If you own a dog, dog poop is a very real part of your life. But if you're reading this post, you've more than likely found yourself in the unenviable position of having to clean a poop that's, well, lacking in structural integrity and possibly even bordering on formless.
There's no way to put it delicately, but doggie diarrhea is just part of being a pawrent. Like in humans, there comes a point when having a runny tummy can go from harmless and temporary to much more severe.
We'll look at dog diarrhea in this post (not literally, thank goodness!) and cover all the essential things you need to know. What causes dog diarrhea? What other symptoms should you look out for? When should you worry? When should you seek treatment?
We'll cover everything you need to know about navigating a very poopy situation.
Causes of dog diarrhea
Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by several things. Most commonly, the cause of dog diarrhea is related to what your dog eats. Eating things like garbage or spoiled food can cause stomach upset, as can consuming poisonous substances or plants. Food intolerances and allergies can also cause diarrhea in dogs.
According to research, diarrhea in dogs can also be caused by various parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Also, common viruses like parvovirus and coronavirus and bacteria like salmonella can cause diarrhea.
Sometimes, it can be a symptom of another illness like liver and kidney disease, colitis, or cancer.
Read more: Parvo in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
Treatment and taking care of your dog
First off, you must never use human medication on your pets. Their anatomies are very different from ours and, of course, much smaller. Only medications specially formulated for animals and prescribed by a veterinarian should be given to your pets.
Diarrhea can very quickly lead to dehydration, so your dog must have access to plenty of fresh water.
To prepare these, simply boil/poach these without oil or salt or flavoring of any kind. Combine these with simple carbohydrates like cooked white rice, sweet potatoes, or regular skinless potatoes.
Feed this to your dog in small, frequent portions to avoid overwhelming their gut.
Other everyday kitchen items that can be helpful to try include:
- Pumpkin puree (it must be 100% pumpkin without added spices etc.);
- Plain yogurt with live cultures (don't use this if your pup is sensitive to milk);
- Cottage cheese (plain).
When is dog diarrhea an emergency? Symptoms to look out for
Diarrhea on its own is not necessarily a cause for concern. But if you've followed a bland diet for more than 48 hours and diarrhea shows no sign of stopping, it's a good idea to head to the vet.
Some symptoms that are cause for concern include:
- Blood in the stools;
- Diarrhea that follows a vaccine or after administering medication.
You know your dog better than anyone, so it's better to seek treatment than to wait if you notice even subtle signs that something isn't right. In instances of dog diarrhea, it's always best to… dare we say it … trust your gut.
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Read more: What To Expect From An Online Vet Visit
Dog vomiting and diarrhea – should I worry?
The risk of diarrhea and vomiting together is that your dog is at greater risk of dehydration. If your dog is vomiting and has diarrhea repeatedly, it's probably time to see a vet. Usually, vomiting for longer than 12 hours and diarrhea for longer than 24 hours requires veterinary care.
If your dog is lethargic and lacking in energy or cannot stand or walk, you should get to a vet as soon as possible.
Can I give my dog Pepto Bismol for diarrhea?
It's always best not to use human medication on animals. While Pepto Bismol may provide some relief for your dog's mild diarrhea in particular cases, getting the correct dose is tricky without the advice of a vet. It’s much better to let your vet prescribe a medication that has been specifically formulated for animals.
My dog has diarrhea but is acting fine?
If your dog has diarrhea but is acting fine and isn't displaying any other symptoms, the issue is contained in the GI. This means it's more than likely that your dog ate something that isn't agreeing with them or has a parasite infection.
Switch to a bland diet, ensure your pup has access to plenty of fresh water, and sit tight. If the situation doesn't resolve in a day or so, it might be worth getting to a vet to prevent dehydration and ensure that the problem isn't worsening.
If your dog has bloody diarrhea but is acting normal, it's advisable to seek treatment urgently. Just because your dog seems fine doesn't mean that something serious isn't going on internally. Where bloody diarrhea is concerned, it's always better to err on the side of caution.
Can peanut butter cause diarrhea in dogs?
Peanut butter is very high in fat, so if your dog consumes too much peanut butter, it can cause diarrhea. How much peanut butter is too much? That depends on your dog, but a good rule of thumb is that no more than half a tablespoon for a small-to-medium-sized dog or a tablespoon for large breeds.
Ensure that the peanut butter you give your dog is unsweetened and unsalted, which is better for dogs. Ensure that your peanut butter doesn't contain xylitol (a natural sweetener), highly toxic to dogs.
Is rice water good for dog diarrhea?
Rice water is a common and effective home remedy for diarrhea in dogs. In addition to rehydrating your pup, it also has a binding effect that leads to thicker, firmer poops.
How to make rice water to treat dog diarrhea? Easy! Boil one cup of plain, white rice in three cups of water for around 20 minutes. Drain the cloudy water from the rice and allow it to cool to room temperature before giving it to your dog. You can make extra and store it in the refrigerator for up to seven days.
What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?
The most common causes of diarrhea in dogs are:
- Stress and anxiety;
- Change in the diet;
- Eating garbage or spoiled food;
- Ingestion of foreign objects, i.e., rocks, toys, socks, etc.;
- Ingesting toxins of poisons;
- Bacteria such as salmonella;
- Viral infections like parvovirus;
- Diseases like colitis, pancreatitis, and cancer.
What is the best dog food for diarrhea?
If your dog has diarrhea, the best food to feed is a plain diet of boiled rice or potatoes and lean protein like skinless chicken, boiled eggs, or white fish. Pumpkin can also be very good if it is 100% pure pumpkin without added spices.
How fast does pumpkin work for diarrhea?
Many cases of diarrhea may see improvement within 1-3 days with pumpkin added to the diet or another bland food. If improvement is not seen, this should prompt a visit to the vet.
My dog hasn't pooped in 24 hours after diarrhea. How long after diarrhea will my dog poop again?
Stay calm. It's pretty common for your dog not to poop for a day or so after having diarrhea. A runny tummy can clean out your dog's intestines, and it may take a day or two for normal stool to build up and pass through.
This is also partly due to medication that may be used to treat diarrhea which slows the gut down to give it a break, and partially because a bland diet will naturally move slower through the gut.
Normal pooping should resume in two or three days. If your pet is eating and not going to the toilet after this time, give your vet a call.
My dog has orange diarrhea. What does that mean?
As much as you would really rather not, paying attention to the color of your dog’s poop can give you clues as to what’s going on internally. Ideally, your dog’s poop should be chocolate brown.
Common poop colors and what they mean:
- Chocolate brown: normal;
- Green: your dog ate too much grass, gall bladder issues;
- Orange or yellow: possible biliary or liver problems;
- Red streaks: blood in stool, possibly from inflammation in the colon (colitis) from various causes;
- Black and tarry: this indicates bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract;
- Grey and greasy: possible pancreas problems or biliary issue;
- White spots that look like rice: may indicate the presence of tapeworm.