Dog Diarrhea: Causes & Information

Bold Support 01 January 2017

Dog diarrhea is most commonly associated with colitis in dogs, which is essentially caused by an inflammation of the colon which results in soft stools. Dog diarrhea can be a distressing for both dog and owner and can mean frequent trips to the vet.

What causes diarrhoea in dogs?

Diarrhoea in dogs can be caused by a number of factors. Buying poor-quality and cheap pet food can have an adverse effect on a dog’s digestion system which in turn leads to dog colitis. Overeating can also leave you with a dog colitis problem. This can occur when dogs are fed just once a day and certain foods sometimes don’t agree with a dog and lead to dog diarrhoea. Dogs, like humans, can suffer from stress and this can also present a dog diarrhea problem.


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Dog diarrhea can also occur after your dog has undergone treatment for another condition or injury and is on a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics can leads to a dog’s diarrhoea problem as whilst working to kill the dangerous bacteria, they can sometimes disrupt the normal healthy bacteria in the intestine, which results in diarrhea in dogs. In these cases it is recommended to re-balance the amount of  ‘good bacteria’ in the dog’s gut.

Viral infections such as parvovirus can cause severe foul-smelling dog diarrhea and bacterial infections from sources such as spoiled food and salmonella can result in dog colitis.

Symptoms of Colitis in Dogs

The symptoms for colitis dogs are generally soft stools. A dog with diarrhoea can often become extremely depressed. Diarrhea in dogs will also cause dehydration. So if you’re dog is perhaps not acting their normal self or seems a little reserved, it is worth checking their stools for any early signs of dog colitis.

Chronic dogs diarrhea

Most dogs suffering from dog colitis will experience chronic diarrhoea. Diarrhea is loose, inconsistent bowel movements which can eventually become entirely liquid.

Frequent Bowel Movement

If your dog is making a lot more trips to the back yard, then it is often a sign that your canine is experiencing dog diarrhea.

Tenesmus – Difficulty passing stools

Tenesmus is a dog’s feeling of the need to evacuate the bowels, with little or no stool passed. Tenesmus may be constant or intermittent, and is usually accompanied by pain, cramping and involuntary straining efforts. It can be a temporary and transient problem related to constipation. Tenesmus can be a symptom of diarrhea in dogs.

Potential Problems that can arise due to Dog Diarrhea

Diarrhoea in dogs on the whole is not a life-threatening condition. However older dogs, puppies and smaller dogs can often find it tough when dealing with dog diarrhea so it’s worth keeping an eye on dog colitis.

Treatment for Diarrhoea Dog

Treatment for short-term diarrhoea dog is generally simple.
Short-term dog diarrhea may occur if your dog has eaten something he shouldn't, or if you have changed his diet recently, he could wind up with a bout of dog diarrhea; this could also be the result of eating dairy products or a food he's allergic to. You may be able to help clear up your dog's diarrhea  by putting him on a full 24-hour fast. If he seems better after a day, put him on a bland diet of two parts cooked rice and one part boiled skinless white-meat chicken. Start him off with small amounts every four hours. If he's doing well, feed him about 1/4 of his regular food along with the bland diet; gradually up the percentage over several days until he's back on his normal diet. While your dog is recuperating from dog colitis, make sure he's getting enough water. Diarrhoea can rapidly lead to dehydration, so your vet may recommend a drink enriched with electrolytes. Pedialyte, a formula for babies that's available in drug stores and supermarkets, is often given to dogs with dog colitis to help replenish important minerals depleted by diarrhea and dog colitis. Limit your pet's level of exercise to short walks while they are recovering from dog diarrhea.

Longer term dog diarrhea is more likely to be a digestive problem.
If your longer-term dog diarrhoea is the problem then the first thing that you should look at finding a way to re-balance the good bacteria in your dog’s gut – helping them to properly digest their food.

Preventing Dog Diarrhea

There are several steps you can take to minimise the risk of dogs diarrhea. When changing your dog onto a new brand of food, instead be sure to do it gradually to see how they react to it. Make sure your dog doesn’t eat anything that is lying around as this can contribute to dog colitis. Also keep an eye on their mood as this can be a sure sign of dog diarrhoea.

Remember, you are not alone – there are many dogs that suffer from dog diarrhea, runny stools and colitis. Ask your friends, people you see walking their dogs in the park and the internet can be an invaluable search tool to see how other people help dogs with runny stools.