Possible causes of diarrhea?

Diarrhea — faeces that are soft to liquid in consistency — is a common problem in dogs, largely because they will put almost anything in their mouths. Most cases are not serious and resolve within a few days. The most probable cause of diarrhea in dogs is scavenging — eating things such as table leftovers — or sudden changes in diet.  Other causes include infection, parasites or disease.

Treatment may be needed if your dog suffers persistent diarrhea so please contact your vet as soon as possible, or, out of hours, find your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or Vets Now 24/7 hospital.

Read more: Our in-depth guide on what to do if your pet has been poisoned


Can I treat my dog for diarrhea?

The following guidelines can be used if your dog appears bright and well in himself.  If the diarrhea is accompanied by other signs such as profuse vomiting or lethargy please consult your vet.

If your dog is not vomiting:

  1. Remove all food and limit your dog to just water for twelve hours.  Make sure your dog has plenty of water to drink, to avoid dehydration.
  2. Introduce small meals — a couple of mouthfuls — of a bland diet such as cooked chicken or white fish and rice. Once the faeces starts to become more formed, gradually reintroduce your dog’s normal diet.

If your dog is vomiting mildly:

  1. Allow your dog to have small amounts of water hourly — a few tablespoons at a time — but continue to withhold food for a further 10 hours.
  2. If the vomiting stops, go to step two above.  If your dog is still vomiting call your vet.

Read more: Human foods you should never give your dog

How can I prevent my dog getting diarrhea?

Here are several ways to reduce the incidence of diarrhea in dogs:

  • Avoid sudden changes in your dog’s diet
  • Do not give your dog bones (these can cause constipation or diarrhea)
  • Do not give your dog small objects to play with
  • Do not feed your dog table scraps
  • Try to prevent your dog scavenging when out and about
  • Always keep you dog up-to-date with worming and vaccinations

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