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This post about the pooping habits of raw fed dogs was originally published in June 2017; it has been updated with current information.
One of the benefits of feeding raw is the smaller, less smelly poop created by our dogs. According to some dog parents, their raw fed dogs also poop less. I looked forward to this gift from the Raw Feeding Universe and after four years of feeding my dogs a raw diet, I can tell you that this is the gift that keeps on giving; kind of.
Do Raw Fed Dogs Have Smaller Poop?
Yes and no. Today, all of my dogs have smaller poop, but there was a time when Rodrigo's poop was three times the size of the other dogs because of underlying gut issues. He was diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in 2019 and once I began adding digestive enzymes to his diet, his poop shrunk in size. It's still bigger than everyone else, but not like before the diagnosis.
Do Raw Fed Dogs Have Less Smelly Poop?
Yes! After a while, it's easy to forget that dog poop is less smelly. When Rodrigo's digestive enzymes kicked in, I began to pick up a difference in poop smell. While the other dogs didn't have strong smelling poop, I could always sniff out Rodrigo's poop. in the yard. I can't explain the way his poop smelled, just that I could smell it, sometimes across the property if the wind was right. When it was that bad, I knew he was having a rough day.
Now that Rodrigo's gut issues are squared away, I'm happy that ALL of my dogs have less smelly poop.
Do Raw Fed Dogs Poop Less Often?
Today, we have four dogs and only one was fed kibble in our home and that was eight years ago. Scout, Zoey, and Apollo were transitioned to raw the day they joined our family. So, I don't know if our dogs poop less often on a raw fed diet.
My four dogs poop once or twice daily, which is normal. Rodrigo probably did poop more on a kibble diet, but I don't know if this is due to the kibble or to his gut health (or maybe both).
However often my pack of dogs poop, I can always count on picking up their poop when we go on walks, so I always carry two poop bags for every dog that I walk. Living with a house full of dogs, it's best to grab a roll of poop bags to be safe.
When We See Food in Raw Feed Poop
Sometimes when I'm cleaning the yard, I see chunks of food (bone pieces, whole vegetables, whole seeds, gristle from raw trachea, rabbit fur) in the poop. I used to think that this is evidence that my dogs didn't get the benefits of this food because it's still whole, but this isn't the case. If seeing these things makes you uncomfortable, I recommend grinding meat, bone, and seeds, and pureeing vegetables and fruit. With rabbit fur, just don't be surprised and concerned that a coyote got into your yard – it's not scat, it's dog poop and the fur did its job of clearing out the digestive tract.
When Raw Fed Dogs are Constipated
Whether I'm walking the dogs or cleaning up the yard, picking up poop is the best way for me to tell how each dog is doing. When I see “fresh” poop that is dry and crumbly, then I know that I've added too much bone to their diet. This is easy for me to fix – on their next meal, I make sure to add one of three items:
- a spoonful of organ meat – I mix up a blend and keep a small amount in the fridge for the extra vitamins and to help keep things moving.
- sardines – adding fish or fish oil to the diet can help get things moving, so adding a full or half a can of sardines gets the job done.
- vegetables – I make a veggie mix for my dogs as a source of fiber, antioxidants, and additional nutrients.
While there are other reasons for constipation, including illness, 99% of the time with my dogs, it's diet-related and easily curable.
When Raw Fed Dogs Have Diarrhea
If my dogs have diarrhea or loose stool, then it's usually because of too much rich food (green tripe, organ meat, certain dog treats). After eight years of taking the lead with my dogs' diet, I can quickly identify the issue and make changes to stop their diarrhea.
- Olewo Carrots – this is a dehydrated product derived from carrots grown in an area of Germany (you cannot use local carrots as an alternative) and have a long history of boosting digestive health, skin and coat health, and curing diarrhea.
- plain canned pumpkin – a heaping spoonful of canned pumpkin (we have big dogs) in the meal helps to clear up diarrhea and gas pretty effectively.
While there are other reasons for diarrhea, including illness, 99% of the time with my dogs, it's diet-related and easily curable. Sometimes, if the diarrhea is due to ingestion of something gross, it's a good idea to allow the diarrhea to run its course (as long as it doesn't last longer than a couple of days) to clear out what is irritating the gut. But, in this case, I seek the advice of our veterinarian.
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian or a nutritionist. If your dog's poop is signaling a serious health issue, please contact your veterinarian – DO NOT leave a comment asking for a diagnosis. Such comments will not be approved.