Diarrhea frequently troubles pet owners when their dogs experience it. If your furry friend is currently dealing with diarrhea, your foremost concern is finding a solution. In this article, our veterinarians in Fort Pierce will outline common causes of diarrhea in dogs and provide advice on managing it.
Diarrhea in Dogs
Our veterinarians at Fort Pierce frequently encounter dogs experiencing diarrhea, which can result from various factors.
Dogs often experience mild bouts of diarrhea, typically triggered by minor intestinal discomfort, which may occur when your dog consumes something that doesn't agree with them, like table scraps. It can also happen when you switch to a new brand or flavor of food.
However, it's important to note that diarrhea in dogs can also be a sign of more severe underlying issues.
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
- 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?
What is considered chronic diarrhea in dogs?
Chronic diarrhea or chronic enteropathy (CE) in dogs occurs when common treatments for diarrhea fail to produce a response or when there is an initial response to treatment but the diarrhea persists. Diarrhea is classified as chronic when it endures for more than two weeks.
When To Contact Your Vet
If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea and appears otherwise healthy, it's usually not a cause for concern. Keep an eye on your dog's bowel movements to see if the issue resolves. If your dog experiences two or more episodes of diarrhea, it's advisable to reach out to your vet.
If your pup is struggling to pass a stool and is only producing small amounts of watery diarrhea, it may indicate a potential blockage, possibly from ingesting a foreign object like a toy. This is a serious matter and requires immediate veterinary attention. Contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital promptly for care.
Recurring bouts of diarrhea within a short timeframe could signal a severe underlying health problem, especially if your dog is very young, very old, or has a weakened immune system. Conditions like parvovirus are highly serious, contagious, and life-threatening. If your dog experiences repeated episodes of diarrhea, contact your vet without delay.
Dogs displaying additional symptoms alongside diarrhea should also be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, reach out to your vet 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 pup displays any symptoms that cause you to be concerned, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary and find a solution for treating diarrhea in your dog.
How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs
Always consult your veterinarian before administering human medications to your dog. Some over-the-counter drugs that are safe for humans can be harmful to dogs.
If your dog experiences one or two episodes of runny or soft stools, consider allowing them to recover by fasting for 12 - 24 hours.
A bland diet consisting of plain-cooked white rice, a small amount of chicken, and canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) can help soothe your dog's upset stomach. Gradually reintroduce their regular food once your dog begins to feel better.
Other options to alleviate your dog's upset stomach include natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled, boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg (without added oil), specially formulated dog foods, and medications prescribed by your vet.
Prioritize your dog's health by scheduling an examination with your veterinarian. This allows them to identify the underlying cause of your dog's diarrhea and recommend the most appropriate treatment.