“Oh dear, my dog has diarrhea!” This finding frightens many dog owners – and rightly so. bells for dog collar if your dog suffers from diarrhea, this is a sure sign of impaired gastrointestinal function. The reasons for this are very diverse. If diarrhea stops quickly, a stomach- and intestinal-friendly special diet, restorative preparations, and rest are often sufficient. But diarrhea rarely comes alone – many other ailments can accompany it. Read here about how to best deal with your dog’s diarrhea and learn how to prepare the right light diet.

Diarrhea in the dog: what is it exactly and what are the causes?

Diarrhea is the excretion of low-viscosity or mushy feces, referred to in medical jargon as diarrhea.

Diarrhea can be accompanied by other gastrointestinal problems, such as abdominal pain, abdominal grumbling, or vomiting, and may also be accompanied by fever (higher than 40 °C).

If a dog has diarrhea, it lasts one to a maximum of three days in the uncomplicated case. During this time, your dog may behave more calmly or appear a little weak, he may not have an appetite or may even be lethargic. If the diarrhea is acute, there are frequent feces. You should be prepared for this and, if there are appropriate signs, walk your dog immediately.

How severe the symptoms of diarrhea depend on the individual case. Observe particularly intense discomfort in your dog. If your pet suffers disproportionately, Dr. Fressnapf’s veterinary team will help you quickly and, above all, stress-free. Before the symptoms of diarrhea worsen further, the experienced veterinarians distinguish a supposedly harmless gastrointestinal disease from cases that absolutely require treatment, which can be life-threatening. If necessary, our veterinary team will also advise you online on diet-related diseases or the individual feeding of your animal in the various phases of life.

The most common causes of diarrhea in dogs include:

Wrong food: spoiled food, for example, carrion, something from the trash can or contaminated with maggots, too old fresh food (meat, bones).

Improper nutrition: spiced food, dairy products, incompatible foods such as tomatoes, onions, avocados, and many more; low-quality dog food, for example with too many carbohydrates and poor proteins.

Animal feed allergies or intolerances: for example, wheat, certain types of meat, and preservatives.

Change in diet: for example, from dry food to BARF.

Toxins/harmful substances: laid out poison baits, plant poisons, fertilizers, and animal toxins such as snail grain, or antifreeze.

Medication: In some cases, for example, antibiotics or certain painkillers can cause diarrhea as a side effect in dogs.

Gastrointestinal diseases: Infectious causes such as bacterial or viral gastrointestinal infections, less often also fungal infections, intestinal inflammation caused by parasite infestation with worms (helminths) of single-celled organisms (protozoa, e.B. giardia), other intestinal diseases, such as chronic intestinal inflammation (“Inflammatory Bowel Disease”, IBD for short) without a known cause.

Other underlying diseases: Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), renal or hepatic weakness, autoimmune diseases, or hormonal diseases. If an underlying disease outside the intestine is the cause of diarrhea, there are usually additional symptoms 

characteristic of this disease.

If this is accompanied by a fever above 40 °C and/or if your dog vomits, please visit the veterinarian or a veterinarian emergency room immediately.

Only your veterinarian can rule out poisoning, a serious infection, or serious organ disease as the cause of diarrhea in your dog through examinations.

My dog has diarrhea – what to do?

If your dog has acute diarrhea with no or only mild accompanying symptoms such as a slight fever (at most 40 ° C) and he only seems a little calmer than usual, then it is sufficient at first if you keep a close eye on him well and support his self-healing powers.

Be sure to offer him fresh, clean water and try to encourage him to drink. Because of diarrhea, the dog loses a lot of fluid, which can lead to dehydration (dehydration) of the body. If your dog loses more fluid than he absorbs as a result of diarrhea, this can lead to a circulatory collapse in extreme cases. Pay attention to your dog’s mucous membranes, for example in the mouth: If they are dry or look pale, you should consult a veterinarian promptly.

Put your sick four-legged friend on a strict diet and do not give him food for 24 hours. This is to relieve the irritated intestine and prevent the intestine from depriving the body of water and increasing diarrhea. Then prepare special protective food for your pet – see section “How long to feed light food for diarrhea?”.

If the general condition deteriorates or diarrhea does not stop after three days, you should immediately consult the veterinarian. Puppies with diarrhea should be taken to the veterinarian the same day, as there is a threat of rapid dehydration, which can also be life-threatening.

What to do if the dog has diarrhea again and again?

While acute diarrhea in the dog is limited to only a few days, a dog can also have chronic diarrhea: Then the symptoms persist permanently over a long period of time. Depending on the cause, it is also possible that a dog has diarrhea again and again.

