Dog diarrhea is defined as an abnormal increase in the amount of fluid in the feces. It is often followed by excessively loose, watery and frequent stools. As a dog-owner, you probably know what this means. A sick dog, a stinky mess, countless trips outside, and a miserable experience for both you and your dog. Diarrhea may be short in duration, but can also last for weeks or months. The bad news: nearly all dogs get diarrhea sooner or later. The good news: most cases are mild and self-limiting. This article may help you be better prepared when diarrhea strikes.
Causes of dog diarrhea
- Change in diet
- Food intolerance
- Ingestion of garbage or spoiled food
- Ingestion of poisonous substances, toxic plant material, rocks, bones, fabric, carpet, and other indigestible materials
- Allergic reaction, food allergy, e.g. to milk, wheat gluten, soy, corn, beef
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Internal parasites
- Kidney or liver disease
- Cancer or other tumors of the digestive tract
- Certain medications
- Poor quality diet
What can YOU do? Home remedies for dog diarrhea
In most cases dog diarrhea is mild and may be treated with basic home treatments – and without a trip to the vet’s office. These are the best home remedies for treating dog diarrhea:
- Take away all food for 24 hours. Withholding food for 12 to 24 hours, and providing water in small amounts frequently, can clear the cause of the upset and allow the gastrointestinal tract to settle. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to give your dog access to water at all times. Before you decide on a fast, be sure that your dog is healthy enough to endure it. Puppies, and elderly dogs, for example, need nutrients.
- After 24 hours, continue to feed several small meals for a couple days in gradually increasing amounts until a formed stool is passed. Check with your veterinarian about the proper food for diarrhea. If this is working, then start to wean your pet back to its regular food over the course of a week.
- Do not give your dog bones, snacks, or table scraps. They may irritate the intestinal tract during this time.
- Check with your veterinarian about the proper course of treatment for your dog’s specific case.
When should you bring your dog the vet?
Bring your dog to the veterinarian right away if the diarrhea continues for more than a day, or if your dog’s diarrhea:
- is accompanied by repeated vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, generalized weakness, or fever.
- contains large amounts of visible blood.
- is accompanied by dark-colored or bloody stools
- might be related to the ingestion of something toxic.
- occurs in a puppy under nine months of age, particularly if vaccines were missed.
- occurs in an elderly or medically frail animal.
When things just don’t seem right. You know your dog, and only you know the signs that something is wrong. Respect your instincts and if you think you need veterinary guidance, pick up the phone.