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Canine Diarrhea

What Causes Canine Diarrhea?

Many situations can lead to canine diarrhea, but it can be hard to diagnose if you do not watch your dog closely when he or she is outside. Every dog will have an occasional spell of diarrhea, but if it lasts for a number of days, they can quickly dehydrate leading to death.

Diarrhea occurs for a number of reasons. The most common reasons are:

  • Coccidiosis-This small microscopic parasite causes intestinal damage. This leads to loose diarrhea that is often bloody and extremely painful. The parasite is found in animal feces making it a potential hazard for dogs that enjoy eating other animal’s feces.
  • Dysbiosis & E Coli-Canine diets are high in protein and low in vegetation. This makes it easy for dogs to pick up deadly bacteria like Dysbiosis and E Coli. It is important for a dog’s diet to contain a good percentage of meat protein, but also some vegetation like sweet potatoes or carrots.
  • Food allergies-Dogs should not ingest onion, garlic, or chocolate. Many dogs also have allergies to milk and dairy products. If your dog has eaten any of these foods, try removing them from the diet and see if the canine diarrhea clears up.
  • Giardia-Drinking contaminated water poses a major risk factor. Giardia is a microscopic parasite that attaches itself to the lining of the intestines where it causes tremendous damage. The water is usually tainted with fecal matter from farms or animal shelters.
  • Ingestion of objects that cannot be digested-Dogs have a natural tendency to chew. For this reason, it is common to see a dog chewing on a stick, rock, shoe, or other foreign object that can cause digestive problems or blockages. If a partial blockage occurs, canine diarrhea can occur from an infection caused by the foreign matter.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Even dogs can suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Diarrhea, fussy eating habits, and gas are common symptoms. Altering the dog’s diet may be all that is needed to reduce the symptoms of IBS in a dog.
  • Liver or kidney disease-Liver and kidney disease can cause the stomach acids to increase due to an irregular level of bile. When this happens, diarrhea is often one of the common side effects. This is very rare, however, and only a veterinarian will know for sure. If you have tried everything else and your dog still has canine diarrhea, visit a veterinarian.
  • Parasitic worms-Puppies especially are prone to picking up whipworm or roundworm from their mother. These worms can cause diarrhea due to an irritation of the intestinal lining. Only a veterinarian will be able to determine if worms are to blame. Dewormers will be needed if worms are present in the dog’s fecal matter.
  • Stress-Dogs dealing with stress and anxiety often fail to eat properly. Like humans the excess stomach acid can build up causing digestive problems and diarrhea.
  • Tainted or spoiled food-Recent recalls of many highly praised dog and cat foods have left many pet owners feeling uncertain about their dog’s diet. Tainted and spoiled food certainly does lead to digestive problems, but a dietary change will clear this up in no time.
  • Viruses-Like humans, dogs and cats are equally susceptible to picking up the common cold or flu viruses. If this is the case, changing your dog’s diet and providing extra water will help tremendously.

The majority of canine diarrhea cases occur because the dog has ingested a hazardous item that is hampering function in the digestive system. Dogs that like to chew wood, shoes, socks, and rocks are more likely to develop problems. Dog foods containing wheat as filler are also troublesome. The current recall of many dog foods is due to tainted wheat purchased from China. The results of this recall have been tragic for some, but it has also shown many pet owners that store bought foods are not always the best option.

Is It Dangerous?

Canine diarrhea is potentially deadly, especially in small dogs and puppies because it depletes water from the body. Dogs require a tremendous amount of water for proper organ function. It takes only days for a dehydrated dog to succumb to organ failure.

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Diarrhea?

First, make sure your dog is drinking plenty of water. This prevents dehydration from occurring. If your dog seems overly fussy, try purchasing water that is beef flavored, many pet stores sell it. Second, watch your dog closely. Pay close attention to diet and make sure the dog isn’t eating animal feces, dead animals, rocks, or sticks outside. These items are common contributors to canine diarrhea.

Once you are paying close attention to your animal’s eating habits, feed the dog a diet of rice or oatmeal, yogurt, mashed sweet potato, and chicken breast. Puree this mixture and feed it exclusively to the dog for three days. If the diarrhea does not go away, seek veterinarian care because it might be a parasite.

After the diarrhea has cleared up completely, switch your dog to a diet of organic dog food that does not rely on fillers and meat by-products. These foods are often a major cause of digestive problems in dogs. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise; you can patrol the grounds with your dog. He or she will quickly alert you to dead birds or rodents and other animal’s feces so that you can keep your yard clear of these disgusting objects.

If you believe stress is an issue, make sure your dog has plenty of chew toys to avoid boredom while you are at work. Leaving a radio or tape of your voice can also help alleviate stress.

With some time and maintenance, your dog’s digestive health will be in excellent shape. You are the best tool in preventing canine diarrhea.

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