Going for runs with your canine is great! Going for a run to the doggy park, a run on the trail, a run to the pet store. Is there any type of run you and your pet wouldn’t enjoy? Maybe just one - doggy runs. Doggy runs are another term for diarrhea in pets. This is caused by unabsorbed nutrients drawing water into the intestines, causing canines to pass soft, watery stools.
How long your dog has diarrhea ultimately depends on the reason why they developed it in the first place, leaving them to experience it for as short as a couple days or as long as a couple months. They may also experience it sporadically instead of continuously. No matter the duration, your companion might suffer from accompanying side effects of diarrhea, including but not limited to abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, or lethargy.
To avoid the mess and save your pup from the discomfort, become familiar with the causes of loose stools:
- Change in Diet - Gastrointestinal upsets often occur when you make a change in your dog’s diet, whether it’s switching them to a different brand or introducing a new type of food in general. This is why it’s advised to very gradually transition your dog’s old food to their new food so that their body has time to adjust.
- Parasites - Common intestinal parasites include tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, etc. These worms produce thousands of eggs per day, which is passed through feces. This means your pet can contract it by eating feces with the eggs in it, as well as ingesting contaminated water or soil.
- Infection - Infections that can lead to diarrhea are parvovirus, coronavirus, distemper, etc.
- Foreign Objects - Not surprisingly, objects not meant for your dog’s body can lead to gastrointestinal upset and even blockage. Blockage and obstruction can leave you with a hefty veterinary bill and can even be deadly to dogs, so watch to make sure your dog isn’t eating anything it shouldn’t be. For example, coins, hair ties, rocks, toys, clothes, etc.
- Poison - Things toxic to your dog will certainly cause a negative reaction in your pet. Anything loaded with chemicals, such as cleaning supplies or repellents, or foods not suited for canines, like chocolate, grapes, macadamia, garlic, onions, alcohol, etc, can cause diarrhea. It can also cause heart and liver issues, and in some cases, death.
- Allergies - Diarrhea is one of the ways that your pet’s body will try to expel itself of allergens. Allergens include pollen, dust, mold, dirt, or even ingredients in your companion’s food that doesn’t sit well with them. It could also be an allergic reaction or side effect to medication they are taking.
- Stress - High levels of emotional upset can cause loose stools in dogs similar to how it does in people.
If you are able to identify which of these issues is causing gastrointestinal upset in your canine, it will be much easier to eliminate the source of the problem and put an end to their loose stool. However, sometimes it’s harder to tell and instead easier to try multiple solutions.
Here are some methods to ease your pet’s stomach:
- Provide plenty of water. Dehydration becomes an increased risk when your dog has diarrhea. Give your dog a constant supply of clean, fresh water so that they are receiving the appropriate amount of hydration.
- Put them on a fast. Asides from water, fasting your dog for about 12 to 24 hours allows their gut the time to repair, reset, and balance itself. Puppies and elderly dogs should not be fasted; try a different method.
- Feed them a bland diet. As yummy as their usual food may be, you’ll want to focus on stool-binding ingredients for now. Feed them small amounts of white rice, canned pumpkin, boiled chicken, or ground beef. You can gradually increase the amount of food given if they respond well to it the first few times.
- Introduce supplements. Probiotics are very beneficial additives, as they’re living microorganisms that help to balance the good and bad bacteria in the animal’s gut. Pair it with prebiotics, which help boost probiotics, and they’ll work together to bring your pet’s gut health back.
- Calm their stress. If the loose stool is caused by high levels of stress, you should do all you can to help relieve your pet of it. Provide them with enough attention, quality time, and playtime. In addition, you can try different products for stress and anxiety relief, such as sprays, supplements, ointments, oils, shirts, shampoos, etc.
Not every situation where a pet experiences diarrhea calls for a visit to the vet, but if it occurs for an ongoing amount of time and you’ve tried the above solutions to no avail, it may be a more serious problem. Bring your pooch in if it happens continuously and is accompanied by fever, vomiting, pain, or weakness. Also take them in if they are currently taking any medication or have any pre-existing conditions. You know your pet best, and if you sense that there is something not quite right and out of their character, don’t hesitate to visit the vet or contact them for help.