Different Types of Dog Diarrhea and How to Respond
on October 23, 2015
Posted in Dogs
Different Types of Dog Diarrhea and How to Respond If your dog has diarrhea, or liquidy, unformed stools, you are undoubtedly interested in making it stop. There are two main types of canine diarrhea, and they are likely to require different types of treatment. Acute Diarrhea in Dogs Acute diarrhea in dogs begins suddenly and lasts for days to a few weeks. It is common in puppies and young dogs, and the causes range from parasites to the ingestion of something that’s irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. Call your veterinarian immediately If your dog’s acute diarrhea is accompanied by:
- Decreased appetite
- Straining to defecate
- Blood in the stool
If your dog seems otherwise normal except for the diarrhea, you may be able to control and resolve it by following a few simple steps.
Do stop all treats and human food
These may have ingredients that can add to your dog’s gastrointestinal irritation and cause the diarrhea to continue.
Do feed a bland diet
Feeding an easy to digest diet will help the gastrointestinal tract rest and recover from the cause of the diarrhea. A mixture of boiled turkey or chicken and rice, unseasoned scrambled eggs and cottage cheese, or a formulated prescription diet from your veterinarian may be used.
Do NOT give over-the-counter human diarrhea medications
Dogs do not react the same way to all medications as humans do and some can be toxic to them. Don’t give your dog any medications without checking with your veterinarian first.
Do thoroughly clean all diarrhea spots
Parasites and other organisms are common causes of diarrhea in dogs. Be sure to clean all indoor diarrhea messes with a pet-safe cleaner that kills most organisms. Outdoor messes should also be removed as thoroughly as possible andwashed with copious amounts of water. This will decrease the chances of re-infection.
Do keep your dog clean
Dogs with diarrhea may have some stool stick to the fur around their rectum or on their back legs. Thoroughly wash and dry these areas as needed to decrease the chances that your dog will develop a skin infection from the feces.
Do take a stool sample to your veterinarian
The first step in any case of acute canine diarrhea is to check a stool sample for parasites. There are many “worms” or parasites that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Your veterinarian will require a small amount of a fresh sample of feces to check for these organisms microscopically.
What to Do if Diarrhea Persists
If acute diarrhea is not dealt with immediately, it can become life threatening due to dehydration with loss of fluids and electrolytes. This is particularly important in very small or young pets. Chronic Diarrhea in Dogs Chronic diarrhea is defined as a diarrhea lasting for 3 weeks or more. This may be the result of food intolerances or allergies, infections, or other disease conditions. Diagnostic testing by your veterinarian is needed to detemine an exact cause and proper treatment. There are some things you can do to support your dog while the cause of her diarrhea is being identified and before treatment begins:
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Make sure that she always has access to fresh, clean water, and encourage her to drink it often. You may also mix some water in with your dog’s food to get more into her.
Provide Natural Support
Support her with probiotics and herbal formulations such as Pet Wellbeing’s BM Tone-Up Gold. This product contains an herbal formulation designed to soothe the gastrointestinal tract and help it work better, encouraging normal stools more quickly.
Keep Them Clean and Dry
This will make sure she doesn’t get secondary skin infections. Dogs with diarrhea may get stool stuck in the fur around their rectums or down their back legs. Be sure to clean this off routinely and dry her very well.
Eliminate all treats, human foods, and guard against garbage-raiding
Your veterinarian may recommend a special diet depending on test results when your dog suffers from chronic diarrhea. Do not give your dog anything outside of that diet that may irritate her gastrointestinal tract and cause the diarrhea to continue.
Walk your dog on a leash when she goes outside
When your dog with chronic diarrhea needs to go outside, always take her out on a leash. You will be able to keep her from eating grass, sticks, or other objects that could further irritate her gastrointestinal tract and also monitor her stool consistency.
Keep a Log of Incidents
Try to keep a record of the diarrhea episodes. Writing down information about your dog’s bowel movement frequency and consistency can help you discuss the problem with your veterinarian more thoroughly.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan