In some cases, there are quick fixes – all you have to do is provide medications from time to time. Unfortunately, it’s not the same every time. As simple as diarrhea sounds, it can get very, very complicated and expensive with time.
Now it’s not very difficult to understand if your dog has diarrhea or not. You can’t prevent it, per se, but what you can do is know why this happens to dogs and hence take adequate protective measures. We’re here to help you out with that. In this article, we’ll take you through the leading causes, types, and treatments for diarrhea in dogs.
What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs?
Dogs have a very well-balanced digestive system. But there can be many things, both related and unrelated to foods, that cause different bowel issues like constipation, dysentery, and, at worst – diarrhea. We’ve sorted these reasons into a few different sections.
It is the most common reason behind a dog’s diarrhea. This mostly happens when your pup overeats or eats spoiled food and garbage. In the veterinary circle, this issue is known as “garbage toxicosis.”
If you’ve heard people saying, “dogs can digest anything,” – then that’s a lie. They can’t. In fact, many dogs are intolerant to different foods – and if your pet has had something like that, diarrhea is imminent.
It’s common for a dog’s digestive system to take a few days to adapt to a new protein. So if you’ve changed the dog food brand, you should go slow while feeding your dog.
You need to be well aware of the allergic reactions a food can have on your dog. All dogs aren’t allergic to the same food, so you should do enough research before proceeding.
Many parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia can sneak into your pet’s intestine and cause acute diarrhea.
If your dog has mistakenly consumed any toxic or harmful substance, it might cause serious trouble inside its intestine and thereby trigger diarrhea.
This is another common cause of diarrhea. Dogs can either playfully or out of hunger gulp down foreign objects that aren’t edible at all. From wood sticks to metal balls to marbles – vets have found weirder things in their bodies. All these can cause severe diarrhea.
Many types of viruses can trigger diarrhea in your dog. From parvovirus to distemper to the latest Coronavirus – all of them are capable enough to give your dog diarrhea.
We’ve all heard of salmonella – and even though dogs can eat raw meat, unlike humans – the risk of salmonella remains, and sometimes it causes diarrhea among dogs.
If your dog is already suffering from acute diseases like kidney and liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, or cancer – then a bowel issue regarding diarrhea is quite common.
Antibiotics and Other Medications
Many medications, including antibiotics, have side effects. They’re usually harmless, but some antibiotics can lead to stomach aches or diarrhea among dogs.
Stress Or Emotional Upset
It might come as a surprise, but dogs can also be depressed, stressed, or emotionally upset. They can’t talk in our languages, so we don’t duly get it at times. Having bowel movements, including diarrhea, is typical for a dog when it’s upset.
Can Human Foods Cause Diarrhea?
While it sounds impossible, mainly because dogs tend to enjoy the food we share with them from our plates – but the truth is – they’re not suitable for dogs at all.
The temptation is there, and it’s hard to resist them when they look at you with their puppy eyes and want a part of that delicious chicken – but don’t.
Please do not feed them our food, mainly because they have a completely different digestive system, and the spices used in our food make it hard for them to digest.
Human food that is high in sugar and salt is a common cause of a dog’s diarrhea. It activates osmosis in the puppy’s intestine and results in diarrhea. So, if you do intend to feed your pet doggo some human food, you better stick to vegetables like carrots, green beans, and fruits like seedless apple, mango, etc.
Types of Diarrhea in Dogs
We can classify the types of diarrhea a dog suffers from into two main sub-groups. One is large-bowel diarrhea, and the other is small-bowel diarrhea. Apart from them, we’ll also discuss acute, chronic, and vomiting diarrhea as well.
Large-bowel diarrhea arises from the colon or the large intestine. If you feel like your dog has an increased frequency of pooping with a minimal volume of stool, then it might be because of large-bowel diarrhea.
Other symptoms include straining to defecate or signs of red blood and sometimes mucous in the poop. The red blood is often concerning and a clear indication of inflammation. We’d suggest you contact the vet the moment you see something like this.
The reason behind the blood is that the inflammation results in an overproduction of mucous coating, which means the colon isn’t working correctly. In large-bowel diarrhea, we often see watery stool as well.
Under these circumstances, if you see a large volume of blood, it is very concerning, and you need to consult your vet as soon as possible.
As expected, this type of diarrhea arises from the small intestine and is quite the opposite of large bowel diarrhea in terms of characteristics. You can figure it out by the shape and size of the stool.
In small-bowel diarrhea, your dog will have large, goopy stools and produce it on a regular frequency. The feces are often characterized as fatty and frothy and don’t have red blood or mucous most of the time. You won’t see any straining either.
