When your pet dog has diarrhea it is usually a cause for concern and the search for a treatment begins....
by M. Daniels, who has been professionally writing and editing technical non-fiction articles and publications for over 3 decades.
Before jumping in with an ill advised remedy it's best to consider the causes which can include infectious causes, toxins, inflammation or disease of the intestinal tract and parasites.
Diarrhea can have a debilitating effect because of its dehydrating effect, and could lead to blood sugar depletion, circulatory collapse and death.
Mild cases of diarrhea may disappear without intervention, but diarrhea accompanied by vomiting, lethargy or any other behavioral changes should be treated as a medical emergency.
Diarrhea is not a disease itself but is a symptom of an underlying problem. It can range from occasional loose stools to a continuous watery stream of feces. There are many potential causes of diarrhea in dogs, and determining the right one might need study you and your vet.
Intestinal upset is the most common causes of diarrhea which might be the result of a sudden change in the food, an unfamiliar treat, or feeding table scraps.
Diarrhea caused by food changes can often be dealt with at home, provided it is not severe, and your dog continues to act and feel normally. Stopping food for 24 hours, but encouraging drinking water, will allow the dogs digestive system to settle down. After 24 hours, offer small amounts of a bland food, like white rice and chicken. If the diarrhea goes away, you can gradually return to the normal diet, and change over slowly to a new diet, if this is what triggered the problem. If the diarrhea does not improve, or gets worse, see your vet.
Intestinal parasites are a very common cause of diarrhea.
Roundworms are one of the most commonly seen intestinal parasites in puppies but not common in adults. Signs of a worm infection include a pot-bellied appearance, poor growth and a rough, dull hair coat. Diarrhea and vomiting may be present as well, and you may see worms in the stool or vomitus.
Hookworms may affect dogs of all ages, but are mostly seen in warmer, humid climates.
Giardia is not a worm but an intestinal parasite caused by a single-celled organism that lives in the intestine. The most common symptom of Giardia is diarrhea of varying severity however, many animals who are infected with Giardia can show no symptoms for extended periods of time, so routine testing is important.
Diarrhea in puppies and young is of particular concern, because if is often the first symptom of fatal viral diseases such as the parvovirus, coronavirus and distemper. Vaccination is the best prevention for parvovirus. Distemper Virus is highly contagious, and infects unvaccinated dogs and puppies. Vaccination is the best prevention for distemper.
Food allergies can cause mild chronic diarrhea. Just like people, dogs may have allergies to certain ingredients in dog food, leading to chronic inflammation in the intestinal tract.
This is only a brief overview of dog diarrhea treatment and symptoms. In summary it doesn't matter whether diarrhea is chronic or acute it is almost always a sign of a deeper condition that needs to be corrected. But because diarrhea in itself can be life threatening, any dog suffering from more than a short-term bout or with signs of other medical problems, should be seen immediately by a veterinarian.
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