Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea in Dogs

When your dog comes down with diarrhea or runny stools it could be a cause for concern or it might be a simple issue you can take care of at home. In most cases, diarrhea is simply caused by a change in diet, whether intentional or unintentional. Diarrhea can be caused by stress or some sort of food borne pathogen, as well. It is best not to change your dog's diet suddenly and to avoid bones from your kitchen. Table food can also cause your dog to have severe diarrhea and can lead to other health issues that are life threatening. However, if the diarrhea lasts longer than 48 hours or is accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of appetite or unusual sluggish activity then he may need immediate medical attention.


My veterinarian always says when my dog has diarrhea it is best to avoid giving him any food for about 12 hours, although during this time he should be offered plenty of clean drinking water. There are two basic plans of action to take based on whether your dog is showing other signs of being sick, such as if he is or is not vomiting along with the diarrhea.

First, if the dog is not vomiting and shows no other signs of sickness, then you should give him only water for at least 12 hours to see if he is just reacting to something he ate. Be careful when he goes outside to relieve himself that he doesn’t eat anything at all. After the twelve hours are up and he still has diarrhea but, no other signs of sickness, then it is safe to give him some soft food. Some veterinarians suggest giving him a little chicken soup. If however, the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours you should call your veterinarian or take him in for a visit to rule out anything more serious.

In the case that your dog is vomiting along with the having diarrhea or showing other signs of sickness such as, dizziness it might be best to go ahead and give your veterinarian a call. If you are not in a situation where you can take him in, it is best to help him settle his stomach by not moving around and possibly giving him something to settle his stomach. Be careful not to give him a human medication that is not safe for dogs. Continue to allow him a few sips of water if he will take it, to avoid dehydration.

Be Prepared

Be prepared when you call or visit your veterinarian. Nothing is more frustrating to your veterinarian than when someone calls in and doesn’t have certain vital information available. Preparation can save you and your veterinarian a lot of time and help you get your dog the care he needs in a more timely manner.

Have the following questions answered before you call:

    • Describe the way the diarrhea looks and smells.
    • Is your dog vomiting?
    • Does your dog have a fever?
    • Is your dog in pain?
    • Has he eaten anything poisonous or unusual?
    • Are his gums pale?
    • Is your dog lethargic or shaky?
    • What medications have you given him in the last few days?
    • Has your dog been around other dogs that are sick?
    • Does your dog have any known allergies?

As with most ailments and sicknesses, it is best to be prepared ahead of time and when a bout of diarrhea hits your dog, you know the steps to take in order to get him the relief he so needs in the most timely manner.


Pet MD-Dog Diarrhea

The Complete Book of Dog Health

Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook

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