Diarrhea is a sign of any underlying medical condition. This is not a disease. Basically, this is a complication in which the feces become liquid due to decreased water absorption from the intestine. Just like humans, dogs also experience diarrhea.
Keep in mind; diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration. This can put your dog’s life in danger. Many dog owners ask questions about “Diarrhea in dogs” and other relevant facts.
In this blog, we are going to share “Dog diarrhea” under the light of scientific literature and general field experience.
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What Causes Diarrhea In Dogs?
As discussed before, diarrhea can occur in dogs as a result of potentially serious underlying health conditions. However, for the clarification of readers, we have summarized the major causes of dog’s diarrhea below:
Diarrhea can occur in dogs due to infectious agents. For instance, bacteria, viruses, protozoa can cause serious intestinal infectious which cause diarrhea. All along with that, various intestinal worms also cause diarrhea in dogs.
The Important bacteria which cause diarrhea in dogs include pathogenic E.coli, Campylobacter spp, Clostridium spp.
The important viruses which cause dog diarrhea include canine coronavirus (CCoV), Canine parvovirus type-2, and the canine distemper virus.
This has been documented in the literature that fungi also cause diarrhea in dogs. For instance, histoplasmosis also causes gastrointestinal complications including diarrhea.
In addition, various intestinal worms are notorious for the causation of diarrhea in dogs. For example, roundworms and tapeworms infestations cause diarrhea along with other complications.
Protozoan parasites also lead to diarrhea in dogs. Such as coccidiosis and giardiasis are important parasites that cause diarrhea in dogs.
Sudden dietary changes also cause diarrhea in dogs. For example, an abrupt change in a dog’s diet causes acute diarrhea in canines. All along with that, If your dog accidentally eats any poison, chemical, or medication, it can also cause diarrhea in dogs. Over and above, other irritating diets and garbage also cause dog’s diarrhea,
Note: Fatty diets also cause diarrhea in dogs. Remember, dogs can’t process fats, unlike human beings.
Diary product associated diarrhea in dogs
Dairy products particularly milk cause diarrhea in dogs. Keep in mind that, dogs can’t digest lactose ( a sugar present in the milk) because of the absence of lactase enzyme (an enzyme that helps in the degradation of lactose to the simple sugars ). This is why; lactose intolerance is commonly seen in dogs.
Other important causes of dog diarrhea include travel, stress (emotional disturbance), cancer, vaccination-associated diarrhea, organ dysfunction, and sudden change in the environment.
Note: Several allergies and inflammatory conditions also lead to diarrhea in dogs.
What Are Important Diseases Which Cause Diarrhea In Dogs?
Here we are going to enlist some important diseases which cause diarrhea in dogs.
- Liver diseases
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HG)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Pancreatitis & Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
What Are The Consequences Of Diarrhea In Dogs?
As you know, severe diarrhea cause depletion of water and essential electrolytes in the dog’s body that causes dehydration.
Note: Severe dehydration can put your dog’s life in danger.
DIARRHEA ————DEHYDRATION ———— DEATH (3D)
Also keep in mind that, bloody diarrhea can also cause severe complications in dogs. Being a responsible owner, this is your duty to take any action as early as possible.
When Should You Contact Your Vet?
Diarrhea can be an alarming sign for your pet. This can be an indication of any underlying serious health-related condition. If you observe the following things, do contact your vet immediately.
- Blood in diarrhea
- Mucous in diarrhea
- Diarrhea along with vomiting
- Diarrhea along with abdominal cramps
- Too watery diarrhea
- Diarrhea with less water intake
The nature of a dog’s diarrhea depends upon the following important parameters. For a better understanding of owners, we have enlisted all the important points below:
- Color of diarrhea
- Consistency of diarrhea
- Episodes of diarrhea (frequency)
Note: These all things can also help in determining the cause of a dog’s diarrhea as well.
The following descriptions can help you in a better understanding of the consistency of your dog’s feces.
- Cottage-cheese (No definite shape, simply appears as a pile which leaves residue when picked up.
- Cream based soup ( Watery feces with no defined texture, doesn’t leave any residue when picked up)
- Soft-serve ice-cream (Very moist, definite shape, leaves residues when picked up)
Which Diagnostic Test Helps In Knowing The Cause Of Diarrhea?
