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What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

You might be alarmed by your dog's sudden case of diarrhea, any pet parent would, especially if they couldn't quite make it outside. Here our Moreno Valley vets discuss the common causes, and how you can stop diarrhea in dogs.

Diarrhea in Dogs

Our Moreno Valley vets see many dogs suffering from diarrhea, and for a multitude of reasons.

Minor cases of diarrhea are commonly seen in dogs and can be the result of mild intestinal distress if your dog has eaten something that doesn't agree with them, like table scraps, or simply changing your dogs food to a different brand or flavor.

That said, there are also a number of more serious reasons why your dog could have diarrhea. 

What Causes Diarrhea in Dogs

Below are some of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Change in diet or treats
  • Ingesting toxins or poisons
  • Ingestion of foreign objects such as toys, bones and fabric
  • Eating garbage or spoiled food
  • Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Coccidia or Giardia
  • Viral infections such as parvovirus, distemper or coronavirus
  • Bacterial infections - such as salmonella
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Medications such as antibiotics

But how do you know whether your dog's diarrhea requires a visit to the vet?

When To Contact Your Vet

If your dog seems to be acting normal during a singular spell of diarrhea, there's a good chance that they will be fine. It's important to continue to monitor your dog's bowel movements to see if things clear up. If your dog experiences more than 2 episodes it might be time to call your vet to look into the possibility of more serious conditions.

If your pup is straining to pass a stool but only passing small amounts of watery diarrhea, they could be experiencing a painful blockage due to the ingestion of a foreign object such as a toy. This is a very serious concern and needs veterinary attention right away, contact your vet or head to the nearest emergency animal hospital for care. 

Recurring bouts of diarrhea over a short period of time could be a sign of a very serious health issue, particularly if your pup is very old, very young, or has a compromised immune system. Infections such as parvovirus are extremely serious, contagious and life-threatening. Contact your vet right away if your pup is experiencing repeated episodes of diarrhea.

Dogs showing other symptoms as well as diarrhea should also be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If your dog has any of the following symptoms contact your vet right away to make an appointment:

  • Blood in stool
  • Unusual drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weakness
  • Signs of dehydration (Sunken dry-looking eyes, dry nose, or dry, sticky gums)

If you've noticed your dog displaying any of these concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian. They are the experts when it comes to treating diarrhea in dogs and they will let you know if your dog requires an examination.

How to Treat Diarrhea in Dogs

You should never give any human medication to your dog without first talking to your vet. Many over-the-counter medications that work well for people can be toxic to dogs.

If your dog has had one or two runny or soft stools, you may want to give your dog some time to recover by simply fasting for 12 - 24 hours.

Feeding your dog some bland meals for a day or two can help resolve tummy issues. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (make sure it's not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your pup's tummy feel better. Once they start feeling better you can reintroduce their regular food slowly.

Other things that might help to soothe your dog's upset tummy include natural yogurt, probiotics, peeled boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, egg with no oil added, specially formulated dog foods, and medications prescribed by your vet.

When it comes to your best buddy's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. By taking your pooch in for an examination you give your vet the opportunity to determine the underlying cause of your pup's diarrhea and recommend the most effective treatment.

Whether you're concerned about a one-off episode, or chronic diarrhea in dogs contact our Moreno Valley vets today so your dog can get a diagnosis and treatment plan for the cause of their diarrhea.

New Patients Welcome

Sunnymead Veterinary Clinic always welcomes new patients to our veterinary family! Our vets are passionate about providing quality healthcare to Moreno Valley animals. Contact us today to book an appointment, or visit for walk-in service.

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(951) 242-4056