White specks in dog poop can be completely harmless or signal a condition requiring medical attention or a visit to the vet. If those tiny white specks are moving, it could indicate a parasitic infection. Tapeworm infestation is a concern. It could be partially digested rice or something else equally as harmless if they aren’t moving.
It’s most likely not your favorite thing to do with your dog, but checking out your dog’s poop is important.
What comes out at that end of your dog is every bit as important to understand as what comes out at that end for you. Understanding what healthy dog poop looks like will help you understand when there may be a problem. If you see white specks in dog poop or any other color that catches your eye, use the chart below as a reference.
When you see something odd, it can be alarming, and it’s best to understand the reasons, so you know if a vet visit is needed or if it’s just something that will pass (pun intended).
Feel free to hang the chart above on your fridge for reference – everybody needs a dog poo chart hanging on their fridge!
Note this is different from entirely white dog poop (which often indicates too much calcium). We’re talking about white specks in your dog’s poo, not white poop.
Are the white specks moving?
This is the single most important thing to determine.
If these white specks are moving, you have a problem. If not, you are probably OK. If they aren’t moving, you may see bits of undigested food, which is normal.
So get up close and personal and take a good long look.
Then, walk away, catch your breath, and do it again.
Look for a good 30 seconds. Thirty seconds the first time, take a breath, and 30 seconds the second time.
Yep, looking at your dog’s poop closely for a full minute. You’re welcome. :-)
You’re looking for small sudden twitches. If you see this, you may be looking at intestinal worm segments or worm eggs.
If you see no movement, you may want to try again with another (fresh) pile of feces when the opportunity presents itself. You really need to be sure.
Below is a video that shows several important aspects to look for – if you fast forward to about the one-minute mark, that’s where she discusses white specks in dog poop:
The white specks are moving
If you notice movement, there’s a good chance your dog has a parasitic infection, which is the most common tapeworm infection. It could be hookworm or roundworm, but tapeworm infestation is the most common. You may see tapeworm segments or tapeworm eggs in the dog stool.
Catching this early means fairly simple treatment with high success. If it is an advanced case, the situation can be dire.
Before buying over-the-counter medicine to address this, I recommend taking a stool sample to your vet for a fecal test. Not that you need to know, but there are three methods your vet may use (smear, float, or centrifugation).
You don’t need to take the entire dog stool sample; a “turd” or two will be fine.
The key here is that this allows your vet to diagnose accurately.
Some vets charge as little as $10 for this test, but you can expect to pay maybe $25 or so in most cases.
Trust me; it’s money well spent, and you can save a good deal of money down the road by finding out for sure upfront. If your pooch has an intestinal parasite, you want to know as early as possible, and this can best be determined by testing your dog’s stool.
This will also ensure you are not giving your dog unnecessary over-the-counter medicine to treat the wrong problem.
Get the vet’s advice before proceeding. Your vet may discover flea tapeworm, or dipylidium caninum, which is not uncommon in dogs and can even be found in humans.
Once you have a confirmed diagnosis, you can opt to go with the medicine your vet recommends, or you can look into some over-the-counter medicine.
You can choose from more than a few – a quick Google, Amazon, or Chewy search will give you more than enough options.
I recommend looking closely at the reviews before purchasing and even bouncing your decision off your vet for a 2nd opinion.
Here are some quick links to a few products available on Amazon with good reviews. Note these are specific to the size of the dog, so be sure you are choosing a product that takes that into account:
- Pro-Sense Safe-Guard 4, Canine Dewormer for Dogs, 3-Day Treatment
- PetArmor 7 Way De-Wormer for Dogs, Oral Treatment for Tapeworm, Roundworm & Hookworm
- SENTRY HC WORM X PLUS 7 Way De-Wormer
Please note that I selected these three entirely based on their rating – I have not tried these with our dogs, so I cannot attest to their effectiveness.
Please, please, please take great care with any medication you give your dog. I may have mentioned it before, but I’ll do it again – check with your vet.
The white specks are not moving
If the white specs in your dog’s feces are not moving, your dog is most likely OK, as this is often found to be bits of undigested food (bones, rice, etc.) or even undigested medicine capsules that made it through the intestinal tract intact.
In this case, it’s worth looking at what your dog is ingesting.
- Table scraps? Steak? Chicken? Rice? Any of these could cause white specks.
