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Diarrhea in Dogs: Common Causes and How To Stop It

Diarrhea in Dogs: Common Causes and How To Stop It

Diarrhea can be a very distressing symptom in your dog when you have to cope with it. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, chances are you're looking for a cure as fast as possible. Here, our Apple Valley vets explain some of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs and how to put a stop to it.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our Apple Valley veterinary team sees many dogs suffering from diarrhea for a wide variety of reasons. 

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

All of that being said, there are also many more serious reasons your dog may be suffering from diarrhea. 

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs

The following are some of the most common causes for dogs to develop diarrhea:

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

But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?

When To Contact Your Vet

If your dog has had a single episode of diarrhea, but is otherwise acting normally, it probably isn't any reason to be concerned. Keep an eye on your pup's bowel movements for the next couple of days to make sure things clear up. More than 2 episodes of diarrhea may signify an issue that needs attention. If you notice your dog has had 2 or more bouts of diarrhea recently, contact your vet.

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. 

Multiple bouts of diarrhea, or chronic diarrhea in your dog, over a short period could be a sign of serious health issues. This is particularly true if your canine companion is old, young or has a compromised immune system. Infections like parvovirus are very 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
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

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 to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs

Make sure you never, ever give your dog human medication without first consulting your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter medications that are perfectly fine for people may be very toxic to dogs. 

If your dog 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 a day or two 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 you can do to help soothe your pup's stomach include natural yogurt, peeled and boiled potatoes, eggs with no oil, cottage cheese, specially formulated food and medications prescribed by your vet.

When it comes to your best buddy'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.

If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, contact Apple Valley Animal Hospital to book an examination with one of our vets. Our veterinary team has extensive experience treating many conditions that may be causing your pet's gastrointestinal distress.

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