Diarrhea in dogs: symptoms, causes and treatment

Diarrhea is not uncommon in dogs… With their rather sensitive digestive system, dogs – at least once in their lives – are affected by this unpleasant digestive problem which results in a frequent need to have a bowel movement, and by the persistence of stools with liquid consistencies. Most of the time, these disorders are transient and completely benign. But they should not be underestimated because they can be a sign of a more serious health problem.

What can cause diarrhea in dogs? How do you know if it is acute diarrhea or not? How to prevent diarrhea and how to treat it to ensure good health for your pet?

Diarrhea in dogs: what are the symptoms?

There are two kinds of diarrhea in dogs: mild diarrhea and acute diarrhea.

Diarrhea in dogs: when are we talking about mild diarrhea?

Mild or classic diarrhea in dogs is characterized by:

  • An increase in the frequency as well as in the volume of stools.
  • A change in the appearance of the stools which become softer and more liquid.

Symptoms differ depending on the nature of the diarrhea.

  • If it is mild and benign, your dog only shows the general symptoms mentioned above: loose or liquid stools, frequent and bulky.
  • If it is severe, your dog will show other symptoms: fatigue, lethargy, abdominal pain, dehydration, panting, etc.

Diarrhea in dogs: is it acute diarrhea?

We speak of acute diarrhea when your dog shows the following signs:

  • Severe diarrhea over a long period;
  • Liquid stools;
  • Vomiting;
  • Digestive noises like gurgling ;
  • Digestive spasms, colic or hard stomach.
  • Fever ;
  • Fatigue ;
  • Refusal to eat;
  • Significant dehydration resulting in a tendency to drink a lot.

tired dog

What causes diarrhea in dogs?

Diarrhea in dogs can have many causes:

A food intolerance

The sudden change in the dog’s diet without food transition, indigestion, consumption of food damaged or contaminated by salmonella, intolerance or allergy to certain foods…

A drug allergy

Poisoning with certain drugs and toxic products.

An infestation of parasites

Parasitic infestation by worms or protozoa as well as viral infection can cause signs of gastrointestinal inflammation or hemorrhagic gastroenteritis in dogs.

An infectious, endocrine or metabolic disease

Diarrhea is one of the various symptoms of endocrine or metabolic diseases: acute kidney failure, acute liver failure, Addison’s disease, etc.

Digestive obstruction problem

The presence of a foreign body, an intestinal tumor or an intussusception can cause partial obstruction of the digestive tract. An obstruction that will cause significant diarrhea.

Treatment for diarrhea in dogs?

The treatment for diarrhea in dogs will depend on the severity of it.

Dog vomiting treatment by diet

Treatment of mild diarrhea in dogs

If your dog only shows symptoms of mild diarrhea, treatment is to put him on a diet for 12 to 24 hours. During this time, only give your pet water or rice cooking water. This will allow a complete emptying of the digestive tract, a balancing of the intestinal functions and a natural and optimal hydration. After 24 hours, you can resume feeding your dog normally by gradually introducing pre and probiotics into his diet.

Treatment of severe or acute diarrhea in dogs

If the diarrhea persists and lasts more than 48 hours, and your dog shows other symptoms of severe or acute diarrhea, it is recommended to take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. From blood and urine tests should be performed to identify the exact cause of the diarrhea and to prescribe appropriate treatment. Other treatments may be recommended: intestinal dressing, antibiotics, rehydration by infusion, etc.

Next, think of give your dog plenty of water. Do not hesitate to hydrate his croquettes by “melting” them for 5 to 10 minutes in a little hot water before giving them to him.

dog drinking water

Treatment of severe or hemorrhagic gastroenteritis in dogs

If the diarrhea resulted from severe or haemorrhagic gastroenteritis, rehydration by infusion, and therefore hospitalization will be necessary. The length of hospitalization will depend on the severity of your dog’s diarrhea. Only hospitalization can guarantee rapid rehydration.