- Dog food? Almost all meat-based dog food has tiny bone fragments. If you read the ingredients, you’ll see them listed. Normally these are too small to show up in the feces, but it’s possible. If this is concerning, you can try one of the vegan dog foods or find one that doesn’t include bone. Note there is a lot of discussion around grain-free dog foods these days. This is not associated with tapeworms but is worth knowing, nonetheless.
- Medicine? Sometimes the plastic capsule part of a pill you give your dog will pass through your dog’s intestine undigested and can show up in the poop as small flecks of white or other colors.
Another cause of specks that don’t move could be fly larvae laid on the dog’s stool after the dog…pooped.
This is why I recommended looking at a fresh sample or two above.
If it’s a day old, you may be seeing fly larvae that landed on the poop after your dog did its thing, which is not a concern regarding your dog’s health.
White specks in dog poop are moving?
We recommend a fecal test and a veterinarian diagnosis. Medication may be required.
White specks in dog poop not moving?
Most likely the result of something the dog ate, and most likely, no medication is needed (but re-check to be sure.
Note that tests and diagnoses can be incorrect – annual fecal tests for your dog (and cat!) are best.
Below is more in-depth information on what to look for, different types of worms, and even some additional ideas of what the white specks may be.
Identifying White Specks in Dog Poop
You’re likely seeing tapeworm segments when you notice tiny, rice-like dots in your dog’s poop. Tapeworms are internal parasites that can cause discomfort for your dog. To differentiate these from other white specks, notice that the tapeworm segments are non-moving and can sometimes resemble rice grains.
Roundworms and Hookworms
Other common internal parasites in dogs are roundworms and hookworms. While you’re less likely to see these worms in your dog’s poop compared to tapeworms, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for them. Roundworms may appear thin, spaghetti-like strands, while hookworms are smaller and difficult to identify with the naked eye.
Sometimes, the white specks in dog poop are worm eggs. These specks can come from various worms, including tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms. Worm eggs are challenging to identify without a microscope, but it’s essential to consider this possibility if white specks continue to appear in your dog’s stool.
Fly Larvae and Maggots
If the white specks in your dog’s poop move, you might be dealing with fly larvae or maggots. These occur when flies lay their eggs on the dog’s poop, and the larvae develop within it. While fly larvae and maggots do not cause harm to your dog, it’s essential to promptly clean up after your pup to avoid attracting flies and other pests.
Causes of Worm Infections
Infected Animal Exposure
One of the primary ways your dog can get infected with worms is through exposure to other infested animals. Direct contact with another animal carrying intestinal parasites can lead to the spread of the infection. Furthermore, your dog may be exposed to contaminated environments with infected feces, increasing the risk of ingesting parasites.
Consuming Fleas and Infected Food
Another common cause of worm infections in dogs is the consumption of fleas. When your dog bites its fur to eliminate fleas, it may accidentally ingest one. Some fleas carry tapeworms; when swallowed, these parasites can develop into worm infestations within your dog’s gastrointestinal system. Similarly, consuming raw or undercooked meat that contains worms or their larvae can lead to an infection. Be cautious about your dog’s diet and ensure they can access thoroughly cooked, high-quality food.
Maintaining your dog’s hygiene is an essential factor in preventing worm infections. Regularly clean your dog’s living and play areas to minimize contact with potentially contaminated surfaces or objects. Be diligent about picking up their feces during walks, as leaving them behind may contribute to spreading parasites. The better you are at keeping your dog and its surroundings clean, the less likely your furry friend will contract a worm infection.
Signs and Symptoms of Worm Infestations
Worm infestations can cause a variety of symptoms in your dog. Observing your pet closely and noting any changes in their behavior or appearance is crucial. Here are some common signs and symptoms of worm infestations in dogs:
Weight loss: If your dog is experiencing sudden or unexplained weight loss despite having a good appetite, it might be a sign of worms.
Diarrhea: Worms can cause digestive issues, including diarrhea. If your dog has diarrhea and you notice white specks in their poop, it could indicate a worm infestation.
Vomiting: Dogs with worms may vomit more frequently than usual. This could be due to irritation in the digestive tract caused by the worms.
Abdominal pain: Worms can cause discomfort in your dog’s abdomen. If you notice your dog showing signs of pain or discomfort, such as whining or restlessness, it could be a symptom of worms.
Increased appetite: Some worm infestations can cause your dog to become hungrier than normal. If your dog eats more than usual but still loses weight, this could be a sign of worms.
Lethargy: Dogs with worm infestations may become tired and less active than usual. Keep an eye on your dog’s energy levels, as this could be a symptom of worm issues.
