Why Does my Dog Have Diarrhea?

My Dog Has Diarrhea: What Can I Do to Help?

Anyone who has a dog knows how dreadful the incidence of diarrhea can be. If you are lucky, you will see it happen outside, but sometimes we discover a liquid pile of dog poop on the floor. Unfortunately, you're not the only one that suffers with this. Diarrhea can be uncomfortable or even painful for your furry family member. It is important to learn about this condition and know when it's time to seek medical attention. Leaving your dog unattended can result in a serious medical emergency or even death. Let's review basic information about diarrhea in dogs and what you can do.

So, Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?

The most common causes of diarrhea involve consuming a substance that upsets the digestive tract. The substance causes the water in the intestines to not be absorbed, which results in diarrhea. Some common causes include:
  • Dietary indiscretions such as eating compost
  • Parasites such as roundworms
  • Food allergies
  • Infections such as Salmonella
  • Inflammation such as in the case of IBS (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Pancreatic dysfunction (common in German Shepherds)
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Medications such as antibiotics
  • Intestinal cancer

Two Types of Diarrhea

Small Bowel Diarrhea comes from the intestines and is commonly due to parasites and infectious agents. It happens in large volumes and is not frequent. Sometimes it is accompanied by vomiting and weight loss.

Large Bowel Diarrhea comes from the colon. It presents with frequent bowel movements, straining, and occasional mucus or blood in the stool. Most cases of large bowel diarrhea are classified as colitis.

How to Stop Dog Diarrhea

Diarrhea that goes longer than 48 hours should be addressed by taking your furry friend to the vet. You must try home remedies to help stop it. You can try home remedies such as a bland diet for a few days consisting of rice, chicken, chicken stock, oatmeal, however, if you are not successful, you have to promptly take your dog to the vet.

When dealing with puppies who are not yet vaccinated and might have diarrhea from infectious diseases, you must immediately take them to the vet to be examined. If the diarrhea is severe and results in dehydration, it is considered a medical emergency and you must seek immediate urgent care. Signs that this is happening manifest with your dog becoming weak or lethargic. This indicates severe dehydration and a poor circulatory state. However, if your dog is still alert, active, and drinking, you may try the following home remedies:

Day 1: Stop food for 24 hours to let the intestines rest and regenerate. Always provide access to plenty of fresh water.

Day 2: After the 24 hour rest period, start by gradually introducing bland foods. A great option is plain whole brown cooked rice. Replace their normal diet quantities with equivalent amounts of rice.

Day 3: You can now start to reintroduce normal foods to your dog. Do this by providing half the amount of cooked rice and the other half of their normal food. By the end of this third day, your dog should be back to a normal diet.

Treat With Probiotics: How to Give Probiotics to my Dog?

Giving probiotics to your dog can help restore the natural bacteria in the intestine. Please consult with your current vet to see what types of probiotics you can use as human probiotics are completely different. Probiotics help to strengthen the intestinal immune system. The most effective supplement is Lactobacillus acidophilus. If possible, choose a brand specifically designed for dogs and follow the indications on the bottle. Generally, you may give your dog 1/4 of a capsule per 10 pounds of body weight twice per day. Probiotics will help any type of diarrhea and also act as a preventative measure for overall health, which makes them ideal for daily use. Not all supplements are created equal so be sure to consult with your vet before implementing. Probiotics must come in an active form for them to be effective. Some probiotic supplements do not offer active ones, mostly low-quality brands. There are also over-the-counter medications to treat diarrhea in dogs, but they are synthetic and may pose risks. Probiotics and nutritional care seem to work well for most issues but always best to consult with the professionals.

Final Thoughts

Never underestimate the seriousness of diarrhea. If your dog doesn't improve within 48 hours, seek immediate medical care. Try to investigate the cause of diarrhea and keep a journal to track progress and frequency. Probiotics are an effective way to treat diarrhea without the harmful effects of drugs. When it comes to the health of your best friend, it is best to take preventative measures that include providing whole foods and probiotic supplements. As always, help your dog thrive by providing plenty of fresh water and exercise!

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