What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is frequent bowel movements along with loose stools. Diarrhea is a common problem in dogs and generally improves shortly after three to four bowel movements.

Diarrhea can be caused by underlying problems that can range from food poisoning to cancer.

Causes for Dog Diarrhea?

 Following are the triggers which may cause dog diarrhea:

  • Change in diet
  • Food intolerance
  • Food Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Toxic food or plants
  • Intestine blackage
  • Infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Illnesses
  • Antibiotics and other medications
  • Stress or emotional upset

When to Visit a Vet?

Every dog in his lifetime will go through diarrhea but important thing is that the dog owner should be aware of the signs or symptoms which are grave enough to visit a vet in order to avoid any serious condition.

What are the symptoms of Diahhrea?

Warning Signs:

  • Diarrhea for over 48 hours
  • Black tarry stool or bloody diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Panting
  • Whining
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramps

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, you need to visit a vet immediately.

How To Find The Cause of Diarrhea?

The way to find the cause of diarrhea is to understand the nature of diarrhea:

  1. Color of Stool
  2. Smell of Stool
  3. Frequency of Stool

After understanding the nature of stool the doctor will most probably opt for one or more diagnostic tests to determine the exact cause of diarrhea.

Diagnostic tests can be:

  1. Microscopic fecal evaluation
  2. X-rays with or without barium
  3. Blood tests
  4. Fecal cultures
  5. Endoscopy
  6. Ultrasound
  7. Others

How to Stop Diarrhea?

For adult and healthy dogs, vet might not instruct for diagnostic tests at first go.

Vet recommend an approach in which the remedy can be done at home. Following are the key factors in home remedy approach:

  1. Feeding bland food i.e boiled rice, bland chicken or boiled bland potatoes.
  2. Feeding in small but frequent intervals.
  3. Offering water frequently to keep the dog hydrated.
  4. Prebiotic fiber to soothe down the intestines.

The dog should be able to hold withhold food for 12 to 24 hours.

If this approach helps then the dog stool consistency will improve and will be back to normal. Post the dog recovers from diarrhea symptoms then the dog can be re-introduced to his normal food.

Below is the approach to be taken for a dog with no diarrhrea but no vomiting:

  1. Keep dog hydrated by offering clean water regularly.
  2. Give dog bland food but in small amounts -frequent intervals.
  3. Bland food can be mashed pumpkin, mashed boiled potato, boiled bland chicken, boiled rice etc.
  4. If the dog is not able to hold food for 12-24 hours and diahhrea continues then the vet needs to be consulted.

Below is the approach to be taken for a dog with no diarrhea with vomiting:

  1. Don't give food for 8-12 hours.
  2. Give clean water frequently to your dog to keep him hydrated.
  3. When dog does not vomit for 10-12 hrs then offer a small amount of boiled and bland food.
  4. If dog holds food for 2 to 3 hours and does not vomit then offer another small meal.
  5. Continue this routine for 1 to 2 days.
  6. If diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours then consult the vet.

How to Prevent Diarrhea?

Here are ways to prevent diarrhea in dogs:

  • Don't change dog’s diet suddenly. Introduce it slowly
  • Don't give dog bones
  • Don't give small object to dog which can be swallowed and cause intestinal blockage.
  • Do not allow your dog to eat anything. Keep an eye on what your dog eats.
  • Always get your dog dewormed in time.

Home Remedies For Dog Diarrhea:

1. Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Diarrhea makes a dog lose a lot of water and too much loss of water leads to dehydration. You should offer water to your dog often, if he declines to drink then offer food with a lot of water content i.e Rice in water or Chicken Broth. If he declines to eat then give him ice cubes to lick from your hand. Any way of water intake will be beneficial for your dog dehydration.

2. Give Pumpkin

Pumpkin helps add fiber to gut and helps in diarrhea. Pumpkin is super food for puppies in diarrhea.

3. Give Bland Diet

Feed your dog bland diets like boiled potatoes, bland chicken with rice or rice with water etc. Keep giving meals in small amounts but often till the dog starts retaining food for some time. Slowly transition dog to normal meals as the texture of excreta becomes normal.

4. Give Good Bacteria(Probiotics/Prebiotics)

Add good bacteria to your gut so that good bacteria can colonise the gut and bring back normal functioning of digestive system. Probiotics like natural curd is a good example. Avoid sugar based probiotics for your dogs.

I highly recommend adding a probiotic supplement to your dog's daily food. Prebiotics makes a big difference in the daily life of a dog.