What Causes Diarrhea In Dogs?

Dog owners can witness few symptoms more distressing (and messy) than when their pet is experiencing diarrhea. Our Austell vets know that if your pooch has diarrhea you need to know how to treat it fast! Read on to learn some common causes of diarrhea in dogs and what you should do to help.

Diarrhea In Dogs

Our canine companions can often suffer from diarrhea for a wide variety of reasons.

Mild bouts of diarrhea are pretty common in dogs and can be caused by mild intestinal distress due to them eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them (e.g.table scraps) or just from simply being switched to a new brand or flavor of food.

Nonetheless, there are also a number of more serious health issues that could lead to your dog suffering from diarrhea.

Causes Of Diarrhea In Dogs

Below are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Eating spoiled food or garbage
  • Ingestion of foreign objects (e.g. toys, bones, cloth)
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Viral infections (e.g. parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus)
  • Parasites (e.g. roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia)
  • Bacterial infections (e.g. salmonella)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Medications such as antibiotics

But how can you tell whether your dog needs to be taken to the veterinarian?

When To Contact The Vet

If your dog has one episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normal, it is likely not a cause for concern. Keep track of 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 pooch has two or more bouts of diarrhea.

Dogs straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea 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, so contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.

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:

  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weakness
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If your pooch is exhibiting symptoms that concern you, get in touch with your veterinarian to find out whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary.

Treating Diarrhea In Dogs

When it comes to treating diarrhea in dogs it's essential that you 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 pooch.

If your pup 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 24 - 48 hours may help to resolve the 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 specialty dog food, medications prescribed by your vet, and nutritious foods like natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg with no oil added

When it comes to your dog's health, it is always better to be safe than sorry. 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.

Chronic diarrhea in dogs is serious and requires veterinary attention as soon as possible! Contact Bullard Animal Hospital to book an appointment for care with our veterinary team.