Diarrhea is a common problem in dogs, and it can have a range of causes, including dietary changes, infections, and stress. It can be scary to see your furbaby not feeling well. But, we will discuss what diarrhea is, its causes, and how to treat diarrhea in dogs. So, you will know what to do if your dog has diarrhea.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to know if your dog has diarrhea?
- 2 What are the causes of diarrhea in dogs?
- 3 How to treat a dog who has diarrhea?
- 4 Synopsis
How to know if your dog has diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a condition in which a dog’s stools become loose and watery. It can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and dehydration. While diarrhea is a common problem in dogs, it’s important to seek veterinary care if it persists for more than a day or if your dog is showing other signs of illness.
What are the causes of diarrhea in dogs?
There are many potential causes of diarrhea in dogs, including:
- Dietary changes: Sudden changes to a dog’s diet can cause diarrhea, as their digestive system adjusts to the new food. Also, eating garbage or rotten food.
- Stress: Stressful events, such as a move to a new home or family members going away.
- Ingesting dangerous substances: Eating a foreign object like a toy, wood, or sock can cause issues. Also, ingesting toxins or poisons can also cause diarrhea.
- Infections: Bacterial infections such as salmonella or viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper, or flu.
- Intestinal worms or helminthic parasites: They will attach themselves to the mucosal lining of the intestinal tract and feed on nutrients entering the system. This causes an inflammatory response leading to diarrhea. If left untreated, they can lead to malnutrition and weight loss. These include tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms.
- Protozoal parasites: These are single-celled organisms that infect the intestines of dogs. Oftentimes, your dog can get infected but not show any clinical signs of infection unless they become immunocompromised. When these dormant protozoal parasites do proliferate they can cause severe diarrhea. These parasites include Giardia and coccidia.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as antibiotics, can cause diarrhea in dogs.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis.
How to treat a dog who has diarrhea?
If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, there are several steps you can take to help them feel better. Here are some of the most effective treatments for diarrhea in dogs.
Provide plenty of water
Dehydration is a common complication of diarrhea, so it’s important to ensure that your dog is drinking plenty of water. Offer fresh, clean water at all times, and consider adding ice cubes or chicken broth to encourage your dog to drink.
Avoid solid food
If your pet seems healthy and there’s no blood in its stool, remove all food for 12–24 hours. That includes treats too! If the diarrhea stops, you can give your dog a bland, easy-to-digest diet for a couple of days.1
Many of the bland foods that you feed yourself or family during times of sickness are great for your dog when they have had an upset stomach. Here are a few of our go-to foods:
- Rice—made in water or low-sodium chicken broth
- Diced chicken breast—boneless/skinless and boiled in water or low-sodium chicken broth
- 100% canned pumpkin—give your dog 1 tsp of 100% canned pumpkin for every 10 lbs. of body weight for mild bouts of constipation or diarrhea.2 The pumpkin can be added to a meal or given plain as a treat.
If there is blood in your dog’s stool or if they are lethargic, contact your vet for an immediate appointment.
Use over-the-counter remedies
There are several over-the-counter remedies that can help to treat diarrhea in dogs. These include kaolin and pectin-based products, which help to firm up stools and soothe the digestive tract. Your vet can recommend the best product for your dog based on their individual needs and symptoms.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help to restore the balance of microflora in the gut and improve digestive health. They can help to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
In some cases, medication may be necessary to treat diarrhea in dogs. Antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial infections, while anti-parasitic drugs can be used to treat parasite infestations. Your vet will determine the best course of treatment for your dog based on their individual needs and the underlying cause of their diarrhea. And make sure to finish the full course of prescribed medication, even if your dog seems to be improving.
Avoid fatty and rich foods
Fatty and rich foods can be difficult for a dog’s digestive system to process, especially if they have diarrhea. It’s best to avoid these types of foods until your dog’s symptoms have improved.
Gradually transition back to their regular diet
Once your dog’s diarrhea has subsided, you can begin to gradually transition them back to their regular diet. Start by offering small amounts of their regular food mixed with the bland diet you have been feeding them, and gradually increase the amount of regular food over the course of several days. This gradual transition will help to prevent any further digestive upset and ensure that your dog’s digestive system is able to adjust to their regular diet without any issues.
Prevent future episodes
To prevent future episodes of diarrhea in your dog, it’s important to maintain their overall health and wellness. This includes providing a balanced diet, plenty of fresh water, regular exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups. You should also monitor your dog’s stools for any signs of changes or irregularities, and report any concerns to your vet right away. If you see any worms in your dog’s stool (we know it’s gross), bring the stool to the vet for analysis as soon as possible.
Seek veterinary care
If your dog’s diarrhea persists for more than a day, there’s blood in the stool, or if your dog is showing other signs of illness, it’s important to seek veterinary care. Your vet can help to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s diarrhea and provide the appropriate treatment to help them feel better.
Diarrhea can be a stressful and uncomfortable experience for dogs, but by following the above steps you can take to help them feel better. By being a vigilant parent, you can hopefully catch this issue quickly and help your furry friend get back to their happy, healthy self. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet for guidance and support. With the right care and attention, your dog can make a full recovery.