Diarrhea in Dogs: How To Help

In Emotional Support Animal by Emotional Pet Support Team

Guest post: If you own a dog, you have likely had to clean up diarrhea before. Many dog owners don’t pay too much attention to diarrhea in dogs. They often consider it an issue that will quickly resolve itself. However, if the issue is left unattended, diarrhea in dogs could be grave. 

It is crucial to understand how to tell if your dog is experiencing a mild case of diarrhea or not, and what you should do to help. Read on and learn more about diarrhea in dogs and effective treatment options and solutions. You will learn when to let it pass and when to use home-based remedies and nonprescription medicines. But first, here is more on what causes diarrhea in dogs and the symptoms.

The causes and symptoms of diarrhea in dogs

The most common causes of diarrhea in dogs are food-related. Dogs have remarkably curious mouths. If you often let your dog roam in the yard or park, he will likely eat stuff that he shouldn’t. Vets call this “garbage toxicosis” or “garbage gut.” Your dog could also be allergic to certain foods or intolerant. A change of diet could also trigger diarrhea in dogs.

Other causes of diarrhea in dogs might not be as common as the food-related causes. But they could pose a more significant problem. They include:

  • Infections in the gut. Pathogens like parvovirus, worms (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, etc.), or bacteria like Salmonella or Campylobacter.
  • Ailments like Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE), colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS), cancer, kidney disease, and liver disease.
  • Ingesting poison, some medications, or objects like rocks. 
  • Separation anxiety and other psychological issues. 

The symptoms

The number one symptom of diarrhea in dogs is a voluminous amount of loose stool or watery (pudding-like) consistency. If it is not a dark brown, log-shaped, compact, and easy-to-scoop stool, look out for other symptoms such as:

  • Mucus in the excrement 
  • Blood-stained stool 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting, or dry heaving and retching

If your dog exhibits these symptoms, it could pass or worsen. You can take the following steps to help. 

Diarrhea in dogs: When to let it pass

Occasionally, your dog could eat grass and experience mild diarrhea. This kind of diarrhea doesn’t seem to bother the dog. Your dog could be playful and behave normally. In such cases, observe the dog for a couple of hours. If nothing changes, you could let it pass. But don’t forget to mention it to the vet next time you go. Dogs often eat grass due to other underlying health issues. 

If you are unsure what caused diarrhea, but the dog seems playful and nothing is abnormal, you could try some home-based remedies. 

Home-based remedies for diarrhea in dogs

Consider fasting your dog for a day (12 to 24 hours max). But don’t withhold water. Diarrhea dehydrates. So, you must supply fresh water. Also, ensure that the dog is healthy enough, is of the right age (not a senior or puppy), and has enough reserves. Fasting could clear your dog’s tummy and cause it to settle. 

A bland diet could also help your dog’s gastrointestinal tract settle and stop diarrhea, especially if you’ve been feeding him rich and fatty foods. Diarrhea could be due to food intolerance. Keep the protein and carbs simple. Plain-boiled rice and chicken (minus the skin and bones) are good options for a sensitive stomach. If you like variety or a quick-fix meal, consult your vet about specially formulated pre-made bland diets like pumpkin puree. 

Probiotics such as yogurt contain gut-friendly bacteria. They help to restore the normal gut flora thus, improve the dog’s gastrointestinal health. But not all dogs respond well to yogurt. Some could be intolerant. So, seek advice from your vet before giving probiotics. 

Antidiarrheal agents, human medication (such as Metronidazole), and dewormers could help to reduce diarrhea in dogs. However, consult a vet before administering. Antidiarrheal for dogs can help reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal region, thus stopping diarrhea. 

When to take a trip to the vet

Each dog is unique. There is no right or wrong time to call on the vet. It depends on the condition of the dog. But the following indicators will tell you the diarrhea is not mild, and you need to take a trip to the vet:

The dog expresses other symptoms of illness, like being lethargic, vomiting, and is generally weak.

  • If diarrhea persists despite giving home remedies. 
  • If you suspect the dog has ingested a dangerous foreign object (like a rock) or something poisonous. 
  • If the dog has other underlying medical conditions, is old, or is a young pup. 
  • If the diarrhea worsens after medication. 
  • If there are blood stains in the stool.

Diarrhea in dogs: the bottom line

Most cases of diarrhea in dogs are mild, and your dog would recover fully after administering a home remedy. You can get plenty of help and support from other dog parents online. However, if your furry buddy’s condition does not improve within 48 to 72 hours, he may require further examination and specialized treatment. Don’t delay the trip to the vet. If untreated, chronic diarrhea in dogs could lead to complications in the gastrointestinal tract. But with your help, your dog will recover and resume normal behavior.