No one likes paying any more attention to their dog’s feces than they absolutely have to, but sometimes, something catches your eye that requires closer inspection.
I’m writing this from experience, as recently, my floppy-eared mutt, Neptune, took care of business, and as I donned the bag and leaned down to deal with it, I noticed tens of little white, motionless flecks.
My first thought was to wretch, as they looked like little worms, but every preceding thought surrounded Neptune’s health and well-being.
Whether we like it or not, inspecting our fluffy child’s poop is part and parcel of dog ownership and care. If you ever see something out of the ordinary, it’s time to book an appointment with your vet, and that’s exactly what I did. This is by and large the answer I got:
Still white flecks in your dog’s stool that don’t appear to be worms could be a few different things depending on how long the stool has been there. For example, if your dog has just passed the stool and you notice white specks straight away, it’s mostly likely remnants of rice or bone from their food.
On the other hand, if the stool has been left for a while, the white specs could well be fly eggs. They will appear motionless at first, but once hatched, tiny maggots will be squirming all over the place. Sometimes they’re so small, it’s hard to notice the movement without taking a closer look.
Alternatively, should the specs never animate, they could also be residual fragments of medication.
So, there’s your quick answer. Do any of these reasons sound right to you? I’ll elaborate on all of them below, but first, some advice. If the white specs in your dog’s poop are instantly moving or move shortly after it has been passed, it could be that your dog has a parasite. You’ll need to contact a vet and get your woofer seen to as soon as possible.
Motionless White Specks in My Dog’s Poop – What Are They?
I hope you’re wearing gloves, because we’re about to do a deep dive on your doggo’s doodoo.
Remnants of Bone or Rice
Dogs don’t just salivate over bones in the cartoons. There are actually quite a few benefits to adding bone meal to your dog’s diet in real life, as they’re a major source of calcium and phosphorus.
In fact, some form of bone meal is in pretty much all the leading brand names of dog food you know and trust. It can seem like a rather dubious filler, but don’t worry, it’s not harmful to your best all-fours friend.
Although dogs can siphon a lot of nutrients from bone, the acids in their stomachs aren’t quite strong enough to digest the fragments entirely. This is why you may encounter it in the form of still white specks in their poop.
If you’d still like to avoid this bony aftermath, it can be tricky finding a suitable food without bone meal content, but some burgeoning vegan options are a sure thing.
I recommend giving Natural Balance Vegetarian Dry Dog Food a try, but remember to introduce it to your dog’s diet gradually. Should you not want to go the full vegan route, your best bet is to search for a dog food with a large plant content.
Other Residual Ingredients Such as Rice
Bone isn’t the only substance that your pooch finds difficult to fully process. As you’re most likely already aware, lots of dog foods contain rice or other such grains.
Cooked white rice is a perfectly healthy ingredient that helps to bind the stool and prevent diarrhea. It’s easy to digest and can be a great source of carbohydrates for dogs on bland diets; however, the whole physical grain won’t always be completely digested.
There’s no need to worry in this situation. Partly digested grains don’t necessarily mean that your dog has an intolerance or allergy.
If you notice these white specs alongside other symptoms such as itchy skin, hair loss, bumps or rashes, ear infections, obsessive licking or chewing of feet, sore or inflamed paw pads, or gastrointestinal distress, then it’s time to consult your veterinarian. It will almost certainly be due to a grain allergy.
Undigested Medication Capsules
Has your poor pooch been under the weather lately? If so, I wish them a big, hearty get well soon, but this could be the answer to the white speck mystery you’ve been searching for.
Not actually the medicine itself, those little white remnants are most likely part of the capsule the medication is held in.
Your dog’s fluffy tum will do it’s best to dissolve them away, but sometimes, they only manage to digest a fractional amount, leaving the surviving shards to collect in their poop.
Much like the residual food, there’s no need to worry about this, so you can relax some; however, I’d still recommend giving your vet a bell as soon as possible. Better safe than sorry, eh?
Before you enter a full-blown panic, no flies have taken residence in your dog’s bod, and even if a fly laid eggs in your dog’s dinner before they snacked on it, the acid in their stomach makes for an inhospitable environment for hatching. They’d simply be digested.
The only reason there’d be fly eggs in your dog’s poop is if the poop had been left out long enough for a fly to find it and then do the laying.
Still, this isn’t an entirely benign happening as even once your dog’s poop has decomposed, the larvae may remain, not just soiling your yard, but increasing risk of future infections.
The best solution in this scenario is always prevention. Having feces lying about the place is never a good thing. Not only is it a hazard for animals and humans alike, it takes donkey’s years to decompose, and it will damage your lawn.
Any animal that passes through your garden on a midnight stroll is at risk of picking up an infection from this tainted stool. Said infection could then spread like wildfire amongst the local wildlife and cause something of a pandemic.
The last thing you want is to be responsible for your neighbor’s cat taking a turn for the worst or affecting the health of a majestic wild animal who only wished to seek passage through your yard.
This is a worst case scenario, as a parasite such as a tapeworm can make your fluffy friend very ill indeed. They function via securing themselves to your dog’s intestinal wall, siphoning off nutrients meant for their own health.
Coated in some form of inhibitor – basically a protein that resists the activity of digestive ferments – they can survive in an acidic environment indefinitely.
Once they reach maturity, they lay their eggs, and these are what you may see in your dog’s stool. They resemble little white seeds or tiny fragments of rice; however, you can tell them apart by their movement.
