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What Causes Dog Diarrhea and How to Treat It

What Causes Dog Diarrhea and How to Treat It

Diarrhea is one of the most distressing symptoms for pets owners to see in their dogs. Today, our Visalia vets talk about the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs and the steps you can take to make this messy problem go away as quickly as possible.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our emergency vets in Visalia, see dogs that are suffering from diarrhea for many different reasons.

Mild episodes of diarrhea are relatively common in our four-legged friends and can be brought on by mild intestinal distress from your dog eating a little bit of something they shouldn't have, and it not agreeing with them, such as scraps of human food, or from switching to a new flavor or brand of dog food.

However, there is also a handful of more serious health problems that could be causing your dog's diarrhea.

The Causes of Dog Diarrhea

Here are several of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:

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

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

When to Call Your Vet for Dog Diarrhea

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 go to the closest emergency pet hospital for care.

Recurring episodes of diarrhea over a brief time period of time can be a sign of a very serious underlying health problem, especially if your pooch is very young, very old, or has a compromised immune system. Infections like parvovirus are excessively serious, highly contagious, and even life-threatening. Call your vet immediately if your canine companion is having repeated bouts of diarrhea.

Dogs that are exhibiting other symptoms in addition to diarrhea should also be taken to your primary care vet or an emergency animal clinic as fast as possible. If your pet is showing any of the symptoms below contact our Visalia emergency animal hospital straight away for urgent care:

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

If you notice your dog exhibiting any worry symptoms contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary or if you need to bring them to the closest emergency pet clinic.

How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs

In terms of treating your dog's diarrhea, it's imperative that you never give them medications formulated for humans before consulting your vet first. Many human medications are toxic to dogs and could cause further health complications for your pooch.

If your furry friend has had one or two stools that were soft or runny, you might want to provide your dog with a bit of time to recover just by fasting for 12 - 24 hours.

A bland diet for 24 - 48 hours could help clear up your dog's issue. Cooked-plain white rice with a bit of chicken and a little canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) could help your dog's stomach feel better. After your dog is feeling better again gradually reintroduce their usual 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 your pup's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. By taking your pooch in for an examination you give your vet the opportunity to determine the underlying cause of your pup's diarrhea and recommend the most effective 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 is suffering from diarrhea, contact our emergency Visalia vets as quickly as possible. Chronic dog diarrhea is a serious health concern. Tulare-Kings Veterinary Emergency Services is open evenings, holidays and weekends to provide your pup with the care they need. 

Compassionate Emergency Care for Pets

Tulare-Kings Veterinary Emergency Services is a pet emergency animal hospital providing urgent care to cats and dogs in the Visalia area. Contact us right away if you are experiencing a veterinary emergency.

Contact (559) 739-7054