Is My Dog's Diarrhea An Emergency?
While not the most pleasant encounter, most dog owners can relate to the occasional bout of diarrhea. While it can be a sign of a medical emergency, there are a number of other potential causes. It's important to identify the cause before trying to figure out a solution. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Dietary indiscretion: Eating too much, eating garbage, or spoiled food. In veterinary circles it's known as—“garbage toxicosis” or “garbage gut.”
- Change in diet: It may take a few days for a dog’s digestive system to adapt to new proteins. That’s why many dog-food manufacturers recommend that you go slow when you switch from one brand of food to another.
- Food intolerance: Just like humans, some dogs stomachs don't agree with certain foods.
Parasites: Most of these will cause illness in puppies or in adults with weak immune systems:
- Poisonous substances or plants
- Swallowing an indigestible foreign body, like a socks or a toy
Infections with common viruses such as:
- Bacterial infections, such as salmonella
- Illnesses, such as kidney & liver disease, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, & cancer
- Antibiotics & other medications be sure to check with your vet about medication side effects.
- Stress or emotional upset: Moving, changes in routine, or being away from loved ones could all be a cause of upset stomachs in your pup.
What Should My Dogs Stool Look Like?
What About The Color?
Here Are Some Home Remedies For Doggy Diarrhea
No food for 12 to 24 hours, & providing water in small amounts frequently, can clear the cause of the upset & allow the gastrointestinal tract to settle. It’s usually the first line of attack for diarrhea. Before you decide on a fast, be sure that your dog is healthy enough to endure a fast. Puppies, & elderly dogs, for example, need nutrients. Also, a fast may not be appropriate for small dogs who do not have the physical reserves of their larger cousins.
Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so make sure to give your dog access to water at all times. You may also offer unflavored Pedialyte to help maintain electrolyte balance under a vet’s advice.
- Plain White Rice: Either mixed with their kibble, or as a stand alone meal or snack. Plain white rice can help ease any pains in your dogs stomach.
- Rice Water: Boil high-quality rice in a lot of water, remove the grains, and offer the dog the creamy white soup that’s left. A splash of broth or a bit baby food will make it more palatable.
- Pumpkin: (100% pumpkin puree from the grocery store, pumpkin powder, or a pet-specific canned pumpkin for dogs) has the odd distinction of being effective both for diarrhea and for constipation. If you can’t get pure pumpkin, a good alternative is pumpkin powder made specifically for pets.
Plain Yogurt: with active cultures can help dogs who can tolerate milk products.
Probiotics to promote live bacteria that aid digestion (these are also found in yogurt)
- Boiled potatoes without skin
- Cottage cheese
- Plain protein sources such as egg (prepared with no butter or oil) or chicken (without skin)
- Herbs, such as fennel, may have gut-soothing properties
- Specially-formulated dog foods: Some manufacturers offer sensitive stomach dog foods that can soothe stomach problems. You may need to obtain some of these from your vet.
- Over-the-counter medications for humans may also be effective for doggie diarrhea, but should be given with caution, and you should always consult with your vet before using them.
When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?
The right time to contact a vet depends very much on what’s normal for your dog. Unfortunately, some dogs are more prone to digestive disorders than others, so you have to be very aware of the things that are out-of-the-ordinary on an individual basis.
There are, however, benchmarks that should consider when deciding when consult with your vet:
- Other physical symptoms, such as lethargy, fever, vomiting, dry, tacky or pale gums, or weakness;
- Diarrhea that does not stop despite home remedies that worked in the past, and symptoms lasting more than 72 hours;
- Long duration (Some say a few days, others give more time. This all depends on what is normal for your dog.);
- Use of medication (a dog on antibiotics, for example);
- Existing conditions, such as advanced age, diabetes, Cushing’s, cancer, or any medical issue, and
- When things just don’t seem right. You know your dog best, & only you know the subtle signs that something might be wrong. Respect your instincts & remember better safe than sorry.