Is your dog's stool very loose or mostly liquid? If so, there may be something going on in their bodies that could be causing digestive upset.
Common Causes of Diarrhoea
Here are just a few of the more common things that can cause a dog to develop diarrhoea:
- Food Intolerance: If a dog is intolerant of, sensitive, or allergic to a specific ingredient, the result could be diarrhoea - often accompanied by gas.
- Diet Change: Dogs tend to have fairly regular digestive systems, but a sudden change in their diet may cause stomach or intestinal (gastrointestinal) upset. If your dog is fed a one off, high fat meal or if you suddenly switch the brand of food you use, this sudden change in nutrients may potentially lead to diarrhoea.
- Parasites: Hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, giardia, and coccidian parasites can all flourish in a dog's intestinal tract, leading to a number of serious symptoms – not the least of which is diarrhoea.
- Infections: If your dog develops viral infections like distemper, parvovirus, or coronavirus, it is likely that these severe infections will include diarrhoea as one of the symptoms. Bacterial infections like salmonella, campylobacter, E-coli and clostridia also commonly cause loose stools and diarrhoea.
- Toxins: There is a very big list of toxins and poisons that can cause diarrhoea as just one of their potential symptoms. Some common examples of toxins that cause diarrhoea in dogs include chocolate, onions and garlic, zinc, xylitol in chewing gum, aspirin, iron, lead and tobacco.
- Tumours: Dogs with cancerous growths in their stomachs and intestines are usually unable to properly process and absorb food, and diarrhoea is one of the most common initial symptoms.
Your dog's digestive system isn't as resilient as yours is, so it's important that you are very careful with your dog’s diet.
How to Help Your Dog
If your dog is suffering from diarrhoea, here are a few things you can do:
- Treat the Problem: Make sure you take your dog to your vet if the diarrhoea has been ongoing for more than 24 – 48 hours, or your dog seems either restless or lethargic. If your vet diagnoses your dog with parasites, a viral or bacterial infection, tumours, or another disorder that is causing the diarrhoea, they will also recommend the correct steps to take to treat the problem.
- Find the Right Food for Your Dog: Find a pet food that has been made using ingredients according to the specific nutritional profile of your dog. Tailor-made dog foods are specifically formulated to meet the needs of your dog’s size, age, breed, lifestyle and in some cases, specific medical conditions.
- Slowly Introduce New Food: If you're going to change your dog's food, do it slowly. Don't introduce it from one day to the next, but mix it into your dog's current food a bit at a time. Add more and more as the days go by, and give it about a week to make the transition to the new food.
By slowly transitioning your dog on to a new, highly nutritional diet and by monitoring their food intake, you can prevent and resolve diarrhoea in many cases.