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What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

It can be very distressing to find out your pup has diarrhea. When it comes to diarrhea in dogs, you probably want to find a cure FAST! In this post, our Farmington Hills vets list some common causes and how to stop this symptom. 

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our vets in Farmington Hills assess a lot of dogs suffering from diarrhea for any number of potential reasons. 

While mild bouts of diarrhea are very common in dogs and can be caused by mild intestinal distress. Your dog may have eaten something that doesn't agree with them, whether they've gotten into some food scraps on your table or in the garbage, or you've switched to a new flavor or brand of dog food. 

That said, a number of more serious factors can also contribute to your dog having diarrhea. 

What causes diarrhea in dogs?

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

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

But how do you know whether you'll need to visit the vet for your dog's diarrhea?

When should I call my vet?

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 contact 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 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)
  • Weakness
  • Blood in stool 
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite

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 - 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 diagnose 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.

Does your dog have diarrhea? Contact our vets in Farmington Hills to schedule an examination for your pup. Our vets at Angel Animal Hospital have experience in diagnosing and treating the causes of diarrhea in dogs.

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