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Common Cause of Diarrhea in Dogs & How to Stop It

Diarrhea can be a distressing symptom for both you and your pup. Today, our Los Angeles vets discuss the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs, how to stop diarrhea, and when to see a vet. 

Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea in our canine companions is a common issue seen by our Los Angeles vets. Generally speaking, diarrhea in dogs is nothing to worry about and mild bouts are usually caused by mild intestinal distress due to your dog eating a small amount of something that doesn't agree with them, such as table scraps. Switching to a new type of food may also cause your dog to have diarrhea as their stomach adjusts. 

However, there are also a number of more serious health issues that could lead to your dog suffering from diarrhea so it is always a good idea to monitor the situation and contact your vet if you feel as though there is any reason for concern. 

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 such as roundworms or hookworms 
  • Bacterial infections such as salmonella
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Medications such as antibiotics

When should you contact your vet?

If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normally and has no other symptoms, 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 also be a sign of a very serious health issue, particularly if your dog is very young, very old, 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.

If your dog is displaying other symptoms alongside diarrhea you should also take them to the vet as soon as possible. Other symptoms to watch for include:

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

Always contact your veterinarian if your dog is displaying any symptoms that are causing you concern and they will let you know if you should bring your pup in for further examination. 

How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs

When it comes to treating diarrhea in dogs it's important that you don't give your dog any human medication without consulting your vet. Many human medications are toxic to dogs and could cause further complications. 

If your pup has mild diarrhea with no other symptoms you may want to give your dog some time to recover by having them fast for 12-24 hours. 

You can also try having them switch to a bland diet for 24-48 hours. Plain-cooked brown rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your pup's stomach feel better. Once their bowel movements return to normal you can slowly reintroduce their regular food. 

Other things that might help to soothe your dog's upset stomach include natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, and egg with no oil added.

Chronic diarrhea in dogs can happen when your pup has a sensitive stomach. If your dog experiencing frequent diarrhea with no other underlying causes, your vet may be able to recommend medication or a specialized diet to help. 

When it comes to your dog's health, it is always better to err on the side of caution and speak with your vet to determine the best treatment plan for your dog's diarrhea. 

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.

Is your dog experiencing frequent bouts of diarrhea? Contact our Los Angeles vets today to set up an appointment for your pup.

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