Diarrhoea in Dogs
Making a diagnosis
Importation information to give to your vet so that he or she can make a diagnosis are the type of defecation (frequency, any associated pain, urgency of defecation etc.) as well as the appearance/type of stool.
• What is the consistency like? Is the stool watery, mushy or has it retained its shape?
• What is the colour like? Black, light, yellowish/ochre/muddy or white?
• Are there other colours mixed in, such as fresh (bright red) blood or clotted (black) blood?
• Can foreign objects be made out, such as fragments of bone, parts of plants, or other foreign material?
• Are there even worms or parts of worms (tapeworm parts) which are visible to the naked eye?
It is also important to let your vet know about other symptoms that can accompany diarrhoea, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, listlessness, nausea, blackouts etc.
Dangers associated with diarrhoea
Many cases of diarrhoea, if not most, are harmless. They are often of short duration and clear up by themselves. Of course, however, diarrhoea can also be an indication of life-threatening conditions, for example in the case of poisonings, foreign objects or illnesses involving tumours, as well as serious infections. Prolonged diarrhoea at the least, which may be coupled with vomiting, may cause your dog to become dehydrated because of the lack of fluids and the loss of vitally important electrolytes - which can mean the dog needs to be put on a drip which “bypasses” the gastrointestinal tract and supplies the blood directly with fluids, electrolytes and other nutrients such as sugar, thus maintaining circulation.
For the reasons specified, it is difficult to decide when and how urgently a patient would need to be presented to a vet - and it’s a question to which there is no hard-and-fast answer. However, a vet should always be contacted immediately if diarrhoea lasts for more than a day, is coupled with strong pain and/or vomiting, with fever or even blood in the stool. If it is suspected that your pet has been poisoned (if they have consumed foreign material beforehand), a veterinary practice or clinic must be contacted immediately.
What tests will the vet carry out?
Treating DiarrhoeaWhat can dog owners themselves do?
Easy-to-digest foods tend to be based on carbohydrates or starchy vegetables (rice, potatoes, oats or carrots) which have been absolutely “cooked to death”, paired with lean meat (such as poultry with the fat removed). More and more people support the idea of serving overcooked carrots in the form of “Professor Moro’s carrot soup”, which is made from water, overcooked carrots and salt. Dairy products such as low-fat quark or cottage cheese are also suitable when combined with mushy rice, mashed potatoes or similar.