Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea is not only uncomfortable for you as the pet parent, but it also means that your dog is likely experiencing intestinal discomfort. Our Doraville vets discuss the various causes of diarrhea, what signs indicate a serious issue and what can be done to treat your dog's condition.

Your dog is experiencing diarrhea. Should you be worried?

Our Doraville vets commonly examine dogs that have been experiencing diarrhea, some that also have other uncomfortable symptoms.

Often, the diarrhea is caused by something as simple as your dog chomping on something that upsets their tummy or a change in food. 

Other times there is a more serious issue behind this uncomfortable condition.

Are there any specific causes of diarrhea in dogs?

Some of the most commonly diagnosed issues that cause diarrhea include:

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

So how can you tell that your dog should be examined by a vet?

Bloody Diarrhea in Dogs

While a single unexpected instance of diarrhea is worrying, sometimes diarrhea can include more serious signs such as blood. This can lead you to immediately wonder 'Is bloody diarrhea an emergency?'.

No matter what the diarrhea looks like, you should monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if things clear up. More than two episodes could indicate a problem, so you should reach out to your vet if the issues have been continuous.

Sometimes our dogs can have diarrhea while showing signs of straining. This may be caused by a bowel obstruction. 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 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 any time your dog is experiencing recurring diarrhea.

You should also call your vet right away if your dog has diarrhea along with other concerning symptoms. Some of these more serious symptoms include:

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

These symptoms can indicate that your dog is experiencing a serious concern and should be examined by a vet as soon as possible. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary.

What can be done to treat diarrhea in dogs?

The first thing to keep in mind is that you should never give your dog human medications. Many human medications are toxic to dogs and could cause further health complications or even death for your dog.

Some dogs may be able to recover from diarrhea with the help of fasting for a day or two.

A bland diet for 24 - 48 hours 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 pup's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. You should contact your vet anytime your dog shows any unusual behaviors, signs or symptoms.

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 experiencing recurring diarrhea along with other concerning symptoms, please contact our experienced Doraville vets today to schedule an examination for your canine companion.