What causes diarrhea in dogs?

Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by anything, including eating garbage, food intolerance, parasites and stress along with certain viruses and bacteria.

How is diarrhea in dogs treated?

The course of treatment is determined by the cause of your dog's diarrhea but may consist of an anti-diarrheal agent, fasting, bland food, and probiotics.

How should I take care of my dog with diarrhea?

Follow all veterinarian instructions, especially pertaining to the proper diet. At-home treatments include fasting, boiled chicken with white rice (bland diet), bone broth, probiotics, and fiber supplements.

Dealing with diarrhea in dogs is not only a nasty business but it's also a common problem most pet caregivers face. Diarrhea varies in severity, duration, and frequency from breed to breed. While canine diarrhea isn't always preventable, there are ways to decrease the incidence of this unpleasant condition in your furry friend. .

Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea is characterized by the faster transit of feces through the intestines combined with a reduction in the absorption of water, minerals, and electrolytes. When diarrhea is a dog's primary symptom of illness, it may be caused by a very straightforward issue, such as an intestinal infection brought on by bacteria, coccidia, or intestinal worms such as hookworms, roundworms, or whipworms.

A change in diet or dietary misconduct (eating trash or other irritating foods) is a frequent cause of acute diarrhea in dogs. Acute diarrhea can also be brought on by stress, particularly after traveling, boarding, or experiencing other environmental changes. Other causes of diarrhea in dogs include:

  • Food intolerance
  • Allergies
  • Poisonous substances or plants
  • Parvovirus, Distemper, and Coronavirus
  • Bacterial infections (i.e. salmonella)
  • Antibiotics and other medications

When your dog has diarrhea, most of the water they drink is passed through the body instead of absorbed by the intestines. This causes gradual dehydration that can cause electrolyte imbalances and put a strain on the kidneys resulting in organ failure. Seek veterinary care if your pet exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Complete loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Black or tarry stool
  • Vomiting

If diarrhea doesn't resolve within 48 to 72 hours, you should seek veterinary care for your pup.

Diagnosis of Doggy Diarrhea

When you take your dog to the veterinary hospital, the first thing your vet may want to do is diagnose the cause of their diarrhea symptoms. Your vet will test your pup's stool for intestinal parasites, Giardia, and certain kinds of bacteria. Blood might be taken to catch signs of metabolic disease, protein loss, anemia, inflammation, and other conditions. Other tests including CPL tests, radiographs, and ultrasound may be necessary. 

Treatment for Diarrhea in Dogs

Your dog's diarrhea treatment plan is dependent on the results of their tests. Parasites can be treated with dewormer. Bacteria populations may be managed with probiotics. Anti-diarrheal agents and food restrictions may be prescribed to reset your dog's gut. If your dog does not respond to initial treatment within 48 to 72 hours then more tests and new treatments may be needed.       

Home-Care for Doggy Diarrhea

Canine diarrhea resolves on its own in a day or two. In most circumstances, there is no cause for concern because many dogs with diarrhea act and feel fine. A short fast (12 to 24 hours) followed by a bland diet is all that is needed to stop diarrhea in dogs, but, young puppies should not fast. Some home-care remedies for doggy diarrhea are:

  • Probiotic Supplements. The best probiotic supplements for dogs include at least three of the following strains: Saccharomyces boulardio, Bacillus subtilis, Pediococcus acidilactici, or Lactobacillus acidophilus and can be found in many pet stores and vet offices.
  •  Low-Sodium Bone Broth. Bone broth is a soothing way to re-introduce your dog to food after a short fast.
  • Plain Food. Feed your dog simple proteins such as lean chicken, beef, white fish, ground chuck, or cooked eggs combined with simple proteins like rice and sweet potatoes.
  • Psyllium fiber. Supplementing your dog's diet with a fiber supplement a few days before a stressful event can prevent stress-induced diarrhea.
  • Specially-formulated dog food. Dog food for digestive issues is available from some manufacturers. You may need to get these through your veterinarian. 

Once you find a recovery diet that agrees with your dog, you can increase their portions over the course of a few days. Dogs with uncomplicated diarrhea usually make a full recovery, but those with chronic diarrhea may need long-term medication or nutritional therapy to keep their diarrhea issues under control.

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