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Diarrhea in Dogs: Everything you Need To Know As A Dog Owner

Diarrhea in dogs refers to the more frequent passage of excessively liquid stools. It is not a disease in itself, and its cause is often difficult to determine. This results in an abnormal elevation in stool liquidity and weight. Diarrhea is an increase in the frequency of stools compared to regular or looser bowel movements than usual. Diarrhea is the primary and major sign of intestinal dysfunction. 

Most Important Information on Diarrhea in Dogs


It is the most common canine affliction, and diarrhea in dogs varies in frequency, intensity, duration from pet to pet. Firstly you have to investigate the cause of diarrhea, and then you will want to prevent the cause of it fast. You should not prevent diarrhea, but you might reduce the duration of the episodes and help your dogs with unpleasant situations. 

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What is the Most Common Cause of Diarrhea in Dogs?


Anything that upsets the digestive tract and results in water not being absorbed produces diarrhea. Some common causes include:

Diarrhea is due to intestinal diseases:

  • Endoparasitic infections: ascarids, hookworm, coccidian, whipworms, trichinella.
  • Bacterial infections: E. coli, Salmonella spp.
  • Viral infections: canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, coronavirus, rotavirus.
  • Fungal: the primary fungi infecting the intestine are- Histoplasma capsulatum, Aspergillus spp.
  • Rickettsial: salmon poisoning
  • Specific inflammatory diseases (e.g., eosinophilic enteritis and ulcerative colitis).
  • Neoplasia.
  • Inflammatory changes: (inflammatory bowel disease, common in cats, similar to Krohn’s disease in people), etc.

Diarrhea is due to functional causes:

  • Sudden Changes in dog diet.
  • Defective intestinal absorption of nutrients.
  • Inadequate pancreatic digestion.
  • Misuse of drugs.
  • Toxic enteritis.
  • Nervous system disorders.

Diarrhea is due to systemic diseases:

  • Viral diseases: canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis.
  • Bacterial diseases: Leptospirosis.
  • Systemic mycosis and salmon poisoning.
  • Pancreatitis and pancreatic abnormalities.

Extraintestinal causes of Dog Diarrhea: 

Obstructive causes of diarrhea: 

  • Intussusception.
  • Volvulus.
  • Foreign bodies in the intestine and stomach.

Idiopathic causes of Diarrhea in Dogs: 

  • Canine hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
  • Acute nonspecific gastroenteritis. 

Types of Diarrhea in Dogs


There are different types of diarrhea in dogs. There may be categorized are:

  • Large bowel diarrhea.
  • Small bowel diarrhea.
  • Acute diarrhea in dogs.
  • Chronic diarrhea in dogs.

Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Your Dog Diarrhea


When your dog falls into diarrhea at that time, pets may show different types of symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Lethargic from dehydration.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bloated stomach
  • Mucus or blood in the stool.
  • Stool color changes ( pale, yellow instead of its standard brown color).
  • The visible presence of worms in stool.
  • Fever or hyperthermia in dogs.

Dog Diarrhea Diagnosis and Testing Methods


Your veterinarian makes the diagnosis. The presumptive diagnosis of diarrhea is usually made based on an animal’s history, clinical and physical examination. The confirmatory diagnosis is based on laboratory tests.

History: Your experts search the 

  • History of eating any unusual thing.
  • History of feeding. 
  • Nature of the diet. 
  • A review of the dog vaccination status. 
  • Current medication history. 
  • Traveling or any other stress. 
  • Possible exposure to chemicals or infectious diseases. 
  • Environmental history, etc. 

The disease may vary according to age, breed, sex, etc.; fungal infections are uncommon in dogs younger than six months of age.

Clinical examination for the diagnosis of diarrhea:

  • Assessment of general health status.
  • Hydration status. 
  • Circulation problems. 
  • Gastrointestinal pain and distress.

Physical Examination of Dogs: Along with the history, physical examination helps direct the clinician toward what specific test should be done. 

  • Particular attention is given to the animal’s attitude, hydration, and posture. 
  • Depression and dehydration in conjunction with acute diarrhea suggest an infectious or toxicity-related etiology. 
  • Abnormal posture may indicate abdominal pain. 
  • Abdominal palpation is done to examine for thickened bowel, intussusception, etc. 
  • A rectal examination is always done in dogs to examine for increased mucosal sensitivity, narrowing, foreign body, or mass effect and obtain a fresh stool sample for gross examination. 

