Diarrhea is a common problem in dogs when stools are loose and watery. It is a sign that something isn’t right inside your dog's gut.
Did diarrhea may be either:
- Short-term diarrhea: Diarrhea that lasts 1 or 2 days in dogs and goes away. This may be caused by food or water contamination, bacterial infection, or your dog getting sick from a virus.
- Long-term diarrhea: Diarrhea that lasts for a few weeks. This may be caused by another health issue like irritable bowel disease or Giardia.
When should I be concerned about my dog's diarrhea?
The greatest complication of diarrhea in dogs is dehydration. This is more likely with puppies and those with a weakened immune system.
Dehydration in dogs can be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild dehydration is the loss of fluid. Moderate or severe dehydration puts stress on the heart and lungs. In the worst cases, it can lead to shock, which is life-threatening for your pet.
If you notice blood in your dog's stool, vomiting, is lethargic, or show any other signs of being in pain, call your vet right away. If your pup is younger than 9 months old, call your vet right away.
It’s important that in case of diarrhea, you examine your dog’s stool carefully. It will help you to give your vet as many details as possible. Armed with this knowledge, the vet will be able to tell you whether to schedule an exam or whether you can treat your dog's diarrhea at home. You know your dog best! If you're concerned, it’s always best to speak to your vet.
Home remedies for dog diarrhea
Most cases of dog diarrhea are not an emergency and can be treated at home. Here are 5 simple ways to help your dog with diarrhea at home.
- Lots of liquid: Make sure your furry companion is drinking a lot of water. Just like us, diarrhea can quickly make your dog dehydrated. Give your dog plenty of liquids, including water, broth, and juices.
- Avoid foods that can aggravate diarrhea: Avoid certain foods such as dairy products, fatty foods, or highly seasoned foods for a few days. You should also consider limiting high-fiber foods like bran, grains as well as fruits and veggies that can increase bloating.
- Consider taking dog probiotics: The good bacteria that live in your dog's intestinal tract are necessary for the normal functioning of your dog's gastrointestinal system. Probiotics may help restore a healthy balance to your dog's intestinal tract by boosting the level of good bacteria. Supplementing with Safe Guard probiotics can promote normal bowel function and help treat diarrhea in dogs by repopulating and maintaining beneficial gut bacteria and correcting an imbalance. Safe Guard probiotics boost your dog's immune system and improve the gut environment.
- Rest: Just like with us, rest is important to manage your dog's diarrhea. Give your dog a quiet and comfortable place to recover. It is likely best to be a place close to a door to go outside and that has an easy-to-clean floor for those unfortunate potty accidents. Avoid any energetic activities until they have completely recovered from their diarrhea.
- Fasting: Ideally, fast your dog for 12 hours to allow their GI tract to rest and recover. This means no treats, regular meals, or food of any kind. During this period of time, you can just give your dog water. However, never fast a young puppy, an elderly dog, or a dog with other illnesses.
How is dog diarrhea treated?
Treatment will depend on your dog's symptoms, age, and overall health. It will also depend on how severe the diarrhea is.
Dehydration is the major concern with doggy diarrhea. In most cases, treatment includes replacing lost fluids. Antibiotics may be prescribed when bacterial infections are the cause.
When you make the appointment, make a list of:
- Your dog's symptoms: The symptoms include when they began and what is the frequency. If lethargy, vomiting, or other signs of illness accompany diarrhea, make a note of this too.
- Key personal information: It includes any major stresses, recent food changes, or travel.
- Medications: Let your vet know about the medication or supplements you are giving your dog. If your dog has recently taken an antibiotic, note what kind, for how long, and when you stopped.
For diarrhea, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing diarrhea in your dog?
- Could doggy diarrhea be caused by a medication your dog is taking?
- What tests do you need?
- Is your dog's diarrhea likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- Your dog has other health conditions. How can you best manage them with diarrhea?
- Are there restrictions your dog should follow?