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Diarrhea in Dogs - Causes & How to Help

Diarrhea in Dogs - Causes & How to Help

Diarrhea is probably one of the symptoms that causes dog owners the most stress. This is why our Stockton vets are discussing the causes of diarrhea in dogs, the way you can treat it, and when you should seek veterinary help. 

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our vets in Stockton often see dogs experiencing diarrhea and many of them are experiencing it for a different reason.

Mild cases of dog diarrhea are extremely common and they are usually caused by mild intestinal distress because a pooch ate a small amount of a product that didn't agree with them, such as a new brand of dog food or being fed table scraps.

Although, there are many reasons a dog can develop more serve cases of diarrhea or even bloody diarrhea. 

The Causes of Dog Diarrhea

Here, our Stockton vets have listed a few of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:

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

But how do you know if you need to take your dog to the vet for their diarrhea?

When to See a Vet for Diarrhea in Dogs

If your pup has only had one bout of diarrhea and seems to be overall okay, you probably shouldn't have to be too concerned. Keep an eye on your dog's bowel movements to see if it clears up. If your dog has had more than 2 episodes of diarrhea there could be a problem, so it would be best to call your vet if your pup has had two loose bowel movements.

If your pup is straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be experiencing a painful blockage because they have ingested of a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious issue and it requires immediate veterinary care, call your vet or go to the closest emergency animal clinic for treatment.

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:

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

If your pooch is displaying any symptoms that cause you concern such as bloody diarrhea, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary.

Stopping Your Dog's Diarrhea

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

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 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 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.

Chronic diarrhea or bloody diarrhea in dogs is considered a veterinary emergency. If your pup is experiencing a serious case of diarrhea or is displaying any of the other symptoms in combination with diarrhea contact our vets in Stockton as quickly as possible.

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