Before we get started into a topic as important as this one, let me make something very clear to you – if your dog is dealing with diarrhea and it is not stopping, you need to make an appointment with your vet.
There are only so many things the internet can offer you in the way of helping your dog when they have gastrointestinal diarrhea.
This in no way replaces a visit to the vet, even if you figure out what the issue is and the diarrhea has stopped.
Because diarrhea can dehydrate your dog in a snap, you need to make sure you take your dog to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.
Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?
Unfortunately, diarrhea is a problem that is seen pretty frequently in dogs. If they aren’t trained properly (i.e don’t listen to you when you say no or to drop something) or in view, they will eat things – things they, more often than not, shouldn’t be eating.
However, this does not mean that health problems should be ruled out. Diarrhea is often the cause of certain health issues, which we will be going over in a minute or two.
How to Stop Your Dog’s Diarrhea
The first thing you need to do is keep a full bowl of fresh, clean water close to your dog at all times. Dehydration will set in faster than you think when a dog is having bouts of diarrhea. Try to encourage your dog to drink as much as he needs to, but ensure he isn’t gorging on it – he could end up throwing it all back up.
In addition to the water, you can try adding Pedialyte or some diluted beef or chicken broth to it. It’ll help him keep his strength up and get some nutrients back into his body.
Do not try to feed your dog his regular food. Instead, make some plain white rice and boiled chicken. Make sure he’s eating no kibble or treats, only a diet that consists of carbohydrates until his stool returns to a normal consistency.
If you don’t have plain white rice or boiled chicken, here are what your other options are:
- Plain yogurt
- Boiled (without skin) potatoes
- Eggs (not prepared with oil or butter)
- Cottage cheese
- Canned pumpkin (not pie filling, PLAIN)
- Metronidazole (known as Flagyl)
Break meals up into 4 small portions given throughout the day. If your dog does not want to eat anything whatsoever, call the vet immediately.
If your dog’s diarrhea worsens, or lasts for more than 24 hours, call your vet. If it worsens during the night, you need to locate an emergency vet as soon as possible.
The Most Common Causes of Dog Diarrhea
Parasites, such as intestinal worms, are one of the primary causes of diarrhea in dogs. This is more commonly seen in younger dogs, especially puppies, rather than older, senior dogs.
Metabolic diseases, such as disorders of the thyroid, liver, and pancreas, can cause diarrhea in dogs due to environmental and motility issues.
Primary inflammatory disorders are a big culprit of diarrhea in dogs.
Stress and anxiety can cause a dog to experience an upset stomach and lead to diarrhea.
Sudden changes to his diet can cause your dog to develop an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Bacterial or viral infections, which occur more often in younger dogs and puppies, can and do lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Toxins, which can include medications, can upset your dog’s GI tract and cause diarrhea.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Having Diarrhea
Though certain health problems can cause diarrhea, there are a number of ways you can prevent your dog from having diarrhea.
- Don’t change your dog’s diet suddenly – do it gradually by adding small amounts of new food to your dog’s old food and increase the amount of new as you go.
- Don’t allow your dog to play with small objects that may be ingested and cause an upset stomach.
- Don’t feed your dogs table scraps or allow them to scavenge.
- Don’t miss vaccinations and deworming.
Following these simple rules can keep your dog from experiencing bouts of diarrhea at any point in time.
When Diarrhea Becomes an Emergency
For starters, diarrhea can become an emergency in dogs who are:
- Very small
If your dog is currently dealing with other health problems, such as diabetes or cancer, on top of diarrhea, you need to seek help for him immediately.
We know that diarrhea is large, loose amounts of stools that can be pretty watery, which is alarming in itself.
However, if the following symptoms arise on top of diarrhea, you have a serious problem on your hands:
- Sudden/extreme weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Pale gums
If you spot any of the following symptoms listed above, call your vet immediately or visit your local emergency vet straight away. Your dog may be experiencing liver or heart failure.