Diarrhoea in Dogs and Puppies

It is always hard when your pet is unwell and you do not know the cause, or how to help. There can be many reasons why dogs and puppies experience an upset stomach but it does happen to every dog at some point in their life. We have listed the most common causes and how you can treat them.

1) Overfeeding – Many owners are unaware that overfeeding can cause loose stools. This is due to an ‘overload’ of the digestive system, meaning it is unable to absorb what it needs and instead expelling it. This is more common in young puppies with sensitive stomachs but can happen at any age. Make sure to feed according to their weight, and introduce any amount changes gradually.

2) Scavenging – We have all found that our dogs have eaten something they were not meant to. Whether it is something they have found on a walk or something they have eaten from a bin. This can cause stomach upset and is best avoided by teaching a ‘leave’ command and lifting any bins that they are able to get into.

3) Human food scraps – Food that is too rich for dogs stomachs can result in diarrhoea, as their digestive systems cannot cope with overly fatty foods. If you want to feed titbits stick to fresh meat, vegetables and fruit in moderation.

4) Parasites, worms and other intestinal parasites – Dogs that come into contact with infected faeces of other animals, can develop intestinal upset and need to be treated by a veterinarian.

5) Stress – Environmental changes such as puppies entering their new homes, moving house and vet visits are enough to cause digestive upset. This can be managed by making them feel safe and comforted in any new surroundings.

6) Exercise – Have you ever noticed that during or after a good run around or walk your dog’s stools are looser than normal? This is because running can loosen the digestive system and stimulates bowel movements.

When to see a vet;

Most cases of Diarrhoea can be treated by removal of food for 24 hours to enable the stomach to calm down, followed by a bland meal such as boiled chicken and rice. However if your dog (puppies in particular) has loose stools for more than a couple of days, or shows the following signs then it is advised to take them to see a veterinarian.

  • Black tarry stool or containing large amounts of fresh blood.
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Signs of abdominal pain (bloating, panting, whining)
  • Pale gums


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