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The facts about dog diarrhoea

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It may be unpleasant, but whether your dog has diarrhoea or not, you should keep an eye on his poo.
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All things must pass, as they say. For dogs, like their owners, it’s a simple, if noxious, fact that his faeces are a very useful indicator of gut health. For that reason it’s important to take an interest in what comes out of your dog’s rear end.

Obviously, your pet’s diet is going to play a big part in what his poo looks like. A mid brown colour is common, but the colour will vary depending on what he’s eating. It should be firm but not too firm, and your dog will go regularly, though not more than a few times a day. If your dog’s stool is entirely liquid, or very mushy then your dog or puppy has diarrhoea.

Why does my dog have diarrhoea?
There are many different reasons why your dog might have diarrhoea, ranging from inconsequential to very serious. Whilst diarrhoea in dogs is really common and often nothing to worry about, it’s still worth speaking to your vet, especially if your dog is not his usual self, off his food, not drinking as normal, there is any blood in the stool, or his belly seems bloated.

There are numerous causes of diarrhoea in dogs. Often it can be caused by something as simple as a change in diet or your pet eating something during a walk that disagrees with him. If he’s on medication, that can also upset his stomach. There are also many parasites and infections that can cause diarrhoea, including bacterial infections, viral infections or infestations with one of several types of worm (such as roundworm, tapeworm or hookworm). There are also many other conditions including food intolerances, inflammatory conditions and some other more serious conditions that can cause diarrhoea. Always speak to your vet if you’re concerned about your dog.

What do I do if my dog has diarrhoea?
If your dog has diarrhoea, it’s really important to monitor him closely, if you’re concerned he’s also unwell, or the diarrhoea is more than just a one off event, then see your vet.

It’s often not necessary to withhold food from dogs with diarrhoea, particularly in puppies who do not have the bodily reserves of older dogs. However, your dog’s normal food may be a bit rich for them to cope with at this time, so your vet might recommend that you give something blander (such as chicken and rice), and to give smaller portions 4-6 times a day. Make sure you give him plenty of water so he doesn’t get dehydrated.

Whilst diarrhoea is very common and often resolves quickly, if it persists dogs can get very dehydrated, and it can sometimes indicate a more serious problem, so always speak to your vet for advice if you are concerned.