Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?

Whether it is acute or chronic, here’s what you need to know about diarrhea in dogs and when to worry.


Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the gastro-intestinal system and is the most common cause of acute diarrhea in dogs. The most common cause of gastroenteritis is ‘dietary indiscretion’. Indiscretion is defined as a ‘behavior that displays lack of judgment’ – and this often sums up your puppies behavior when he chows down on a dead rodent or smelly sock! Gastroenteritis is actually quite rarely due to what we relate to as ‘food poisoning’, simply in that it is often not bacterial in nature.

One of the best ways to treat a gastrointestinal (GI) upset from dietary indiscretion, if the diarrhea is not profuse and the dog is otherwise bright, well and eating, is to rest the GI system for 24 hours and then introduce a bland food (eg  boiled chicken and white rice) little and often until the upset has resolved.

Drug reactions (eg.  Antibiotics, antiinflammatories, others) can cause diarrhea in dogs on occasion.

Gastrointestinal inflammation from viruses (parvo, , rotovirus, coronovirus) or bacteria (Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium, E.Coli) are surprisingly rare causes of diarrhea in dogs.

Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a potentially serious cause of diarrhea as the condition can lead to fairly severe dehydration. It can be accompanied by bloody diarrhea, often described as looking like ‘rasberry jam’ (sorry to put you off your lunch!)

GI parasitism (worms) is a relatively uncommon cause of diarrhea in an otherwise healthy dog. Dogs should be wormed regularly however to prevent GI parasites.

Systemic (ie. affecting the whole body) and metabolic diseases such as liver or kidney disease, electrolyte imbalance, pancreatitis, sepsis, peritonitis, pyometra, diabetic ketoacidosis, hypoadrenocorticism, intussusception or neurologic disease can all cause diarrhea in dogs. Usually there are other accompanying signs such as vomiting anorexia, lethargy or weight loss.

Another cause of diarrhea, especially in younger curious dogs is a GI foreign obstruction where something that has been ingested becomes lodged somewhere in the GI system. An intestinal forgein body usually, but not always, causes quite frequent vomiting as well, and these objects may need to be removed surgically. Dogs that eat pieces of string-like material, are at risk of what is called a ‘linear foreign body’. In this situation, the string is unable to pass through the GI tract and the intestines can become bunched, as they try to pass the linear material. In the worst case scenario foreign bodies can pierce the intestinal wall, and if you suspect your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have then take them to the vet immediately.


Any cause of chronic diarrhea (ie. diarrhea that lasts more than just a few days) is definitely best assessed by a Veterinarian especially if accompanied by weight loss, appetite changes or other symptoms.

There can be numerous possible causes pertaining to virtually any body organ system, but some of the more common are neoplasia (cancer), GI parasitism, liver or kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, food intolerance, diabetes, hypoadrenocorticism, chronic pancreatitis, bacterial or viral infection, partial obstruction of the intestines (either from a cancer, intussusception or foreign body eg. sock), gastric ulcer, constant diet change, drug reaction, Addison’s disease or food intolerance/allergy.

When to worry:

  • Your dog is older (greater than 7 years) – older dogs are sometimes less able to cope with the potential dehydration diarrhea can lead to, and older dogs are more prone to serious illnesses than young healthy dogs.
  • There are other symptoms such as weight loss, poor appetite, profuse vomiting or lethargy.

When to be slightly less concerned:

  • When your dog is otherwise healthy, bright, happy and with good appetite.

The post Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea? appeared first on VetBabble.

How to Choose the Best Harness for Your Dog

We took care of my friend’s two dogs when their boarding kennel was destroyed in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. One of the dogs, Leo, comes from a very abusive background and crouches in fear if he thinks you are going to touch him. That makes putting on or taking off a harness extremely challenging. […]

Guy Drove For Miles Without Realizing Someone Was Stuck In His Car

In his many years of rescuing wildlife, Mark Hess had never seen an animal quite so lucky.

Last weekend, Hess, a rescuer with the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha, Wisconsin, responded to a frantic call from a driver who had unknowingly hit a red-tailed hawk with his truck while driving on the interstate.

But there was a twist: The hawk was lodged, tail-end first, in the grille of the man’s truck — and had been hitchhiking there for miles.

Wildlife In Need Center

“The driver was going about 70 on the interstate and remembered seeing a hawk swoop in front of the truck,” Hess told The Dodo. “He had no idea that he even hit him until he parked and saw the hawk stuck inside the grille with his wings sprawled out.”

Hess showed up to the scene with a few tools — and prepared for the worst. In his experience, animals hit at that high of speeds rarely survive their injuries.

Wildlife In Need Center

“The hawk was definitely in shock after what happened,” Hess said. “It took maybe three or four minutes to cut enough of the grillwork out of the front of the vehicle.”

Despite being prepared for the worst, Hess had a pleasant — and very unexpected — surprise: After removing the bird from the grille, he didn’t appear to have any broken bones.

Wildlife In Need Center

“Once he calmed down a bit, he was sitting upright using his legs just fine,” Hess said. “He looked to be in really good shape considering what he had been through — especially getting hit at those speeds.”

Hess loaded up the hawk and drove him to the Wildlife In Need Center, which took X-rays right away. The veterinarians confirmed Hess’ prediction: The bird escaped the accident with absolutely no broken bones.

Wildlife In Need Center

“Thankfully, he has no major injuries,” Alex Schlecht, education coordinator for the center, told The Dodo. “We think he has some swelling going on from the impact of the accident, but overall, he’s recovering very well.”

The hawk, whom the center’s staff has nicknamed “Griller,” is on medicine and cage rest for the next few days as the swelling continues to go down. But so far, he is eating well and shows no signs of other health concerns.

Wildlife In Need Center

When Griller feels up to it, his rehabilitators will move him to a large covered enclosure with enough room for him to fly. This will give them a chance to watch for any red flags concerning his flight, Schlecht said.

“Right now, he’s in a smaller enclosure that has a perch and an area for him to walk around in,” Schlecht said. “After resting we’ll want to give him more space to fly so we can make sure his flying endurance is still up to par. And at that point, we may also do a live prey test to ensure that he can still hunt on his own.”

But based on how he’s doing right now, Schlecht is confident that Griller will make a full recovery from the ordeal.

While it may still be a few more weeks until Griller is well enough to be released back to the wild, Hess is anxiously waiting for the day to come.

Wildlife In Need Center

“I’ve had to help a lot of other animals who had been hit by cars who weren’t nearly so lucky,” Hess said. “It’s a miracle that he’s still with us. I can’t wait to see him take off to the sky again.”

Brandon McMillan to be Honoured at Global Pet Expo 2018

Fri, 02/23/2018 – 15:25
Professional animal trainer, Emmy Award winning television presenter and author, named the 2018 recipient of Global Pet Expo’s prestigious, annual “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award”

Professional animal trainer, Emmy Award winning television presenter and author, named the 2018 recipient of Global Pet Expo’s prestigious, annual “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award”

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) are pleased to announce the host of CBS’s hit show, “Lucky Dog,” Brandon McMillan as the 2018 recipient of Global Pet Expo’s annual Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award.   

Site Sections: