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What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, you are likely a very concerned pet parent. Plus, you want a cure fast. In today's post, our Flat Rock vets list common causes for diarrhea in dogs and explain how it's treated. 


Diarrhea in Dogs 

Our vets in Flat Rock treat many dogs suffering from diarrhea, which can be caused by a wide range of issues. 

It's very common for dogs to experience mild bouts of diarrhea. 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 the simple act of having switched to a new flavor or brand of food can be the culprit. 

However, diarrhea may also potentially be caused by a number of more serious health issues. 

What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

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

  • Anxiety or stress 
  • Eating spoiled food or garbage 
  • Change in food, treats or other elements of diet 
  • Parasites — hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, Giardia or Coccidia
  • Bacterial infections such as salmonella 
  • Viral infections such as coronavirus, parvovirus or distemper 
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as fabric, toys or bones 
  • Infesting poisons or toxins 
  • Colitis 
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Inflammatory bowel disease 
  • Kidney or liver disease 
  • Medications such as antibiotics 
  • Intestinal cancer

But how can you tell whether your dog's diarrhea requires a vet visit? 

When should I take my dog to see the vet?

If your dog is acting normal after a single episode of diarrhea, this is likely not cause for concern. Keep track of your dog's bowel movements and if things seem to clear up, you probably don't need to see a vet. More than two episodes could indicate a problem, so it's a good idea to contact your vet if your pooch has had two or more episodes of diarrhea. 

If you notice that your pup is straining to pass stool but is only successfully passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they may be suffering from a painful blockage due to ingesting a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious concern that requires emergency veterinary attention right away. Contact your vet or visit 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:

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

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

Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter medications that work well for people can be toxic to dogs.

If your dog 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 to 24 hours.

A bland diet for a day or two may help to resolve your pup's issue. 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 your best buddy'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.

Is your dog suffering from a bout of diarrhea? Contact our Flat Rock vets at Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital today to book an appointment for your dog. We can diagnose what's causing the symptoms and prescribe treatments to help your pup feel better.

Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs, Flat Rock Vet

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