Diarrhea in dogs can be a distressing symptom for dogs and their owners. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, you probably want to sort out its treatment as soon as possible. Here, our Enterprise vets explain some of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs and how to stop it.
Diarrhea in Dogs
Our West Gate Veterinary Hospital team sees a lot of dogs suffering from diarrhea for a wide variety of reasons.
Mild diarrhea is quite common in dogs and can be caused by a whole range of health issues, including intestinal distress from eating something they shouldn't or simply switching from one brand of food to another.
All of that being said, there are still a number of serious reasons your dog may have diarrhea.
What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs
Below are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:
- Stress or anxiety
- Intestinal cancer
- Change in diet or treats
- Ingesting toxins or poisons
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
- Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
- Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
- Liver or kidney disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?
When To Contact Your Vet
If your dog has had a single bout of diarrhea, but is acting normally otherwise, it probably isn't a cause for concern at all. Carefully monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if things clear up. More than 2 episodes of diarrhea may indicate that your dog has a serious health issue, so it's probably a good idea to contact your vet if your dog has had more than 2 episodes in the last day.
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.
If your pup is having recurring episodes of diarrhea over a short period of time, they may be suffering from a very serious health issue. This is even more of a cause for concern if your canine companion is a puppy, very old or has a compromised immune system. Infections like parvovirus cause diarrhea and are both 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:
- Blood in stool
- Lack of Appetite
- Unusual drooling
- 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
Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian first.
Many of the over-the-counter medications that work for people are very toxic to our dogs.
Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter medications that work well for people can be toxic to dogs.
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.
Other things that might help to soothe your dog's upset tummy 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 best friend, it's always best to be safe than sorry. By bringing your dog in for an examination with us, you give your vet the chance to determine the underlying cause of your dog's diarrhea and recommend the best treatments for your pet's condition.