Few symptoms are more concerning (and messy!) for pet parents than when their dog has diarrhea. But does it mean you need to see a Vet? Read on to learn the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs, and what you need to do.

Most dogs will experience diarrhea in their lifetimes

The most common reasons for canine diarrhea are they…

  • Ate something that didn’t agree with them/they got into the garbage.
  • Had a change in food or treats.
  • Are experiencing stress/anxiety.
  • Are on medications, such as an antibiotic.

Mild intestinal distress, resulting in one or two episodes of diarrhea, shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. Read below for ways to help your dog recover:

  • Don’t feed your dog for 12 hours but do give plenty of water.
  • Offer a bland diet for a day or two, such as plain cooked rice with a little chicken in it, or plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling).
  • Other things that might help your dog’s tummy include natural yogurt, peeled boiled potatoes, or cottage cheese.
  • Don’t give your dog human medicine for diarrhea

More serious reasons for diarrhea

Diarrhea can also be a symptom of more serious conditions, such as:

  • A viral infection, such as distemper or parvovirus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease or colitis
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Parasites – giardia, coccidia, whipworms, roundworms, or hookworms
  • Pancreatitis
  • Ingesting poisons or toxins
  • Ingestion of a foreign object, such as bones, toys, socks, etc.

When should you call the vet?

  • If diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days.
  • If your pup is straining to pass a stool but only passes small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be experiencing a painful blockage due to eating a foreign object.
  • If your dog’s diarrhea is accompanied by other symptoms such as:
  • Lack of appetite
  • Passing blood
  • Signs of dehydration (sunken, dry-looking eyes, dry/sticky gums)
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual drooling

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms or is just simply causing you concern, contact us immediately.

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 young, very old, or has other health issues. Infections, such as parvovirus, are extremely serious, contagious, and life-threatening. Contact us right away and let the receptionist know you have an emergency.