The small intestine’s main job is to absorb nutrients, so whenever there’s some sort of inflammation, it will lack absorption, thereby resulting in fatty poops. If your dog has small intestinal diarrhea, it can also be identified if it faces issues like poor hair coat, ravenous appetite, or gradual weight loss.
In many cases, you will not even realize that your dog has diarrhea – as its immune system will automatically resolve the issue, and within 24 hours, your dog will get back to its normal state.
However, if diarrhea lasts for more than two days and contains signs of blood in the stool – then it’s a serious situation. If it includes vomiting as well – then you should consult the vet without wasting a moment because acute diarrhea can result in something as severe as imminent death.
This is something that will make your pet suffer for a long, long time. It’s a persistent disease, and even if your pup goes through all the necessary treatments, they keep coming back.
There can be many causes behind this problem, but the main reasons include the following:
- Parasites (whipworms)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
- Hyperthyroidism, etc.
This recurring disease often leads to weight loss, lethargy, and hair loss to some extent.
A common reason behind chronic diarrhea is if your pet is exposed to a diet they’re not comfortable with, which generally causes chronic intermittent diarrhea.
Food high in fat and protein is technically not suitable for them, and using grain-free diets will remove the healthy fibers from dog food, which weakens their immune system.
What you should do here is consult a vet or a reputable company and make a balanced diet for your pet dog. That should keep its bowel movement in check!
Diarrhea with Vomiting
So far, we’ve only gone for simple cases of diarrhea. But diarrhea and vomiting? That’s a new level of problem. Diarrhea is a common disease, but if you vomit after you get diarrhea, this can get really risky for your doggo.
Because if your dog vomits, then another section of the gastrointestinal tract comes to play. This can happen if a high-fat treat is given to the dog and it causes pancreatitis.
As the name says, pancreatitis means inflamed pancreas, which causes acute vomiting alongside abdominal pain and diarrhea. It can be fatal if your pet is old or if your pet has already had bloody diarrhea. If the vomit also contains blood, then it’s a massive red flag for your pet dog, and you must take immediate action.
Why You Should Examine the Dog Poop Color
You can understand a lot about your dog’s dietary plan from the color of their stool. It’s impacted mainly by the food’s color, but you need to know about their color indicators while consulting the vet. This is very important because the vet will prescribe medicines based on your observation.
Yellow, the most common type of stool from diarrhea, occurs when the pet parent feeds the pupper a bland and tasteless diet like plain rice with chicken. If you see this, you should consider a slight change in the food.
Bloody diarrhea is also known as hematochezia. It’s a common sign of colitis, and you can see different amounts of blood in the poop. Now, if you see just a little blood – that’s not very concerning. However, if the poop is mostly bloody, then it can be a matter of grave concern.
Black diarrhea, also known as melena, is something quite profound. The poop looks black/greenish in such cases and certainly doesn’t come out of healthy dogs. If your dog has foreign bodies or bleeding ulcers, it can result in melena.
Home Remedies for Puppies with Dog Diarrhea
First things first – never even think of giving human meds to your pets – dogs and cats included. The medications for animals are entirely different, and you should only feed them whatever the vet prescribes in the case of diarrhea.
Antibiotics don’t work with dogs with chronic issues, and only sufficient veterinary medicine can solve the problem.
But if you can’t contact the vet at all and your dog needs home remedies, you can try Imodium, but this is only for basic diarrhea, so if your pet has parasites or has swallowed a foreign object – it won’t work.
But perhaps the best idea would be to feed your pupper a very bland diet. Maybe a blend of simple protein like lean chicken, cooked eggs, lean beef, or white fish, and basic curbs like white/sweet potatoes, white/brown rice, etc., should be enough.
It would be best to feed your pupper small but frequent meals that will heal its GI tract but won’t overwhelm it with random food. Fasting helps too in some cases of loose motion, but you need to be careful about it.
If the diarrhea is stress-induced, then using fiber supplements can also help. If you require fiber, then canned pumpkin can also be a very good option.
What Is the Right Time to Take Your Dog to the Vet?
Truth be told, whenever you see your dog pooping more frequently than usual, you should talk to a vet before doing anything on your own. But there are simple issues that you can solve at home – so you should know when exactly you should consult the vet.
First things first, if your chihuahua or husky has blood in the stool or has chronic dysentery, then it’s a must to talk to a vet. But in the first sight of diarrhea, you need to check if fasting or a bland diet works.
If, after two days, the dog’s still pooping frequently – then you need to set an appointment with the vet. Always remember that if your pupper vomits with blood – then diarrhea may cause serious issues. Last but not least, a sudden weight loss can also mean you need to consult a vet immediately.
Don’t start panicking if your doggo is frequently pooping all over your house; there are many ways to stop it – as we’ve discussed in this article. While it’s true that consulting the vet is always the best option, knowing a bit about diarrhea in dogs will always come in handy at times!