Looking after our pet’s poop is possibly and understandably the least pleasant thing about being a pet parent.
But it’s also one of those things that are just important to monitor because it tells us a lot about our dogs’ overall health.
So, one day, you’re taking a walk with your pooch and his stool seems to be much softer or looser than normal.
But how could he have diarrhea if he’s been acting fine?
Well, we’ll dive into what constitutes as diarrhea, and what else to look out for if you suspect it!
Chronic Diarrhea vs Acute Diarrhea
The frequency of your dog’s diarrhea or how he experiences it is one of the important things to look for to be able to tell chronic from acute diarrhea.
Chronic diarrhea reoccurs regularly and is distinguished by its frequent bouts.
If your dog experiences diarrhea frequently, no matter what you do to help, there could be an underlying medical condition causing his chronic diarrhea.
Chronic diarrhea could be the symptom of:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
On the other hand, acute diarrhea usually happens out of the blue and its symptoms appear suddenly.
It’s fairly common, and it’s most usually a result of a certain irritation in your dog’s intestinal tract.
This type of diarrhea will usually go away without the need for your interference, but depending on the case, a vet’s input could be needed.
Symptoms of Diarrhea
You’ve already noticed your dog’s loose stool and it might feel like that’s all you needed to know.
But diarrhea in dogs can also frame itself in other different ways:
- Loose, watery, frequent, explosive stools is the number one symptom of diarrhea
- Straining even though he is not constipated
- Loss of appetite
Causes of Acute Diarrhea
The most common cause of diarrhea in dogs is your dog eating something that has upset his guts and caused a digestive problem.
This may be the result of a dietary indiscretion, or if your dog has eaten something from the garbage or off the ground that he shouldn’t have eaten.
Your dog might have also gotten a reaction to a certain kind of food.
Have you switched up his diet recently? A sudden change in a dog’s diet could also result in diarrhea.
Dogs can get parasites in their stomachs or intestinal tracts that leach off nutrients and blood supply, and consequently cause diarrhea.
If it’s parasites causing your dog’s diarrhea, you might find live parasites, eggs, or mucus in his stool.
Bacterial infections can be the cause of gastrointestinal issues for your dog.
Because bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract can weaken its cells, your dog might experience nutrient malabsorption.
This, in turn, causes watery stool.
Just like us, dogs can get food allergies too that could result in their diarrhea.
Monitor your pup’s diet for anything you might be suspecting is the cause for allergy, and work with your vet in conjunction.
Dogs can sometimes accidentally consume or ingest a food or chemical that is poisonous for them, and acute diarrhea is usually a symptom of that.
Medication Side Effect
If your dog is on any medication, it could be that diarrhea is a side effect of it.
This type of diarrhea will usually go away once the prescription is over, or you could stop that certain medication and look for alternatives instead.
Obstruction or Blockage
Like with bacterial infections, malabsorption and hence diarrhea can also be caused by a foreign object that is lodged in your dog’s digestive tract.
Sometimes, the obstructing item will pass on its own.
But other times, it could be life threating and lead to other complications.
If you suspect a blockage is the reason why your dog has diarrhea, it’s best to take him to the vet as soon as you can.
Stress and Anxiety
Much like in the case of us humans, dogs can also get diarrhea when they’re stressed or anxious.
Pay attention to whether you think your pup gets diarrhea after some certain stress triggers, or if it usually happens when they’re left alone at home, for example.
This will help you identify his triggers and eliminate them if possible, also eliminating his diarrhea in the process.
When to Worry
Acute diarrhea is, more often than not, not a worrying enough reason to go to an emergency vet.
Monitor your pet’s stool – if it happened just once and your dog continues to act and eat normally, there’s probably nothing to worry about.
But here’s some other things to look out for if your dog has diarrhea that might be causes for concern:
- Bloody stool
- Purple stool
- Orange stool
In most cases, diarrhea caused by an irritation of the gut will go away on its own, and it will pass even easier with the help of some home remedies we’ll mention below.
Home Remedies for Acute Diarrhea
If you suspect your dog’s diarrhea could be caused by an underlying medical condition, you should see your vet about it.
But whatever the cause of the diarrhea and whether it’s acute or more serious, here are a couple of things you can do to provide your dog with some relief:
- Get your dog to fast for 12-36 hours
- Get him on a bland diet – you can also make his food home
- Give him probiotics
- Add fiber to his diet
- Abdominal massage
- Feed him some pumpkin
Diarrhea in dogs is not fun, but it thankfully isn’t dangerous most of the time.
There’s a number of things you can do to help your dog with his diarrhea if you and your vet have already ruled out any serious issues that could a cause for concern.
There are also some things you can do as a dog parent to try and avoid diarrhea from happening in the first place!
This can include feeding your dog a good diet, staying on top of their parasite prevention treatment, and taking him for regular vet checks.