What to do if your dog has Diarrhoea

katy towle 22 July 2021

For most owners, diarrhoea in their dog will be something they are familiar with. At one time or another, the vast majority of dogs will develop loose stools. This may only last a short while or may continue for several weeks in some individuals.

When do I need to worry?

Loose stool can be accompanied by other signs such as vomiting, abdominal cramps and lethargy. Conversely, it is sometimes the only sign and affected dogs remains bright and well. Whether or not veterinary treatment is required isn’t always obvious but usually depends on the severity of the diarrhoea, the other symptoms present and how long it has been going on for. If left untreated, diarrhoea can result in dehydration, nutritional deficiencies and weight loss. If concerned, a vet visit is always wise.

What causes diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea occurs when the food passes through the gut too quickly and not enough of the nutrients and water are absorbed. There are a wide range of possible causes for this including:

  • A bacterial, viral or parasitic infection
  • Stress (such as a long car ride)
  • Dietary indiscretion (when your cheeky pooch eats something they shouldn’t have)
  • Toxin ingestion
  • An abrupt diet change
  • A food allergy or sensitivity
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Colitis
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Hormonal disorders such as Addison’s disease
  • Etc.

As you can see, there are lots of reasons a dog can develop diarrhoea. When a vet is presented with a dog with diarrhoea, they will look at their age, breed and medical history when assessing the possible causes. Younger dogs are more prone to parasites while cancer tends to affect the older population.

Diarrhoea in puppies

As diarrhoea in puppies is so very common, it really deserves a whole section to itself. For many puppy owners, the first health issue they will encounter is loose stool. The combination of leaving mum for the first time, a long car ride, a diet change and a trip to the vets is the ‘perfect storm’ for some individuals when it comes to developing runny stool. It is also true that many puppies are born with a worm burden and this is not always successfully eradicated by the breeder.

Puppies are more prone to dehydration from diarrhoea than adult dogs and can become unwell quickly. This is why diarrhoea in puppies always merits veterinary attention. Your vet will examine your young dog and may advise some further testing such as a stool analysis. Treatment will largely depend on what has caused the loose stool. It may consist of probiotics, fluids, parasite treatment and a specific diet.

Treatment plan

As part of the treatment plan, you may consider offering your dog Pooch & Mutt’s Bionic Biotic supplement. This powder is a rich source of prebiotics (both ‘fos’ and ‘mos’) which help to feed the healthy gut bacteria and maintain a robust gut population. As an added benefit, this food supplement is rich in omega fatty acids which are required for brain development in puppies and which contribute to a glossy coat and healthy skin. 

Many of Pooch & Mutt’s diets are suitable for those with loose stool. Our wet foods are a good option as they provide much needed moisture. They are easily digestible and completely balanced. Ideally, stick to one flavour to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach any further.

The Bottom Line

Though a common problem, diarrhoea is something you should discuss with your vet, especially if it is your puppy that is affected. Loose stool has many causes and it is important we diagnose the issue so it can be promptly treated. Most will benefit from a combination of a digestible diet and probiotics during their recovery.