Dog Poop Black But Not Tarry

Usually when we hear the word black poop, tarry comes along with it. But there can be an exception where the dog poop black but not tarry can be justified. As tarry refers to a tar-like colored poop, it is the digested blood that comes along the poop. Then what’s the case in dog poop black but not tarry? Let us explain to you!

When the dog poop is black and tarry, it is a confirmed sign that there is some internal bleeding inside its body. However, if it is only black, there can be two possibilities. The first one is that your little pup has eaten something that has altered the color of its poop, and the second possibility remains the same digested blood.

Do you want to know more about dog poop black but not tarry? Hang in there! In this article, we are going to highlight all the related aspects in detail.

Dog Poop turns black:

Analyzing your dog’s poop may be the last thing you want, but being a pet parent, you must be aware of the fact that it is important to examine it for assessing the health of your dog. Before digging into the topic more, you should know that how a normal dog poop looks like. Well, in simple and easy words, the one that can easily be scooped, and has a chocolate brown color is considered quite normal.

So, the black color is clearly not normal. Have you ever thought about why blood turns the poop black but not red? Let’s see! When the blood is digested in your body, the iron inside it gets oxygenated which converts the red color of the blood into black. Moving from the stomach through the intestine, it is excreted with the dog poop and is considered as a fundamental sign of various diseases.

Melena in Dogs:

What’s melena? The condition we are actually talking about is known as Melena. Usually, the blood that is coming through the stool is originated at the upper part of the gut, mostly the small intestine or stomach. The reason can be cancer, ulcer, or any inflammation in the digestive tract. Not only the poop appears to be black and dark, but it is more solid as compared to the normal poop. Let’s have an overview of the causes of black poop in detail.

Causes of Black poop of dog:

Usually, the condition is very rare where dog poop gets black, but when it happens, it is an indication to a very serious digestive problem. Not only GIT disorders, but many other conditions can lead to the internal bleeding of the dog causing black poop. Hence, it is important to understand what factors can cause dog poop black but not tarry.

Metabolic Disease

What do we mean by metabolic diseases? You may have heard of hyper-adrenocorticism or hypothyroidism. Yes, they refer to metabolic diseases, but if you still don’t know about them, here is your answer. Hyperadrenocorticism disrupts the regulation of a hormone that is specialized for normal metabolism, cortisol.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces a low level of thyroid hormone resulting in lethargy and disturbed metabolism.

Due to both of these conditions, the dog poop changes its color. The plus point here is that metabolic disorders are not very uncommon which makes the diagnosis procedure quite easy.  However, if you ignore the sign and do not consult the vet, the disease can do severe damage to the dog’s health.

Heavy Metal Poisoning

The modern world has shown us the adverse effects of heavy metals, but the sad thing here is that most of the products are still using them as ingredients. Well, this is not safe for anyone, either humans or pets. If your dog manages to ingest any of the heavy metals such as arsenic or lead, it can experience some serious gastrointestinal and neurological disorders.

The GIT disorder symptom includes black poop accompanying blindness, confusion, seizures, and other signs of metal poisoning. It is always suggested to rush to the vet whenever you observe any sign of metal poisoning in your little pooch.

Bad Reaction to a Medication

In very severe and critical conditions, a dog is vulnerable and its body can react negatively to any medication. Hence, if your dog is on drugs and also showing signs like black poop, it may be caused by the medication. Stop that medication right away and consult the vet as soon as possible.

Blood Ingestion

There are many possible scenarios in which the dog can unknowingly swallow the blood. Wondering what these conditions can be? Let’s have a look! If due to any cause, your dog vomits blood but somehow manages to ingest it, it will come out through the poop, but in the digested form which will turn its color to black.

In other cases, the dog may cough a lot then swallows up the bleed, or have bleeding in its nose, the ingested blood will have an effect on the excretory system. It is not the same as other disorders causing internal bleeding, but still, it is safe to let the vet hear the history.


Cancer! The name has a terror inside it hence it would be the least you wish for anyone, especially your cute little pet. But it’s not we who decide this. Many dogs suffer from cancers, and this can be a reason behind black poop as well. Let’s see how!

When a dog is suffering from bowel, colon, or upper digestive system cancer, it includes blood in the dog’s poop making it black in appearance. Hence, black poop can be a warning sign for cancer so get your dog checked immediately.

Clotting Disorders

There are some diseases that occur in dogs and resist blood clotting which means, blood is not clotted to that instinct to which it should be. What happens then? The blood from the digestive system comes through the bowel and shows a bad sign of any disorder. Some of the examples of such conditions include Von Willebrand’s disease and rat bait ingestion.

