It's never fun when your pup is suffering from diarrhea—but is it cause for major concern? Today, our Redmond vets discuss some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs and when it's time for a visit to the emergency vet.
Diarrhea in Dogs
Diarrhea in dogs is a common complaint seen by our Redmond vets.
Mild bouts of diarrhea are very common in dogs and can be caused by mild intestinal distress due to your dog eating something that doesn't agree with them, such as table scraps, or a new brand of treat or food.
That said, there are also a number of more serious reasons why your dog could have diarrhea that warrant medical attention. If your dog is experiencing chronic diarrhea or any other concerning symptoms, you should bring them to the nearest emergency vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs
Below are some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:
- Stress or anxiety
- Change in diet or treats
- Eating garbage or spoiled food
- Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
- Ingesting toxins or poisons
- Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
- Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
- Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Liver or kidney disease
- Intestinal cancer
- Medications such as antibiotics
When To 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 very serious concern 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:
- Blood in stool
- Unusual drooling
- Lack of Appetite
- Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)
If your dog is displaying any symptoms that cause you concern, contact your veterinarian for further advice.
How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs
Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter medications that work well for people can be 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 having them fast for 12 hours and then allowing them to eat small amounts of bland food. Plain, cooked chicken, brown rice, and canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) are all good choices.
Once the diarrhea clears up, you can gradually reintroduce your pup's 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.
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.