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Oh No, My Dog Has Diarrhea

Posted 08.03.17 by Amanda Shoemake, DVM

He was fine yesterday, but now he’s running outside frequently and having very loose or watery stool.  Diarrhea…an all too common problem that many owners deal with in their dogs.  So what causes this and what can you do about it?

The causes of diarrhea in our canine patients are vast.  Some are not concerning and may even resolve on their own, without medical treatment.  Other times, diarrhea can be a sign of a deeper problem and can even signal life threatening disease.

One of the most common causes of diarrhea is dietary indiscretion.  So a dog who gets into the trash, is given scraps from the table, or even eats too much grass outside.  This can also occur if the diet is abruptly changed, without mixing the old and new food together.

Another cause of diarrhea, especially seen in younger patients, is parasites.  Many of the intestinal parasites we see will cause diarrhea, some even cause vomiting.  There are some intestinal parasites that will be seen with the naked eye, in the feces, but often, we have to look at a fecal sample under the microscope to diagnose them.

Another, frequently seen, cause of diarrhea in dogs is a condition called stress colitis.  Stress can take on many different appearances in dogs.  It can be something as simple as the excitement of boarding or doggie daycare, or stressful situations like fireworks or out-of-town guests in the house.

What can you do about a dog with diarrhea?  Sometimes, they truly need to be examined and treated by your Veterinarian.  Any time diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting, lethargy, inappetance, bloody stool, or if it’s severe or lasting more than a few days, you should have your pet examined by your Veterinarian.  If it’s mild and your pet is otherwise acting fairly normal, you can try giving them boiled chicken and rice for a day or two, or try adding a small amount of canned pumpkin to their diet to see if the diarrhea will resolve.  It is recommended to seek the advice of a Veterinarian prior to giving any OTC diarrhea medication.


Amanda Shoemake, DVM

The Pet Hospitals– Lakeland

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