There are many reasons you may need to collect a stool sample from your dog. Many vets use stool samples as part of routine, yearly check-ups. A vet may want to test your hound for harmful intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. Additionally, stool samples can be used to test for a variety of nutritional deficiencies.
How to Collect Your Dog's Stool Sample
Collecting a stool sample is not difficult; however, it can be an unpleasant task. Fortunately, with the correct techniques you can ensure that collecting a stool sample is hygienic, effective and stress-free. Follow these simple steps in order to collect an adequate, easily-to-test stool sample for your veterinarian:
1) Collect a fresh Sample: Whenever possible, a fresh stool sample should be delivered to the vet’s office. Poop that has been sitting in the yard for days will not test well in a laboratory, and may produce false results or fail to diagnose potentially dangerous conditions adequately. You can ensure that you collect a fresh sample by being vigilant when Fido goes outside for bathroom breaks. When the dog defecates, the stool sample should be picked up as quickly as possible.
2) Measure the Sample: You do not need to take an entire stool to the veterinarian because only a small amount is needed to perform the necessary tests. Generally, vets need no more than one gram of stool in each sample. This amounts to a piece of stool roughly one inch long. In order to keep the measuring process hygienic, use a plastic knife or a pair of latex gloves to break off a small amount of stool.
3) Store the Sample: Some veterinarians will provide pet parents with a designated container in which to collect their pet’s stool sample. These containers are generally made of plastic and have screw-on tops. If your dog’s vet did not provide you with a receptacle, a Tupperware container or two small Ziploc bags will work just fine.
4) Keep the Sample Cool: It is important to keep your pet’s stool sample cool. If it’s warm outside, consider double bagging the sample container and transporting it in a small cooler. Pet parents can also store the sample in their refrigerators but should avoid freezing or leaving it in direct sunlight or warm cars.
5) Mark the Sample: Before delivering the stool sample to your vet, write your dog’s name and age, as well as your name and phone number, on the container. In addition to helping avoid any potential mix-ups at the vet’s office, this also ensures that the vet has easy access to your contact information in the event of further questions or unexpected results.
Collecting a stool sample can be unpleasant, but it is an important part of being a responsible pet parent. Fortunately, these simple steps help make collecting your dog’s stool sample quick, easy, hygienic and effective.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.