Diarrhea in Dogs
Our Stockton vets see a lot of dogs suffering from diarrhea, and for a range of reasons.
Mild diarrhea is very common in dogs and can be caused by mild intestinal distress caused by your dog eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them, such as table scraps, or simply switching to a new brand or flavor of food.
That said, there are also several more serious reasons why your dog could have diarrhea.
What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs
Below are some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:
- 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
- Medications such as antibiotics
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 a single bout of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normally, there is no need to be concerned. Keep an eye on your dog's bowel movements to see if things improve. More than two episodes of diarrhea may indicate a problem, so contact your veterinarian 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, he or she may be suffering from a painful blockage caused by the ingestion of a foreign object, such as a toy. This is a serious issue that requires immediate veterinary attention; contact your veterinarian or go to the nearest emergency animal hospital for assistance.
Repeated bouts of diarrhea in a short period could indicate a serious health problem, especially if your dog is very old, very young, or has a compromised immune system. Infections like parvovirus are extremely dangerous, contagious, and potentially fatal. If your dog has frequent bouts of diarrhea, contact your veterinarian right away.
Dogs who exhibit other symptoms in addition to diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule 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 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
You may be wondering how to stop diarrhea in dogs. Treating diarrhea in dogs can be done at home, and the following is a list that may help your pooch.
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.
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 a day or two may help your pup's problem. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help soothe your pup's stomach. Once your dog has recovered, gradually reintroduce its regular food.
Natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg with no oil added, specially formulated dog foods, and medications prescribed by your veterinarian may also help to soothe your dog's upset stomach.
When it comes to your best friend's health, it's always better to be safe than sorry. By bringing your dog in for an examination, your veterinarian will be able to determine the underlying cause of your pup's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment.