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Diarrhea In Dogs: Common Causes

If your dog has diarrhea it can be concerning for dog owners and a real mess to clean up. Our Sonora vets are here to discuss the causes and how you might be able to stop it.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our Sonora vets see a lot of dogs who are suffering from diarrhea stemming from a large variety of causes.

Mild episodes of diarrhea are quite common in our canine companions and can be the result of mild intestinal distress due to your dog eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them, such as table scraps, or just from the simple act of switching to a new brand or flavor of food.

Nonetheless, there are also a number of more serious health issues that can be the causes of diarrhea in dogs. 

What Causes Diarrhea In Dogs

As a pet parent, you might be wondering what is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs. Below are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:

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

But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?

When To Contact Your Vet

If your dog only has one episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting the way they normally do, it's not something that you should be too concerned about. Keep an eye on 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:

  • Weakness
  • Blood in stool
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Unusual drooling
  • 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

If your dog has a bout of diarrhea, don't give them any medication formulated for people before speaking to your veterinarian. 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.

Offering your pooch a bland diet for 24 - 48 hours may be enough to resolve your dog's upset stomach. 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 the health of your pet, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Bringing your dog to the vet for an exam, allows your veterinarian to check for underlying causes of your dog's symptoms and come up with the best course of treatment.

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.

If your dog has had more than a few bouts of diarrhea, contact our Sonora vets today for an appointment, and we will discuss how to stop diarrhea in dogs.

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Mono Way Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! All of our knowledgeable vets are passionate about helping companion animals in Sonora feel happy and healthy. Contact us to schedule your pet's appointment.

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