Your dog’s poop is the window to his health. So when you see white specks in dog poop, there are several possible causes … from parasites to harmless pieces of food. Here’s how to figure out why there are white specks in your dog’s poop, and whether it’s a problem.
What If You See Specks In Your Dog’s Poop?
If you see tiny white objects in your dog’s poop, collect some in a bag, then look for:
If something’s moving it could be flies, slugs or worms. When you don’t pick up poop right away, it can attract flies or slugs.
- Fly larvae are tiny white specks. Your dog won’t show symptoms of any problems.
- Slugs will burrow into the poop after your dog poops. It may look like they came out of your dog, but in fact they can’t survive stomach acid and the digestive process. Slugs live on organic material and survive by their sense of smell. Uncollected poop can attract slugs in minutes.
You can eliminate the possibilities of fly larvae and slugs by picking up your dog’s poop right away.
- White flecks could also be worms excreted in poop. If you’ve given your dog deworming medication, he’ll poop out the dead worms. If he hasn’t been treated or it’s not working yet, the worms will be moving. (Read more about different types of worms below.)
If you’re certain the white specks aren’t moving it could be dead worms … or one of the other possibilities described below.
- Specks that are long and white could be worms, or toy strings, or clothing threads
- Short white specks can be food or tapeworms (they’re tiny)
- Thick white specks could be medication, food, seeds or nuts
- Thin white specks can be worms, larvae or fungal infections
With the poop in the bag, squish it to feel its texture. Pieces of food like rice can feel hard. Worms or parasites can feel soft. Here’s what you might notice.
- Hard specks: can be related to diet
- Soft specks: can be a sign of infection
- Slimy texture: can indicate bowel inflammation. Some causes are cancer, tumors, parvo and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Here are some other possible reasons for white specks in dog poop.
Non Moving White Specks In Dog Poop
Here are some of the reasons your dog’s poop might have white specks that aren’t moving.
Food Specks In Dog Poop
Seeing food in your dog’s poop could mean he ate something that didn’t digest well … like corn, wheat, seeds, nuts or raw vegetables. When our dog doesn’t digest these foods well, they come out the same way they went in.
Can Rice Cause White Specks In Dog Poop?
Yes, it can. Rice can appear in your dog’s poop. Just like other grains, rice can go through your dog undigested.
RELATED: Can Dogs Eat Rice?
Undigested food could also be a sign of malabsorption. If your dog doesn’t have other symptoms, and is eating well and maintaining weight, malabsorption is unlikely. But if your dog isn’t absorbing nutrients, his body isn’t digesting properly. Here are signs of malabsorption:
- Eating poop or trash
- Weight loss
- Excessive hunger even when eating regularly
- Rumbling stomach
- Dull or shabby coat
- Chronic diarrhea
Bone In Dog Poop
White specks in dog poop can be from bone in your dog’s food or from eating bones. Some raw foods include coarsely ground bone, which your dog might not digest. Little pieces of undigested bone is different from the white chalky poop of dogs who eat raw meaty bones. Too much bone causes a chalky texture.
Foreign Objects In Dog Poop
There are some artificial chew toys for dogs that create plastic debris that gets pooped out. Instead of synthetic toys, look for safer, real food alternatives for your dog to chew.
Your dog might eat or chew things he finds when he’s unsupervised, either indoors or outside. You might see parts of toys, string, yarn, mulch, coins or even socks or underwear in his poop.
Some of these objects could be dangerous for your dog and cause a serious bowel obstruction. This can be a true emergency that requires surgery. Here are some signs of an obstruction to look out for …
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
Medicated Capsules In Dog Poop
The casings from medicated capsules may not always digest in your dog … so you might see small white specks that also look like rice. This is common in older dogs, especially if they’re taking medication for the first time.
Moving White Specks In Dog Poop
As mentioned earlier, if the white specks in your dog’s poop are moving, it can be a sign of worms.
Worms In Dog Poop
You may see roundworms, whipworms and tapeworms in your dog’s poop. Roundworms are long, white worms that look like spaghetti. Your dog will poop these out.
Hookworms hook onto your dog’s intestines. They’re rarely seen as they’re only 3 mm long. Whipworms are small and thread-like and are 1.75 to 3 inches long. They’re also extremely difficult to see in dog poop so you’ll need to get a fecal analysis to confirm whipworms and hookworms.
Note: You’re unlikely to see heartworms appear in dog poop, even if you’re treating your dog for heartworm disease. Heartworms don’t live in the GI tract. During treatment, the body breaks down dead heartworms. (That’s why dogs treated for heartworm must be on restricted activity … to avoid dead worms blocking blood flow or getting into the lungs.)
The most common worm in dogs is tapeworm, which looks like white specks in dog poop.
