It’s no fun when your dog has diarrhea even less so if it happens overnight. But don’t worry! A lot of dogs get this unpleasant side effect once in a while especially those who have sensitive tummies but there are plenty of ways to make your dog feel better fast.
First off, what causes diarrhea in dogs? There are many potential culprits, including bacterial and viral infections, parasites, food allergies, toxins, and medications. Because they’re so diverse, figuring out the cause of your dog’s diarrhea can sometimes take time. However, most cases are relatively simple to diagnose and fix.
In fact, most of the time, all you need to do is change your dog’s diet. Once you’ve narrowed down the cause, you’ll see results quickly often within 24 hours. And since you’ll probably be giving him lots of fluids at home anyway (and because your vet will likely prescribe medicine), you shouldn’t have much trouble getting him back on track.
How to Tell Your Dog Has Diarrhea
There are several common signs that let you know your dog might have diarrhea. First off, if your dog is vomiting or throwing up, then he definitely needs to go to the vet right away. You also might notice one (or more) of these other symptoms:
- If your dog’s poop changes color
- If your dog’s stool becomes soft and mushy
- If your dog throws up blood
- If your dog seems weak
- If your dog doesn’t want to eat
- If diarrhea lasts more than three days
Here are some additional warning signs:
- If your dog eats grass regularly
- If your dog has diarrhea but isn’t showing any other symptoms
- If your dog has diarrhea but his coat appears greasy
- If your dog has diarrhea but shows no other symptoms
- If your dog has diarrhea and is drinking too much water
- If your dog has diarrhea and urinates frequently
- If your dog has diarrhea and loses weight easily
- If your dog has diarrhea and has difficulty moving around
- If your dog has diarrhea and cries constantly
- If your dog has diarrhea and begins leaking fluid through its nose
- If your dog has diarrhea and is lethargic
- If your dog has diarrhea and has a fever
- If your dog has diarrhea and does not defecate
See a veterinarian immediately if you believe your dog is having severe diarrhea, which could indicate cancer or another serious health problem.
Treating Diarrhea in Dogs
Once you’ve determined that your dog actually has diarrhea, you can take steps to reduce the amount of liquid passing through. Start by feeding smaller meals throughout the day rather than just two large ones. This will prevent stomach overload and ensure your dog feels full and satisfied without becoming bloated later.
Also, give your dog lots of freshwaters. He’ll drink extra fluids whenever he has diarrhea to try to flush out the excess salt that aggravates his system. That said, don’t overdo it on liquids, either. Don’t keep him hydrated with gallons upon gallons of water every day. Instead, gradually increase the number of fluids he drinks each day.
You should also try to limit the kinds of foods he eats during periods of diarrhea. Foods with high levels of fats, proteins, or carbohydrates tend to worsen intestinal issues, so avoid them while your dog recovers. Also, steer clear of raw meat and dairy products, as well as anything spicy or salty, which can irritate his intestines further. Finally, steer clear of citrus fruits, bananas, chocolate, and caffeine-containing beverages, as these can contribute to loose bowels.
Finally, talk to your vet about any other possible causes of diarrhea besides your dog’s digestive problems. For example, he might have eaten something contaminated with Salmonella or E. coli, which would explain why he was feeling ill. Or maybe your dog ate a poisonous mushroom, causing him to vomit and pass gas before going into diarrhea mode. These types of illnesses require immediate treatment by a professional.
Many people believe that yogurt helps fight diarrhea in humans. The same is true for dogs. Try mixing cottage cheese and yogurt together to create a tasty treat that provides protein and probiotics (good bacteria). Yogurt also contains calcium and vitamin B12, both important nutrients for healthy digestion.