Raw bones for dogs is one cause for white dog poop but there is more. Understanding canine digestion is important because that white poo may not be a bad thing at all.
I can't stress to my clients enough the importance of looking at dog poo. Our pooches can't talk to tell us how they feel and poop can tell you a lot about dog digestion.
And it can change from day to day, depending on what our canines eat, snack on or sneak from the trash.
I've seen questions in various dog forums about white dog poop and how it scares people so much they quit feeding raw bones to their dogs. What a shame!
I think they should be happy because all that white stuff is simply bone fiber. Think about it. Seems an advantage to me. Wouldn't that bone fiber be cleansing the system on its way out?
Plus raw bones for dogs are a great source of calcium. Did you know canines need ten times the calcium that we do? Personally, I would be more concerned with green poo or mucus (but we'll get to that on another page.)
There is also a difference between occasional white dog poop and constant white or very light brown poo.
From a nutritional viewpoint we have to consider the balance or ratio between calcium and phosphorus and whether the dog is fed a commercial diet or a home put together raw diet.
A dog fed a commercial diet who eats real bones will have white poo from the fiber but may not be absorbing the calcium without phosphorus. Once it has been passed his bowel movements will return to normal and you should not be alarmed.
One reason raw feeders serve raw meaty bones like chicken necks is to have the calcium used during dog digestion. (Think meat = phosphorus; bone = calcium)
When the balance between the two is correct there is a bit more color.
Read about the ten benefits of calcium for dogs.
Now I'm going to share a couple of embarrassing dog poop stories for your entertainment and a bit of education about various types of dog foods. The first is a smelly story that starts before I made the switch to raw for my dogs.
I am not proud of what my dog did and it takes guts to admit she did
not have perfect dog behavior…but my Lily could empty a room.
Some years ago, my husband and I were in bed sleeping with (only) three dogs. We both woke up to a horrible stench at about 3:00am. “Oh god, I think I’m going to be sick” moaned my spouse, “but I’m afraid if I get out of bed in the dark to go to the bathroom I’m going to step in it.” (Obviously this man never changed a diaper.)
I told him to cover his head with the blankets and I turned on the light. Tentatively I got out of bed. Lord, I hate dog poop in the house. At the foot of the bed lay a soft pile of dog poop the size of a cow patty. Obviously Lily didn’t wake me to tell me she had to go and I knew it was Lily because she outweighed our other dogs by 40-50 pounds, so you know, everything she did was bigger.
Naturally, Lily did her famous pose to show she knew nothing about it.
Donning my robe, opening the window and the turning on the attic fan, I went to the kitchen for paper towels, three plastic bags and rug cleaner. As I proceeded to get rid of the offending mass of dog poop, I wanted to gag. Once everything was done, I crawled back into bed and covered my head with the blankets.
Fast forward four or five months. My husband fell asleep on the couch with two dogs so I had the bed to myself. Lily slept on the floor beside me. In the morning I woke up, put on the coffee and started the daily ritual of letting five dogs out (one at a time so they stayed focused on the business at hand).
The second time I walked through the bedroom door from the back yard, I SAW IT. Yup, dog poop in the house. I stopped. I stared. At first I thought she must have just done it because the smell hadn’t woken me in the night. My face scrunched up as I stared at the tiny pile of dog feces. It was amazing. Two things shocked me. First of all, it was the size of toy poodle poop. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit to make a point, but it was ¼ the size her poop used to be and, second, it didn’t stink!
Okay, I could smell it a little when I was picking it up, but in the old days of the kibble diet, I would bag the poop in 3 layers of baggies, individually knotted. After that I still had to cover my nose all the way to the trash can and leave a letter of apology to my trash collector. So if you don’t get my drift (couldn’t help myself) …
The lesson in the story is, if your pooches potty doesn't stink, it’s because your dog diet is good! Never, ever will I go back to any dog kibble. The proof is in the poop.
The next story is fast forward about four years...
Thrilled with the small nearly odorless poo I noticed the color changed as a direct result of which foods they were getting. As dog digestion improved more and more over time I felt I was doing right by my dogs and I was proud.
Then something happened. Nearly white dog poop all the time. I backed off on the bones a bit but nothing changed. Thinking I'd made some terrible mistake I had a discussion with the owner of a local high end dog food store. Too much calcium was all we could think of and that somehow the dogs were not absorbing the calcium they were given. Poo ranged from white to off white to light brown.
Out of fear I switched to a a high end single source protein dog food without grains for a few weeks until I mentioned it to a friend who has fed her dogs raw for many years. The woman laughed at me!
Not only is she queen of raw food knowledge, she sells the stuff in Canada and I hadn't even thought to ask her.
Being the watchdog (cute huh?) that I am, I'd taken poo pictures and she was thrilled when I emailed her one. "That is perfect poop!" she exclaimed. "Can I use the picture for my clients?"
She went on to explain that when a dog fed an entirely balanced raw food diet, they absorb so many of the nutrients, it comes out extremely light in color. She said to think of the dog's digestive system like a furnace where once all the wood is totally consumed, all that's left is nearly white ash.
And now you know both reasons for white dog poop.
For more about observing poo and when mucus may be a signal for dog health problems, you may want to read dog poop health.