Tapeworms In Dog Poop
Tapeworm segments are white specks in dog poop that look like grains of rice. These tiny grains are called proglottids. Proglottids contain eggs that are released when they are passed through poop. They’re only about 2 mm long and are white or yellowish in color.
They can also look like dried rice stuck to the hair around your dog’s butt, back legs, or under his tail. Dead tapeworm sections (after treatment) look like sesame seeds. These small white specks can be tapeworm sections or tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms can be 2 inches to 2 feet in length and are made up of smaller segments.
Dipylidium caninum is the type that dogs get from eating an infected flea, usually while they’re grooming themselves. In the intestines, the immature tapeworm takes nutrients from your dog’s partially digested food, then matures into adult worms. These attach to your dog’s intestinal wall and continue to feed. They resist immune reactions and digestive acids. Mature tapeworms lay eggs in your dog that are expelled in poop. Tapeworm heads can stay attached to the intestinal lining and regenerate to continue the tapeworm infection again.
When tapeworm eggs enter the environment (in poop), they’re eaten by flea larvae. As the larvae develop into adult fleas, the tapeworm eggs develop alongside them. Your dog can also become infected by eating infected animal hosts, such as birds, rodents or rats.
A full length of tapeworm looks like shoelaces, ribbons, or pieces of string, from 2 inches to as long as 2 feet long. Dogs aren’t the only ones to get tapeworms. Whales and large animals have had tapeworms as long as 98 meters!
As soon as you notice these white specks you can start treating them with good success. You can take a poop sample to your vet to confirm the type of worm.
Symptoms Of Tapeworm In Dogs
Your dog can have a tapeworm infection without symptoms. Your first sign is usually visual, when you see the rice-like particles. Other signs of tapeworms in dogs include weight loss (if he has a heavy infestation) or scooting to relieve an itchy butt.
How To Get Rid Of Worms
The best way to prevent worms in dogs is to feed your dog a healthy, whole food, raw meat diet. Try to prevent flea infestations on your dog, and don’t let your dog snack on dead animals that might be infected.
Here are some foods that naturally help get rid of worms.
Fermented vegetables can help eliminate worms by promoting beneficial bacteria in the gut. This strengthens your dog’s gut health and immune system. Start slowly with fermented veggies and work up to 1 to 3 tsp per day per 20 lbs of our dog’s body weight. You can also add a probiotic supplement to support his overall gut health.
Grated Fruits And Vegetables
Carrots, cucumber, watercress, greens, squash and fennel are natural dewormers for dogs. They make your dog’s digestive tract less welcoming to parasites.
Pineapple and papaya are fruits that can help. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that digests proteins. And papaya contains an enzyme called papain that repels parasites. You can also find these helpful enzymes in digestive enzyme supplements for dogs. Compounds in pomegranate can also fight off and expel tapeworms.
Add at least 1 tsp of any of these fruits and veggies per 10 lbs of your dog’s body weight to his meals twice a day.
Raw, organic pumpkin seeds are good for dogs with worms. They contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin that naturally paralyzes worms, including tapeworms. Pumpkin seeds include other nutrients like folic acid, niacin, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, iron, copper, amino acids, protein and fiber. Crush them and add them to your dog’s meal until you stop seeing rice-like segments in his poop.
Garlic is a natural dewormer for dogs and can be as effective as conventional dewormers. Use chopped raw organic garlic and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before feeding adding to your dog’s food. This releases the beneficial compounds that fight off the worms.
Here’s how much to give your dog:
- Small dogs: up to ¼ clove twice a day
- Medium dogs: up to ½ clove twice a day
- Large dogs: up to ¾ clove twice a day
- Giant breeds: up to 1 clove twice a day
Caution: Don’t use garlic as a worm remedy for pregnant or lactating dogs, or if your dog is on blood thinners.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar creates a more alkaline digestive system to make it inhospitable to parasites like worms. Put ¼ to 1 tsp per day in your dog’s water or food.
Anti-Worm Food Supplement
Herbalists Greg Tilford and Mary Wulff-Tilford recommend this combination in their book Herbs for Pets:
- 2 parts unsalted, ground raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 part garlic powder
- 1 part fennel seeds
- 1 part yucca root
Mix the ingredients together. Add 1 tsp per pound of food daily. Tilford and Wulff recommend you feed this mixture for 5 days then take 2 days off. Continue until your dog no longer has signs of worms in his poop. Caution: Don’t use this mixture for pregnant or lactating dogs.
RELATED: Natural dewormers for dogs …
Worms are the biggest concern when you see white specks in dog poop. Once you’ve used these natural remedies to rid your dog of parasites like tapeworms, you’ll want to monitor your dog and his poop to make sure all signs are gone. And be sure to pick up after your dog every day to keep your yard clean and avoid worms or parasites finding their way back to your dog.