Why Is My Dog’s Poop Black?

As pawrents, I’m sure we’re all well acquainted with our dog's poop. It’s smelly and yucky and can be a bit warm when we have to pick it up. But did you know that the appearance of your dog’s doo doo is a good way to monitor their overall health? Changes in shape, texture, and colour can all be signs that something’s not quite right with your pooch’s health, one of them being black dog poop. Today we’re going to discuss black poop in dogs, its causes, and what to do if you notice that your dog’s poo is no longer pretty.

Why is my dog's Poop Black?

Why Is My Dog’s Poop Black?

The most common cause of black poop in dogs is some form of internal bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract such as the stomach or small intestine. Iron in blood turns black when it’s been digested, therefore giving your dog’s poo a dark colour. It can also give your dog’s poop a tarry texture, or coffee-ground appearance. There are many reasons why your dog may be experiencing upper GI tract bleeding, so it’s impawtent to have them checked over by their vet urgently if you notice black poop in dogs.

On the other hand, if you see red blood in your dog’s poop, it’s usuallya sign of lower GI tract bleeding in the colon or rectum. Small amounts of blood spotting may simply be down to digestive upsets, however, if bloody dog poop becomes a regular occurrence you should seek professional advice from your vet.

Causes of Black Poop in Dogs

There are many potential causes of black poop in dogs. Here are some of the main ones:

Internal Trauma

Dogs explore the world through their mouths. They chew, they bite, and they love catching tennis balls or frisbees with their mouth. However, if they chew and swallow something they shouldn’t such as a sharp twig, brittle bones, or pointy toys, they can injure the lining of their digestive tract. This can cause bleeding, and thus when digested will lead to black poop in dogs, also known as melena.

Blood Ingestion and Diet

When dogs are injured, they lick their wounds to help ease their pain. This is similar to our natural instinct to rub our heads or funny bones when we accidentally knock them on something. With this, if your dog has a bleeding injury or a bloody nose they will likely be ingesting blood from licking at it, which when digested will lead to black poop in dogs.

Dogs that eat fresh blood in their diet, such as those on a raw feeding diet, may also poop black. Raw feeding is controversial and not recommended by the PDSA or leading vets due to the high risk of cross-contamination of harmful bacteria and parasites that aren’t killed by a cooking process. In addition, bones usually play a part in a dog’s meal on a raw feeding diet which can pose further risk of internal and dental trauma. Therefore it’s safest to feed your pup a high-quality natural dog food from a trusted brand (hint Scrumbles) to give your pooch all of the goodness they need safely.

Medication Side-Effects

 Some medications or supplements can cause black poop in dogs. Iron supplements can give a dark appearance to your dog’s poop, and certain antibiotics or anti-inflammatory pain relief medication can cause internal bleeding if used regularly leading to melena.


Hookworms are a nasty parasite that as the name suggests, hook themselves into the lining of a dog’s intestines. If the hookworms are in the lining of the small intestine, this can cause bleeding and therefore black poop in dogs. If you notice other symptoms such as diarrhoea, weight loss, weakness, itchy paws or you notice any small worms in your dog’s poop you need to have them assessed and treated by their vet as soon as possible.


Unfortunately, like hoomans dogs can also get cancer. The risk of cancer increases in older dogs and most commonly affects the digestive system, the skin, or breasts in female dogs. If cancer affects the digestive system it can cause upper GI tract bleeding and therefore black poop in dogs. Other symptoms to watch out for which may raise the alarm bells for suspected cancer include lumps and bumps, weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, breathing difficulty, excessive panting, limping, and regular tummy upsets.

What To Do If You Notice Black Poop in Dogs

 As you can see, black poop in dogs can be a sign of a serious underlying health concern. Therefore if you notice that your dog’s poop is looking black, you should have them checked over by their vet as soon as possible to understand the route cause.

If your dog has swallowed something they shouldn’t they may require surgery, and if your vet determines that there is an underlying health condition they will need to start treatment which may include medication. If your vet believes that the reason for your furry friend's black poop may be benign such as issues with their diet, it may be as simple as switching their dinners up to a more nutritious and gut-friendly option

 Why Choose Scrumbles Dog Food?

If your pup’s poop isn’t looking pretty, you may need to change it up. 

At Scrumbles we’re on a mission to improve the digestive health of all British pooches with our delicious gut-friendly recipes. 

Made from all-natural ingredients, up to 70% human-grade meat and void of common allergens and nasty additives and fillers, all of our probiotic and prebiotic dog food recipes are sure to impress.

We’re also dedicated to keeping the costs down, being one of the most affordable quality dog food brands on the market.

So make the switch today and start your pooch on their journey to a happy tummy and pretty poops!

Scrumbles Dog Food

Whilst you're here, why not read:

1. Colitis in cats ; Symptoms and treatment.

2. How long can you leave a puppy alone

3. Is Rice good for Dogs?

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