When your dog suddenly begins to experience diarrhea it can cause any pet parent to be concerned. Our La Mesa vets talk about what causes diarrhea in dogs, how it is treated and when to consider it an animal emergency.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our La Mesa vets commonly see dogs that are experiencing diarrhea. When your dog eats something they shouldn't or anything that their body isn't accustomed to then it could cause mild symptoms of diarrhea. While this typically passes without concern there may be situations in which there are other symptoms accompanying diarrhea and you may want to consider bringing your dog to your vet or an emergency veterinarian.

What are the common causes of diarrhea in dogs?

Some of the most common reasons that your dog may experience diarrhea are:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
  • Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
  • Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Medications such as antibiotics

What is the treatment for diarrhea in dogs?

The most important thing to know is that you should never give your dog any human medications if they are experiencing any illness. Most human medications can cause serious complications or even death if ingested by your dog.

If your dog's stool have become loose or runny then the easiest way to treat this issue is by having them fast for 24 to 48 hours until the stools have become firm again.

You could also provide your dog with a bland diet for 24 - 48 hours to help them recover from whatever was upsetting their tummy. Food such as plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your pup's tummy feel better. Once your pooch feels better gradually reintroduce their regular food.

Some other food options that you may try to help to soothe your dog's upset tummy include natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg with no oil added, specially formulated dog foods, and medications prescribed by your vet.

If your dog is experiencing symptoms of excessive diarrhea then it may be considered a pet emergency and our La Mesa vets are available to assist during regular business hours. It is best to not take any chances when it comes to the health and well-being of your pup.

When is diarrhea considered an animal emergency?

If your dog has a single episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normal, it is likely not a cause for concern. Monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if their stool returns to normal. If you dog has more than two bouts of diarrhea then it may be time to contact your regular vet or an emergency vet in La Mesa.

If your pup is straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be experiencing a painful blockage due to the ingestion of a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious concern and needs veterinary attention right away, contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care. 

Recurring bouts of diarrhea over a short period of time could be a sign of a very serious health issue, particularly if your pup is very old, very young, or has a compromised immune system. Infections such as parvovirus are extremely serious, contagious and life-threatening. Contact your vet right away if your pooch is experiencing repeated episodes of diarrhea.

Dogs showing other symptoms as well as diarrhea should also be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your dog has any of the following symptoms contact your vet right away to make an appointment:

  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weakness
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If you notice your dog showing any symptoms that might be a cause for concern, contact your veterinarian or an animal emergency clinic in La Mesa. Your vet will let you know whether your pet's symptoms indicate that an examination is necessary.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned about symptoms of excessive diarrhea in your dog? Contact our experienced La Mesa vets during regular business hours or the after-hours animal emergency clinic today to have your dog assessed.