Diarrhea in Dogs
At Limehouse Veterinary Clinic our vets often see dogs suffering from diarrhea for a range of different reasons.
It's very common for dogs to have mild bouts of diarrhea that could be caused by mild intestinal distress as a result of your pooch consuming a small amount of something that didn't agree with their stomach, like table scraps or a new brand or flavor of dog food.
On the other hand, there is also a wide range of more serious health problems that could be causing your dog's diarrhea.
Possible Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs
Here is a list of some of the most common causes of dog diarrhea:
- Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
- Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
- Change in diet or treats
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Stress or anxiety
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones, and fabric
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Ingesting toxins or poisons
- Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia, or Giardia
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intestinal cancer
- Liver or kidney disease
But how do you know if you should be bringing your dog to the vet for their diarrhea?
When To Call Your Vet
If your pup only had one episode of diarrhea and is otherwise behaving normally, you probably don't need to be concerned. Keep a watchful eye on your dog's bowel movements to make sure things clear up. However, if your dog has had more than 2 bouts of diarrhea there could be a problem, and we recommend calling your vet.
If your pup is straining to pass a stool and is only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be suffering from a painful blockage caused by ingesting a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious medical concern that needs immediate veterinary attention, contact your vet or take your dog to the nearest emergency animal hospital for treatment.
Recurring bouts of diarrhea over a short period of time could be a sign of a very serious health issue, particularly if your pup 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 pooch is experiencing repeated episodes 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:
- Unusual drooling
- Blood in stool
- Lack of Appetite
- Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)
If your dog is exhibiting any worrying symptoms call your vet. Your veterinarian will tell you if your pet's symptoms need to be examined.
Treating Your Dog's Diarrhea
When treating your dog's diarrhea it's very important that you DO NOT give your dog human medications without asking your vet first. Lots of medications designed for humans can be toxic to dogs and can cause additional health problems for your canine friend.
If your pooch has just had one or two soft or runny stools, you might want to provide them with some time to recover by fasting for 12-24 hours.
You could also feed your dog a bland diet for 24 - 48 hours to help alleviate their 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.
Other things that could help soothe your pup's upset stomach include peeled boiled potatoes, egg with no oils added, natural yogurt, specially formulated dog foods, medications prescribed by your vet, and probiotics.
It's always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your dog's health. 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.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.