Diarrhea in dogs can be an indication of several issues with his or her digestive tract. If you try to learn about chronic and acute diarrhea as well as the causes behind it, you can treat your dog and help him feel better faster.
Diarrhea is a loose or watery stool that appears during a bowel movement. This watery stool may be accompanied by undigested materials in the stool, debris or foreign objects in the stool, blood or even parasites. Dogs with diarrhea may also experience additional symptoms, such as straining to defecate often, accidental leakage of stool or abdominal pain and cramping. Diarrhea is caused when an irritant in the body causes the colon to begin bringing water into it, softening and liquefying the stool. In normal bowel movements, the colon acts to remove excess water to create a well-formed stool.
Diarrhea has many causes, ranging from general digestive upset caused by diet, ingestion of objects or overeating, internal parasites irritating the lining of the digestive system, and even viral or bacterial illness causing systemic or digestive system specific irritation. Diarrhea is a result of this irritation and is a sign that things are not going normal in your dog’s system.
Can I Prevent Diarrhea in My Dog
In some cases, diarrhea can be prevented with overall preventive care in dogs. You can help reduce irritation and diarrhea in his digestive tract by treating him regularly for internal parasites, having the stool checked for illness or parasites, and feeding a balanced diet free from common allergens or irritants. By ensuring timely vaccinations, you can help reduce the risk of a viral illness, which could lead to diarrhea.
What Should I Do If My Dog Has Diarrhea
If your dog has diarrhea, several things can be done depending on the underlying cause and length of time of symptoms. In acute, or sudden cases, your dog may have just had a minor irritation, such as eating a fatty treat or eating too much in a meal. By feeding smaller meals or keeping him without food for some time and then feeding a bland diet comprising plain boiled chicken, turkey or hamburger mixed with white rice, you can help soothe his GI tract. A few meals of bland food may be all that is needed to make things better.
If diarrhea continues, or s prolonged over a period of time (called chronic diarrhea), then it is better to seek veterinary care. Your vet will perform a complete exam and look for obvious causes of diarrhea, including digestive upset and illnesses, such as ingestion of foreign bodies or meals, internal parasites through examination of the stool and viral and bacterial causes through the examination of the stool or blood work. Treatment can begin depending on the cause of your dog’s diarrhea.
If the diarrhea is acute or caused by illness or parasite, treatment usually involves rehydration through IV or subcutaneous fluids and medication to treat the illness and remove parasites. In cases of more severe illness, such as with viruses like parvovirus, your dog may need to be hospitalized and isolated from other animals in order to recover. Treatment with digestive soothing medications may also help while the underlying cause is treated.
In chronic diarrhea, your vet may look toward internal organ issues or metabolic diseases that can cause diarrhea. Diseases, such as Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), may cause long-term diarrhea due to a malfunction of the pancreas. Other chronic bowel issues, such as motility issues, or diseases such as liver or kidney failure, may also result in chronic diarrhea. Treatment of diarrhea through probiotics, diet changes and management of the underlying condition can help.
Chronic diarrhea may also be treated via changes in the diet if allergies to certain ingredients are suspected. Supplementing with fibers, such as pureed pumpkin or probiotics, including plain yogurt, can help if diet has been changed. In dogs, the most common allergens include wheat, corn, and soy products; however, dogs can be allergic to almost any ingredient, including protein sources!
Natural Remedies For Treating Diarrhea in Dogs
Diet changes and supplementation with natural ingredients may be one of the easiest ways to naturally help diarrhea in chronic cases. Feeding a balanced diet free from grains, such as wheat, corn, and soy, can help alleviate food-based diarrhea. Adding pureed pumpkin can make the stool firmer or plain yogurt can provide probiotics may also help. Herbal remedies for treating diarrhea can include Meadowsweet, Slippery Elm, Garlic, and Echinacea. Chamomile and Wormwood may help in treating internal parasites.