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The Most Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs & How to Stop It

The Most Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs & How to Stop It

It can be very distressing to discover your dog has developed diarrhea. Our Murfreesboro vets know that if your pup has diarrhea, you need a cure FAST! In this post, we share some common causes of diarrhea in dogs and what you can do to help resolve this issue.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our vets in Murfreesboro see many dogs suffering from diarrhea, and for numerous reasons. 

Mild bouts of diarrhea are very common for our canine friends and can be caused by mild intestinal distress. Perhaps your dog has eaten a small amount of something that didn't agree with them, such a new flavor or brand of food. They may also have indulged in table scraps or gotten into a garbage can.

That said, several more serious potential health issues could lead to your dog suffering from diarrhea. 

What causes diarrhea in dogs?

Some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs include:

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

Your next question is probably, "How do I know whether my dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?"

When should you contact your vet?

If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normal, it is likely not a cause for concern. Monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if things clear up. More than 2 episodes could indicate a problem, so it's a good idea to call your vet if your pooch has two or more bouts of diarrhea.

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 veterinary emergency and needs veterinary attention right away. Contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care. 

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:

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

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 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 people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Chronic diarrhea in dogs is a serious health issue. If your pooch is suffering from diarrhea, contact our experienced Murfreesboro vets today to book an appointment. Our vets can treat your dog's diarrhea and help your pup feel better again.

Caring for Pets in Murfreesboro

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