It’s quite common that dogs have a little soft stool from time to time, often because they enjoy putting almost anything in their mouth. Pet parents are generally not sure what to do and how to judge when diarrhea (GI upset) is serious and when it’s not urgent that we can wait and observe at home, so we’ve talked to Dr Faye Cable from East Island Animal Hospital to find out. (H = Hellodog, Dr = Dr Faye Cable)
H: How can we tell diarrhea my dog has is not that serious?
Dr: Diarrhea in dogs is very common; 9 out of 10 cases will resolve with just a bland diet. If your dog is eating, happy with no signs of vomiting, then it’s not a serious case.
H: Any home remedies to help stop it?
Dr: The first thing you can do is to fast your dog, normally I would recommend 6 to 12 hours, anything longer than this, I think, is too much, especially if your dog is young. Boiled chicken and rice would be my suggestion as it helps settle the gut. It’s good to persist for 2 to 3 days after the diarrhea is resolved, then gradually mix it back to the regular diet.
Worms can cause diarrhea. Although they are uncommon, we do recommend dogs are up to date with deworming which should be every 3 to 6 months.
H: Any difference for home remedies for dogs with diarrhea and dogs with diarrhea plus vomiting?
Dr: If your dog is vomiting too, I would definitely recommend withholding food for 6 to 12 hours. If he’s still vomiting even with no food and after an attempt of a bland diet, then you need to bring him to a vet.
H: When is it serious that requires a visit to a veterinarian? (When is an emergency for immediate attention?)
Dr: If the diarrhea is very watery or very bloody, then you should bring him to a vet. Some cases may have a few spots of blood in the faeces which can be normal. If it’s more than just a few spots of blood, your pet should get medical attention. If your pet is not eating, looking sick or dull, please bring him in.
H: How is it clinically diagnosed?
Dr: There are many causes of diarrhea. In most simple cases, we don’t need to do more investigation. Normally the dog will get better on his own, it may be just something he picked up and has eaten. However, if the diarrhea is not going away or getting serious, you may be recommended to do further testing on your pet, including blood test. You can bring faeces sample in, so we can send it off to the lab to check the presence of parasites. Also, sometimes we may recommend to do a food trial in case food allergy is suspected. Finally, your vet might recommend to do abdominal imaging – this may include x-ray, ultrasound, to make sure there’s nothing serious in the abdomen that is causing the diarrhea.
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