My Dog has diarrhea but acts fine
Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen!
If you are a dog parent or dog lover, you know that one of the most stressful times is when your dog is suffering from a disease. It can be very hard to watch your pet lying with teary eyes.
Dog diarrhea is one such situation. It is very common among dogs and can be tiring and stressful for the dog owner to calm and clean their pet.
It is a cumbersome task to clean poo and vomit frequently, as well as feeling that inability to handle this situation as soon as possible.
It is always advisable to closely observe your pet to diagnose the symptoms of dog diarrhea so that timely actions can be taken.
Dog diarrhea can become chronic if left untreated. Your knowledge and awareness of dog diarrhea are always helpful for your dog to overcome this situation before they become worse.
What is dog diarrhea?
Dog diarrhea is the passing of loose or liquid stool more often than normal. It can be acute or chronic.
Causes of dog diarrhea
There are many reasons which cause diarrhea in your pet.
Let’s look at them one by one:
1. Dietary causes
Many a time simply a change in diet or overeating can cause irritated bowel movement among dogs because your dog’s gut has not had time to adjust to the new food. This dietary indiscretion or sudden changes in diet can cause diarrhea in your pet with or without vomiting, excessive wind (farting) and abdominal pain.
Food allergy may cause diarrhea with itchy skin. Toxins such as lead and insecticides can cause diarrhea usually with vomiting.
It takes a pet will recover from diarrhea mostly within 1-3 days. To prevent this form of diarrhea it is best to keep your dog’s diet consistent and if you’re introducing some change in diet, do it slowly.
2. Ingestion of foreign material
Sometimes dogs can swallow some unwanted body into their stomach like bones, sticks and other objects which can be stuck into the intestine and can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
The object might not get stuck into the intestine and pass through the intestinal tract but can damage the lining of the intestinal tract on its way to get out of the body and hence can cause diarrhea.
3. Gut related infections
These infections can be caused by various pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, worms, and giardia.
Gut related infections can be majorly divided into two categories that are small intestinal diarrhea and large intestinal diarrhea. Both these types have different causes and require different tests to diagnose and treat. Let’s see them one by one.
What causes small intestinal diarrhea in dogs?
This diarrhea is caused by viruses such as canine distemper, canine parvovirus, and canine coronavirus. Poorly vaccinated dogs are most vulnerable to these viruses. We are going to look at small intestinal diarrhea more closely next!
Being one of the most common causes of dog diarrhea, small intestinal diarrhea is easy to spot. They are caused by bacteria such as salmonella, clostridium or campylobacter, and E.coli. Also, parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, coccidian, and giardia also cause diarrhea. Or, it can be caused by fungal infection including histoplasmosis.
Check our blog post on small and large intestinal diarrhea in dogs to learn more about this common dog diarrhea cause. We wrote this blog post to really break it down and help you understand it better to help you keep your pup safe and happy!
Other causes of diarrhea
Problems in Pancreatitis: These problems are developed due to severe inflammation of the pancreas and stops the activity of pancreas to develop enough enzymes to digest fat. They cause painful tummy, weight loss, nausea and vomiting in dogs. Due to this inability of fat digestion of pancreas, the dog passes a large volume of greasy stool. This situation can vary from mild to a severe health condition.
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE): Causes of HGE are still unknown but most veterinarians think that it’s a bacteria that attacks and damages the lining of the gut. It causes blood in diarrhea as well as in vomiting. You might also see the gut lining in your dog’s stool which looks like strawberry jam.
Painful tummy, pale gums, low energy level and low apatite are major symptoms of this type of diarrhea. Full recovery can be done by proper treatment from your vet.
Tumour: If your dog is older, it might be suffering a tumour. This tumour can be a single mass or multiple masses in the intestine or it may spread throughout the intestine.
Colitis: Here, the large intestine (colon) is inflamed. This can make it very uncomfortable or painful for dogs to poop leading to blood or mucus in diarrhea. Your dog can also suffer from vomiting and intense stomach ache. Most dogs recover from colitis within a few days but unfortunately, some dogs require continuous treatment to fully recover from it.
Excessive exercise: It is always said that a tired dog is a happy dog! Although dogs are exercise machines and love physical exercise too much exercise can cause diarrhea in dogs.
Overexertion during repetitive activities places great strain and eventual tightness on the muscles of the lumbar spine. This lumbar spine particularly supplies the energy flow to the intestine and hence hindrance to this energy flow can cause diarrhea in dogs.
If it is lumbar spine injury that causes diarrhea then it is advisable to take the dog to a chiropractor, physio, massage therapist, or an acupuncturist.
Stress: Dogs can develop when they see new visitors or unknown members of the family. They also feel stressed when a new pet is introduced in the family. This stressful situation can develop large bowel diarrhea in excitable dogs.
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI): The pancreas is unable to produce digestive enzymes like amylase, lipases, and proteases to digest starches, fat and protein respectively. Hence it causes malnutrition and malabsorption in your dog. If your dog looks extremely thin and starved, it might be suffering from EPI.
Preventing diarrhea in a dog
Prevention is always better than cure!
The good thing is diarrhea is preventable in most cases. Let’s see how to keep your dog away from diarrhea:
- Vaccinate your dog regularly at the appropriate time intervals. Keep your vaccinated dogs away from unvaccinated dogs.
- Kennel your pet when you are away to prevent your pet from accidentally ingesting unwanted garbage or toxins.
- Keep the kennel of your pet clean and use the right disinfectant.
- Introduce a new diet to your pet slowly.
- Be aware of parasite prevention and talk to your vet and pick the right one for your dog.
How to take care of a dog suffering from diarrhea
- Withholding food but not water for 24-48 hours can help speed up recovery.
- Never fast an old dog or a young puppy or a dog that seems unwell.
- Give a small amount of bland diet to your dog 3-6 times a day for a few days. Then gradually and slowly increase the amount of food until the transition to the pet’s normal diet. Do not give rich and fatty food as it can worsen diarrhea in your dog.
- Do not give over the counter diarrhea medication without consulting the veterinarian.
- Keep your dog hydrated and give plenty of water to replace the extra water they are losing in their poo.
- Make sure to give water to your dog throughout the day.
- Do not let your dog do any energetic exercise. Give them rest to recover fast.
When to visit your vet?
Fortunately, diarrhea normally goes away on its own within 1-2 days. But if it continues for a longer period and you see your pet is lethargic and dehydrated, it’s better to rush to your vet before the situation becomes chronic.
You know your dog the best. Look at the symptoms closely to know when to call your veterinarian. These symptoms are:
- Loose stool with vomiting
- Blood or mucus in their stool and the stool are watery
- The dog is drinking less amount of water
- Not eating as per its normal diet
- Sleeping and inactive more often
- If the dog is young or an elderly one
- If the other health issues are also developed with diarrhea
- The painful stomach can be recognized if they yelp when touched or picked up. Prayer position also denotes the painful stomach in dogs.
- If the dog has a fever.
- If you think that your dog has ingested something toxic or unwanted.
- If your dog’s condition is persistently unwell for more than one day.
Proper knowledge about your pet’s diet, habits, environment, and details about diarrhea can help your veterinarian to find out possible causes of diarrhea and help immensely to properly give treatment to your pet.
We hope this blog post helped you figure out what your dog’s gut problems are. If your dog is sick, we wish it a fast recovery and are sending plenty of good vibes your way!