How to collect a stool sample to take to a vet

Written by lynda lampert
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How to collect a stool sample to take to a vet
Veterinarians may ask for a stool sample from a dog. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Veterinarians often ask for stool samples from dogs for routine health checks or if the dog is experiencing health issues. If your vet suspects your dog has worms or if your dog is losing weight or having other gastrointestinal issues, he will need a stool sample to further investigate these issues. Although collecting a stool sample may not be something that a dog owner looks forward to, stool samples are a necessary diagnostic tool for veterinarians. Collecting a stool sample from your dog is easy to do and takes very little time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • plastic zip-top bag

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  1. 1

    Feed the dog and take it outside to have a bowel movement. It is important to get a stool sample that is fresh, and dogs tend to leave stools after they have eaten. After the dog has left the stool, you can collect it.

  2. 2

    Turn the plastic bag inside out over the dominant hand. Use it as a glove to collect a part of the sample that is not touching the ground or the grass. This ensures the specimen is clean. Turn the plastic bag right side out over the sample and zip it closed.

  3. 3

    Place the plastic bag into an opaque bag such as a brown paper bag to cover the stool sample. Store the sample in the refrigerator to be taken to the veterinarian's appointment the same day.

Tips and warnings

  • Write your dog's name on the plastic bag to avoid mix-ups at the vet's.
  • A small amount of stool is usually all the vet needs, but check with him before you collect a sample to ensure you bring him the right amount.
  • Be sure to bring the sample to your vet within 24 hours.

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