There are very few symptoms that are more distressing than when our dogs develop diarrhea, Here, our Groton vets explain some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs and what you can do to help resolve this uncomfortable issue.
Diarrhea in Dogs
Our Groton vets see a lot of dogs suffering from diarrhea, and for a wide variety of reasons.
Mild bouts of diarrhea can be quite common in dogs and may be caused by mild intestinal distress caused by your dog eating something that doesn't agree with them such as table scraps, or even something as simple as the act of switching from one brand of food to another.
There are also some very serious causes of diarrhea that require veterinary attention beyond these mild and unconcerning (if uncomfortable) cases.
What causes diarrhea in dogs?
Below are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:
- Stress or anxiety
- Change in diet or treats
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Intestinal cancer
- Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
- Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
- Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ingesting toxins or poisons
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
- Liver or kidney disease
But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?
When should you contact your vet?
If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea but is otherwise acting normal, it probably isn't a cause for concern. Keep a close eye on your dog's bowel movements to make sure that things clear up. More than 2 episodes of this could indicate a serious problem, so you should call your vet if your pup has more than two bouts of diarrhea in quick succession.
If you notice that your dog is straining, but is only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they may be experiencing a painful blockage of their GI tract by a foreign body like a toy. This is a hugely serious concern and requires veterinary attention as soon as possible. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible or bring your dog to the nearest emergency veterinary 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
- Lack of Appetite
- Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)
If your dog is showing signs or symptoms that are causing you some concern, contact our vet as soon as possible. They will be able to let you know whether or not your pet's symptoms may indicate that an exam is necessary.
How can you stop diarrhea in dogs?
When it comes to treating diarrhea in your dog, it's critical that you never, ever, give your dog any medications that are formulated for people before asking your vet for more information. There are a huge number of medications that are toxic to dogs that would cause even more health complications for your dog if you give it to them.
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.
A bland diet for 24 - 48 hours 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.
Some other things that may help to soothe your dog's upset stomach include natural yogurt, peeled potatoes, dog probiotics, cottage cheese, eggs without any oil added, special dog food, and medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.
When it comes to your pup's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. 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.