It can be very distressing to care for a dog experiencing diarrhea. If your dog has diarrhea, you probably want to find a cure or solve their health issue QUICK. Here, our Gilbert vets explain some of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs and how to stop it.
Diarrhea in Dogs
At Crossroads Veterinary Hospital, our veterinarians see many dogs suffering from diarrhea for a wide variety of reasons.
Mild bouts of diarrhea are quite common and may be caused by intestinal distress caused by your dog eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them like table scraps, or even something as simple as witching to a new flavor or brand of food.
That said, there are also a number of more serious reasons why your dog could have diarrhea.
What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs
Below are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Change in diet or treats
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
- Ingesting toxins or poisons
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
- Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
- Intestinal cancer
- Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Liver or kidney disease
- Stress or anxiety
But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?
When To Contact Your Vet
If your dog experiences a single episode of diarrhea, but is acting normal otherwise, their condition probably isn't any cause for concern. Keep an eye on your pup's bowel movements to make sure things clear up. More than 2 episodes in short succession may indicate a problem, so it's a good idea to contact your vet if your dog experiences two or more bouts of diarrhea.
If your pup is straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be experiencing a painful blockage due to the ingestion of a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious concern and needs veterinary attention right away, contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.
Recurring amounts of diarrhea over a short period of time may be a sign of a serious health issue. This is particularly the case if your dog is very old or very young. Infections like parvovirus can cause diarrhea and is contagious and life-threatening. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog is having frequent bouts of diarrhea.
Dogs showing other symptoms as well as diarrhea should also be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your dog has any of the following symptoms contact your vet right away to make an appointment:
- Blood in stool
- Unusual drooling
- Lack of Appetite
- Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)
If your pooch is displaying any symptoms that cause you concern, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary.
How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs
Avoid giving your dog any human medications without first consulting your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter medications that work perfectly well for people may be toxic to your dog.
If your dog has had one or two runny or soft stools, you may want to give your dog some time to recover by simply fasting for 12 - 24 hours.
A bland diet for a day or two may help to resolve your pup's issue. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your pup's tummy feel better. Once your pooch feels better gradually reintroduce their regular food.
Some other things you could try to help soothe your dog's stomach and help them eat include yogurt, peeled and boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, eggs cooked without oil, probiotics, special dog foods and medications that your vet may prescribe.
When it comes to your best buddy's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. By taking your pooch in for an examination you give your vet the opportunity to determine the underlying cause of your pup's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment.