sit inside their bowel, their intestines keep removing water from them, eventually leading to crumbly, dusty feces. Things that could press on your dog’s guts include a badly healed broken pelvis, swollen lymph nodes, or in male dogs, an enlarged prostate.

Treatment depends on the severity of the injury but may involve surgery, antibiotics, and pain medication.

8. Neuromuscular Diseases

Dogs can suffer from a variety of neuromuscular diseases that can cause constipation. These diseases interfere with the signals between the brain and muscles, resulting in difficulty moving stool through the intestines. This can lead to infrequent bowel movements, hard stools, and constipation. Some of these diseases include myasthenia gravis, polyneuropathy, and degenerative myelopathy.

Dry, crumbly stools can be accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness, muscle atrophy, and difficulty walking. Treatment depends on the underlying disease but may include medications, diet changes, and exercise.

9. Medication

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Dogs are often prescribed medication to help relieve symptoms of various conditions. However, one potential side effect of many medications is constipation. This occurs when the dog has difficulty passing stool and can lead to pain, discomfort, dried-out poops, and other problems. There are a few different medications that are commonly given to dogs and that can cause constipation. These medications include but are not limited to, corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and iron supplements. All of these medications have the potential to slow down the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to dry stools.

Powdery poops caused by these medications are usually temporary and go away once the dog stops taking the medication. However, if the constipation is severe or lasts for more than a few days, it is important to consult with a veterinarian.

Divider 2What Should I Do If My Dog’s Poop is Dry?

If your dog’s poop is dry, assess your dog’s other symptoms against the list above. Resolving powdery stools might be as simple as waiting a day and seeing it resolve naturally, or just adding more water to your dog’s diet. You should try to increase your dog’s water intake by adding more water to their food or providing them with fresh water throughout the day. Additionally, exercise may help your dog to move their bowels, so a long walk might be in order.

When Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?

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If your dog’s poop continues to be dry after a day or two, you should consult your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause. As we have seen, dry poop can be a sign of various health problems, such as dehydration or intestinal obstruction. Treatment will vary depending on which underlying condition is present but may include intravenous fluids, antibiotics, or dietary changes.

If you can, remember to take a sample of your dog’s poop with you to the vet. A fecal sample will be examined for parasites, bacteria, and other abnormalities. The veterinarian will need to perform a fecal examination in order to determine the cause of the animal’s illness. This information can help the veterinarian to diagnose and treat your dog’s illness.

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In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the causes of dry powdering stools in dogs, as it can be a sign of dehydration or a more serious health condition. If you notice your dog producing crumbly, dry stools over a number of days, take them to a veterinarian for an evaluation.

If your dog experiences this problem, there is usually no need to worry and your pet can usually find relief with just water and exercise. However, if the condition persists or worsens, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian.

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