Gastrointestinal Ulceration 

GIT Ulcer is a condition, which refers to sores in the GIT tract of your dog, and bleeds in severe conditions. Ulcers are caused by neoplasia (unusual growth of cells), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or liver diseases. There are no significant signs of such disease, but your dog may experience severe pains, loss of appetite, or weakness.

The bleeding of the stomach comes along the poop turning its color from brown to black. Your dog needs immediate attention from the vet in such a condition.

Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome or Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis:

Researchers are trying to find the cause, but the reason behind hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is still not confirmed. An unknown cause makes it more necessary to treat the condition as soon as possible but what about black poop? Yes, the hemorrhagic condition of the digestive part of the body also loses the blood which comes along the poop as a sign and turns it black. If the owner doesn’t take it seriously, the condition can lead to death or just dehydration.

Infectious Agents 

Whether it is fungus, virus, bacteria, or parasites, every micro-organism can cause intestinal infection leading to multiple disorders. Whatever the cause is, it needs to be treated immediately to prevent further complexities. These infections cause bleeding from the walls of the intestine which is then digested along with the food, and excrete with the feces making dog poop black but not tarry.

The Digestive System of the dog is injured

When the dog is excreting black poop and it is giving off an odd smell as well, this means it is due to the presence of digested blood in the poop. If there is any injury in the pup’s digestive tract, caused by anything it has ingested, this can cause bleeding. For instance, if your dog had swallowed a sharp toy, a bone, or anything that has the potential to cause injury, bleeding is almost certain. This blood from the injury is then digested and is eliminated along with the poop.

What other symptoms should we look for?

Well, if you have observed any darkness in the dog poop, you should be concerned about it. However, to make sure that it is some of the above-mentioned diseases, but not the effect of any colorful treat or food, you should check for other related signs and symptoms. Following indications will help you identify that you are going to the right direction or not.

  • Black colored diarrhea
  • Vomiting (might include blood)
  • Decreased weight
  • Excessive urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bruises

What should we concern?

We know it is terrifying when your dog is excreting black poop, and you must be worried about it very much. But what should you do first? The initial thing you have to do is don’t panic, neither ignore it! It can be a problem, but panicking would just make it worse. About ignoring, if it is a sign of any deadly disease, you will regret all the following years on your decision to ignore the symptom.

The second thing you have to do is observe the dog for the next 24 hours, if the dog poops next time normally, and does not show any other sign for the next day, that means it must be the effect of any food. However, if the dog poops again with the same color and texture, and shows symptoms like resisting any food or water, diarrhea, dehydration, or vomiting, then you should be concerned.

Also, your dog may start crying or whining when you touch it or carry it due to severe abdominal pain caused by internal bleeding. Reach out to the vet as soon as possible so that he may diagnose the condition and treat it before it gets worse.

How to diagnose the condition:

For the diagnosis of the cause and the condition, the vet will first do a physical assessment of your pup. He will record the heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature of the body. The next step is taking notes on past medical records. For this step, you should be well prepared as the dog cannot speak for itself.

If the dog is suffering from any other health concern or had suffered in the past, the vet should have complete information about it. If the dog has developed any behavioral changes or is refusing to have food, that should be told to the vet as well. Additionally, you should inform the vet about all the drugs or medications you are giving to a dog or you had given to it for a certain reason.

After all the physical examination and verbal questioning, the vet will run some tests according to the situation. Usually, they include stool and urine tests, endoscopies, X-rays, and blood tests. After the result, the vet reference will be able to find the underlying cause of the dog’s stool being black but not tarry.

Treatment of Black Poop:

The moment your vet diagnoses the condition that is causing the blood in the poop of your little companion, he will suggest immediate treatment to cure the disease. The treatment is important to regain the dog’s good health and prevent it from further illness. Following are the common treatment plans suggested by the vet:

  • Do not offer the dog any kind of human food.
  • Let the dog rest for a maximum time so that it may recover easily.
  • Let the dog eat a bland diet or soft diet that is never harsh on the stomach. This treatment is usually for those having inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Some medications including antacids, antibiotics, and probiotics
  • Providing your dog plenty of fluids and water if it is dehydrated due to the cause
  • If the dog is a little dehydrated, the first visit to the vet will cover that through an IV infusion, but the rest of the care would be taken at home.
  • If the dog is critically dehydrated, it becomes important to get it to the hospital for fluid therapy.
  • Bring the dog to the vet for follow-up so that he may assess the recovery.

Bottom Line:

Dog poop black but not tarry is not very common because most of the time it is both, black as well as tarry. But it can be possible that it is only black due to certain reasons. However, black poop is a thing to worry and one should reach the vet immediately on observing such signs.

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