It may be unpleasant, but you’ll have to take a really close look at the poop in question to witness the tiny squirms of these foul offspring.
Don’t be satisfied after just one examination of the poop, as it may take a few checks before you find movement. It can be a pretty jarring thing to witness, but the important thing is that you remain calm and contact your vet.
Tapeworm infection is rarely a severe issue, it’s entirely treatable, and due to the eggs being comparatively larger than those of other parasites, it’s easy to diagnose too.
Your vet will provide details on how to proceed, but normally, identifying the white specks as tapeworm eggs starts with an examination of the stool. So, be prepared to ferry a sample over to the practice.
It’s quite possible that your dog has been harboring an intruder for a long time before seeing the eggs in the stool, as a lot of the eggs will adhere to the body of the mother worm. In light of this, diagnosing parasite infection early can be tricky.
There’s still no reason to panic, though. This just means there’s all the more reason to address the issue as soon as possible. If you have a busy schedule at work or home, make some adjustments so you can seek treatment for your dog quickly.
What Do Tapeworms Look Like?
Tapeworms are detestable creatures that can be anywhere between 2 inches and 98 meters. That’s right, folks, you read that correctly…98 meters. Of course, this supersizing won’t occur within dogs; tapeworms of this size are often only found in large animals such as whales.
Their necks are the thinnest part of their body, capped by what’s known as a scolex, which is an anterior end bearing suckers and hooks. Using them to latch on to an intestinal wall, they’re able to slurp up your dog’s nutrients and grow in size and strength.
Their segmented bodies are flat and loosely resemble a loose piece of tap (hence the name) or a strand of overcooked linguine (sorry if you’re having pasta for dinner).
How Do You Know if Your Dog Has a Tapeworm Infection?
Although tapeworm infection is rarely a serious medical issue, those little gut suckers will still have an effect on your pup’s behavior. Let’s discuss the common symptoms, so you can nip this troublesome infection in the bud.
- Weight Loss even when eating plenty of food.
- Lethargy, as the worm steals their nutrients.
- Distended Abdomen – basically a bloated belly.
- Dull Coat
- Eggs in Poop or on Anus
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a vet as soon as possible. They’ll be able to help your pooch feel it’s proper self again, which brings me to my next point.
How to Get Rid of Tapeworm in Dogs
The usual solution to parasitic tapeworm infection is a course of de-worming medication, but it’s not effective 100% of the time.
The head of the tapeworm is often known to survive the treatment. If the head of the tapeworm still finds secure anchorage on the wall of your dog’s intestines, it will continue leaching nutrients and, much like a lizard’s tail, will regenerate itself. Then we’re back to square one.
An important aspect of worming treatment efficacy is identifying what kind of tapeworm your dog is infected with. There are a number of variants, and specific medications should be employed to combat each one.
This is why it’s important not to simply buy some online rather than taking your dog to see your vet. After a full examination, they will be able to advise you on which medication will be most effective in killing off the tapeworm.
I’d also like to mention that keeping up with vaccinations and flea and worming treatments is important whether your dog has an infection or not. Ensuring your up to date on their medical schedule is the best preventative measure you can take.
How Do Tapeworms Spread – Is My Dog Contagious?
Fortunately, coming into contact with or consuming tapeworm eggs isn’t enough to cause a tapeworm infection. Even though these infants are fertilized, they require a very specific kind of intermediate host before they can infect your dog.
So, rest assured that your dog is not contagious, and there’s no reason to cancel that doggy date you’ve had planned for weeks.
Fleas are the usual suspects. Once fertilized tapeworm eggs have passed via stool to the open world, they await consumption by flea larvae. As each infected larva develops, so too does the tapeworm that’s catching a ride.
When the flea reaches maturity, the eggs are well fortified and ready to take on a larger host. Remember earlier when I said you’ll need to keep up with flea treatments as a preventative? This is why.
If your dog has fleas, it stands to reason that they’ll be scratching, licking, and gnawing at themselves more than usual. As they’re scratching their many itches, it’s likely that they’ll consume an infected flea, and that’s where the parasitic nightmare begins.
Is it Just Fleas I Should Worry About?
Fleas are the main culprits when it comes to doggy tapeworm infection, but they’re not the only way an intruder may find their way into your poor dog’s bod.
It’s possible that birds and rodents may also carry the nefarious squirmees, so if your dog is particularly inquisitive, keep a close eye on them.
If they venture to investigate a dead bird, hold them back. They might be a little miffed that you’re stifling their curiosity, but it’s for greater good.
If you don’t wish to restrict your dog’s explorative nature, do your absolute best to keep up with their flea treatments. I’d recommend keeping each treatment logged on a calendar or perhaps even set electronic reminders in your phone.
The reason being, if flea treatments aren’t done by the book, they’re nowhere near as effective. It’s probably okay if you forget one treatment for a day or two, but applying the treatment equally throughout the course should always be a priority.
I think the key takeaway here is that even in the worst case scenario, white specks in your dog’s poop aren’t something to stress about.
That being said, don’t hesitate in seeking professional advice from a veterinarian, especially if the white specs coincide with behavioral or physical abnormalities.
It’s not the most pleasant of situations, but with proper treatment, your fluffer will be back on top form in no time at all, So try not to worry.
Use this article and your vet to figure out what the white things are, take appropriate action as soon as possible, and all will be well.