Diarrhea: It’s gross to look at, unpleasant to smell, and generally uncomfortable for both you and your pet. For pet owners, it’s important to know how to avoid actions that can cause diarrhea. It’s also vital to know when it’s necessary to follow up with the vet, basic at home treatment methods, and potential illnesses that could have diarrhea as a symptom.
Some of what happens when your pet has diarrhea is pretty easy to observe: your cat or dog will have a watery, loose stool, and generally will repeat these loose bowel movements more frequently than an ordinary bowel movement. As well, keep an eye out for less obvious side effects like fever, lethargy, dehydration, and vomiting.
Diarrhea that occurs as a one-off bout lasting for a day or two is the least problematic type of diarrhea for your pet to experience. Longer occurrences, or repeated bouts, can be an indication of a more serious problem. When diarrhea lasts more than a day or two, it’s important to consult your vet and get advice on the next steps for you to take.
The most likely factors causing your pet’s diarrhea are parasites or a dietary issue, such as your pet eating something unusual or a food intolerance. Other potential causes include intestinal diseases, cancers, bowel diseases, stress, among other diseases.
At home treatment of diarrhea starts by removing food for a short period. Water should always be kept available, and when food is reintroduced, aim to provide your pet with mild and bland options. It can be tough to know when your pet is experiencing a run of the mill bout of diarrhea, and when it indicates a more serious problem. Recurring bouts of diarrhea, dehydration, blood within the stools (making them appear a tar-like black or red), fever, or decreased appetite are all signs of serious diarrhea that requires veterinary attention. Vets will ask questions about your pet’s diet and general health, and may inspect your pet’s stool and take blood samples in order to track down the underlying cause.