There are few symptoms more distressing to pet parents than when their dog develops diarrhea. Below our Chino Hills vets explain some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs and what you should do to help resolve this messy issue.
Diarrhea In Dogs
Our Chino Hills vets see a lot of dogs suffering from diarrhea, and for a wide variety of reasons.
Mild bouts of diarrhea are very common in our canine companions and can be caused by mild intestinal distress due to your dog eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them, such as table scraps, or just from the simple act of switching to a new brand or flavor of food.
Nonetheless, several more serious health issues could lead to your dog suffering from diarrhea.
What Causes Diarrhea In Dogs?
Below are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Stress or anxiety
- Change in diet or treats
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones, and fabric
- Ingesting toxins or poisons
- Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
- Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
- Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Liver or kidney disease
- Intestinal cancer
When Should You Contact Your Vet?
If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normal, it is likely not a cause for concern. Monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if things clear up. More than 2 episodes could indicate a problem, so it's a good idea to call your vet if your dog has two or more bouts of diarrhea.
If your dog is straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, it 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 bouts of diarrhea over a short period could be a sign of a very serious health issue, particularly if your dog 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 dog 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
- Unusual drooling
- Lack of Appetite
- Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)
If your dog 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 Can You Stop Diarrhea In Dogs?
When it comes to treating diarrhea in dogs you must never give your dog medications formulated for people before consulting your vet. Many human medications are toxic to dogs and could cause further health complications for 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 24 - 48 hours may help to resolve your dog's issue. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your dog's tummy feel better. Once your dog 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 your dog's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. By taking your dog in for an examination you allow your vet to determine the underlying cause of your dog'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.