What could be the cause of my dog having diarrhea?

April 13, 2012

Diarrhea is a very common problem of dogs. Most dog owners have experienced dealing with the mess created by the dog. Even housebroken pets would have accidents inside the house as the pet may not be able to reach its own toilet because of the urgent need to go. Diarrhea though is not really a disease. Pet parents would not worry about the condition of the pet as in most cases passing loose watery stools would be over after a day or two. Medications are not given to the dog because of the notion that it would be best to allow the dog’s body to get rid of the toxins that is causing the stomach upset. Partly this is true. Diarrhea is indeed the dog’s way of restoring the gastrointestinal health.

Diarrhea takes two forms – acute and chronic. Acute diarrhea is the “harmless” type. The passing of soft watery that come suddenly would resolve itself as quickly. Even without medications, this type of diarrhea will be resolved after a while. Aside from the soft stool, the dog would not be showing any other symptoms. This type of diarrhea is commonly caused by the dog’s dietary indiscretion. Dogs are anything but picky eaters. Dogs are known to ingest spoiled food and non-food items. The dog will have diarrhea if what was ingested was rejected by the stomach. Acute diarrhea is the dog’s stomach’s warning to the pet parents to prevent the pet from ingesting unacceptable substances.

Chronic diarrhea is a different story. Chronic diarrhea is actually acute diarrhea that fell in love with the dog and decided to stay or decided to visit repeatedly. Acute diarrhea is the precursor of chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea is recurring. Passing of soft stool can last for weeks and even months. Recurring bouts of diarrhea is a condition that needs the vet’s attention. The condition of the dog becomes dangerous especially when the stool is tinged with blood and mucus and when the dog is lethargic and has poor appetite. The foremost danger associated with recurring diarrhea is dehydration. The underlying cause must be correctly diagnosed so that appropriate treatment can be given to the dog.

Mild case of gastroenteritis can result from the dog’s dietary indiscretion. Acute diarrhea can be due to overfeeding, eating table scraps or ingestion of spoiled food from the trash can. The dog may have ingested toxic substances as well. Chronic diarrhea can be caused by parasite infestation. Dogs are susceptible to worm infestation because of their propensity to ingest poop, to eat carcasses of animals that may be harboring the larvae of intestinal parasites. Roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tape worm are intestinal parasites that can cause the dog’s diarrhea. Canine parvovirus is an insidious disease caused by a virus that damages the cells of the intestine’s lining. Severe damage would slough the intestines so that the dog would suffer from recurring diarrhea. The dog would pass an almost liquid black colored and foul smelling stool. Glandular diseases, liver and kidney diseases, pancreatitis, stomach and intestinal tumors are some of the health conditions that can cause the dog’s diarrhea.

Aside from the frequent passing of soft stool, diarrhea may have no other effect on the dog. The dog will be its usual self – bright, alert and have a forever wagging tail. Diarrhea can also make the dog sick, lethargic and unresponsive to what is going on around the environment. Dogs are voracious eaters but diarrhea can make the dog turn away even from its favorite treat. The causes of the dog’s diarrhea cannot be determined easily. Dogs are considered as family members thus dog owners have to carefully observe a pet that has diarrhea. The dog owner’s knowledge on the possible causes of diarrhea would be very important so that if necessary immediate medical attention will be given to the dog.

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