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Diarrhea In Dogs

Most dog owners panic when their beloved pet develops a bout of diarrhea and that’s understandable. However, most cases of diarrhea in dogs are nothing about which to fret. Dogs are extremely resilient creatures and they can even self-induce diarrhea as a method of cleansing and detoxifying their systems. Just because a dog has diarrhea doesn’t mean they’re seriously ill.

In most cases, diarrhea in dogs lasts for a few days and then goes away. You may notice your dog eating grass sometimes because this is how a dog can make itself vomit. As gross as it may sound, vomiting helps calm a dog’s stomach and is completely normal.

What are Common Symptoms of Diarrhea in Dogs?

Diarrhea in dogs can be diagnosed whenever the dog has runny, watery bowel movements. Diarrhea can be accompanied by excessive gas or occasional vomiting. Diarrhea can also be the culprit when your dog has abnormally soft or smelly bowel movements. Just as in humans, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out the underlying problem where diarrhea is concerned.

Common Causes of Dog Diarrhea

Your dog’s diarrhea can result from a number of factors. Most commonly, an upset digestive system happens because the canine ate something it shouldn’t. Dogs are biologically programmed to scavenge for food. Dogs often root through garbage, they may eat a dead animal, and they may drink unclean water. Any one of these habits can produce a digestive dilemma. Oddly enough, dogs have also been known to eat rocks, twigs, or even your kid’s crayons (although that can certainly lead to some “interesting” after-effects).

Many experts believe solid or “crunchy” dog food is still the best choice for your pet and the least likely to be spoiled or tainted. You should also make sure food does not remain in your dog’s dish too long, as it may spoil; but for most dogs, that isn’t an issue. Anyway, check your pet’s leftovers now and then for signs of mold or pests crawling around in it.

Natural Treatments for Diarrhea in Dogs

While your dog’s diarrhea may be a method of self-healing, you can take proactive steps to support their digestive function. These simple practices include:

  • Exercise your dog daily to stimulate their digestive system and maintain overall health.
  • Provide clean drinking water at all times. You wouldn’t drink dirty water or give it to your kids, so show the same care for your four-legged friend.
  • Provide only enough food to fill your dog’s stomach to a healthy amount. Don’t over-feed and don’t feed human food to a dog. Organic dry dog food is best.
  • Even though diarrhea in dogs can be frustrating, try to stay calm. Dogs can sense your displeasure or anger and that could create additional tension and thus additional digestive disturbance.

When to be Concerned About Dog Diarrhea

Of course, while diarrhea in dogs is normal at times, it’s not normal for it to last very long. Some dogs have “the runs” for a week before it works its way out of their systems, but it usually takes just a few days. If your dog is having prolonged bouts of diarrhea, you may need to seek veterinary help.

Likewise, if the bowel movements include blood, your dog has extreme lethargy, or they become dehydrated, you should take them to the vet. You can check your dog’s hydration by feeling their gums—if they are dry and tacky, your dog may already be dehydrated. Another way to check hydration is to pinch the skin on the nape of the neck. If the skin stays pinched, that’s a sure sign of dehydration.

Viruses Can Quickly Lead to Diarrhea in Dogs

If your dog has a sudden onset of diarrhea, and you are completely sure they haven’t eaten anything weird, it may be the result of viruses such as parvovirus, distemper, coronavirus, salmonella, campylobacter, or clostridia.

When a puppy experiences prolonged diarrhea, the implications can be much more severe. You should check the bowel movements of both puppies and full-grown dogs to see if worms or parasites are expelled with it. If you see indications of a parasitic infestation, take your pet to a vet immediately.

What You Should Never Do for Dog Diarrhea

Diarrhea in dogs is a common occurrence. Most of the time, you can just let the diarrhea run its course and it’ll go away within a few days. You should never try to give your pet anti-diarrhea medicine designed for human consumption. Giving drugs of any kind to a dog can be dangerous and the chemicals in the medicine may have an adverse effect on canine physiology. Most pet stores sell anti-diarrhea medicine for dogs. These pills effectively stop the diarrhea. However, if your dog is trying to self-detoxify, you could interrupt that process.

Dogs need the same kinds of preventative maintenance as human beings to live an enjoyable life. Proper exercise, good quality (preferably, organic) dog food, and plenty of purified drinking water form the foundations healthy living for dogs and humans alike.

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