Okay – we know that it’s not very pleasant, but can we talk about your dog’s ‘business’! It’s important - there are many reasons why dogs suffer from diarrhoea and sometimes it can be an indication of a more serious health issue.
If your dog does have diarrhoea, then you’ll know ALL about it! Frequent trips outside to ‘do his business’ and those loose, smelly stools. It can start suddenly and hopefully last just a day or two, but sometimes much longer. Dehydration can be a concern if it lasts more than a day and long-lasting diarrhoea could indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary treatment.
There may be many different reasons why your dog has diarrhoea … here’s our ‘Top Ten’!
- Change of diet
A sudden change in his regular food can cause upset tummies. Any introduction to a change in food should be gradual. Over the course of at least a week, gradually increase the proportion of ‘new’ food whilst decreasing the proportion of ‘old’ food.
Sometimes referred to as ‘garbage gut’. We all know that our dogs love to stick their noses into things that we’d rather they didn’t and sometimes they’ll eat it before you can stop them. This will often lead to what is hopefully a mild dose of diarrhoea, but if it’s persistent – you should always consult your Vet.
- Infection or Disease
Bacteria can build up in food left out all day – even at cool temperatures – and in raw or meat that is not cooked thoroughly; leading to runny poo and rumbly tummies. Bacterial infections can be picked up from close contact with other dogs that have it which could cause long term problems – look out for mucus or blood in your dog’s poo. Viral diseases – Parvovirus in particular as well as Distemper - are highly contagious and can even be life-threatening, especially in puppies so it’s best to ensure their vaccinations are kept up to date. Symptoms to watch out for are lethargy, vomiting, fever – and coughing with Distemper and all mean a visit to the Vet.
- Intestinal Parasites
Parasites can lurk in puddles, ponds and stagnant water as well in animal faeces. If your dog drinks contaminated water or eats poo, he could be swallowing parasitic cysts leading to parasites in his intestine causing diarrhoea that looks greasy, frothy and with mucus. If you suspect this, a visit to the Vet is needed for treatment to remove the parasite.
- Consumption of a toxic substance
These can include various plants such as daffodils, ivy, bluebells, mistletoe, holly, honeysuckle and wild mushrooms. Human medication and vitamins can be toxic to dogs and even some common items around the house such as ice packs, chalk, charcoal and those little silica gel packets.
- Allergic Reaction
If your dog has an allergic reaction, his ‘system’ will recognise there’s a problem and try to flush out the allergens – causing diarrhoea. Other signs of an allergic reaction can be runny eyes, sneezing, licking/chewing/scratching and itchy, moist, scabby skin and may need to be investigated by your Vet.
- Eating a ‘Foreign Object’
Dogs are known to have eaten all sorts of weird and wonderful items! Unfortunately, sometimes they may get lodged in the stomach or intestines and this can be life-threatening. If your dog is vomiting, displaying signs of pain, abdominal tenderness, lack of appetite, constipation, lethargy and aggressive behaviour if touched you should consult your Vet urgently.
- Irritable Bowel Disease
Caused when inflammatory cells chronically invade the intestine. Symptoms include diarrohea and weight loss. Your vet can diagnose and discuss treatments.
Prescription medications can sometimes have side effects - including diarrhoea. These include NMDA receptor blockers and NSAID anti inflammatories. Always ask your Vet about potential side effects when medication is issued.
- Kidney or Liver Disease
Diarrhoea can be a common symptom as well as weight loss, vomiting, blood in the urine, increase of decrease in urine and lack of appetite. Kidney disease can be caused by a variety of factors such as age, cancer, parasites, bacterial infections, trauma, toxic ingestion, congenital disorders or amyloidosis. Always seek advice from your Vet if you are concerned.