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What causes diarrhea in dogs, and what can I do to help?

What causes diarrhea in dogs, and what can I do to help?

It can be distressing for dog owners when their pup develops diarrhea. In this blog, our Houston County vets share the common causes of diarrhea in dogs and how you can help resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea in dogs is a fairly common condition seen by our Houston County vets, that is caused for a wide variety of reasons.

Mild bouts of diarrhea are very common in dogs and could be caused by mild intestinal distress as a result of eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with your pooch, such as table scraps, or just from the simple act of switching to a new flavor or brand of food.

However, there are many more serious health conditions that can cause your dog's diarrhea.

What causes diarrhea in dogs?

Here is a list of some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:

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

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 just has one episode of diarrhea and is still acting normal, there is probably no reason to be worried. Keep an eye on your pup's bowel movements to make sure things clear up. If they have more than 2 bouts it could be a sign of a problem, You should call your vet if your canine companion has two or more episodes of diarrhea.

If your pooch is straining to pass a stool but is only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be suffering from a painful blockage due to the ingestion of a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious concern and requires immediate veterinary attention, call your primary care vet or take your dog 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
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Unusual drooling
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If your furry friend is showing any concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know if your dog's symptoms indicate if an examination is necessary.

How can you stop diarrhea in dogs?

When it comes to treating your dog's diarrhea it's important that you never give your dog medications made for people before consulting your vet. Many human medications are toxic to dogs and could cause further health complications for your pup.

If your pooch has had one or two runny or soft stools, you might want to give your dog a bit of time to recover by simply fasting for 12 - 24 hours.

A bland diet for 24 - 48 hours could help resolve your dog's problem. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) could help your pup's tummy feel better. Once your dog is feeling better gradually reintroduce their normal 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 pet it's always best to err on the side of caution by taking your dog to the vet for an examination. Exams give your vet the opportunity to diagnose the underlying cause of your pup's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment options.

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.

If your canine companion is suffering from diarrhea contact our Houston County vets quickly. Chronic diarrhea is a serious health concern in pets and needs to be addressed by a veterinarian as fast as possible.

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Smith Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Houston County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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