Home Care for the Dog with Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a common problem seen in veterinary clinics. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons people take their dog to the vet.
What Is Diarrhea in Dogs?
Diarrhea is the act of having abnormally loose or liquid stools. This can also be associated with an increased frequency of bowel movements. Some dogs will have a large amount of liquid or abnormally loose stools once and others will have semi-formed stools frequently with straining.
What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs?
Diarrhea results from excessive water content in the feces and it is an important sign of intestinal disease in dogs.
Diarrhea can be a symptom of many different conditions. It can be caused a number of problems including:
- A change in the dog’s food
- Eating garbage or food that does not agree with their system
- Eating indigestible objects
- Infectious agents including bacterial, viral or parasites
- Systemic problems such as pancreatitis, kidney disease or liver disease
It can affect your dog by causing extreme fluid loss, which leads to dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and/or acid-base imbalances.
For a full list of possible causes – go to Causes of Diarrhea . Pet owners commonly ask, “What can I do at home?”
Home Treatment or Care for Dogs with Diarrhea
Specific treatments of diarrhea are dependent on the cause. Here is the general approach to dealing with a dog with acute diarrhea:
- If your pet has diarrhea once then has a normal bowel movement without further diarrhea or has a normal bowel movement and is acting playful, then the problem may resolve on its own.
- If you can identify it, always eliminate any predisposing cause such as exposure to trash, abrupt change in diet and eating plants.
If your dog has diarrhea and vomiting (gastroenteritis), we recommend that you see your veterinarian – don’t attempt home care.
- If diarrhea occurs several times and you cannot take your dog to your veterinarian (which is recommended), then you may try the following:
When Is Diarrhea in Dogs an Emergency?
If the diarrhea continues after your pet eats or if your pet acts lethargic, doesn’t want to eat and/or starts vomiting, then medical attention is warranted. Please see your veterinarian!
Great Links for More Information on Diarrhea in Dogs
Disclaimer: Advice given in the Home Care series of articles is not meant to replace veterinary care. When your pet has a problem, it is always best to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. But in some cases, it is not always possible to seek veterinary care. You could be traveling, it could be after hours and there are no 24-hour clinics near you, or maybe you simply can’t afford it. Whatever the reason, when your pet has a problem, you need answers. Most vets will not give you any information over the phone – they will tell you to bring your pet in for an office visit. So, when these difficult situations arise, many pet owners don’t know what to do – and they end up doing the wrong thing because they don’t have sound veterinary advice. When your pet has a problem and you can’t see your vet, the information in this series of articles can help guide you so that you will not inadvertently cause harm to your pet. However, this information is not a replacement for veterinary care.