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What to do if your dog has diarrhea

Updated on February 7, 2013

Diarrhea is such a common illness in dog. In most cases the dog will be cured without any treatments given by the owner. However, ignoring the signs can have irreversible effect on the health of the dog. Dehydration, the most common outcome of diarrhea left untreated could result to the death of the dog. It is therefore very important to know the symptoms, the causes and the treatment for the dog’s diarrhea.

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Diarrhea symptoms

Diarrhea is equated with watery soft formed stool. The stool can be mucus and blood coated. The diarrhea can continue for about 2 or 3 days and then the dog will be totally healed. It can also be on and off where the dog will have normal stool for a while then followed by severe bouts of diarrhea. Continuous diarrhea should never be ignored especially if the dog is becoming lethargic, losing weight and look and act sick.

Effects of diarrhea

Acute diarrhea can be considered to have a positive effect when it purges the toxic substances from the dog’s body. This type of diarrhea would last until the toxic substance is eliminated from the dog’s body. Long standing diarrhea however can have a debilitating effect. Because the body can not absorb the essential nutrients the dog’s immune system is weakened. The ability to repair its own body is destroyed hence the dog would develop secondary disorders. Excessive diarrhea can result to dehydration which is a life threatening situation for the pet.

Causes of chronic diarrhea

A dog with chronic diarrhea is most likely infested with intestinal parasites. This type of diarrhea can also arise from an underlying medical concern. Leaky gut syndrome, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, viral and bacterial infections are some of the causes of chronic diarrhea.

Helping the pet

Pets with acute diarrhea should not be fed for about 24 hours. The purpose is to let the dog’s stomach rest. There are conflicting theories about providing water for the pet. Some dog experts believe that water and food should be completely withheld. Others would advise to ensure that water is available at all times to prevent dehydration. After 24 hours when the stomach has settled the dog can be fed a mixture of rice and chicken. The bland diet would not be too hard for the dog’s stomach to digest.

Chronic diarrhea would certainly need a vet’s attention. The vet would need to prescribe medications that will flush out the parasites, the bacteria and the virus from the dog’s stomach. The vet may administer probiotics to bring back the health of the dog’s intestinal tract.  The vet may administer IV fluids to counter dehydration.

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