Diarrhea is a common problem in dogs, mostly because they will put almost anything in their mouth. It can also be caused by more serious problems, which requires close attention, especially if it occurs frequently.
What To Watch For
Loose stools are, of course, the main indicator of diarrhea. The intestinal problems may also be accompanied by vomiting.
Though disease and infection can cause diarrhea, it is often due to scavenging activities, such as eating table scraps and swallowing of small objects, or sudden changes in diet.
If the dog is not vomiting:
- Remove the food from his bowls and limit the dog to just water for twelve hours.
- Make sure the dog has plenty of clean water to drink, to avoid dehydration.
- Give the dog a small meal of cooked chicken and white rice. It will be the dog's diet until the stool consistency returns to normal.
- If the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours or you start seeing bloody stools or mucus-coated stools, call your vet immediately.
If the dog is vomiting mildly:
- Remove all food and water for 12 hours.
- To avoid dehydration, give the dog ice cubes to lick or a little soda water every hour (a teaspoon for small dogs, a tablespoon for larger breeds).
- When the vomiting stops, give the dog a small amount of cooked chicken and white rice. A small amount of water can also be reintroduced.
- Wait two hours to see if the dog vomits, then another small meal of cooked chicken and rice.
- Continue this treatment until the stool consistency returns to normal.
If your dog suffers from frequent liquid bowel movements or the attack is severe, have a vet check for possible food allergies, intestinal parasite, bacterial infection, malabsorption conditions, tumors, and metabolic problems. The diagnosis can sometimes be easily confirmed with a fecal exam; other times it can be challenging and require different procedures such as abdominal ultrasound and colonoscopy.
There are several ways to reduce the occurrence of diarrhea in dogs:
- Do not suddenly change his diet.
- Do not give the dog bones as toys (nylon chew toys are a better choice).
- Do not give the dog small objects to play with.
- Do not feed your dog table scraps.
- Do not allow your dog to scavenge.
- Always keep him up-to-date with his deworming sessions.