Dog Health: Diarrhea
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Dog Health: Diarrhea


Diarrhea means different things to different people. Most people believe that diarrhea occurs only when watery stool is passed. In reality, any stool that is unlike the normal stool in consistency, color or odor can be indicative of diarrhea. Straining hard to defecate, passing only gas instead of stool are also other indications of diarrhea.

Dogs are omnivores that primarily favor carnivorous food. They also have a little bit of the scavenger thrown in. This makes them curious about many kinds of food, and sometimes they end up eating many things that they should not. Eating junk and other offensive material often leads to a bout of diarrhea in dogs. In this case, the dog may try to vomit out the toxic materials he has eaten. He also develops diarrhea, which is the system's way to purge itself of waste. Meanwhile, the dog may still continue to eat, drink and behave quite normally, though he may appear a bit low at times. This kind of diarrhea is actually beneficial for the body. Treatment can be carried out at home itself while keeping the dog under close observation for change in symptoms. In this case, the first thing to do is to reduce feeding by half the usual amount. Feed bland, home made food that is low in fat and oil.

Chronic diarrhea in dogs can be the result of some other disease. It could even be indicative of cancer. If the dog acts very sick, is very lethargic, suffers from abdominal pain, has fever, or passes substantial amounts of blood through his stool, then you have to take your dog to a vet. Chronic diarrhea is especially dangerous for very young pets, older dogs, and small pets. They dehydrate very quickly and this may become fatal. The body also starts losing vital nutrients and secondary disorders may start developing.

Chronic diarrhea in dogs can be caused by intestinal parasites like whipworms or roundworms. Certain food allergies may also lead to chronic diarrhea. Inflammatory bowel disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome also leads to chronic diarrhea. Some liver, kidney or thyroid diseases lead to chronic diarrhea in dogs. Chronic diarrhea in dogs can also be caused by an acute infection of the pancreas.

Low or cheap quality pet food is another leading cause of diarrhea in dogs. It is advisable to go for a medium priced pet food. Some dogs develop diarrhea due to over eating. This is especially true for dogs that are fed once in a day. Some dogs cannot tolerate certain ingredients in food like dyes, beef, liver or chicken. Usually, these are taken in from food that is not pet food. Spoiled food also leads to diarrhea because these kinds of food usually have a large concentration of harmful bacteria. Some dogs, especially toy dogs develop diarrhea when they are highly stressed.

Diarrhea in dogs can affect the small intestine or the large intestine. High intestinal diarrhea is by far the most dangerous. The stools passed by such dogs often have bright red to rusty specks of blood in it. They also pass mucous through stools. The dogs strain to defecate. There will be instances of vomiting also.

If chronic diarrhea continues for more than 24-36 hours, the dog must be taken to the vet. Taking a sample of the stool is recommended. Keep the dog hydrated by making him drink a lot of fluids. Desist from feeding for about 24 hours.

In most cases, dogs that are kept within apartments or are well looked after develop diarrhea only due to eating undesirable objects. Observing the pet to verify whether the diarrhea can be treated at home is a good step. This will avoid the use of unnecessary antibiotics and other medicines. After a bout of diarrhea, it is important for a dog to slowly get his strength back. Go easy on fat rich food and give him plenty of fluids. Soon, your dog will be as good as new!

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