A lot of owners see diarrhea in dogs as just a messy proposition. However, an episode is often a sign of a medical problem.
Causes of Canine Diarrhea
Diarrhea in dogs occurs when the animal passes loose or unformed stools. The dog typically passes large amounts of stool and has more frequent bowel movements than normal. Dogs can have repeated accidents in the home because of urgency.
There are many causes of diarrhea in dogs:
- Food intolerance – The pooch either eats something he shouldn’t have or has an intolerance to ingredients in some commercial foods.
- Parasites – Especially common in puppies, the big offenders are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, giardia and coccidia.
- Gastroenteritis – A common culprit is idiopathic hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, particularly in small dogs.
- Viruses – They most often occur in puppies not yet fully vaccinated. Dangerous viruses include distemper, coronavirus and parvovirus.
- Bacteria – Many dogs have them without showing any symptoms. The most common are Clostridium perfringens, salmonella, E. coli, spirochetes and campylobacter.
One way to pinpoint the likely cause of diarrhea and probable location of the problem in the gut is by noting the characteristics of the dog’s stool, such as color, amount, odor, consistency, frequency and whether it contains red blood or clots. A dog’s weight and condition are also important.
Traditional vs. Natural Treatments
Unfortunately, some of the traditional treatments for diarrhea in dogs have potential side effects. Veterinarians prescribe wormers for common parasites. Sometimes they use antibiotics like sulfa, albendazole, febantel or metronidazole that can actually cause diarrhea.
For severe cases, a veterinarian might need to administer subcutaneous fluids. Some dogs with virus-caused diarrhea have intravenous catheters.
The goal of natural dog diarrhea treatments is providing allergy-free care that normalizes the dog’s stool without harmful side effects. One natural treatment for a dog that has eaten something undesirable is withholding food for a day, then feeding rice coupled with chicken or ground beef until the diarrhea ends. Changing from a commercial product to a natural food can often resolve diarrhea caused by a food intolerance.
It’s a good idea for a vet to examine any dog with diarrhea. Owners should always get a vet’s recommendation before starting any treatment.