Dogs can have speckled poop for various reasons that are mostly harmless and treatable with veterinary intervention. So if you notice tiny white specks in dog poop recently deposited by your dog, don’t panic.
However, you will have to get up close and personal with your dog’s poop to determine what those specks are! Looking at your dog’s poop from a distance won’t give you the details you need to decide whether those specks could mean scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian.
4 Possible Reasons for Tiny White Specks in Dog Poop
1. Low-quality Dog Food, Food Allergies & Undigested Food
Dog food containing excess fillers and not enough protein can interfere with digestion or trigger a food allergy. White specks in your dog’s poop could be undigested filler ingredients such as ground yellow corn, whole wheat flour, corn gluten meal, and other cheap fillers. Some low-quality dog food makers use corn gluten meal, a less expensive source of essential amino acids, to pad the protein content of their kibble. Feed your dog wet and dry food containing only meat (not meat-by-products), vegetables, and omega fatty acids for skin and coat health. The best dog food does not contain fillers, grains, soy, or corn.
Sometimes a dog may not be chewing their dry food enough so that their digestive system can process it fully. For example, when a small dog has to eat dry kibble that is too large for the dog to chew properly. Changing your dog’s kibble size from large to small may help eliminate white specks from their poop.
Dog food fillers are frequently blamed for canine allergies, especially grains, additives, and by-products. In addition to speckled dog poop, signs of food allergies include itchiness, hair loss, patches of irritated skin (hot spots), and diarrhea.
If changing the brand of dog food your dog regularly eats doesn’t eliminate white specks in his poop, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a check-up. Be prepared to bring a sample of your dog’s poop when you visit the vet.
The most common way dogs get infected with tapeworms is when they ingest adult fleas harboring tapeworm eggs. Fleas carrying tapeworm eggs can come off the dog itself or other animals that dogs naturally sniff and scavenge, such as dead rabbits or birds. Dogs can also swallow tapeworms when they eat another animal’s poop containing live tapeworms. They may even swallow tapeworms when they sniff the poop, wipe their nose with their paw and lick that paw.
Once inside a dog’s body, a tapeworm attaches itself to the intestines and starts feeding off the dog’s nutrients. Tapeworms can grow as long as one to two feet in length when left untreated. Dogs that scoot their butt across the floor frequently may have tapeworm due to tapeworm segments irritating the anus. In most cases, tapeworm in dogs does not cause health issues.
Once a tapeworm has matured in the dog’s intestines, pieces of the tapeworm will break off and be expelled in the dog’s poop. Tapeworm segments in feces contain eggs, making it easy for a new host to become infected with a tapeworm. Dogs especially can’t resist the urge to sniff a strange pile of poop they encounter outside. Some wild animals may even nibble on poop if they are hungry enough.
When you see white specks in puppy poop or adult dog poop that appear to be moving, it’s likely those specks are live tapeworm segments that have broken off the adult tapeworm living in your dog’s intestines. Usually no bigger than a piece of rice, tapeworm segments in dog poop can be white or slightly transparent. White specks in dog poop that do not appear to be moving may also be pieces of a tapeworm.
Although you can purchase tapeworm medication for dogs on Amazon or pet stores, it’s best not to give your dog tapeworm medication until your veterinarian determines the white specks are tapeworm segments. Once you give your dog a tapeworm tablet, it usually takes about 24 to 48 hours for the dog to either defecate the whole tapeworm at once or expel the tapeworm in pieces.
Roundworms are difficult to spot in a dog’s poop because of their light brown color and because they aren’t always expelled in feces. While not as white as tapeworm segments, roundworms may be a shade or two lighter than your dog’s poop color, which could make them appear whitish compared to the poop.
Like tapeworms, roundworms live in a dog’s digestive tract. However, instead of laying eggs outside an animal’s body, roundworms lay their eggs inside the intestines. Dogs consume roundworms when they sniff or paw at soil harboring roundworms (then lick their nose or paw) or ingest animal poop containing roundworms.
The physical signs of a roundworm infestation in dogs typically alert dog owners before owners spot roundworms in the dog’s poop. Vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness and weight signs are classic symptoms of roundworms. If you notice something moving in your dog’s stool and it looks like pieces of thick spaghetti noodles, it may be roundworms. Also, roundworms may visibly protrude from dog poop, appear as though they are spiraling into the poop or even wrap around the entirety of the stool.
Roundworms are easily treatable with over-the-counter medication. If you want to be sure your dog is free of roundworms, let the vet examine a stool sample under a microscope.
4. White Specks in Dog Poop Not Worms: It Could Be a Raw Dog Food Diet
Raw dog food diets typically consist of muscle meat still attached to the bone, ground bone, organ meat, raw eggs, yogurt, and fruits and vegetables. Veterinarians say there are advantages and disadvantages to feeding a dog raw food, such as nutritional imbalances or deficiencies that can cause health issues. If you provide your dog raw food and the dog’s poop has white specks in it or is almost entirely chalky white, you may be giving your dog too much bone and calcium. Although calcium is essential for bone health, too much calcium could promote bone spurs, joint problems, and even weaken bones.
No, Roundworms and Tapeworms Do Not Go Away By Themselves
This myth probably started because dogs can live with a roundworm or tapeworm infestation and not experience serious health issues. Parasitical infections in dogs never resolve themselves without treatment. Deworming medications not only kill worms but also contain ingredients that improve a dog’s immune system functioning to help fight off potential future parasitic infections.
What the Color of Dog Poop Means
With or without white specks, your dog’s poop color can provide insight into the dog’s health. For example, black poop could indicate an ulcer while greenish poop might be a sign of parasites or that your dog is simply eating too much grass.
Dog poop with an orange tinge may indicate the poop is moving through the intestines too rapidly. Puppies are especially prone to orange poop because their intestines haven’t matured enough to absorb enough bile to give poop its normal brown color. Adult dogs with orange poop may have liver problems that a veterinarian should check.
Gray dog poop may be a sign the pancreas isn’t functioning properly. Greasy, gray dog poop could result from the pancreas not producing enough enzymes needed for digesting fat.
If your dog’s poop has red specks or streaks, get the dog to a vet immediately. Red dog poop could be a symptom of internal bleeding or that the anal glands are swollen and infected.