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Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea in dogs can be a very upsetting symptom for pet owners to deal with. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, you'll want to find a solution as soon as possible! Today, our Pleasant Hill veterinarians discuss some common causes of diarrhea in dogs, as well as how to stop it.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our Pleasant Hill vets see a lot of dogs suffering from diarrhea, and for a range of reasons.

Mild diarrhea is extremely common in dogs and can be caused by mild intestinal distress caused by your dog eating a small amount of something that does not agree with them, such as table scraps, or simply by switching to a new brand or flavor of food.

That said, there are also many more serious reasons why your dog could have diarrhea. 

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs

Below are some of the answers to the question, "what is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?"

  • 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

But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?

When To Contact Your Vet

If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea and appears to be otherwise healthy, it is unlikely to be cause for concern. Keep an eye on your dog's bowel movements to see if the problem goes away. If your dog has two or more bouts of diarrhea, it's a good idea to contact your veterinarian.

If your dog is straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, a painful blockage caused by the ingestion of a foreign object such as a toy could be the cause. This is a serious problem that requires immediate veterinary attention. Contact your veterinarian or go to the nearest emergency animal hospital for help.

Repeated bouts of diarrhea over a short period could indicate a serious health problem, especially if your dog is very old, very young, or has an immune system that is compromised. Parvovirus infections are extremely dangerous, contagious, and life-threatening. If your dog has diarrhea regularly, see your veterinarian right away.

Other symptoms, in addition to diarrhea, should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms listed below, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule an appointment:

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

If your dog 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.

Treating Diarrhea in Dogs

If you're looking for how to stop diarrhea in dogs, follow this simple advice.

Never give human medications to your dog. Many over-the-counter medications that are safe for humans can be harmful to dogs.

If your dog has had one or two runny or soft stools, you should give him or her some time to recover by fasting for 12 to 24 hours.

A bland diet for a day or two may help your pup's problem. Plain-cooked white rice with some chicken and canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help your pup's stomach feel better. Once your dog has recovered, gradually reintroduce its regular food.

Natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg with no oil added, specially formulated dog foods, and medications prescribed by your veterinarian may also help to soothe your dog's upset stomach.

When it comes to your best friend's health, it's always better to be safe than sorry. By bringing your dog in for an examination, your veterinarian will be able to determine the underlying cause of your dog's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment.

If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, contact our Pleasant Hill veterinarians to schedule an examination. Our veterinarians at Diablo View Veterinary Medical Hospital are skilled at diagnosing and treating canine diarrhea.

New Patients Welcome

Diablo View Veterinary Medical Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced veterinarians are passionate about the health of Pleasant Hill companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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