Physical Findings of Faeces

Feces are examined for volumes, consistency, mucus, blood, undigested food materials, etc. It also helps to differentiate the slight intestinal and large intestinal diarrhea. 

Laboratory Tests for Diagnosis of Diarrhea

  • Fecal parasite test: direct smear, fecal floatation, or Biermann technique for identifying larvae. Zinc sulfate floatation is used for the identification of Giardia oocyst.
  • Bacteriological examination: the objective is to the identification of Salmonella spp. , Campylobacter jejuni. A culture and sensitivity test should also be done.
  • Virological examination: Electron microscopy examination of fecal sample for canine parvovirus.

Home Remedies for Diarrhea in Dogs


  • Dietary restriction is the initial management for your diarrhea in dogs. 
  • Your dogs with diarrhea should be withheld food for 12 to 24 hours. 
  • This allows the intestine to repair and regenerate. 
  • Your patient should have access to plenty of fresh water even on the first day. 
  • After 24 hours, a bland food you may provide for the next 24 hours. 
  • If no dog vomiting occurs during this period of management, over the next 2 to 5 days, the animal is gradually returned to full feed and water.

Until vomiting is well controlled, fed small amounts frequently of a highly digestible, low fiber diet-cooked rice or cooked cereals supplemented in a 50:50 ratio with cottage cheese, boiled chicken, or commercial baby chicks. Suppose no diarrhea has occurred during the 24 to 48 hours of fast. In that case, a small amount of a highly digestible, low fiber, moderately low-fat diet is fed 3 to 6 times daily, such as cooked rice or cooked cereals supplemented in a 4:1 ratio with cottage cheese or boiled chicken or commercial baby foods. 

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When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Diarrhea? 


It is essential to consult your vet for diarrhea in dogs. You have to be very concerned about the situation because it is a more severe problem for your pets. 

  • When your dog’s diarrhea does not stop.
  • Severe diarrhea with large amounts of blood.
  • Dehydration.
  • Long duration diarrhea.
  • Use of medication such as a dog on antibiotics.
  • Other physical symptoms like lethargy, fever, vomiting, pale gums, or weakness.
  • The existing condition means advanced age, Cushing’s, Diabetes, or any medical issues.
  • Weight loss. 

What is the Treatment for Diarrhea In Dogs?


When the proper diagnosis is ensured, then your vets give the specific treatment for the underlying problems. 

  • Dietary treatment is the initial management for diarrhea in dogs. 
  • Your veterinarian may also be recommended parenteral fluids, and it initiated when electrolyte or acid-base imbalance or dehydration occurs. 
  • Antiemetic drugs are given to control refractory vomiting in dogs older than four months of age. 
  • Phenothiazine tranquilizers are very effective in blocking viscerally stimulated vomiting caused by gastritis.
  • Anticholinergic drugs Atropine, Isopromide, and Methylscopolamine may be prescribed in some cases, and they reduce gastric motility and smooth muscle spasms by blocking the parasympathetic stimulation of the smooth muscle.
  • Oral protectants are used frequently in the treatment of diarrhea. The use of antimicrobial agents in the treatment of diarrhea is controversial. 
  • Metronidazole treatment is also beneficial for your dogs. 

Because of the frequent occurrence of endoparasites as the primary or secondary cause of diarrhea in the young dog, routine administration of an appropriate antiparasitic drug may be recommended to ask your veterinarian before giving your dog. Gastrin-stimulated acid secretory blockers, e.g., cimetidine and ranitidine, effectively reduce gastric acid production by blocking the H2 receptors of the parietal cells.

These drugs may be prescribed by your experts in the symptomatic treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers and syndromes resulting in gastric acid hypersecretion. They probably should not be administered to puppies younger than four months of age. A warm, dry, well-ventilated, and lighted comfortable environment and beddings should be provided. 

Final Advice on Diarrhea in Dogs


Diarrhea is a common condition and indication of many diseases in dogs. As a dog owner, you may face this problem in your dog frequently. You can control diarrhea in dogs by proper management of diet and living conditions. In my article, I have discussed the causes and diagnosis of diarrhea in detail. I have discussed the management and treatment procedures very minutely. If you follow my suggestions and guidelines, the life of your valuable dog will save early.  

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