Dog Diarrhea consists of the abnormally frequent passage of loose or soft stools, and is one of the most common signs of disease in dogs. It occurs when dissolved substances within the intestine cause excess water to move into the intestine. This accumulation decreases the absorption of food and results in what vets call canine Malapsorptive Diarrhea. On the other hand, an increased secretion of electrolytes into the intestine causes dog diarrhea due to Maldigestion.
Diarrhea lasting less than 24 hours without signs of illness can be beneficial. It is the body’s defense mechanism to cleanse itself. Diarrhea lasting over 24 hours, with or without other signs of illness, should be addressed by your veterinarian.
TIP: Trashcans need dog proof lids to prevent scavenging for garbage.
Signs Of Dog Diarrhea
- Loose or soft stool passed often.
- Stool coated with mucus. Stool containing blood.
- Loss of appetite.
- Lethargic, depressed.
Causes of Dog Diarrhea
- The leading cause of dog diarrhea is dietary indiscretion (eating table scraps, garbage, foreign objects).
- Stress and anxiety can cause stool to be loose with mucus and/or blood.
- Bacteria Diseases: Salmonella; Viral Diseases: Parvo Virus and Corona Virus.
- Parasites, Roundworms especially in puppies.
- Allergies: Intolerance to milk; occasionally food.
What You Can Do
- Feed your dog small, bland, low-fat, easily digestible canine meals four times daily. Use lean protein, such as poultry or fish. On day one, withhold food but give fluids to prevent dehydration.
- On the second day feed several small bland meals, pureed chicken, turkey or beef are well tolerated. Add yogurt with live acidophilus cultures to help replace the “friendly” bacteria lost with diarrhea.
- The “friendly” bacteria are necessary for proper digestion and absorption of food. Probiotics are another more concentrated source of “friendly” bacteria.
- On the third day add fiber in the form of vegetables, like broccoli or green beans, to the diet. Fiber acts like a sponge and draws water out of stool which helps to make it firm.
- On the fourth day add grains like brown rice. Rice is a carbohydrate and provides energy. Finally, start adding your dog’s normal diet into this at one-quarter increments until your dog is back on his normal diet.
- TIP: Yogurt with ‘live cultures’ provides beneficial bacteria lost with diarrhea.
What You And Your Vet Can Do
- A complete physical examination along with an accurate history help determine the problem. For example, note when your dog’s diarrhea began, how often it occurs, and if your dog is straining. Bring a stool sample and note whether or not your dog ate anything unusual.
- A fecal exam checks for intestinal worms, most of which can only be seen under the microscope. Only severely parasitized animals excrete live worms in their stool.
- Worms are an important cause of diarrhea in puppies and adult dogs.
- Diagnostics for long-term and/or recurrent cases of dog diarrhea may include blood tests to rule out bacterial and viral problems and detect disease of major organ systems like the liver or kidneys.
- X-rays to find offensive objects and abnormal growths; interpretation of fecal cultures to reveal specific bacteria like Salmonella and E-coli ; and intestinal biopsies.