Getting a dog is a delight, but it can also be a crash course with no real blueprint or comprehensive how-to guide. Things have a way of coming up. Curve balls are hurled your way. In four years with my dog, I’ve learned about a lot of things vets don’t mention during that first puppy check-up.

1. The meaning of mucus in dog poop

A delightful topic, yes, but an important one.

Dog owners know that poop is a barometer of a dog’s health. Next to blood, mucus in a dog’s poop is one of the scarier things you’ll encounter. But here’s what no one tells you: mucus in dog poop is not necessarily a sign of disease.

The internet is awash with dire explanations of what it might mean—everything from parasites to irritable bowel disease. Even cancer. When large amounts of slime appeared in my dog’s poop, a consult with Dr. Google had me fearing the worst. Fortunately, thanks to other…

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