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Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs & How to Stop It

Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs & How to Stop It

As a pet owner, it can be worrying to see your dog experiencing diarrhea. At Portland, our vets recognize the urgency in finding a solution for your furry friend. To assist you, we will discuss the common triggers of diarrhea in dogs and provide you with effective remedies to alleviate the discomfort.

Diarrhea in Dogs

It is not uncommon for dogs to experience diarrhea at some point in their lives due to various reasons. Mild cases of diarrhea can occur as a result of mild intestinal discomfort, which could be caused by consuming unsuitable scraps or switching to a new brand or flavor of food.

However, serious health concerns can also trigger diarrhea in dogs. Our team of vets at Portland will provide a comprehensive list of these issues, advise you on when to seek veterinary attention, and suggest typical treatments.

What causes diarrhea in dogs?

Here are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea in dogs:

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

With all these potential causes, how do you know whether your dog will need to visit the vet?

When should you contact your vet?

If your dog has had one instance of diarrhea but is behaving normally, it is probably not a reason to worry. Monitor your dog's bowel movements to determine if they improve on their own. However, if your furry friend experiences two or more bouts of diarrhea, it could indicate a health issue, and it's advisable to contact your vet. 

If your dog is struggling to pass a stool, only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they may have ingested a foreign object such as a toy, causing a painful blockage. This is a veterinary emergency that requires immediate attention. Contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care.

Recurring episodes of diarrhea over a brief period of time could be a sign of a severe health problem, particularly if your dog is very young, very old, or has a weakened immune system. Infections like parvovirus are highly contagious and life-threatening. If your dog experiences repeated instances of diarrhea, contact your vet immediately.

Dogs displaying additional symptoms alongside diarrhea should be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your vet to schedule an appointment:

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

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 can you stop diarrhea in dogs?

If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, it's crucial to refrain from administering human medications without consulting your veterinarian. Certain human medications may harm dogs and lead to further health issues.

For mild cases of diarrhea where your dog has only had a few loose stools, it's recommended to allow your dog to fast for 12 to 24 hours to aid in their recovery.

To alleviate your pup's discomfort, a bland diet consisting of plain-cooked white rice, a small amount of chicken, and canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) for 24 to 48 hours may be effective. After your dog is feeling better, gradually reintroduce their regular food.

Other remedies that may provide relief include natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg without added oil, specialized dog foods, and medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

When it comes to your dog's health, it's important to play it safe and seek veterinary attention. By visiting your veterinarian, they can identify the underlying cause of your dog's diarrhea and provide appropriate 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.

Chronic diarrhea in dogs is a serious health issue. If your pup is suffering from diarrhea, contact our Portland vets today to schedule an appointment. We can treat your dog's diarrhea and help your pooch feel better.

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Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Portland companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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