Dogs are one of the best things in life. With 69 million American households having at least one dog, they are truly man’s best friend. So, when our furry buddy is under the weather, it’s only natural that we want to do everything we can to help them feel better.
One of the most common issues pet parents face is their pup having diarrhea. While not usually serious, it can nonetheless be quite a nuisance. So, why is my dog having diarrhea?
There are several potential causes for your dog’s upset stomach and diarrhea. It could be something as simple as a change in diet or a reaction to a new food. It could also become a very serious health issue, such as an infection or parasite if not treated properly.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs and what you can do to treat it.
Dogs and Diarrhea: At a Glance
Before we get into the details, let’s take a quick look at the basics of dogs and diarrhea.
First, it’s important to note that there is a difference between diarrhea and soft stools. Diarrhea is defined as watery or runny stool that may contain blood or mucus. Soft stools, on the other hand, are not as watery or runny and usually don’t contain blood or mucus.
If your dog has soft stools, it’s likely nothing to worry about and may simply result from changes in diet or eating something they shouldn’t have. If your dog has diarrhea, however, it’s important to pay attention and take note of any other symptoms they may be experiencing.
Diarrhea can be caused by many things, some of which are more serious than others.
What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs?
There are many potential causes of diarrhea in dogs. It could be something as simple as a change in diet or a reaction to a new food. It could also be more serious, such as an infection or parasite.
Here are some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:
We all know that dogs eat just about anything they can get their paws on. This includes eating garbage, spoiled food, and even feces. However, this dietary indiscretion can often lead to an upset stomach and chronic diarrhea.
Known in veterinary circles as garbage toxicosis, this condition is usually not severe and will resolve on its own within a day or two. If your dog has eaten something it shouldn’t have, the best thing you can do is keep an eye on them and make sure it’s staying hydrated.
Food Allergies or Intolerances
Just like people, some dogs may be allergic or intolerant to certain foods. This can often lead to a pain in the dog’s stomach and diarrhea.
If you think your dog may have a food allergy or intolerance, the best thing you can do is contact your veterinarian. They will likely recommend switching to a bland diet or a limited ingredient diet. These types of diets are made with specially formulated dog foods and fewer ingredients that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Change in Kibble
Did you recently switch your dog’s food? If so, that could be the reason for diarrhea. Dogs’ stomachs are sensitive, and a change in diet can often lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. This usually leads to mild diarrhea that develops due to mild intestinal distress in dogs.
If you recently switched your dog’s food and they have now developed diarrhea, the best thing you can do is switch back to their old food. If diarrhea persists or gets severe over time, the best solution is to take your pet to the nearest emergency animal hospital.
Infections are another common cause of diarrhea in dogs. Infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. The most common type of infection that leads to diarrhea is gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Gastroenteritis is usually caused by a virus, such as parvovirus or coronavirus. It can also be caused by bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. coli., or fungi, such as Candida.
Parasites are another common cause of diarrhea in dogs. The most common type of parasites that cause diarrhea are intestinal worms, such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. These parasites can be contracted through contaminated food or water or by coming into contact with infected feces.
Dogs that have intestinal parasites may also have other symptoms, such as weight loss, appetite changes, and vomiting.
Stress is another common cause of diarrhea in dogs. Dogs can experience stress for a number of reasons, such as changes in their environment, separation anxiety, or even just being overstimulated.
When a dog is stressed, it can lead to an increase in the production of cortisol, which can then lead to gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. Some signs that your dog may be stressed include panting, pacing, yawning, and hiding.
Certain medications can also lead to diarrhea as a side effect. If your dog is taking medication and develops diarrhea, it’s important to speak with your veterinarian. They may recommend switching to a different medication or adjusting the dosage.
Some of the most common medications that can cause diarrhea include antibiotics, antacids, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Pancreatitis is another potential cause of diarrhea in dogs. This is an inflammation of the pancreas that can be caused by a viral infection, bacterial infection, parasites, certain medications, or even obesity.
Pancreatitis can lead to a number of different symptoms, including vomiting, appetite changes, weight loss, and diarrhea. If your dog is showing any signs of pancreatitis, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately.
Irritable Bowel Disease
Irritable bowel disease (IBD) is another potential cause of diarrhea in dogs. IBD is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that can be caused by a number of different things, such as food allergies, infections, or even stress.
Dogs with IBD may experience a number of different symptoms, including vomiting, weight loss, appetite changes, and diarrhea. If your dog is showing any signs of IBD, it’s important to seek veterinary care.
There are a number of other potential causes of diarrhea in dogs, such as cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, and allergies. If your dog has diarrhea and you cannot figure out the cause, it’s best to seek veterinary care. They will be able to run tests and determine the underlying cause.
Treating Diarrhea in Dogs
The best way to treat diarrhea in dogs will vary depending on the underlying cause.
If the cause is simple, like dietary indiscretion or food intolerance, diarrhea will usually resolve on its own within a day or two. However, if the cause is something more serious, like an infection or parasite, treatment will be necessary.
In some cases, diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water. You may also want to speak with your veterinarian about giving your dog an electrolyte solution to help prevent dehydration.
Home Remedies To Treat Diarrhea In Dogs
If your dog has diarrhea but is otherwise healthy and not showing any other signs of illness, you can do a few things at home to help treat the diarrhea.
One of the best things you can do for a dog with diarrhea is to fast them for 12-24 hours. This will give their digestive system a chance to rest and will help to resolve the diarrhea.
The gastrointestinal tract of dogs is very sensitive, and sometimes all it needs is a little break. Since dogs need to eat to live, fasting should only be done if your dog is otherwise healthy and not showing any other signs of illness.
Make sure to provide water during the fast, and slowly start introducing food back into their diet after the fast is over.
Probiotics are live bacteria that help to keep the gut healthy. They can be found in yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. You can also find them in supplement form.
Probiotics can help to treat diarrhea by restoring the balance of good bacteria in the gut. They can also help to prevent future episodes of diarrhea.
As strange as it may sound, rice water can help to treat diarrhea in dogs. Rice water is the water that is left over after cooking rice. It contains starch, which can help to firm up loose stools.
To make rice water, cook rice as you normally would. Once it is cooked, strain off the water and save it. Give your dog 1-2 tablespoons of rice water per 20 pounds of body weight every few hours until the diarrhea subsides.
You can also flavor the rice water with a little chicken broth to make it more palatable for your dog.
Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by several different things, including dietary indiscretion, spoiled food ingestion, food intolerance, infections, parasites, and stress. In most cases, diarrhea will resolve on its own within a day or two. However, if the diarrhea is severe or lasts for more than a few days, it’s important to seek veterinary care.