We all know how horrible diarrhea can be and it’s very similar for our four-legged companions. Dogs can commonly go through phases of diarrhea and it can cause quite a concern for canines and owners alike.
Because dogs can’t talk, it’s hard for them to communicate when they’re not feeling 100%. Making sure your dog feels healthy is always our main concern, so we understand why you might be stressed.
Of course, when a dog gets diarrhea it can be a sign of an underlying medical issue that might need urgent attention. Other times, it can be a change to your pooch’s diet or something they’ve eaten which is causing these irregular bowel movements.
To save you from stressing too much, we’ve compiled a guide and a list of things that could be the potential cause of your dog’s upset tummy. Follow the rest of the article to find out the answers that you need.
What Is Diarrhea?
In the unlikely event that you don’t know what diarrhea is, here’s a quick definition – it’s a condition where there are frequent loose stools in the digestive system.
It’s usually caused by changes to the intestinal lining which allows fluid to leak into the gut. This causes the stool to become more watery than normal, as well as having a foul odor. If you haven’t experienced the issue, then you’re very lucky!
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that your dog has worms or other infections. It just means that their intestines produce more liquid waste than usual and sometimes it smells bad, but it’s nothing to worry about.
For example, if your dog has diarrhea after eating grass, then it’s likely because the sugar content in the grass is high enough to cause some irritation in their stomachs.
How Does My Dog Get Diarrhea?
It’s important to point out that diarrhea isn’t necessarily a symptom of illness, so it should never be taken as such. It’s one of the most common symptoms of various illnesses.
Unfortunately, it’s also one of the least understood conditions in veterinary medicine. The truth is that diarrhea is often caused by many different factors, including food allergies, parasites like Giardia (which we’ll get onto later), and even simple dietary changes.
Sometimes the cause of your dog’s diarrhea can be because their diet isn’t varied enough. This means that they aren’t consuming any new foods or have been fed the same thing day after day.
It’s possible that their body simply needs to experience a bit of variety to keep its immune systems up and running.
This is especially true for puppies who may be introduced to a lot of new experiences when they start going to puppy classes.
However, if you notice that your dog seems to be getting diarrhea every time they eat certain foods, then you must take them to the vet and get them checked out.
Bacteria And Germs
It’s no secret that bacteria and germs are everywhere around us. They’re found on everything from plants to people, animals, and the air itself. When your dog eats or drinks anything with those nasty little creatures, they can pass it on to their body via their digestive tract.
Usually, this will result in diarrhea, although it does happen that bacteria can cause your dog’s poop to smell worse than usual.
While it may seem obvious, parasites do exist in both dogs and cats. These tiny organisms live inside animals’ bodies and feed off them. Once they’ve done their job, they either leave the host or die themselves. Parasites can cause diarrhea in two ways.
First, they can cause damage or inflammation to the intestine wall, making it easier for fluids to leak out. Alternatively, they can irritate the nerves in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in pain and discomfort.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
More commonly known as IBD, inflammatory bowel disease involves a chronic condition where the immune system attacks the inner walls of the small intestine and colon. This results in swelling and bleeding in these areas, causing the affected animal to lose weight rapidly.
Some cases even require surgery to remove damaged tissue. If you think that your dog might be suffering from IBD, then you must contact your vet straight away so that they can perform a thorough examination and establish whether treatment is necessary.
Symptoms of IBD can include bloody diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, frequent urination, abdominal pain, and more.
In some rare cases, a dog can develop an allergy to something that he consumes regularly. Although there are no official statistics available, it has been reported that between 50-70% of dogs suffer from at least one form of food intolerance. For example, dogs can become allergic to milk products, beef, soy, corn, and much more.
What To Do
When seeing something like blood in stool, it can be a cause for alarm amongst any caring owners, however, it’s important not to panic and to keep calm. Jumping to conclusions will make things worse for you and cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
Stuff like bloody diarrhea and soft stools can be solved with a trip to the vet where they can conduct blood tests and prescribe medication to ease your pup’s pain.
On top of this, they can also help diagnose other health conditions. Your vet should be able to tell you what is wrong with your dog by looking closely at its symptoms.
You might want to try different diets first to see if that helps before deciding to bring him into the vet’s office. As long as your dog gets adequate nutrition, you don’t need to worry too much about the color of his feces so long as it doesn’t contain a large amount of urine.
Your Dog’s Diet
Improving your dog’s diet can be a great way to combat diarrhea and is integral to keeping your pet happy and healthy. The most common culprits behind diarrhea are low fiber foods, excessive amounts of sugar (or high fructose corn syrup), and poor-quality protein sources.
Most commercial foods are formulated to suit human feeding habits rather than those of pets. Many pet foods have very little nutritional value because manufacturers are often forced to cut costs by using cheaper ingredients. As a result, such foods often lack vitamins and minerals essential for good health.
In addition to having meats and crucial sources of protein, it can be useful to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your dog’s diet. These provide fiber and essential nutrients that aid digestion.
To conclude, your dog having diarrhea can be a result of lots of different factors that should all be considered before rushing your pet to a medical center.
However, when your dog does present with bloody or watery diarrhea, you must get them checked out immediately to ensure your furry friend doesn’t fall victim to another serious illness.
These situations aren’t just worrying for us owners, they’re scary for dogs too. We know how difficult it is to cope with losing a family member, so making sure that your dog is happy and healthy is very important.
However, it’s always best to stay calm and keep yourself from jumping to conclusions. At the end of the day, you know your dog very well so you know what’s best.