dog diarrhea

Diarrhea

Dog Diarrhea Treatment

What is Diarrhea in Dogs?

Just like humans, diarrhea in dogs can be as minor as a one-time occurrence from eating spoiled food, or as serious as a symptom of an undetected disease.  Dog diarrhea varies in its frequency of how often it occurs and in its characteristics such as consistency and shape.

As off-putting as it may be, pet owners have the responsibility to care for their dogs and this often includes examining fecal matter.  Fecal matter and diarrhea can be thought of as a snapshot of the dog’s current internal health.

Even though this is commonplace, it should always be examined, and the dog should be monitored closely for additional symptoms to see if it is only a one-time occurrence.  Diarrhea does occur more frequently in specific types of dogs.  Puppies, older dogs, and dogs with prior health issues tend to experience it more than otherwise healthy dogs.

Diarrhea is often characterized as loose, watery stool that may be the result of the inflammation of foreign irritants in the intestines, or a deficit of necessary nutrients, water, and electrolytes in the dog’s system.  There is a myriad of reasons, both normal and abnormal, why dogs may experience diarrhea.

It is important to keep in mind that if a dog has diarrhea, attention should be given to how often it occurs and what its appearance is like, and if the dog is experiencing alternative symptoms at the same time.  The answers to these can mean very different things for a dog, which is why diarrhea should not always be dismissed as harmless but should be monitored closely.

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs?

Something as simple as giving a dog new food can destabilize the normal bacteria in the intestines, causing acute diarrhea.  The experience of increased nervousness can trigger the same thing in a dog.  However, not all cases and causes are as simple as that.  Dogs with serious health conditions may face a more chronic type.

If puppy diarrhea occurs, this may be an indicator of canine parvovirus, or parvo, which is a serious, infectious virus that requires urgent attention.

The following are some of the more universally known reasons of why dogs experience diarrhea:

  • Consumption of inedible or poisonous objects/vegetation
  • Introduction of a new diet or medication
  • Nervousness or stress
  • Parasites (roundworm, hookworm, whipworm)
  • Allergic reactions
  • Cancer of the intestines
  • Infections (bacterial or viral)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diseases affecting the liver, thyroid, or gastrointestinal tract

Clearly, a great many things can result in a bout of diarrhea in dogs.  While these are only some of the most common instigators of dog diarrhea, acute or chronic, there are many other lesser known causes of it.

It should be made evident that no matter the cause of the diarrhea, if it is consistent and accompanied by additional symptoms, treatment should be sought at a vet’s office.

bloody diarrhea in dogsWhat is Your Dog’s Stool Telling You?

The color, shape, and overall frequency is crucial to determining whether a dog is experiencing routine diarrhea or the side effects of a serious health issue.

Normally, a dog’s stool should look brown, be in a rounded, elongated shape, and be easy to pick up.  Abnormally, a dog’s stool may come out in large amount of liquid puddles on the ground, otherwise known as diarrhea.

While some slight variations in stool are little cause for concern, noticeable differences in the overall look of stool should be given attention.  Stool that has a black, green, or yellowish look to it are abnormal and are usually indicative of a liver or gastrointestinal issue.

Stool that is riddled with white spots indicates a parasitic infection, while ashy grey stool could point to an issue in the pancreas.  However, above all, if bloody diarrhea in dogs is noticed, this is often indicative of a serious issue that needs to be seen as soon as possible by a vet to receive dog diarrhea treatment.

Bloody diarrhea is often seen simultaneously with other symptoms that similarly point to a serious problem in the dog.

If it is seen alongside the following symptoms, an urgent visit to the vet should be made.

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Stomach pains
  • Decrease in appetite and consumption of water
  • Significant amounts of blood in stool or diarrhea

These are important signs not to ignore when it comes to dog diarrhea.  If these symptoms are absent yet the dog is still experiencing watery diarrhea or blood in its stool, the vet should still conduct some non-invasive diagnostic tests to rule out any infections or parasites.

What to Give Dogs  

Dog diarrhea treatment is largely dependent upon the cause of the diarrhea and whether or not it is present in conjunction with a serious condition.  If the cause is not serious in nature, treatment at home can work well.

A dog diarrhea home remedy may consist of a blend of supplements, medications, or a 12 to 24 hour fast from a dog’s normal diet.  Fiber supplements may be suggested along with a plain diet of rice or chicken and plenty of water.  Other foods high in probiotics is also recommended.

Some pet owners swear by a surprising food when it comes to knowing how to stop diarrhea in dogs.  Pumpkin has been shown to help due to its rich concentration of vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics.

However, if pumpkin is to be used, it must be plain, canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin.  Canned pumpkin pie can be fatal to dogs since it contains xylitol.

A vet should always be consulted if medication is involved in treatment, even if it is over the counter.  Depending upon the cause, a vet may prescribe probiotics, de-wormers, or anti-diarrheal medications.

If the diarrhea worsens despite efforts to stop it, a vet should be notified, and further care may be required.

Can I Give My Dog Imodium?

Imodium, or loperamide, is a synthetic opioid that is often used as a dog diarrhea medicine.  It works to ease the movement of the intestines and strengthens its ability to absorb nutrients and electrolytes.  This helps the diarrhea to subside.

However, Imodium should never be administered to a dog without prior authorization from a vet.  Genetic predispositions, pregnancy, various health conditions, and even allergies can be adversely affected if Imodium is taken.

A vet can examine the dog and study its medical history to not only determine if it can be beneficial or harmful to the dog, but also what the proper dosage is and how often it should be taken.

It is highly recommended that these questions be addressed by a qualified vet before Imodium is given to the dog.

If you believe your pet has dog health concerns, seek your vet immediately.

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