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Common Cause of Diarrhea in Dogs & How You Can Help

Common Cause of Diarrhea in Dogs & How You Can Help

There are very few symptoms of illness that are more distressing to us than diarrhea in dogs! Here, our Redding vets explain the most common causes of diarrhea and what you can do to help resolve your pooch's issue.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our Redding vets see a lot of dogs suffering from diarrhea, and for a wide variety of reasons.

Mild diarrhea is a very common symptom in our canine companions and may be caused by mild intestinal distress caused by your dog eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them like table scraps, or even by something as simple as switching from one brand of food to another. 

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

What causes diarrhea in dogs?

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

  • Colitis
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
  • Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
  • Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
  • Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Medications such as antibiotics
  • 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 acting completely normal otherwise, there isn't any reason for concern. Make sure you monitor your dog's bowel movements to ensure things clear up. 2 or more episodes in a short span of time may indicate a larger problem, so it's generally a good idea to call your vet if your dog has had more than 2 bouts of diarrhea in short succession. 

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

Recurring diarrhea over short periods of time may be a sign of very serious health issues. This is particularly true if your dog is very old, very young, or has a compromised immune system. Infections like parvovirus are incredibly contagious and life-threatening. Contact your vet as soon as possible if your dog is experiencing repeated bouts 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:

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

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 can you stop diarrhea in dogs?

When it comes to the treatment of diarrhea in dogs, it's essential that you never, ever give your pup medications that have been formulated for humans before consulting your vet. Many human medications are very toxic to pets and could cause further health complications to arise. 

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.

Other things that might help to soothe your dog's upset stomach can include natural yogurts, peeled boiled rotations, cottage cheese, canned pumpkin, egg without oil added, specially formulated dog food and medications that may be prescribed by your vet. 

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.

Diarrhea in dogs may signify a serious health concern. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, contact Dana Park Veterinary Hospital today for an examination, diagnosis and treatment plan for any possible causes of this unwelcome symptom.

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Dana Park Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Redding companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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