Coughing: Some worms, like lungworms, can cause respiratory problems in dogs. If your dog is coughing more than usual, it might be a symptom of a worm infestation.
Poor coat appearance: Worm infestations can affect your dog’s overall health, including the condition of their coat. If your dog’s fur looks dull or has lost its shine, it could be due to worms.
Potbelly: In some cases, worms can cause a bloated or swollen abdomen, giving your dog a potbellied appearance. If you observe this change in your dog, consult your vet.
Always remember that if you suspect your dog might have a worm infestation, you must consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention can help ensure the best outcome for your furry friend.
Diagnosing and Treating Worm Infestations
Stool Sample Examination
The first step to diagnosing worm infestations in your dog is to collect a stool sample and bring it to your veterinarian. They will examine the sample under a microscope to check for the presence of worms or their eggs. This test is crucial as it helps identify the specific worms affecting your dog and guide the appropriate treatment.
Once the diagnosis is complete and the type of worm is identified, your veterinarian will recommend a suitable deworming treatment for your dog. Medications may vary based on the specific worm type and the severity of the infestation. Following the prescribed treatment plan is essential to ensure your dog’s recovery. Some common worm types to be treated include:
- Roundworms: Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina
- Hookworms: Ancylostoma caninum and Uncinaria stenocephala
- Whipworms: Trichuris vulpis
- Tapeworms: Dipylidium caninum and Taenia species
Worm infestations can recur, so it’s essential to take preventative measures to minimize the risk of future infestations. Here are some steps you can take to keep your dog healthy and worm-free:
- Regular veterinarian check-ups: Visit your veterinarian regularly to monitor your dog’s health and detect any potential signs of infestation early on.
- Hygiene and cleanliness: Maintain proper hygiene by cleaning your dog’s living spaces, including bedding and eating areas, and promptly picking up and disposing of your dog’s waste.
- Heartworm prevention: Give your dog heartworm preventative medications as your veterinarian prescribes to protect against heartworm infection, and follow appropriate seasonal heartworm prevention protocols, depending on your location.
- Vaccinations and flea/tick control: Ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and flea/tick treatments, as parasites can be a source of some worm infestations.
Following these steps, you can help safeguard your dog against worm infections and keep them healthy and happy.
Non-Parasitic Reasons for White Specks in Dog Poop
You might notice white specks in your dog’s poop for several non-parasitic reasons. This section explores some of the most common causes: undigested food and seeds, bone and calcium supplements, and foreign objects.
Undigested Food and Seeds
One common reason you might see white specks in your dog’s poop is undigested food or seeds. Some types of food, such as grains, corn, and nuts, may not be fully broken down by your dog’s digestive system. This can result in small, white pieces appearing in the feces. Similarly, seeds from fruits and vegetables that your dog has consumed may also pass through their digestive system whole, leading to the appearance of white specks.
Seeing white specks in your dog’s stool due to undigested food is not necessarily a cause for concern. However, you should monitor your dog’s diet and overall health to ensure they’re getting proper nutrition.
Bone and Calcium Supplements
Adding bone and calcium supplements to your dog’s diet can have many health benefits but may also cause white specks to appear in their poop. Excess calcium or bone particles can be excreted in the feces as your dog processes these supplements, resulting in white specks.
If you’ve recently added these supplements to your dog’s diet and notice white specks in their poop, monitoring their overall health and adjusting the supplement’s dosage accordingly is essential.
Another reason for white specks in your dog’s stool could be ingesting foreign objects. Dogs chew on and sometimes swallow items not meant for consumption, such as small toys, clothing, or other household objects. These items may not be fully digestible, causing them to appear as white specks in your dog’s poop.
Suppose you notice foreign objects in your dog’s stool and your dog is experiencing any signs of discomfort, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or a lack of appetite. In that case, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian immediately.
Additional Health Concerns in Dog Poop
Besides white specks, several other indicators in your dog’s poop may indicate health concerns. Paying close attention to the appearance and consistency of your dog’s stool can provide valuable information about their overall well-being.
Green poop might indicate consuming too much grass or certain foods with green dyes. However, if your dog isn’t eating grass or anything unusual, it could mean a more severe issue like liver problems or an intestinal parasite. Monitor your dog’s behavior and consult a veterinarian if the green poop persists.
Another sign of potential health issues is the presence of mucus in your dog’s stool. Mucus can be a regular part of bowel movements, but excessive amounts might signify inflammation in your dog’s intestinal tract or an infection. If your dog continues to have mucus in their stool, seeking veterinary advice is crucial.
