- 1 Possible causes of acute or chronic dog diarrhea
- 2 When to worry about your dog’s loose stools?
- 3 What are the dangers of waiting when your dog/puppy has diarrhea?
- 4 Home remedies that work before going to my vet?
- 5 What’s the best dry dog food for loose stools?
- 6 Intestinal parasites, suspects in gastrointestinal discomfort
- 7 Why did my vet offer me tests, why not just treat the diarrhea?
- 8 Diagnosing the causes of diarrhea in dogs or puppies
- 9 What’s the best dry dog food for loose stools? Diet changes may not be the solution
Gastrointestinal diseases are a frequent reason for veterinary consultation. According to an insurance company, diarrhea is one of the top 10 reasons for bringing your dog to the vet. What if you could take care of this issue yourself? And what’s the best dry dog food for loose stools?
In veterinary clinics not a day goes by without a dog owner being concerned about the consistency of his canine companion’s stool. So this is a hot topic that deserves your full attention!
Possible causes of acute or chronic dog diarrhea
A bowel disorder can cause a variety of clinical signs, but diarrhea is the most common symptom! It is defined by an increase in the water content in the stools, but also by an increase in their frequency, fluidity or volume. But what is causing this inconvenience?
Here are typical causes of diarrhea in dogs and puppies:
- Recent dietary change
- Excess food or food poisoning
- Presence of intestinal parasites
- Taking a drug causing an imbalance in the normal intestinal flora
- Taking a human medicine that is toxic to dogs
- Food intolerance or allergy
- Viral disease (ex: Parvovirus)
- Bowel obstruction (presence of a foreign body or intussusception)
- Chronic intestinal diseases that interfere with the proper functioning of the digestive system (ex: IBD)
- Pancreatic enzyme deficiency (acute or chronic pancreatitis, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency)
- Metabolic disease, such as kidney or liver problem, or hypoadrenocortisime …
- Presence of a tumor in the digestive system
- Obstruction or malformation of the intramucosal lymphatic vessels of the small intestine
- Presence of stress (adoption, moving, animal separation anxiety with anxious temperament, etc.)
- Ingestion of a plant that is dangerous for dogs
When to worry about your dog’s loose stools?
As you will have noticed, diarrhea is a common symptom of many health problems! So, you will understand that when a dog owner checks with the vet if they should be concerned about their dog’s loose stools, the answer is not so obvious.
To fully determine the severity of the symptoms, be prepared to answer some of the following questions:
- Duration of condition
- When did the first episode of diarrhea start?
- Has the diarrhea been constant since the 1st episode or have you noticed normal bowel movements since then?
- Characteristic of diarrhea (colitis)
- Frequency? Does he have a bowel movement more often than usual?
- Saddle Description: Mucus? Fresh blood? Black in color?
- Does your dog seem to be in pain when he has a bowel movement?
- Are there any other symptoms?
- Decreased energy level?
- Loss of weight in your dog?
- Decreased or lack of appetite?
- Intermittent vomiting?
- Or regurgitation? (Regurgitation unlike vomiting is passive: there are no tummy contractions.)
- Presence of skin symptoms that could be related to diarrhea
- Is your dog scratching?
- Frequent ear infections?
- Recurrent anal gland infection?
- Type of diet
- Name of the food? Dry or canned?
- Fed at will? Or calculated quantity?
- Number of meals per day? Served at fixed times? Around what hours?
- Have you opened a new food bag lately? Or are you at the end of the bag? How long does the bag last?
- Where do you store the dog’s food? Will the kibble stay in the original bag?
- Do you offer treats? What brand? Have you noticed a link with diarrhea?
- Did you bake cookies for your dog? If so what type/recipe?
- Do you offer table food for your dog? What have you offered him lately? How much? Have you noticed a link with diarrhea?
- Does your dog have access to bones?
- Medical history
- Has your dog or puppy been vaccinated recently?
- When was his last deworming? What type of dewormer?
- Special medical conditions diagnosed or suspected in the past year?
- Is your dog taking any medication? Natural products?