There are many diagnostic tests that can help your vet in understanding the underlying cause of diarrhea.
- Macroscopic and Microscopic fecal examination (This is basically done to detect the eggs of parasitic intestinal worms
- Blood tests
- Biopsies of intestinal tract
- Fecal cultures and DNA tests
How Can Dog’s Diarrhea Be Treated?
Dietary management is a key to keep diarrhea under control
After determining the causes of diarrhea, your vet can suggest you a better treatment plan. Your vet can suggest the symptomatic treatment for your dog or can recommend medications according to the underlying medical conditions.
Conservative treatment approach
The conservative treatment approach to treat dog diarrhea includes withholding the food for almost 12-24 hours. In addition, you can also provide a soft/easily digestible diet to your dog at regular intervals.
You should make sure that your dog has availability of clean drinking water all the time. This can help in correcting the diarrhea-associated dehydration in dogs.
Note: You can feed a light home-cooked diet to your dog. For example, a healthy combination of boiled chicken, rice is a healthy choice for a dog with diarrhea.
All along with that, antidiarrheal medications, dewormers, and probiotics (healthy bacteria) can also be suggested by your vet. For instance, metronidazole and tylosin are the best medications to cure diarrhea in dogs.
Treatment approach for chronic diarrhea
Usually, a dog recovers in two to three days. However, in severe cases (Chronic diarrhea), your vet may go for aggressive treatment plans. This may include intravenous fluid therapy, blood transfusion (in case of blood loss through bloody diarrhea).
How Can I Prevent Diarrhea In My Dog?
As discussed earlier, there are a number of reasons which cause diarrhea in dogs. Being a responsible owner, you should avoid giving human foods to your dog. If you are switching to a new diet then do it gradually. Keep in mind that, a gradual dietary transition prevents diarrhea in dogs.
If you see your dog with diarrhea, take immediate action and contact your vet as early as possible.
What Are The Reasons For Black Diarrhea In Dogs?
Black diarrhea in dogs can occur due to many potential reasons. For example, bleeding ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract can also cause black diarrhea in dogs. Keep in mind that, newborn puppies have black feces by natural default. So, you don’t need to worry.
How Long Acute Diarrhea Can Last In Dogs?
This totally depends upon the condition of the dog. However, acute diarrhea resolves on its own and can last up to 48 hours.
Which Medical Conditions Cause Chronic Diarrhea In Dogs?
There are several important reasons for chronic diarrhea in dogs. Here, we have enlisted the important causes below:
- Parasitic infestation (Whipworms)
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
Note: The important consequences of chronic diarrhea include abrupt weight loss, poor hair coat, lathery and generalized weakness in the dogs.
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Diarrhea is not a disease rather a sign of an underlying health condition. There are various causes of diarrhea in dogs. There are four main types of diarrhea i-e acute diarrhea, chronic diarrhea, large bowel diarrhea, and small bowel diarrhea. This is your responsibility to know the exact cause of diarrhea in your dog and get him treated.
Keep in mind; diarrhea can cause severe dehydration and metabolic disturbance in your dog which can put your dog’s life in danger. Last but not least, give special attention to a dog with diarrhea and provide him with a soft diet and all necessary medications as prescribed by your vet.
Volkmann, M., Steiner, J.M., Fosgate, G.T., Zentek, J., Hartmann, S. and Kohn, B., 2017. Chronic diarrhea in dogs–retrospective study in 136 cases. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 31(4), pp.1043-1055.
Weese, J.S., Staempfli, H.R., Prescott, J.F., Kruth, S.A., Greenwood, S.J. and Weese, H.E., 2001. The roles of Clostridium difficile and enterotoxigenic Clostridium perfringens in diarrhea in dogs. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 15(4), pp.374-378.
Hammermueller, J., Kruth, S., Prescott, J. and Gyles, C., 1995. Detection of toxin genes in Escherichia coli isolated from normal dogs and dogs with diarrhea. Canadian journal of veterinary research, 59(4), p.265.
Langlois, D.K., Koenigshof, A.M. and Mani, R., 2020. Metronidazole treatment of acute diarrhea in dogs: a randomized double blinded placebo‐controlled clinical trial. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 34(1), pp.98-104.