Why Does My Dog's Poop Look Like It Has Rice in It?

If you notice what looks like rice in your dog's poop, you may wonder where it's coming from. As far as you know, rice wasn't on your dog's recent menu. What's going on?

Why Does My Dog's Poop Look Like It Has Rice in It?

If you notice what looks like rice in your dog's poop, you may wonder where it's coming from. As far as you know, rice wasn't on your dog's recent menu. What's going on?

Did you find grains of rice in your dog's poop lately?

How Did Rice End up in Your Dog's Poop?

Have you just discovered little rice-like segments in your dog's feces, and are wondering what they are?

You may be scratching your head trying to figure things out since you don't recall feeding your dog any rice recently.

To make things even more unsettling, perhaps after closer scrutiny, you notice that these little rice-like segments are moving around a little bit.

What in the world are they? Have small worms casually climbed on your dog's poop? Or are they part of the poop to begin with?

Discovering these segments could raise concerns for your dog's health, prompting you to take swift action to ensure that he receives the proper care and treatment.

Let's take a closer look at some possible explanations for this puzzling anomaly.

The Presence of Tapeworms

If your dog's poop looks like there is rice in it, you are likely seeing tapeworms.

Actually, to be more correct, you are not really seeing tapeworms but tapeworm segments. Tapeworm segments, also known as proglottids, are basically egg sacs.

The actual tapeworm, being an internal parasite, lives inside the dog's small intestine, where it attaches to the dog's intestinal lining by utilizing its hooked mouthparts.

These opportunistic parasites feed on the food and nutrients that dogs ingest.

If we look at tapeworms (we really can't see them as they live inside), they appear as long, flat worms that are composed of several segments, which contain reproductive organs and eggs.

When tapeworms mature, they produce more and more segments that are expelled through the dog's feces.

These egg sacs are now ready to be ingested by another animal, becoming their new host, and the cycle keeps repeating.

What Do Tapeworms in Dog Feces Look Like?

Freshly expelled tapeworms may appear plump and moist, white or off-white in color and as rice-like segments that look stretchy or pliable.

After a little bit, these rice-like segments will dry out and shrink, making them appear more rigid, resembling more sesame seeds or cucumber seeds.

Sometimes, tapeworm segments may also be found attached to the hair around the dog's bottom or on surfaces where the dog lies down.

How Are Tapeworms Diagnosed and Treated?

Diagnosis of tapeworms is mostly straightforward and usually done by having the vet examine a sample of the dog's poop.

The vet will look for the presence of tapeworm segments or eggs.

If tapeworms are suspected, the vet will prescribe medications to kill the tapeworms.

The most commonly prescribed dewormer to kill tapeworms is praziquantel. I have given my foster puppies over-the-counter praziquantel on several occasions.

Shelters aren't always aware of pups having tapeworms. Once I notice the signs, I send the foster coordinator a picture of the pup's stool with visible tapeworm segments, and then they OK me purchasing praziquantel. It is very effective!

Scratching and itchy bottoms can be signs of tapeworms in dogs

How Do Dogs Get Tapeworms?

For the most part, dogs get tapeworms from ingesting an intermediate host, commonly an infected flea or a rodent.

Dogs may swallow an infected flea while grooming themselves, or they may purposefully hunt and eat a rodent that turns out to be infected.

Once dogs ingest the flea or rodent, the tapeworm larvae inside the first host develops into an adult tapeworm, which starts shedding tapeworm segments with eggs through the dog's feces.

To prevent the cycle from repeating over and over it's important to give the dog the right dewormer and also take steps to get rid of all the fleas.

Ridding the Home of Fleas—Not an Easy Task!

It may be difficult to believe and accept, but only five percent of the total flea population lives on our pets. The rest of the fleas are living (and thriving!) in the dog's environment.

This means fleas are likely just about anywhere there are cracks and crevices in the home.

Therefore, ridding your home of fleas requires a multimodal approach involving killing the fleas on your pet and all the eggs and larvae living around your dog's living spaces.

Vacuuming the home daily, including baseboards, underneath furniture and your dog's sleeping areas, may help remove several eggs and larvae. The bag should be disposed of properly.

Dogs and all pets sharing the house should be treated routinely with Frontline Plus or other veterinary-recommended products (Seresto collar or Bravecto).

Cheap, over-the-counter flea collars should be avoided as they can cause adverse effects.

The home should also be treated with products that kill adult fleas (adulticide) and eggs and larvae (insect growth regulators).

A product that acts both as an adulticide and insect growth regulator is Virbac Knockout E.S Area Treatment. When I worked for a veterinary hospital, our vets used to suggest this product because it kills adult and pre-adult fleas. Read the labels carefully, and do not spray when your pets are present.

This type of spray offers the advantage of actually spraying so that it can effectively reach cracks and crevices found underneath furniture and in baseboards.

While foggers may be used, these are not as effective because they may fail to reach through cracks and crevices where fleas like to hide.

Not to mention, they end up in the air, potentially irritating dogs' and peoples' airways.

Should You Hire an Exterminator?

While an exterminator may sound like a good idea, make sure that they use products that aren't harmful to pets.

For example, skip products containing organophosphates and make sure that they cover all basis by investing in products that act as adulticides and insect growth regulators.

What Else Can Cause Your Dog's Poop to Look Like It Has Rice in It?

Tapeworms may not be the only cause of rice-like grains on a dog's poop. There can be several other culprits. Let's take a look at them.

Presence of Maggots

If you happen to pick up old, dry dog poop in the yard and stumble on several white rice-looking things, these can be maggots.

Despite being alarming, maggots are not parasites originating from your dog. Flies just happened to deposit eggs on the poop, and the eggs spawned into maggots.

Presence of Undigested Food in Your Dog's Poop

In some cases, the grains of rice-looking things may be actual rice that your dog, for some reason, didn't digest. This isn't very common, though—maybe even rare.

Indeed, when both my puppies developed diarrhea and saw the emergency vet, I heard the vet remark with surprise: "Wow, I see undigested rice in your pup's poop; how unusual!"

Earlier, I had fed my puppies a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice in hopes of ameliorating their upset tummies, and for some reason, it just passed through their whole digestive system without being digested!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2023 Adrienne Farricelli

(Excluding for the Headline, this article ("story") has not been edited by MiBiz News and is published from a web feed or sourced from the Internet.)