There are many possible causes that can lead to diarrhea, so it would be an extremely long list if we were to address everything. However, here is a list of the most important causes:
- Changing the diet too quickly
- Food intolerances, which are among the most common causes of diarrhea
- Inappropriate foods such as milk
- Chemicals and medications
- Contaminated food or food scraps with bacteria
- Poor-quality food with excessive carbohydrates
- Gastrointestinal Disease
- Parasites: Worms can irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and cause diarrhea. In young puppies and when the mother has not been adequately dewormed, diarrhea due to parasites is more common. Giardia can also cause intermittent diarrhea.
- Infections: Bacterial and viral infections can also cause diarrhea. Parvovirus, a viral infection that leads to severe and often uncontrollable diarrhea, is particularly dangerous for puppies. Unfortunately, many puppies with parvovirus die despite intensive treatment. Fortunately, vaccination is available against parvovirus.
- Tumors, immunoreactive inflammation, and pancreatic inflammation (cancer in dogs)
- Intestinal obstruction: Diarrhea can be caused by a foreign object or bone that blocks your dog’s digestive tract. As long as the intestinal passage is not completely blocked, the liquid components can still pass through the narrow point and be excreted, giving the impression of diarrhea, even though a complete intestinal obstruction is imminent, which can quickly become life-threatening.
- Other Causes
- Stress, anxiety, and excitement can also cause diarrhea in dogs.
- As a accompanying symptom of other organic problems and metabolic disorders
- Indigestible food or objects
- Hormonal diseases
- In some cases, the stool may have characteristic features (a specific smell, appearance, or consistency), but not always. In cases of chronic or recurrent diarrhea, more in-depth diagnostics are often necessary.
What Dog Feces Reveal About Health In general, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian rather than self-diagnosing your pet. However, I would like to briefly explain some things about dog feces and help you learn about the symptoms.
Contents of Dog Feces Yes, it’s gross. But if you take a closer look at the stool, it is a good way to see how well the gastrointestinal tract is functioning. You should pay attention to whether the food is well digested. If you also feed your dog with healthy vegetables rich in fiber, small pieces of vegetables may be present. Anything else you might see should not be there. Thin, white spots, for example, can indicate worms.
Color Your dog’s stool should always have a chocolate brown color. The color of the stool gives you an idea of what is happening in the digestive tract. If the stool is black like tar, it could indicate bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Blood on the outside of the stool does not necessarily imply serious problems. The intestinal mucosa is highly vascularized and can easily bleed when irritated. However, bacteria could enter the circulatory system through these small defects and cause further problems.
Blood in the stool can indicate larger bleeding further up in the intestinal tract and have more serious causes. Differentiating between them is often difficult. Therefore, if you see blood in the stool, do not wait and go to the veterinarian immediately!
Mucus on the stool indicates a stressed intestine. The goblet cells in the intestine produce more mucus to protect the intestinal mucosa. Changes in stool color can be caused by different foods, metabolic problems, or toxic substances.
Consistency Your dog’s stool should always be soft but firm and formed. Very hard stool can indicate constipation, while soft and watery stool indicates diarrhea and a range of other problems. Diet can also significantly influence stool consistency, so you should be particularly attentive after a change in diet.
In older, intact males, a change in stool shape can also indicate problems with the prostate. The enlargement of the prostate can flatten the stool and lead to difficulties in defecation. The increase in size can be harmless due to age, but it can also be caused by more serious problems such as a tumor.
Treating Mild Diarrhea in Dogs If your dog has a fever at any time, is very weak or bloated, has a large amount of blood in the stool, has black stool, or experiences severe vomiting, please seek veterinary help as soon as possible. But for those dealing with mild diarrhea, here are a few tips that can help.
Most animals partially put themselves on a diet when suffering from a digestive illness. To relieve the gastrointestinal tract, you should support this and offer less food in many small portions. You should also choose easily digestible food.
In any case of diarrhea, your dog should always have access to fresh water! This is very important because they lose a lot of fluid through diarrhea. Even if the stool returns to normal in a short time, you should continue to feed your dog a bland diet for about three days and gradually transition back to the normal feeding routine.
As a bland diet, you can use rice and a small amount of baby food or simply some chicken meat for the necessary protein. You can also offer your pet the rice cooking water, as it contains some electrolytes.
However, I must mention that poultry is often involved in food intolerances, also commonly referred to as allergies. Another option would be a mixture of rice, lean meat such as beef tartare, and low-fat cottage cheese.
When to Consult a Veterinarian if Your Dog Has Diarrhea If the diarrhea lasts for more than three days, it is time to take your dog to the veterinarian. You should not wait if your dog appears visibly ill, has bloody diarrhea, vomits frequently, has lost a lot of fluid and shows signs of dehydration, or develops a fever.
The same applies to puppies; they should be taken to the veterinarian on the same day. They have few reserves to compensate for the loss of food and fluids. If you are unsure whether a visit to the veterinarian is necessary or not, please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.