Diarrhea in Dogs
At Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center of Thousand Oaks, our vets see many dogs suffering from diarrhea for a wide variety of possible reasons.
Diarrhea is very common in dogs, especially when it is mild, and can be caused by minor intestinal distress caused by your dog consuming a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them. This can range from eating table scraps to trying a new flavor or brand of food.
There are also a number of reasons that are much more serious that may cause more severe or chronic diarrhea in dogs.
Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs
Below are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs that we encounter.
- Stress or anxiety
- Change in diet or treats
- Ingesting toxins or poisons
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
- Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
- Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
- Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intestinal cancer
- Liver or kidney disease
But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?
When To Contact Your Vet
If your dog is acting normally but has diarrhea, it is unlikely to be harmful to their health (though it is certainly unpleasant). Check your dog's bowel movements after they have diarrhea to see if it clears up. More than two episodes in a row could indicate that your dog is having a problem and should be taken to your Thousand Oaks vet as soon as possible.
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.
If your pup has recurring bouts of diarrhea over a very short period of time, this may be a sign of a serious health issue expressing itself. This is especially the case if your dog is very young, very old or has some health issues which means that their immune system is compromised. Contact your vet immediately if your pup 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:
- 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
Never give medication designed for human use to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter medications that are perfectly healthy for people can be very toxic to our pets.
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.
You might be able to help your canine companion's problems by feeding them a bland diet for a couple of days. This could be plain cooked rice with chicken or plain canned pumpkin. Reintroduce your dog's regular food once they are feeling better.
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 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 and how to stop diarrhea in your dog.
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.