Diarrhea. It is one of the most unpleasant bodily discharges to deal with. It is often a sign that your dog is sick, has eaten something it shouldn’t have, or it could be a sign of a more serious condition. Regardless of the cause, it should never be taken lightly. It is critical that you contact your vet immediately if your dog has diarrhea more than once within 24 hours.
Causes of Doggy Diarrhea
Dogs with diarrhea isn’t always an isolated symptom. It is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Diarrhea can happen suddenly, or your dog could have it chronically.
In acute diarrhea (sudden onset) with constant loose stools, your dog may show other signs of illness. If your dog is generally healthy, sudden diarrhea could be attributed to eating garbage, food allergies, eating feces, stress in the home, a change in the dog’s diet, or some type of infection such as intestinal parasites that are affecting the dog’s health. While you can easily rule out the bad eating behaviors, stress, or change in diet, you should see a vet to rule out viruses, bacteria, or parasites.
In chronic diarrhea, your dog may have undiagnosed allergies, may have developed an intolerance, could have undiagnosed stress, parasites (usually these would be worms of some type), a bacterial infection, pancreatic inflammation, one of many different kinds of cancer, swallowed a toy or piece of clothing, may have eaten poisonous plants, could have inflammatory bowel disease, or other diseases, such as heart disease or liver failure. All of these possibilities must be discussed with your vet as your dog will need prescription medication to help control the issues, or your pet could need surgery to remove an object.
If at possible, you will want to provide your vet with a fresh sample of the dog diarrhea. While this is most unpleasant, the color and texture of diarrhea can give your vet clues about what is going on with your dog.
What the Picture Tells Us
A picture is definitely worth a thousand words when it comes to your dog’s stool sample. The different ways your dog’s stool present can tell your vet what the problem is almost immediately.
If the sample has what looks like grains of rice in it, this could be a sign of tapeworms. A green color could be from eating too much grass or a gall bladder issue. A grey, orange, or yellow stool could indicate problems in the pancreas, liver, or other biliary issues. Black and tarry or streaky red could indicate bleeding in the upper GI tract or a cut or injury to your dog’s anus.
In addition to color, the shape, form, and consistency of the dog diarrhea can give your vet clues. If your dog has small bowel movements several times a day that are runny, or have a jelly consistency, this could be a sign of an inflamed large bowel.
If the sample is oddly shaped, has white or colored flecks, or you can see solid objects in the sample, your dog has most likely eaten something he shouldn’t have or could have a tapeworm.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should never allow your pet to become dehydrated. Dehydration can quickly become a serious and even fatal condition for a dog. If your dog is not eating, try to make sure it is still drinking. If the dog hasn’t eaten or drank water in 24 hours, get your pet to the vet immediately. The vet may have no choice but to give your pet fluids intravenously to stabilize his condition before performing other tests.
There are, of course, some good old-fashioned home remedies you could try before making a costly trip to the vet. One way to begin is with fasting. For 12 to 24 hours, don’t feed your dog, but do offer small amounts of water frequently. This can help clear out the problem.
There are also several human foods that are safe for your pet and act as natural binding agents to solidify stools:
- White rice
- Yogurt (plain)
- Boiled potatoes
- Cottage cheese
- Boiled chicken
When Is Doggy Diarrhea Serious?
It is critical to get your pet to the vet if any of the following are true:
- Diarrhea continues for 48 hours or more
- Black and tarry stools, bloody diarrhea
- No interest in eating
- Excessive whining
- Bloating in the abdominal region
Each of these symptoms is, in and of itself, a sign of a problem. Multiple symptoms suggest an illness or infection. Bloody diarrhea is a symptom that needs to be taken very seriously. If your pet has a significant amount of blood in his stool, seek help immediately.
Preventing Doggy Diarrhea
There are multiple steps you can take to prevent diarrhea in your pet.
- Give your dog a healthy, balanced diet. Choose food that is GMO-free, gluten-free, and has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Stick with a diet that is high protein and grain-free, if possible.
- Exercise him regularly. Regular exercise helps your dog maintain overall good health, including regular bowel movements
- Always take care of vaccinations. Vaccinations are the key way to avoid illnesses and prevent infections
- Check for parasites. You should have your pet’s stool checked annually for any worms or other parasites
- Keep your dog away from garbage. Make sure you have secure trash cans or rooms with closed doors where you can place garbage cans
- No table scraps. Lots of human food is full of chemicals and preservatives that could upset your dog’s gastrointestinal system
- Don’t let your dog eat plants or feces or drink from puddles. Each of these has its own danger. Some plants are poisonous to dogs, eating the feces of other dogs can introduce parasites to your dog’s system, and standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Maintain a stress-free environment. When the home is stressful, the dog becomes stressed out. Keep a loving, happy home for your pet’s health.
Doggy diarrhea is unpleasant and terrible to deal with. However, it’s a sign that there is something wrong with your pooch. Don’t ignore this symptom. Investigate to determine what might be the cause and always follow up with your vet.
Helping keep our pets healthy is so important. Give your dog a happy, healthy environment and keep tabs on his health.