Your Dog and Diarrhea!







Gram and I are sitting in our usual place on the patio watching my new roommate run around the yard with reckless abandon. Walter (the dog) is really a work of art and I have to say just watching him tires me out. However, Gram and I have things to do and we had decided to do an article on diarrhea in dogs. A condition that many dogs suffer from. Gram and I hope you find this of interest.

Diarrhea is not a thing we prefer to talk about, but it is a common problem in dogs. Diarrhea is something we do not like to clean up after and it is a condition that not only makes us, the caregivers unhappy, but our dogs, too.

What is diarrhea? Diarrhea is the passage of a watery feces that can be acute or a “just sometimes” condition. In some dogs it may be a reaction to a food that the dog has eaten or it can be the start of a gastric internal problem. It can last for a few days and never return or it can be a persistent disturbance that recurs and is a sign of something internal that has gone awry.

Under normal conditions and depending on the size, routine and feeding schedule of the dog, a dog usually moves its bowels two or three times a day. The dog assumes the normal squatting position and within a few moments you are rewarded with a nicely formed stool to clean up. This is what happens when the body is functioning normally.

Unfortunately, a wide range of conditions can cause the fecal matter to move through the dog’s body in a rapid fashion under which the dog has no conscious control this is called diarrhea.

When diarrhea affects the small intestine the effect is usually a large amount of watery feces. The large intestine reacts differently and causes the dog to go to the bathroom very frequently (up to 6 to 10 times a day) with a certain amount of strain and the effect is small amounts of loose stools with a goodly amount of mucus.

If the diarrhea is infrequent and the dog is eating, drinking and behaving normally, there usually is no need for concern, but if it lasts for at least 5 days or more, consult your vet. Especially if the dog is not eating or drinking, is acting uncomfortable as if in pain, is not active or if the stool is jet black or streaked with blood.

Infrequent diarrhea, though not serious can cause insufficient absorption of water, nutrients and chemicals called electrolytes into the body and the dog can become dehydrated. If you dog is suffering from bouts of diarrhea you should be watching its water and food intake and to have peace of mind, talk to your vet. What are some of the causes of diarrhea? The most common cause of chronic diarrhea in dogs is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The cause of this condition is really not known, however, it is believed that it can be a genetic condition, an abnormal immune system response to diet and/or microbial factors within the stomach. IBD can be chronic, intermittent or persistent, it can affect either the small or large intestine and can cause vomiting and weight loss.

Or it can be caused by the fact that dogs are known for their indiscriminate dietary habits. Dogs as a general rule are willing to eat almost anything from rotting food to an old shoe and this can cause an abrupt change in their diet and be the start of diarrhea.

New food added too quickly to a dog’s regular diet can have an effect, along with feeding your dog-rich table scraps. An allergic reaction to a new food or and ingredient in a food can also be a culprit causing diarrhea,

Other factors that can cause diarrhea are:

  • Intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, hookworms or giardia (a small parasite not easily detected)
  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections such as salmonella, parvovirus and histoplasmosis (a fungus found in the soil)
  • Ingestion of toxins such as pesticides, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and certain antibiotics
  • Metabolic disorders such as kidney or liver disease and/or pancreatitis
  • Partial obstruction of the intestinal tract by something the dog ate or a tumor
  • A breakdown of the pancreas where it fails to produce enzymes for the breakdown of food

    A normal bout of diarrhea will usually solve itself within 48 to 72 hours anything longer than that, you should call your vet at once. If during that period of 48 to 72 hours you notice your dog vomiting, acting as though it is in pain, has any evidence of bleeding or is acting in any abnormal way do not hesitate to call your vet. That phone call may save your dog’s life.

    What treatment is necessary? Generally, none as the diarrhea will solve itself. However, a vet may suggest something like “kaopectate,” feeding the dog easily digested foods like chicken broth and rice, but if it persists, a medical exam should be first and foremost on the list of things to do.

    How do you prevent diarrhea? To reduce the risk of canine diarrhea, keep garbage out of your dog’s reach. Keep human medications out of reach, along with pesticides and other household cleaning items. Certain houseplants can also cause diarrhea if eaten such as kalanchoe, gladiola flowers, cala lillies, certain caladiums and others.

    Diarrhea is something we as humans, do not enjoy and our dogs if they could talk would second that thought. So as a good dog caregiver, do your best to keep things out of your dog’s reach (actually its mouth) and hopefully you will not have the experience of cleaning up the mess.


    The Animal Rescue Site