If you own a dog, chances are you’ve lived through at least one bout of doggy diarrhea.
What Causes Diarrhea…
There are a lot of reasons dogs develop loose stools including:
- Your dog ate something they shouldn’t have
This can include anything they can get their paws on: food left on the floor, gas grill grease traps, bathroom garbage, bird food, and water from bird baths, toilet water, anything in the yard, etc.
- A sudden change in a dog’s regular food.
- Allergies to certain foods
- Poor quality dog food
- Parasites like giardia can cause intermittent diarrhea.
- Viral and bacterial infections in the digestive tract
- Certain medications such as heartworm preventives
- Even stress can bring about an episode of diarrhea in dogs and puppies
Symptoms of Diarrhea…
The most obvious symptom of diarrhea is when your dog is standing anxiously at the door and needs to get out quickly. Once he’s out he runs urgently to a spot and often passes loose, watery stool. Or, worse yet you’re not around when the urgency hits and you find an accident on the floor when you get home.
A less obvious and often confusing symptom of diarrhea can be when your dog strains to go. It actually looks more like constipation than diarrhea.
Diarrhea upsets the normal rhythm of the muscle contractions in your dog’s intestinal tract. This can give him the sensation that he constantly needs to poop. So even though he’s hunched over and straining, his colon could be empty from repeated bouts of loose stool.
Other symptoms that can go along with diarrhea include fever, lethargy, malaise, loss of appetite, and dehydration. It’s important to make sure that your pet has access to clean drinking water at all times, and encourage your pet to drink if you can.
When to Seek Professional Help…
Most healthy dogs experience an occasional episode of loose stool or diarrhea and it’s done – over with. It resolves all by itself. In this instance the underlying issue is probably something she shouldn’t have eaten, or perhaps stress was the trigger. In this case keep an eye on them for any additional occurrences or symptoms.
But, if you notice any of the following:
- Recurrent bouts of diarrhea
- Blood in your pet’s stool
- Sluggish behavior
- Running a fever or feels warm to the touch
- Change in her behavior
Please contact your vet. And remember bring a sample of your dog’s poop if you can, even if it’s watery. This will help your vet identify potential underlying causes for the diarrhea.
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