It can be very distressing when your dog has diarrhea, and you probably want it to stop as quickly as possible. In this post, our Stuart vets explain why your dog may have diarrhea, how you can treat it, and when you should call a vet.
Our Stuart veterinary team often sees dogs suffering from diarrhea and this issue can arise for many reasons.
Mild episodes of diarrhea are very common in dogs and can be the result of mild intestinal distress from your pooch eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them, like table scraps, or a new brand/flavor of dog food.
Although, there are also a handful of more serious reasons why your dog can have diarrhea.
The Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs
Below are some of the most common causes of dog diarrhea:
- Change in diet or treats
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Stress or anxiety
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones, and fabric
- Consuming toxins or poisons
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
- Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia, or Giardia
- Intestinal cancer
- Liver or kidney disease
But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?
When To See Your Vet
If your pooch only has one bout of diarrhea but is otherwise behaving normally, you probably don't have any reason to be worried, just monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if things clear up. More than 2 episodes could indicate a problem, therefore you should call your vet if your pooch has two or more bouts of diarrhea.
However, if your dog is straining to pass a stool and is only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they may be experiencing a painful blockage as the result of ingesting a foreign object like a toy. This is a very serious issue that requires immediate veterinary care. Call your vet or bring your dog to the nearest emergency animal hospital for treatment.
Recurring episodes of diarrhea over a short time frame could indicate a very serious health problem, especially if your pooch is very old, very young, or has a compromised immune system. Infections such as parvovirus are extremely serious, contagious, and life-threatening. Contact your vet right away if your canine friend is experiencing repeated episodes of diarrhea.
If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms below in addition to their diarrhea, you should take them to the vet as quickly as you can:
- Lack of Appetite
- Unusual drooling
- Blood in stool
- Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)
If your pup is displaying any concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms need to be examined.
Treating Dogs With Diarrhea
Never give your dog human medications without asking your veterinarian first. Lots of over-the-counter medications that work well for people can be toxic to dogs.
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.
Feeding your dog a bland diet for one or two days could help alleviate their symptoms. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) could help your pup's tummy feel better. Once your dog is feeling better, gradually reintroduce their regular food.
Other ways you might be able to help to soothe your dog's upset stomach include natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg with no oil added, specially formulated dog foods, and medications prescribed by your vet.
When it comes to the health of your canine companion, it's always best to be cautious. When you take your dog to the vet for an examination, your vet will diagnose the cause of your dog's diarrhea and prescribe the best possible treatment plan.