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The Most Common Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs & How to Stop It

It can be very concerning when your dog has diarrhea and we know how desperate you can be to find a quick cure. That's why our New Ulm vets are sharing the most commons causes of dog diarrhea and how you can help stop it.

Diarrhea in Dogs

A lot of dogs come to our New Ulm veterinary office with diarrhea and many pups are experiencing it for various reasons.

Mild diarrhea cases are extremely common and can develop due to mild intestinal distress such as eating an item that doesn't agree with their body ( ex. table scraps) or you have recently switched your pup to a new dog food. 

However, there is also a handful of other possible causes for your dog's diarrhea that can be more serious.

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs?

Below we have listed some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:

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

But how do you know if you should be bringing your dog to the vet for diarrhea?

When To Visit Your Vet

If your dog has just had one episode of diarrhea and is otherwise behaving normally, it's usually not a cause for concern. Keep an eye on your canine companion's bowel movements and see if things clear up. If your dog has more than 2 episodes then there might be a problem, so it's a good idea to call your vet if your pup has two or more bouts of diarrhea.

If your pooch is straining to pass a stool but is 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 condition that requires immediate veterinary attention, call your vet or go to the nearest emergency animal hospital for treatment. 

Recurring bouts of diarrhea over a short time period can be a sign of a very serious health issue, especially if your furry friend 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 pup is experiencing repeated episodes of diarrhea or chronic diarrhea.

If your dog is showing other symptoms as well as diarrhea they should be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your dog has any of the following symptoms contact your vet immediately to book an appointment:

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

If your canine companion is displaying any symptoms that are concerning you, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms require an examination.

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 might want to give your dog some time to recover by simply fasting for 12 - 24 hours.

A bland diet for a day or two can also help your pooch's issue. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) could also help your pup's tummy feel better. Once your dog is feeling better gradually reintroduce their regular food.

Other things that might help 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 determine the underlying cause of your pup's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment.

If your dog is suffering from diarrhea contact our vets in New Ulm to schedule an appointment.

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