Diarrhea is an extremely common condition which affects dogs of all ages. If your dog has soft bowel motions, it indicates something is not quite right in his intestines. It also means you may have extra cleaning up to do!
Loose stools have many causes, some more serious than others. Here are the most common reasons your dog may develop diarrhea.
1. Dogs aren't always sensible about what they eat, and don't snacking on any spoiled food or even dead birds they come across during the day. As you can imagine, this upsets their gastrointestinal system, and will cause diarrhea, often accompanied by vomiting.
2. Still on the subject of diet, even a change in the brand of kibble you feed your dog may result in loose stools for a few days as his intestines adapt to the new food. You can avoid this by gradually changing his food over the course of a few days. Increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old food in his dinner bowl at each meal, and he shouldn't have any problems at all.
3. Worms often cause diarrhea, particularly in young pups. This too is preventable by using an effective wormer on a regular basis. Ask your veterinarian for advice about a suitable worming product and treatment schedule for your dog.
4. Loose stools can be associated with stress and anxiety in dogs. Has your dog had a recent change in his life? Perhaps you've moved house, or your dog is spending more time alone than he used to.
5. Dogs, like people, can have food allergies, and diarrhea is one possible symptom of such an allergy. These dogs often also have itchy skin and ears. Food allergies are often tricky to diagnose, and take a lot of discipline on their owner's part to manage.
6. Infection. Most dog owners will have heard of the dreaded parvovirus. This causes severe and bloody diarrhea in dogs, accompanied by vomiting and depression. Parvovirus can kill a dog. There are other viruses which aren't as severe as parvovirus but can still make your dog quite sick.
What do you do if your dog has diarrhea?
If he is obviously sick, depressed and not interested in what's going on around him, you need to take him to your vet. If he does have a serious condition such as parvovirus, he'll respond better to treatment if it is started early. Similarly, if there is blood in the diarrhea, he needs veterinary attention sooner rather than later.
Many dogs develop diarrhea and are otherwise bright and alert, and still have a wag in their tail. If that's the case with your dog, you can watch him for 24 hours and see if his stools start to firm up.
It's a good idea to skip his next meal to give his intestines time to settle down, and then re-introduce food by giving him 3 or 4 small bland meals over the course of the day. Lean chicken and boiled white rice is ideal. Make sure you treat him for worms, and if the diarrhea persists for more than a day, or if he becomes unwell, it's time to call your vet.
Our dogs are like family to us and so naturally it's very upsetting when they become sick. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you knew how to give your dog a check-up, so you could spot a problem early? Before it became truly serious or even life threatening?
Well, now you can!
Learn To Give Your Dog A Check-Up Just Like Your Veterinarian Does!