Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Charcoal biscuits for dogs

Penny had a black biscuit last week and over the next two days her poo was blue. I'm wondering if I was correct in thinking the biscuit was the cause of the strange faeces.

I've been surfing the Net to see what info there is about charcoal biscuits and here's some of what I found:
At Springer Rescue they discussed copophagy (eating faeces) and said: 

This is a condition where your dog eats his own poo! Not always easy to correct, but many people say give the dog more charcoal biscuits in his diet, also mix pineapple rings into his food, as often when the dog poos he still sees it as food due to not being properly digested and therefore the pineapple being very acidic, may well put him off!
Penny hasn't touched her own poo, but I thought she had a nibble at some faeces in the park a couple of times lately. I'm not sure, though.
Wisegeek, in a general overview of the role of charcoal in human and animal health, said
Veterinarians may recommend charcoal dog biscuits to help canine gassiness problems and/or cases of "doggie breath." Dogs should eat only the charcoal biscuits made for dogs and not the kind made for humans. Dogs should eat small rather than large quantities of charcoal biscuits, but veterinarian approval should first be obtained. Charcoal may interfere with a dog's absorption of other nutrients.

Old Mother Hubbard, a manufacturer of dog biscuits, says
Charcoal biscuits really serve three (3) distinct purposes, they help to freshen breath, ease in passing gas, and settle upset stomach

At Yahoo Answers, one reply says
I feed old mother hubbard charcoal biscuits along with evo red meat. I feed the charcoal many hours after he eats the evo so it does not strip away the nutrients from the food. I do this to stop smelly gas, and it works. If you feed dog food in the morning it is best to give the biscuit a couple hours before bed time.

Dogsey – The Site for Dog Lovers, has an interesting list of routine health checks for dogs, and one of the checks says
Observing your dog’s toilet habits may not be among the top 10 spectator sports, but it can provide valuable insight into the health of your dog. The number of bowel movements per day varies considerably from dog to dog. The important thing is that the evacuations are regular and of consistent appearance. Bear in mind that certain foods may change the colour of the faeces, e.g. charcoal biscuits will produce black faeces. Any chronic or acute diarrhoea or constipation requires veterinary attention, as does the presence of blood or mucus. If the urine appears dark, cloudy, or blood tinged, or the dog is urinating excessively or has difficulty in passing urine, again, consult your veterinarian.

It's this last article that has me wondering, because it says faeces would be black if charcoal was eaten. I bought the dog biscuits in an unmarked bag and assumed they had charcoal in them because they are black. But perhaps they are just black-coloured biscuits masquerading as charcoal. As I said in a previous post, I know that black food coloring can be made up of blue dye.

It's still a bit of a mystery but Penny seems to be in good health generally, so I'll have to wait and see...


Slavenka said...

Hi Parlance!This blue poo is weird.
From my exsperience black poo is normal if you give charcoal to your dog.Maybe the problem really is in the dog biscuits in an unmarked bag.I hope that this mystery will be finished soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I hadn't heard of the charcoal dog biscuits. Luckily rusty doesn't have trouble with gas, so far.

I'm going to reread this, thanks!

Rusty will eat cat tootsie rolls if he can get to them. I had to put a cat door in the bathroom door where I keep the litter pan so the cats could get in and Rusty couldn't. He was fairly resentful of this, but got over it.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

This entry was an interesting read. Thanks for posting it.

Levi's mom

parlance said...

Slavenka, I'm going to solve the mystery by giving her another of the biscuits soon.

parlance said...

Rusty and Penny might be soulmates, I think. Penny loves investigating kitty litter trays for little snacks. Possums leave nice little treats all over the decking each night, also. I guess squirrels aren't so obliging.

parlance said...

Aphasia Decoder, I wouldn't be trying charcoal biscuits without asking around, because I think I read somewhere that it's not good to eat charcoal. The trouble is, I can't find the reference. That's why I posted so many different links.

Amber-Mae said...

Oh my hoomans give us charcoal biscuits once in a while but our poo poos still look normal but sometimes just a little darker. Charcoal biscuits are good for tummy aches or we have gas, I think.

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

parlance said...

Amber-Mae, Penny's poos are looking normal now, thank goodness. I think perhaps the biscuit was just a black-colored biscuit. It didn't have any writing on the packet, so maybe it wasn't a charcoal biscuit at all.

Grandpaw said...

Activated Charcoal is good for the stomach. It doesn’t have any bad effects unless eaten to excess. It stops the dogs breath being so offensive and my French Bulldog has bad wind problems but the charcoal stops most of that too. It will also absorb any toxins in the dogs gut and pass them when they poop instead of causing severe health problems. My bulldog eats about 3 to 4 daily without any problems. I also give them kefir and digestive enzymes daily too.

parlance said...

Thanks, Grandpaw
Interesting about the kefir. I must research that little more. It's sold in the raw-feeding store where I get Penny's food.