If your dog is experiencing constipation, it’s essential to address it promptly. Your dog’s constipation can be caused by inadequate hydration, lack of exercise or fiber in its diet, or stress. In some cases, constipation may be due to an underlying medical issue like a bowel obstruction or internal parasites. Monitor your dog’s bowel movements, and consult a vet if the problem persists.
The highly contagious and potentially deadly parvovirus can also affect your dog’s poop. Symptoms of parvo include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to parvo, seek immediate veterinary care, as early treatment is crucial for survival.
Intestinal parasites like tapeworms or roundworms can wreak havoc on your dog’s gut health and bowel movements. Be vigilant for signs of infestations, such as white specks in poop, and consult your vet for appropriate treatment options.
Finally, remember that more severe issues, such as liver problems or bowel obstructions, can manifest through changes in your dog’s poop. If you notice any consistent irregularities or concerning symptoms, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment recommendations.
Dog poop color
We started off with a discussion and a graphic that shows different colors of dog stool so it doesn’t feel right closing this without saying a bit more of the other colors of dog poop you may find.
Brown dog poop
Brown dog poop is normal and not a cause for alarm
White dog poop
White dog poop often indicates too much calcium and isn’t cause for alarm, but it should be discussed with your vet.
Black dog poop
Black dog poop may indicate digested blood and possibly internal bleeding. If you see this, you must discuss this with your vet quickly.
Maroon dog poop
Maroon dog poop is much the same as black dog poop and indicates digested blood and can mean internal bleeding. You must discuss this with your vet quickly.
Red dog poop
Red dog poop indicates undigested blood, commonly from the colon. This can be serious but is often not. Still, you should discuss this with your vet.
Green dog poop
Yellow dog poop
Yellow dog poop can indicate liver problems and should be discussed immediately with your vet.
Orange dog poop
Orange dog poop can indicate liver or gallbladder problems. This can also happen when a dog has been on a bland chicken and rice meal plan for a time. If in doubt, discuss this with your vet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes white spots in my dog’s feces?
White specks in your dog’s poop can be caused by various factors. Some common causes include intestinal parasites like worms, undigested food like rice or bone fragments, and fly larvae if the poop has been exposed for a while.
Are white specks in poop a sign of parasites?
Yes, sometimes white specks in your dog’s poop can be a sign of parasites, including tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms. However, not all white specks are due to parasites, so it’s essential to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Is it normal for dog poop to have seed-like particles?
While it’s not necessarily “normal,” seed-like particles in your dog’s poop can occur if your pet has consumed something like white rice or if it’s experiencing a mild digestive issue. If you observe seed-like particles regularly or notice additional symptoms, it’s best to consult your veterinarian.
How do I identify tapeworms in my dog’s feces?
Tapeworm segments can resemble tiny rice grains in your dog’s feces and may occasionally move or wiggle. Other worms, such as roundworms, may look like long noodles in the stool. If you suspect your dog has tapeworms, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Can mucus cause white specks in dog poop?
Mucus can sometimes cause white specks to appear in your dog’s poop. However, mucus would typically appear slimy and stringy rather than appearing as small dots. If your dog’s poop has mucus, it could indicate inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and should be addressed with your veterinarian.
Are chalky white fragments in dog poop a cause for concern?
Chalky white fragments in your dog’s poop can indicate the presence of undigested bone or other hard substances. If your dog has ingested a large amount of bone or a foreign object, it could cause blockages or other digestive issues. You must monitor your dog for discomfort and consult your veterinarian to rule out any serious concerns.
White specks in dog poop – final thoughts
Becoming familiar with your dog’s poop is important. Your dog’s poop is as important to its health as yours is to you, so understanding what the dog poop colors and consistency mean can help you better understand your dog’s health. White specks in dog poop may or may not be an indication of a problem, but now you are better informed to deal with it when you see it.
- Emergency Vets USA: What Are These White Specks In Dog Poop?
- Drake Center for Veterinary Care: Dog and Cat Fecal Exams: Top Tips and FAQs
- Companion Animal Parasite Council: Dipylidium caninum (Tapeworm)
- PetMD (Chewy: How to get rid of worms in dogs
- American Kennel Club (AKC): Worms in Dogs: Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment
- HillsPet: Worms in Dog Poop: Signs, Treatment Options & Prevention
- July 2021 – first published
- July 2023 – updated with FAQ, better source references, and additional information about various parasites.