If your pup has loose stools, and you’re asking: “When is dog diarrhea an emergency?” we can help. Dog Ownership Guide did the research so you don’t have to, so let’s get to the bottom of it.
When Is Dog Diarrhea an Emergency?
Dog diarrhea is an emergency when it continues for more than 48 hours, has blood in it, or is combined with other symptoms such as vomiting and weakness.
What to Do When You’re Dog’s Stool Is Loose
When a dog has a change in stool, it often means there is a disruption in the GI tract. There are many causes for this, which we will cover below. Before that, let’s tackle what to do when your dog has loose stool.
Identify What Else Is Wrong
When you notice loose stool, it’s a good idea to look for other symptoms of a serious medical condition such as:
- Excessive Drooling
- No Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Dry Nose
- Sticky Gums
When is dog diarrhea an emergency? If your pup has any of the above symptoms with diarrhea, contact your emergency vet immediately.
Start a Bland Diet
A bland diet includes:
- Boiled Chicken
- Boiled Turkey
- Boiled Hamburger
- Cooked White Rice
- Sweet Potato
Continue to feed the above bland diet for 24 – 48 hours, and your dog’s diarrhea should resolve on its own.
Supplement with Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk is a water-soluble fiber that is highly effective in resolving watery diarrhea. Mix a tablespoon of the powder with water, add some boiled chicken, turkey, or hamburger and let your pup gobble it up.
Your dog’s stool should be much firmer the next time there is a bowel movement. Repeating the dose a few hours later may be necessary for severe cases of acute diarrhea.
Imodium for Dogs
Some human medications can be given to canines. Dogs can take Imodium (loperamide), which is an over-the-counter anti-diarrheal. A dog can take 2 milligrams per 40 pounds of body weight, according to Dr. Klein.
Pepto-Bismal for Dogs
Pepto-Bismal is also a good way to stop diarrhea. Dr. Klein recommends 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. You can repeat the dose every 6-8 hours. If your dog’s diarrhea doesn’t stop after a few doses, it’s a good idea to seek immediate veterinary attention.
Provide Fresh Water
The frightening consequence of acute sudden diarrhea is dehydration. Be sure to provide fresh water to your pup to ensure he/she is well hydrated.
Common Reasons for Acute Diarrhea
Understanding the common reasons for acute diarrhea will help you answer the question: When is dog diarrhea an emergency?
The most common reason for acute diarrhea in dogs is a change in diet (new food). Sudden dietary changes can cause throw a dog’s system out of balance. This cause of canine diarrhea does not last long.
Diarrhea due to a dietary change is usually not an emergency. This includes when a dog eats something he/she should have eaten like a rotisserie chicken. If your dog ate rotisserie chicken and is now suffering from diarrhea, keep an eye on it.
Veterinarians do not recommend that pet parents give their dogs table scraps. Dogs can’t eat everything humans do and a lot of foods can cause serious gastrointestinal tract issues.
Dogs with a food allergy often have diarrhea. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know that your dog has a food allergy unless you changed his food and the diarrhea hasn’t stopped after a couple of days.
Many veterinarians will ask if you’ve changed your dog’s diet because if it has changed, it’s likely a problem with the new diet.
Eating Spoiled Food
Just like humans, a dog can’t handle the bacteria in spoiled food. That’s why many people ask the question: Frozen Raw Dog Food Left Out Overnight
Intestinal parasites can cause acute sudden diarrhea. When pet parents haven’t changed their dog’s diet and have had diarrhea for more than a couple of days, this is one of the causes the veterinarian will check for since it is common.
Poisonous substances can cause acute sudden diarrhea as well. If a dog is into anything and everything, it’s possible he/she has gotten into something that’s not good for them. The body tries to flush out the system with watery diarrhea.
If you know your pup has gotten into poisonous substances, reach out for immediate veterinary attention.
Possible poisonous substances you may want to consider are:
Foreign objects such as string from a rope toy, ribbon, or pinecones can cause irritation in the intestines leading to diarrhea. Unfortunately, some foreign objects can cause a lot of damage inside the body leading to severe bloody diarrhea.
When there is a bloody stool, reach out for veterinary attention. Surgery may be required to remove the foreign body from the stomach or gastrointestinal tract.
Bacterial or Viral Infection
Infections are another common reason for diarrhea. A veterinarian will have to prescribe antibiotics if it’s a bacterial infection. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know if it’s bacterial or viral unless you go to your vet, so if diarrhea doesn’t resolve within 24 hours, take your dog to the veterinarian’s office for veterinary care.
There are a few medical conditions that pet owners should be aware of that could cause chronic diarrhea:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Cancer in the Gastrointestinal Tract
- Gastrointestinal Tract Disorder
- Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis
The above underlying causes of dog diarrhea will usually present with other symptoms, which is why it’s important to look for other symptoms as mentioned above.
Learn More: What Soft Dog Poop Means
Summary: When Is Dog Diarrhea an Emergency?
Acute sudden diarrhea is usually not something to be concerned about, as long as it resolves itself within 48 hours and there are no other symptoms. In other words, a single episode of diarrhea isn’t something to rush to a vet’s office for unless you believe there is an underlying health issue.
Severe bloody diarrhea, weakness, dry nose, vomiting, and other unusual signs of a health issue are a concern. Contact an emergency vet immediately.
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Don’t have your dog’s shot records? Don’t worry. Read the article below for information on what to do.