- Do you know the health history in the dog’s family?
- Could your dog have eaten something unusual? Chemical product? Dead animals on the road? Cat litter? Trash can?
- Does your pet have a habit of eating inedible objects?
- Does your dog chew shoes, clothes, toys?
- Does he have a habit of destroying his toys?
Ouf! I am sure your head is spinning by now! Only a good history and physical examination by the veterinarian will allow him and his team to gather enough information to determine whether there is an urgent need for an in-depth consultation or if the situation can wait.
What are the dangers of waiting when your dog/puppy has diarrhea?
Unless your canine companion’s medical condition or history indicates a more serious problem, your veterinarian rarely recommends that you consult with the first soft stool. However, diarrhea that persists for more than 24-48 hours without improvement or accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of appetite and vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration.
Also note that the medical team is normally more alarmist when it comes to a puppy or an elderly dog, since the risk of dehydration is increased at these ages. Also, if there is a possibility that your dog has eaten something usual, it is not advisable to wait before consulting your veterinarian.
Yes, the object could eventually pass and come out on its own in the next bowel movement, but if not, serious complications could occur and even lead to the death.
Home remedies that work before going to my vet?
When your dog starts to have diarrhea break down the daily food intake to 4 to 8 small meals. The simple fact of dividing your dog’s daily ration into several small portions results in less gastric retention and allows better digestion, thus beneficial effects for the recovery of the digestive system.
What’s the best dry dog food for loose stools?
Use A Highly Digestible Therapeutic Food
This type of diet is exclusively sold by veterinarians and does not require a dietary transition. They contain high quality and easy to digest proteins, essential for the healing of the intestinal mucosa.
Consider Adding Probiotics To Your Dog’s Diet
They are living microorganisms which, when given in adequate quantities, provide health benefits for the host. They have beneficial effects on the immune system, the restoration of the intestinal muscosal barrier and on the protection of the intestinal flora. They are highly recommended until all symptoms of diarrhea are gone, but can also be offered longer term!
Intestinal parasites, suspects in gastrointestinal discomfort
The presence of parasites is almost always suspected in the case of chronic diarrhea. Some types of parasites, especially Giardia, are difficult to detect and are transmitted by direct contact, so the animal can become infected very quickly and easily. It is also interesting to know that no dewormer is effective against all types of parasites. So even if your canine companion is dewormed monthly with a good preventative product, that doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t get a less common parasite, for example.
Depending on the type of parasites suspected, your veterinarian will recommend an appropriate diagnostic test as well as an appropriate pest control for your dog.
Why did my vet offer me tests, why not just treat the diarrhea?
Because diarrhea is a symptom, not a disease. Fortunately, when history does not suspect an underlying problem or the physical examination of the animal is of little concern, the vet will treat symptomatically without any specific diagnostic research.
However, when this is significant and has persisted for a few weeks, when already talking with the client, other symptoms are present and worrying, or when the diarrhea does not respond to basic treatments, more precise tests will be recommended in order to investigate more seriously the origin of diarrhea. Here are possible recommendations depending on the situation.
- Stool analysis, blood test, culture, PCR
- Radiography, ultrasound, endoscopy
- Biopsy, exploratory laparotomy
Diagnosing the causes of diarrhea in dogs or puppies
Accurately diagnosing the causes of chronic diarrhea goes beyond a good physical exam, and there is no test that can accurately diagnose the origin of diarrhea. Sometimes the process can be long and even expensive, as the vet will need to confirm or rule out possible causes by proceeding through elimination based on the results obtained for the tests offered. This is called an exclusion process.
What’s the best dry dog food for loose stools? Diet changes may not be the solution
Diarrhea is not pleasant to anyone. It is not a disease, but a symptom of many health problems. Many conditions of diarrhea respond well to a change in diet and the addition of probiotics, but when it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is best to consult his vet.
Even if the cause is not always targeted from the start, supportive treatment may be offered. When diarrhea is considered chronic and does not respond to basic treatments, the difficulty of treatment increases as it will be necessary to investigate to find the cause.