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What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

Diarrhea in dogs can be a concerning sign to pet owners. If your dog is suffering from a spell of diarrhea, you'll want to get them diagnosed quickly. Our Franklin vets explain some of the common causes.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea is one of the common reasons we see Franklin dogs stemming from a variety of reasons.

Mild stints of diarrhea are common in dogs and can be caused by mild intestinal distress due to your dog eating a small amount of something that upsets their stomach, such as table scraps, or just from the simple act of switching to a new brand or flavor of food.

While it's usually too concerning, there are a number of serious reasons your dog might have diarrhea.

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs

Below are some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:

  • Change in diet or treats
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
  • Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
  • Pancreatitis
  • Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
  • Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Medications such as antibiotics

But how do you know when your dog requires a visit to the vet?

When To Contact Your Vet

If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normal, it is likely not a cause for concern. Monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if things clear up. More than 2 episodes could indicate a problem, so it's a good idea to call your vet if your pup has two or more episodes.

If your pup is straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be experiencing a painful blockage due to the ingestion of a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious concern and needs veterinary attention right away, contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care. 

Recurring bouts of diarrhea over a short period of time could be a sign of a very serious health issue, particularly if your pup is very old, very young, or has a compromised immune system. Infections such as parvovirus are extremely serious, contagious and life-threatening. Contact your vet right away if your pooch is experiencing repeated episodes of diarrhea.

Dogs showing other symptoms as well as diarrhea should also be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your dog has any of the following symptoms contact your vet right away to make an appointment:

  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weakness
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If your pooch is displaying any symptoms that cause you concern, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary.

How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs

Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian because a lot of over-the-counter medications that humans take can be toxic to dogs.

If your dog has had one or two runny or soft stools, you may want to give your dog some time to recover by fasting for 12 - 24 hours.

A bland diet for a day or two may help to resolve your pup's issue. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your pup's tummy feel better. Once your pooch feels better you can gradually reintroduce regular food.

Other things that might help treat diarrhea in dogs include natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg with no oil added, specially formulated dog foods and medications prescribed by your vet.

When it comes to your best friend's health, it's always better to be cautious. Whether it be a mild bout or chronic diarrhea in dogs, your vet should examine them to rule out any underlying causes and recommend an effective treatment.

If your dog has diarrhea, contact our Franklin vets to book an examination for your dog. We have years of experience diagnosing and treating the causes of diarrhea in dogs.

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Advanced Veterinary Care is accepting new patients! Our friendly and experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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