If your dog repeatedly suffers from diarrhea, you should discuss this with your veterinarian. This can be due to various causes, such as feed intolerances, but also organic diseases.

You can help your veterinarian diagnose by providing them with important clues about the symptoms. Thus, notes about the type of food, feeding time, and the times when diarrhea occurs can be very useful.

By the way, certain characteristics can be used to distinguish in which section of the intestine – in the small or large intestine – your dog’s diarrhea originates.

Differences between small intestine diarrhea and colon diarrhea are, for example:

Large amounts (small intestine), normal amounts (large intestine)

Fecal heel two to three times more often than normal (small intestine), four to six times more often (large intestine)

Rare diarrhea with mucus (small intestine), mucous diarrhea (a lot of mucus) (large intestine)

Diarrhea with blood: Red blood mixed with diarrhea (small intestine), blood is deposited in the feces (large intestine)

contain undigested food components (small intestine), but are missing in colon diarrhea

If diarrhea in a dog is yellow, it may be that the cause is in the area of the liver or pancreas.

If your dog has diarrhea, again and again, it also makes sense to bring a fecal sample to the veterinarian. In the laboratory, this can be examined for various pathogens and parasites.

With these symptoms immediately to the veterinarian:

Bloody diarrhea

Frequent watery diarrhea

Abdominal pain (dog in “prayer posture” i.e. lying with its chest on the floor, standing on its hind legs, or taking other unfamiliar positions)

Dog is restless

Dog is lethargic

Dog does not eat and/or drink

Dog vomits

Dog has a fever of more than 40 °C

How long to feed a light diet for diarrhea?

After surviving or still existing diarrhea, many dogs have an attacked intestine and a sensitive stomach.

Therefore, the food you now offer the animal should calm the affected organs and support their healing powers.

Offer your four-legged friend only small, easily digestible amounts of food and feed several portions throughout the day. The distribution of the feed ration is intended to relieve the gastrointestinal tract and help it with digestion. How long your dog needs a light diet for diarrhea can be individually different, but after five days (at the latest after a week) the symptoms should have subsided. As soon as your dog sets off reshaped feces, you can gradually return to his usual diet.

Light food recipe for a 10-kilogram dog:

125 grams of chicken, softly cooked and cut into small pieces (white meat without bones!)

300 grams of very soft-boiled rice

125 grams of cottage cheese (optional, omitted in case of intolerance)

Since this light diet does not contain enough vitamins and minerals, you need to start adding supplements after five days.

After diarrhea and also during the “fasting period” you can offer your dog preparations that on the one hand provide energy (through contained sugar compounds) and on the other hand compensate for the loss of minerals (electrolytes) (for example, oral ads, Virbac multi-electrolytes). Depending on the preparation, planning for german shepherd you can offer this to your dog either as a ready-to-use solution or dissolved as a powder in drinking water. This is useful to protect the emaciated dog organism from further organ damage. This is especially true for weak, old animals and puppies.

At the veterinarian and in specialist shops such as the Fressnapf online shop, in addition to ready-made light food for diarrhea-plagued dog patients, you can also get preparations with intestinal building substances such as prebiotics, probiotics, fiber, or tannins. Some dogs help with diarrhea coal tablets, they act as toxin binders, that is, they bind toxins. All these remedies work with active ingredients from naturopathy.

Is your dog dependent on certain pet food, for example, due to certain organ diseases or diabetes, and does he also have to take special medications? Then talk to the veterinarian beforehand.

What to do if the dog patient is already allergic?

If your allergic or allergy-suspect dog has acute diarrhea, then his allergy risk increases due to the disturbed barrier of the intestinal walls.

Therefore, you should offer him so-called victim protein food for a while after diarrhea. This is called allergy food with only one protein source that the animal has not previously received, for example, horse meat or duck. Or you give him hydrolyzed diet food.

If your dog develops another allergy to this new food, this is not so serious, because after the diarrhea-related diet you can switch back to the usual allergy food.

Can you get infected with diarrhea in the dog?

Basically, it is advisable to pay attention to good hygiene if your dog has diarrhea. This includes careful hand washing after each extensive animal contact, the cleaning, and disinfection of feces-polluted textiles or surfaces as well as the hot rinsing of food and drinking bowls.

In principle, intestinal bacteria, if they enter our body through impurities, can make you sick. This is true even if your dog is healthy.

In addition, there are also diarrhea-causing bacteria and parasites, which can also be transmitted from dogs to humans. An example is a giardia, a single-celled parasite that infects the intestines of dogs.

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